Moms and Me.

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My friend group has changed significantly in the last ten years.

While my life place hasn’t [still single at 32], the majority of my friends have gotten married and many have had children.

Whether we want to say it outloud or not, it changes things. 

Sometimes, in the coolest of ways. In fact, my best friend’s six year old son tells people I’m HIS best friend. I don’t argue. I kinda agree. He’s the coolest. I love being around the offspring of my friends- it’s like tiny versions of the people you choose to be around anyways. Who can hate that?

But with the change comes some challenges as well. There are times when I’m frustrated with my mom friends and times when they are frustrated with me. Our lifestyles are so different – our free-time so different – that there are times when the chasm of diapers and naps seems too wide to cross.

Yesterday, a mom friend of mine wrote about all the ways that singles can better love moms. It’s such an interesting conversation I think. Because you are in one of those camps- you are a mom with mom-ish responsibilities, or you aren’t.

So here are a few of my thoughts on how moms can help grow those relationships with non-moms.

1. I like being around your kids. But I know you need to get away sometimes too. So let’s balance- I wanna hang with your kids while you are there because I love them. But when you need a break and want us to grab coffee or a glass of wine, just say! [And if you don't like being around kids, non-mom friends, that's totally fine! But you need to communicate that lovingly and honestly.]

2. I don’t mind babysitting. But I’m not your babysitter. If you’re in a pinch or me and the kids have talked about making that cookie recipe every Sunday at church, duh. Call me. But babysitting isn’t my side job. I’m a friend who loves your family. It’s different.

3. Tell me how I can help. If your baby just had a massive diaper blow-out and the big brothers need to be entertained for forty minutes while you have a moment, call me. Let me come over or bring dinner or grab that other kid from soccer. Don’t assume I can’t/won’t/don’t want to help. I want to help. Trust that I will say no if I have to/want to.

4. Can I meet some of your husband’s single friends? Please? Because if y’all like him, I might too.

5. Remember that I’m busy too. I almost burst a blood vessel in anger a few months ago when a dad made an insensitive comment on twitter about how singles have no idea what it is like to be busy. True, I have never been a parent. But here’s what else is true- that guy has NO IDEA what it is like to be single in 2013. So to make the assumption that I don’t get “busy” just because I don’t get busy birthing is really hurtful. Be honest with me about your daily struggles and when you feel overwhelmed, that’s not complaining. I want to hear about your life. I promise I won’t assume what it is like to be a mom if you don’t assume what it is like to be single today.

6. Tell me no. If I call and want to hang but you are pooped out or pooped on, just say. I can handle it. [And dear non-moms, if your mom friend has to say no, that's not your cue to write her off. Just try again another day.]

7. Send me home. Johnny pitches a fit and Katie is riding the cat around the living room and you feel like our conversation is making you lose your mind because of all the crazy going on? Just send me home. I can handle it. But I’ll tell you this, if you send me home five hangouts in a row, I’m probably going to be a little gun shy to hang out again.

8. We’re gonna make it. You’re still you. I am still me. We picked each other. So no matter what season of life, I want us to be in it. Together.

The other truth? You may disagree with all those points and feel totally different. That’s fine. What matters is that you are honest and open with the moms in your life about what you need as a non-mom. Just like with all our relationships, using words and honesty dripping in love and kindness, even when it is scary, is always the best thing.

I think this is a super important conversation to have… so no matter where you fall on the mom spectrum – not one, almost one, one of many, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

How can non-mom friends know and love and better understand their mom friends?

How can mom friends be a loving friend to non-moms? 

By Annie Downs // AnnieBlogs

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  1. 1
    Margaret Polino Nicholas says:

    Great post. My daughter is 30 years old and perfectly happy with her life and does love children. She is just brave enough to say I am not suited to have children of my own.

  2. 3

    I appreciate your straightforwardness annie.

  3. 5

    Both perspectives were great and SO helpful! I love the straightforward practical ideas and the explanations behind them!

  4. 7
    Catherine says:

    Love this! I am 33, unmarried without children, and I also struggle sometimes with interacting with my mom friends. I can relate to almost every point you make, and it is such an encouragement to know I am not alone in these struggles. Thank you for sharing!

  5. 9

    As a single 24-year old, I find myself in the position of being friends with a lot of new moms. My problem is that I DON’T LIKE BABIES. I don’t know what to do with them. I don’t enjoy holding them. But I’m still willing to be your friend (if you’re a mom) IF you don’t make me hold your kid. I will do your dishes, mop your floor, make you lunch, fold your laundry. Just don’t make me do anything with the baby. Once your baby turns 4, then we’re good. At that point, I’m fine… I’ll play with them or pick them up when they fall. Just be patient with me during the early years.

    Those are just my thoughts as a single who wants to help but can’t always handle the pressure of being asked to hold and constantly admire the babies. ;) (And, I do have some mom-friends who understand this completely!)

    • 10

      Such good thoughts, Abigail. I do think moms have to be careful not to assume that we are all wishing we had a baby and wanting to hold theirs constantly (though I do love babies so I would like to hold them all the time). :)

      Thanks for your comment!

  6. 11

    My heart needed to hear this today and this morning especially. I am currently single and my friends are in the mom stage. I am so incredibly happy for them and love spending time with them. There is that pull at your heart because friendship takes time and I want to be there for them but also find time to relate with other people in the life season.
    The struggle I am having right now is…is all my friends are married but the college/career groups I have attended just have not been the authentic community I am seeking.
    I have learned so much this year about community and it doesn’t always happen or look like you would expect it to. Thank you for sharing this today Annie.

    • 12

      I struggled with that so much right out of college, Emily. I remember my best friends were married and I wanted to hang with them, but the singles that I knew I needed to be around (same life place, meet new people, etc) weren’t the community I was looking for. It was a balancing lesson for sure.

  7. 13

    I really, really like this, Annie.

  8. 15

    These are some great points, Annie! I have one mom friend who does this especially well. She has included me in just some regular family time/activities. Which I love. It has been one of the best gifts ever given to this single girl (who wishes for a family of her own, but hasn’t yet been given that gift).
    Another way we make spending time together work is for me to be willing to see her EARLY in the morning once a month. She is a morning person, and this enables us to get together at a time that isn’t taking her away from her family (and causing Mommy guilt). Great friendships are worth the effort!

    • 16

      The early morning thing is revolutionary to me! I love that! Can’t wait to try that with some of my friends. I think it will be really great for them and give us time together (and get me out of the bed!). :)

  9. 17

    oh girl, i love you very much. i loved that you picked that photo of us. i miss you!

  10. 19

    This could go for sisters who are moms too. I could not have children and sadly lost relationships with both my sisters who are moms. They made it clear to me their kids come first. I have moved on but it still hurts. And boy do I understand that ‘busy’ thing. According to them I do nothing but sit around and twiddle my thumbs and in no way understand how busy they are.

  11. 21

    My flesh doesn’t like this article. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad you wrote it but my gut is screaming, “Life IS easier when you’re single and/or childless.” I know because I was there two years ago. I don’t think deep down that singles and/or childless REALLY WANT to help, whether it’s mopping floors or holding the baby. Singles don’t call like they should. YOU distance yourselves. Maybe this is natural. As parents it’s not OUR faults when these relationships wane. New parents or parents of young children don’t have the time to nurture these friendships. We barely have time to care for our spouses or ourselves. We are caring for a life that is incapable of caring for itself. And, I detested being told this before I became a parent but YOU’LL UNDERSTAND ONCE YOU ARE A PARENT!! There has never been a truer statement. Maybe my single and/or childless friends just weren’t like you. You sound wonderful. Visiting and playing with your friends’ children, taking your friends out, babysitting, and bringing over meals. I wish you were my friend. My single, childless friends did not do these things. It hurts as a new mother when your single, childless friends abandon you during one of the most difficult times of your life, the first year or so of motherhood. My mom friends stepped up once I had my son, bringing meals, offering advice, stopping by to give me a break. My single friends vanished. Maybe this is just my situation. You sound different and I sound bitter but still. This is my opinion and it’s just that another opinion. I wonder if any mom’s out there feel like I do :(

    • 22
      Barbara M. says:

      Sheena, yeah, I had my first son at 29, and that’s 20 years ago, but yeah. I lost all my single friends and the ones who could not have kids. Sometimes they say hi on FB but usually not, even today. I am now a 49 y.o. mom of a 9 y.o. also, and it’s hard too. Moms are usually younger at the elementary school. But there is no time. All my free time is gone; I clean, cook, clean again. I drop off, pick up, and have to be on call for kids or hubby. I fall into bed at night exhausted to wake and do it again. I wish I could actually have time to go do anything with a friend, but then I’d be “wasting” time from doing what I need to do. Be glad you did have your mom. My mom was over 500 miles away all this time and passed 3 1/2 yrs. ago. I was an older mom and so was she. We all have stuff we could do better.

      I do love this article and it gives me hope for the younger generations!! And too bad my oldest son isn’t a little older ;)

      • 23

        Barbara,

        Thanks, I just felt so alone after reading this article. I’m sure the article was written from frustrated place as well.

        My mom was wonderful but I guess what I really was saying was that my friends who are moms really stepped up when I had my son. Motherhood was NOT what I expected. I had no clue. When I’d be on facebook and see my friends who just had babies state that they didn’t even have time to brush their teeth I remember preaching to my husband that, “Those women just don’t know how to manage their time.” I think back and LAUGH that those words even crossed my lips!! When my son arrived it was total system shock and failure. Twelve hours of labor, two failed epidurals, two hours of pushing, a c-section, weeks of breastfeeding frustration and months of colic!! There were times where I Just sobbed in defeat. But my mom friends built me up into me, “Your feelings are normal. It gets better. Things change. You’ll get used to the pace and the lack of sleep and exhaustion.” They were right and I thank GOD for them. Most of my single childless friends visited me in the hospital after having my son and then I didn’t see or hear from them again until they came to his first birthday party. I invited them over. I texted. I tried to make time to call but they were “too busy” or “had plans”. They didn’t have time for me, my husband or our new baby. Again, maybe this is my situation but I can’t be alone in feeling this way.

        • 24

          I really want to respond to you, Sheena. I am a 33 year old single, non- mom. My 3 closest friends are all moms. And yes, I go to their houses, and I do dishes, bring them dinner, watch their kids so they can go out, pick up things at the store for them, etc. It is a give and take both ways. They bless me in many ways, and I enjoy blessing them. I consider it a privilege to be friends with them, because I value they people they are / their friendship, and I am learning a lot about what it is like to be a wife and mother from them. I haven’t really chosen to only have mom friends, but these are the people most compatible to me in personality/values/etc. in this stage of my life. As to the not being busy comment for singles. This one really bothers me, too, Annie. I am a nurse at a very busy hospital. I spend my days caring for demanding, sick folks and their families, and then when I am not working, I am busy doing the work the Lord has given me, which is like another job and also demands my all. I also work to spend concentrated time with the Lord, maintain the relationships in my life, do Bible studies, cook for others, invest in my community, and somewhere in there, sleep. I do watch my Mom friends and wonder how I will do it, however, I believe if you are a single serving the Lord, He will not keep you idle and waiting, He will busy you with His work and the preparation needed for the wife and mom years He has for you later. I have not been a Mom yet, so I don’t know how hard it will be, but I don’t know that there needs to be a comparison. If we are each faithfully walking out the seasons God has entrusted us with, He will fill those seasons with what He wants for us, and yes, it will be hard, and yes, it will be beautiful, but we’re all walking the same road really, and I think we both need each other- moms and non-moms. When it’s done well, it’s a beautiful picture of community. I value my mom friends for the people they are, and they value me in this way, too. Yes, we learn how to balance our differences, but the more we give, the easier that is.

          • 25

            “The more we give, the easier that is.” <– that's the thing right there. If we all focus on GIVING in our friendships, I think it will all get easier. I'm working on this myself….

        • 26

          Thanks Annie for a post that really touched me. I have a friend that I have cried many tears over this year, and have worked so hard to work through my hurt and keep loving but our friendship will never be the same.

          Sheena – The difference here is you invited them over – you wanted to have contact, some mum friends make no time for there single friends and single friends don’t like to take them away from there family but still want to have contact. I think mums still need to call up and invite their single friends out or over. If you were my friend Sheena I would have been right there keen to hang out, and I am just sorry that your friends didn’t.

          My sister is a mum and she will still make time to catch up – admittedly we don’t get much below a surface level conversation but we still make time for each other. As for surface level conversations because there is always children around – I understand it completely but, when you no longer have someone to share your heart with because all of a sudden your mum friends can’t hold a conversation with you for longer than 2mins its heartbreaking. Some people just vanish and when you are one of the only people left as a single without kids its a very lonely place to be. I lived with my sister and her nephew and nannied for him years ago – I am under no illusions as to the tough job mothers have and I admire all of you for the tough job you are doing, but at least you have other mum friends, some of us singles are fast running out of single friends and we are not single by choice.
          Please love us and we will do our best to love you and your growing families.

        • 27

          I agree- you can’t be alone in feeling this way. I’m sure there are TONS of moms who feel disappointed in how their single/non-mom friends have treated them. It is definitely a two way street.

          My friend Melissa wrote a post just about that–
          http://annieblogs.com/2013/01/28/how-to-love-a-mom/#.UQlaUaWFYRs

          I don’t have any answers for you- but I just want you to know I hear your frustration and I’m really sorry that your friends have hurt you.

    • 28
      Melissa says:

      You’re right, Sheena, Annie IS a wonderful friend, and she has done an amazing job being intentional and flexible in her mom-friends’ lives.
      I’m so sorry you haven’t had a similar experience. Maybe your non-mom friends are afraid to ‘bother’ you. Maybe they’re uncertain of their roll in your new life.
      Maybe they just don’t know how much you miss them and would feel SO loved to hear it?
      I’ve learned that one hard conversation is worth a better relationship– so bring it on!

    • 31

      Sheena,

      My heart aches for you as I read your words. I don’t know your circumstances..but it’s obvious you are hurting. I had four children in five years and worked outside of the home…and now they are all off to college or graduated. The only single friend I had during these years was my sister…my best friend. She was a practicing attorney during these years so yes, she was BUSY! But she also made time to be an amazing aunt to my children…taking them home for sleepovers, coming down to watch soccer games..on the flip side…my husband took over at times and let me spend one on one time with my sister. What I’m saying is it’s a two way street…as a mom we can’t sit back and wait for people to help out or want to rescue us. We need to communicate our needs…and ask them for theirs. Sometimes as moms we make it all about us..our world can quickly become very small. If maintaining relationships with your single friends is important…and it sounds like you miss them…reach out to them…ask what’s going on in their life…what can you pray for in their lives. Now as a mom with no children at home nine months out of the year I am trying to see how I can help the new moms in our church and mentor with some of our singles. It’s amazing how an hour at a local coffee house can build relationships. Praying for you and your family. May God bring peace to you.

      • 32

        Audrey,
        What a gentle, loving response filled with excellent advice, and so very well written. Bravo.

        Sheena,
        I hope you hear this response from Audrey in your heart. I think that it takes a brave single to love on a mom and her kids. There are times we aren’t that lovable, and then there are times our families appear so picture-perfect the non-mom’s desire to have that life situation is palpable. That is painful (many of us have played both of these roles) and truthfully sometimes more pain than one can bear. Or even, maybe they just don’t want to deal with the chaos and that is okay too. Sometimes we have friends for a season, sometimes a lifetime. If there were good friends you miss, do try and reconnect as Audrey advises. They may be needing you, just as you need them.

        Annie,
        Your sensitivity toward others and genuine caring never ceases to amaze me on this blog. God must have amazing things in store for such a loving soul. I wonder what you will be sharing with us over the next years.

        Best to all,
        JoDee

      • 34

        I agree with JoDee. Beautifully said.

    • 35
      Heather says:

      I hear you, Sheena, but I have also been in the place Annie is describing. I did not get married until 32, and at 35 I am expecting my first child. It was very hard in my 20′s and 30′s to feel my mamma friends drift away. I know that I did not do all I should have done to maintain those friendships, but I also felt alienated by them. It often seems moms, particularly moms of little ones, only want to be around other moms. They are in a challenging season of life and, like you discovered, need the support and encouragement of others in the trenches. However, for those of us who don’t have kids we feel left out of many conversations and aren’t available to hang out or even talk on the phone because our mom friends have such different schedules than us. I struggle even now to keep up with friends and family with small kids. I want to talk to them, but I hesitate to call because I might interrupt dinner or bedtime or naptime… Let us know when is a good time to call or get together. And find creative ways to let someone else watch the kiddos so that we can enjoy some time together. As others have said, not all of us non-moms enjoy hanging out with kids, even though I’m sure yours are fantastic :)
      Anyway, I know that for the past 10 years as friends have gotten married and had babies, I was the one who felt abandoned and discarded. I think that relationships just take hard work no matter what season of life we are in!

      • 36

        And it goes both ways, Heather. I think that is what you are saying here, right? Sometimes the moms focus their friendships on other moms because they want to learn and connect and I totally get that. And sometimes we (single/non-moms) focus on our own lives and assume the schedule of our mom friends. You are so right, though, on relationships being hard work. Yes and amen. :)

    • 37

      As a mom of a six year old foster child and the mom of a one year old, I have to say my experience has been entirely different. I shared with Annie on her blog yesterday that we have three wonderful single friends who just fit right into our family’s lives. My husband and I have had to make the space for them to be involved, but it was definitely worth it. It is a sacrifice on both ends and that’s what Annie is saying. Having a special needs son, an infant, a husband, and working part time has only afforded me the opportunity to be more selective about how I spend my time, because it is limited. However, I think it’s unfair to say it is the responsiblity of the single person to keep up the friendship. Give your single friends some credit and understand that each relationship has a season – it doesn’t mean they don’t care about you or you don’t care about them, but your season of loving them well might be on hold. I have found that my single friends are often able to help us in ways that my married friends cannot – for example, one of my sons recently needed to go to the ER so it was a single friend who was able to come over and stay while the other one slept.
      I hope you are able to make peace with those relationships that fell flat and it is awesome that you have some great married women who’ve been a community to you!

    • 39

      Well, make sure when your single friends call that you don’t just brush them off.

      I don’t call people with small children because I don’t know when you have mealtime, bath-time, bedtime or sexy time with your husband. I don’t want to interrupt. YOU know when you have free time – so YOU pick up the phone!!

      • 40

        Oh… and since I have to work for a living the first 9 hours of the day, I’m only available during the mealtime, bath-time, bedtime hours of your day.
        And I’m exhausted, because I’ve been working – and there’s no one else to clean my house or make my supper or do my laundry.

        Then on weekends, I’m teaching RCIA class at church, serving as a Lector and Eucharistic Minister, which includes taking the Eucharist to a local nursing home on Sunday after Mass.
        I’d love to find time to go to a movie with a friend – i haven’t been to the museum in ages and I hear families have season passes to that place!
        And if I’m lucky enough to date someone, that takes up additional free time – and no, it’s not fun. One one in a million dates are fun after the first 100 first dates.

        • 41
          Kimberly/OKC says:

          TRS, you just said everything I wanted to say. Thanks. Back when I was single, it used to drive me crazy that my mom friends assumed I had all the free time in the world. NOT AT ALL. Working all day, and only had the evenings to do the shopping, meal making, laundry, bill paying, cleaning, lawn care, home care, etc etc. No one to count on, no one home to ask how our day went. Forgotten by most. I once had a mom friend ask me to take my only one week vacation from work to watch her son so her and her husband could go on a vacation. That would have been their third vacation in the last 12 months…she was actually offended when I said I didn’t think I wanted to do that. Unbelievable. I believe these types of relationships can only work if both people REALLY want it to work and are totally honest with each other.

          • 42

            Kimberly, OMGosh… someone asked you to use your vacation to assist HER third vacation. Sheesh, you should TP her house or something!
            That’s worse than the fact that most single people I know end up using all their limited vacation time just going home for Christmas and family events. Whee. I haven’t taken a real vacation in 10 years! Wait.. no… the real answer is never in my adulthood. I’ve taken a week to go see various friends when they’ve had a baby… and one time that included a beach, so I sort of counted that as a vacation!

            I think these relationships can work… they do with my dearest friends.
            To be honest, some people I thought were my dear friends have actually never bothered to come visit me in my city… saying they would come for my wedding — that was ten years ago and guess what. I’ve never had a wedding!! How insulting to tell me I’m only worth your free time on the off chance that someone ELSE decides they love me! Nice, when it seems apparent that’s never going to happen.

            all relationships require respect.
            Telling single women that they don’t have REAL lives – or that their lives aren’t as busy as yours… that’s not respectful.

        • 43

          You are a busy gal! :) I think this is why communication is so important- setting aside time one Saturday with a mom friend, planned well in advance, will make you both feel loved and prioritized.

          And TOTES on the museum passes AND zoo passes! :)

          • 44
            Kimberly/OKC says:

            So idk why there was not a “reply” line to TRS but maybe you’ll come back and see this. Thanks for the support regarding the vacation!! I’m still a little offended…:) You mentioned that some of your friends have never bothered to visit you…kick ‘em to the curb!! JK, moms of little kids are super overwhelmed but if they were really good friends and you want to keep them, just hang on for a few years. It gets easier for them and it might just be that you are able to resume your friendship, catch up and move forward. A good friend is a precious gift from God. We should nurture those friends who really do show themselves as true, honest, and loving. The Bible says a lot about loving people. Keep your besties close!! They are the ones who are gonna help and be there for you and you for them. I couldn’t get thru life without my two bffs! I thank God for them. Read my post way down at #139.

      • 45

        I can relate to this. That’s why I stopped calling and when I put the ball in their court they were always too busy to return my calls . Sad but I guess the difference between having kids and not is sometimes too much of a bridge to cross for s friendship or, on my case, a sistership. Of course this bonding brought both my mother/sisters closer and them I was really left out.

    • 46

      I’m so sorry you’ve had such a challenging time, Sheena. One thing that stands out to me from your post, though, is that everything is about you. Your single friends should have called you, they should have helped with your kids, should have brought you meals, etc. I would find it hard to want to maintain a friendship with someone who had such high expectations of what I ought to be doing for them. It would feel like I could never live up to that.

      • 47
        Kimberly/OKC says:

        I agree with you, Guest. I hope Sheena sees your post and takes an honest look at herself. I sympathize with Sheena tho because I KNOW it’s hard not to feel real sorry for yourself when you are in the midst of very little children, but still…we have to look at the truth and the big picture. God is in control. He doesn’t give us more than we can handle. Sheena, you CAN do all you need to. It will get better…and easier. Good providence to you. Guest, what a lovely way to say what you said.

  12. 48
    Pam Alligood says:

    You stated your opinions and ideas beautifully Annie! Both your views and Melissa’s speak well to moms and non-moms. Honesty between the friends is the key!

  13. 50

    SUCH an important and wonderful conversation to have, that sadly just doesn’t get talked about usually! I’m not married, but spent MANY a year single (didn’t get married ’till I was 36)–and I remember thinking and feeling so much of what is in this post. Even though I don’t have babies yet, I try and will always do my best to try to be sensitive to this topic! Bravo Annie – love you!

  14. 52

    oops, typo in the last comment. I am NOW married :) (and didn’t get married until I was 36…36 ya’ll! There is hope for those out there currently single and hoping to one day marry – I’m living proof :)

  15. 53

    Very honest, Annie. Love your clarity. I’ve been thinking about how much is not said lately. I’ve got so many wonderful relationships, but so much is unspoken. There are so many conversations we don’t have and careful treading. I really appreciate you opening up this topic.

  16. 55
    KcScamp says:

    I have never had kids….and have been divorced/single for 33 years…and yes, everyone I know has kids, grands, great grands, And no time for a single 61 yr old.
    So all my friends are now online…..some I will be meeting face to face soon. But they all live far away in other states…

    • 56

      But isn’t that the beauty of the internet, too? That we can find community that shares feelings and interests even if we don’t live near them? I’m grateful for that.

  17. 57

    lovely article. i have to say that these principles are true of so many different “camps” of women. i felt similarly when i was single and my friends were married. as a mom now, i find the differences with my friends who are stay at home moms. i see differences (bizarre as this may sound) with income levels. our family wants to go on a long weekend trip but our wonderful friends who are living off teacher salaries can’t afford it. it’s hard to do playdates when your kids are all different ages, etc, etc., etc. the big takeaway to me is that there ALWAYS factors that divide us – IF we let them. being in relationship with others is about open and honest communication of our needs and wants, having a heart to serve one another and being flexible.

    • 58

      Great point! I remember when I used to nanny and mom friends would want to do something that I couldn’t afford to do with the kids I was watching.

      It really seems, in all these comments, to boil down to being intentional and being honest. Doesn’t it?

      • 59

        I totally agree! It is about being intentional and being honest about where we are in life!

  18. 60

    I am 39!!!!! And only recently got married… so I know this problem very well. I remember one friend in particular. She felt it was my job (as a single) to offer babysitting services to moms who needed a break. She felt I had all this free time and it’s how I should serve. I did help her out with the kids a lot, and many times she made statements about singles not being considerate enough enough, mom needed breaks! No one can assume anything and being single at that age is hard, and regardless everyone has to carry his/her owns burdens, just assuming singles have no care in the world is just wrong. So singles, don’t let yourselves be guilty tripped into anything. You are important too and your life matters.

    And now that I am married, without children, I am all about honesty. I love all my friends’ children. We babysit for them and at the same time I do honestly say when I would like some alone coffee time with her.

  19. 62
    Charlotte Orth says:

    Great post! I am 64 and the only one of my friends who does not have grandchildren. I hate it that my friends all feel sorry for me. I applaud my kids for not giving in to the world’s pressure to reproduce. But please do not assume that you are busier than me! I have an active retired life with pets, a husband, a home, hobbies and an elderly mother to look after. This is not a contest!

    • 63
      Heather S says:

      “This is not a contest!” is probably the best quote so far in the comments. I am a 30-something single who can relate to Annie’s post, especially the busy comment, but ultimately singles vs moms have different kinds of busyness and different kinds of challenges to face. Yes, some of my friends who are moms have drifted away but so have some of my friends who are single. I have also gained friends once they became moms or resumed friendship once their children got a little older. Circumstances are different and relationships do change but it shouldn’t be about who has it harder or who is busier. Satan likes to tear relationships apart and pitting our differences against each other is an effective way to do so.

    • 64

      I love that as well. Right- this is not a contest to see who is busier or holier or in the better life place.

  20. 65
    Carissa says:

    This is a great conversation. I don’t have any single friends, but I can definitely relate. I’d love to have a similar conversation with my “working-traditional-jobs” Mom friends. I’m a stay-at-home mom, and connecting with all my friends (all are teachers or work a full time job) is difficult and leads to a lot of awkward conversations. My world consumed with schedules, naps, mealtimes etc and my inability to connect with their “office” issues makes it difficult. Then there are the times where they think I’m sitting around eating bon bons, totally caught up on all my favorite books and tv shows, and oh yeah..perfect house, dinner on the table, and crafty quality time with the kids. Plus the times that I can “get away” from the kids are the moments they get to spend quality time they long for with their families.

    • 66

      Oh yeah- that’s really interesting. I hadn’t thought about the friendship tension between working moms and stay-at-home moms.

  21. 67

    Annie,
    Thanks for being vulnerable. This is definantly a subject in need of addressing and revisiting with our friends. Instead of being jealous of the other’s position we have so much to offer one another. When single, I needed to be a part of a family at times: holidays, suppers, or game nights. As a married person I need to remember my single friends need fellowship from me and are willing to take it (sometimes) within the context of family. It is so important not to assume singles are free to pick up all the pieces; singles don’t have a back up at home for laundry, bills, or take out. Blessings on you and your friends as you work through these things, and thanks for passing along the tips.
    Julie

  22. 69

    I love this! Unfortunately, I didn’t really have a great friend group before or after kids. I’m 33 and single, but I’m a foster parent. I had my first placement for 16 months and they went home 16 months ago. That was a really blessed time, but it was also kind of a lonely time because I couldn’t really relate to my married friends since I wasn’t married, and it was challenging to relate to mom friends since these kids weren’t “really” mine (and one of them was a teenager and none of my friends have teenagers!) Now, I have a medically needy foster daughter along with working full-time, so it’s hard to do anything social, but I also don’t really know how to ask for help or what even would help! This is great advice to communicate with those you care about and want to have contact with so you can help each other through your challenges. I always enjoy reading your posts :)

    • 70

      Hi Amanda! As a foster parent (I have one foster child and one birth child and am married), I hear where you are coming from! Our town has a foster/adoptive parents support group. You could check with social services to see if yours has one. Also, have you ever read http://www.jenhatmaker.com? She has a great blog on how to be the village to people who are fostering and adopting! I sent it to so many people I knew to show them how to help those families.

      There is a lovely church in my town (although it is not my church) that started an outreach to foster parents called Mosaic. The church set up a network to provide meals, a support system, and mentor foster parents for those who are currently fostering or thinking about it! Maybe there is something similar in your area.

    • 71

      Good thoughts, Amanda. And looks like Anna has a great response. Three cheers for helping each other out online! :)

  23. 72

    I loved both posts!!! You inspired me to write my own on the topic! Check it out!

  24. 74

    loving this topic, friend. I might print these out and bring them to my woman’s group!

  25. 76

    Thank you. This is important for me because my friend is single :-)

  26. 78

    Annie, I loved this piece. This is such a hugely important conversation, but because it can be uncomfortable/confrontational, we tend to try to avoid having it. Or, at least I do.

    As a busy mom in ministry with a number of single friends…. some singles are different than others. A number of my single/pre-parenthood friends are available babysit for me and serve me in other ways. ALL of my single/pre-parenthood friends have adored my kids (My former foster kids and my NOW biological son, age 2) and have loved me a bunch, but not all of them have known what to do to serve. As moms… this is one thing I’ve learned – we need to ASK FOR WHAT WE NEED. We moms tend to do this martyr thing really well… I know it. I’ve done it. I’ve been the one thinking, “You are so clueless, You have no idea what it’s like for me.”

    BUT…. I’ve learned, even with one friend in particular who is especially clueless when it comes to offering to serve me, SHE WANTS TO HELP. She’s more than willing. I just need to ASK… and be specific.

    To those of you who have tried specifically asking your single friends for help and it has backfired or just not worked… I’m so, so sorry. That can be so hurtful.

    I’m just saying… we gotta give them the benefit of the doubt and ASK.

    The end. Stepping down from soap box. Thanks ladies! Love and GRACE to you all, whether you’re single or married-not-yet-moms or moms of 10. :)

    • 79

      So I hear you saying that your single friends want to serve you but maybe don’t know how to serve.

      Let me ask…. how do you serve your single friends?
      Have you even considered that?
      Someone down thread says this post really rubbed them the wrong way – maybe because it was just pointed out that single people need love too?!

      How to serve a single woman.
      - as Annie mentioned, introduce her to single men. (I know, I know, I hear it all the time – yes you have a brother-in-law, but no you’d NEVER introduce him to a Godly woman. Then maybe one way you serve a single woman is to counsel a ragtag single man into a Godly man.
      - Pray for her. pray for her loneliness. Pray that going through her days, weeks, months without physical contact won’t make her jaded – or turn her to loosen her morals for a bit of physical affection.
      - Sit with her in her grief… support her when she comes to terms with the fact that never be a young bride or a young mother. That she’ll never celebrate a 50th Wedding Anniversary. That she’ll never feel a child grow inside of her. Never have the privilege of naming a child — or even decorate a family Christmas tree with her children. Each one of these is a separate wound that turns into a scab – and turns fresh every time she sees a pregnant woman – or a baptism at church.

      What are you doing to serve single women?

      • 80

        Thank you for addressing the ways to serve a single woman-and all the many things that break our hearts. I really relate to a lot of the things that you mentioned in your comment. I hope that we all are looking outside ourselves to serve and putting ourselves in each others shoes.

        • 81

          Sorry, just read my post and thought of something. When you listed “sit with her in her grief” I wondered how to let other people know of our hurt? When a married woman cannot have children everyone knows and sympathizes and grieves with her. I feel like, as a single who at this point has not had an opportunity to have children, people don’t realize I have the same wants and heartbreak as other childless woman, but with no way to express that grief or ask for support.

    • 82

      I like your soapbox, Dana. I think that is so important- on both sides. Singles need to be asking how we can help and expressing what we need while moms need to do the same. Communication communication communication. (Also, I bet we’d love living in the same town.) :)

  27. 83

    Love, love, love this article. I really do. I’m a mom but I hate hearing other moms complain about how busy they are compared to friends who don’t have kids. When I was working without kids, I was SO BUSY. Moms and those without kids have different kinds of busy, but we all need help and we all need each other.

  28. 85

    Annie, thanks so much for being the voice of singles on (in)courage! I truly enjoy reading posts about motherhood and families, hoping someday I can put it to use in my own life. But right now I’m a 28 year old single girl working 2 jobs and going college at night. I totally relate to being busy! I get so much encouragement from your posts, it’s so great to know that I’m not alone, and that it’s okay to be in this place in my life. Sometimes being single and 28 I feel a little like the ugly duckling who doesn’t belong. And usually when I’m feeling that way there is a post from you that says “Hey! you’re not alone! you can do this!” Thanks so much for speaking to us and for us.

  29. 87

    I think the bottom line is this – you have to work at friendship. There are a lot of things that could divide us (single, SAHM, working mom, grandmother…), and you have to work past the differences.

    Thank you for the kind, and HONEST, words. They are a great reminder that love, kindness, and honesty can change things for the better!

  30. 89
    Kaitlin Evans says:

    Yikes. This post really rubbed me the wrong way.

    • 90

      Tell me why? Let’s talk about it.

      • 91
        Kaitlin Evans says:

        I can’t really put it into words! I guess I just felt attacked.
        I totally respect where you’re coming from…the tone was just a little hostile, IMHO.
        Again, IMHO (I really love your work), for the SAKE OF DISCUSSION…
        I’m just tired of lists. Do this, don’t do that. This is something I’ve struggled with more and more with (in)courage in general. I just can’t add one.more.thing. to my plate.

        I’d rather just give it all to Jesus instead of making it about how I can be a better friend/mom/wife/coworker/employee. Because, the reality is, I make a terrible friend. It is only JESUS in me that makes me a decent one.

        I have some friends who see this and extend grace.
        I have some friends who don’t see this and extend venom.
        Regardless, if we keep our focus on pleasing Jesus and not worry about pleasing others (following lists) we’ll ultimately get a better prize: more Jesus. Even if it comes with less single friends.

        • 92

          I totally get that. I’m not offended at your thoughts at all. Sorry that you felt attacked- I’m assuming you are a mom based on your gravatar, and that was not at all my heart- to make moms feel like they were all wrong. It was genuinely a response to a post on my blog (http://annieblogs.com/2013/01/28/how-to-love-a-mom/#.UQnsm6WFYRs).

          I 100% agree that it is all about Jesus. The FIRST commandment is to love God. But the second is to love others. So we have to talk about both, how to do both well, and how to honor God in the ways we love. And this community at (in)courage deeply believes in both things- loving God first and then loving others well. So we talk about both openly daily.

          I appreciate your honesty and how you shared your words with love. I take your thoughts to heart and I PROMISE my February post won’t have a list. :)

  31. 94

    Annie! I feel like I wrote this! We are the same age & both single. I 100% agree with everything you wrote! Relationships do take work & being intentional on both sides. I’ve come to find out that relationships thrive on this. There is give & take on both parts. There must be open, honest communication about each others needs & how that can best be expressed. I don’t mind helping my mom friends w/ whatever they need but I don’t want to be taken advantage of. I just want to do life with them in every season. Flexibility, a not easily offended spirit & compassion on both sides will go a long way. :)

    • 95

      I think this is the first time someone has mentioned flexibility and you are so right- what a key ingredient to healthy relationships. Thumbs up, Karina. :)

  32. 96

    As I say in my comedy act “I’m single. I’ve been single since birth.” I’m 47 to be exact. And loved your advice. We are busy as single adults and we are not your “anytime baby sitter.” I, however, have been blessed with friends who know this. And who have known that I wanted children. And they have graciously shared their kids with me. To the point that they call me “Aunt Kristy” and will look at me and say “but your a little more than that.”

    I have reached the age where my friend”s kids are getting married and having kids of their own. I am looking forward to sharing “grandkids” too. (I have met some of their husband’s friends by the way…let’s just say…I like sharing the kids and grandkids better.) God has a special, though seldom what we wanted, plan for each of us.

  33. 98

    Love this. Everything about it. Love the heart behind it, love the practicality.

    But as someone who’s moved A TON in her adult life, I would love to know how to integrate singles into my married-with-kids life. I literally don’t know any. (That live near me. Obviously, I know you people online like you, Annie. But that’s different than someone in my neck of the frozen tundra.)

    I wish the church was better at opening the life-stage silos we create so we can intermingle and bless each other.

    • 99

      Kelly, I think you are so right. So many singles wish they had mom friends and mom friends wish they had single friends! You know, I don’t know how you find them- church is the hub of most of my mom friend relationships, but there doesn’t seem to be an easy “mixer” event to get us all together. Plan one at your church and I’ll pied piper the singles there. :)

  34. 100

    Annie! This is SO good! I feel like I wrote it! I 100% agree with everything that you wrote! Relationships take work & intentionality. Only then can it thrive & grow. There needs to be clear, open & honest communication about each person’s needs & how those needs can be clearly met. I am 32 & single as well. I don’t mind helping my mom friends in whatever way they need but I don’t ever want to be taken advantage of. I simply want to do life with my friends in every season. I think flexibility, compassion, a willing heart & a not easily offended spirit go a long way in moms & non moms to better understand each other. :)

  35. 101

    What an appropriate post for today, Annie. I’ve been struggling with many of these same thoughts today for some reason. Thank you dearly for posting. I am 31, married with no kids for now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t desire kids. We are just not in the most ideal season ot bring kids into our family. It is quite difficult to sit in groups of women at church when the entire conversation is centered around your kids and you have none, it desire them. Definitely a reminder of things I need to be doing to reach out to my mom friends. And to my fellow commenters- thank you for the reminders that this is NOT a contest and all relationships of value require work. So needed to hear that as well today.

  36. 104

    I never thought that at 28 the majority of my friends would be mid 30′s / early 40′s momma’s, but when I moved to a gulf coast retirement beach community to take a ministry position at a church made up of middle aged momma’s & senior citizens, that’s where I found myself. (after kicking/screaming/pouting, of course.)

    I LOVE that you’re having these conversations, because I’ve discovered that some of the sweetest relationships I’ve ever had have been with my Mommy friends. I hope these tips help bridges the gap for single ladies & moms & maybe even removes some of the fears associated with crossing the “life situation” boundaries.

  37. 106

    Great post Annie. I have to be honest…I know what tweet you are talking about, and my first (and not necessarily correct) reaction to that tweet is that it was self serving and a massive insult to so many. In situations like these, I really try to step back and take a look at what we all have in common. We are children, sisters, friends, and women before we ever become a mom. These transitions in life can be sticky. On one hand, I completely agree that you never really know how you will react or feel in any given situation until your feet are planted on that ground. On the other hand, I cringe (and I’ve done this myself) at times when I feel like we have “graduated to the next level” and checked our sensitivities at the door. I’m guessing to a certain extent, that that tweet rubbed you the wrong because it hit right smack dab in the middle of an insecurity, a longing, or at the very least a societal pressure we face daily. Society puts these pressures on women…married by this number, kids by that one…I mean, women are made to procreate right? And if not, then what?

    That was a side note, and I realize, not the point of this article. My situation lies somewhere in the middle. I have been married for 7 years, and still no kids. Not by choice either. Believe, we long for them, it just hasn’t happened. I have a variety of friends…those who are single, married, children and no children. I have been blessed to fit into each of their lives, some with ease, and some with a little more required honesty and stumbling. Relationships are hard as is, much less when we start to go through significant points of our lives all at different times. I truly believe in my heart that many of us do our best and sink into assumptions which can lead to hurt. At the end of the day, we all need help, love and support from one another no matter what time of life we find ourselves in.

    This was a bit all over the place, but ultimately, I admire you for stepping out on this. I think there is something to learn for everyone. I know I have!

  38. 108

    Wow! I’m 56 and I must say at 30+ when I was having kids I had single friends at work. I loved hearing about her new wallpaper or the new car…I’d never dream of having gal friends baby sit…neighbor teens needed $. I think times have truly changed. It seems lots of women DO wear the badge of five kids on their ummm arm like a look at me type thing…I’ve seen it. So I’m actually glad you wrote this. My friend and I said,”Don’t parents use the junior high babysitter anymore?” It’s too bad because they’d get to have some fun away from kids and out with good friends, single and those with kids…at home. It’s a perfectly written and much needed article. Do young Moms still read women’s Day? It’s a message you could submit to other publications for readers to consider. It even has easy to read bullet points!

    • 109

      Thanks for your kind words, Gwen! Yes- times are changing and I’m glad that (in)courage gives us the space to talk about how to maneuver the new.

      I’ll check into Women’s Day…. great idea!

  39. 110

    What a great post! And what a great conversation to have. I’m a mom of 7, and 5 are teens. I resolved to NEVER forget what it was like to be surrounded by toddlers. But, I think I really have forgotten what it was like to be single. Thanks for getting the conversation started!

  40. 112

    My husband and I have been married for 13 years and served as pastors for most of that time. Due to a health condition I have we do not have children and are not viable candidates for adoption. So you can just imagine being a pastor’s wife without children. I might as well have put a sign on myself, unclean, broken. Many times I was invited to be at or host baby showers in the church. People would often feel sorry for me even though I was not in down spirits at all. So my message is this. Just because someone doesn’t have a baby or a husband does not make them broken or in need of intervention.
    Thank you for this post, hopefully it will help moms see non-moms as more than a babysitting service or the awkward friend that doesn’t go to moms group but rather as fully functioning empowered women of God.

  41. 115

    First, Annie well said. You dear friend have perfectly captured the feelings of so many of us that are single with mom friends who we love dearly. I want to be there to love & support my mom friends and I want to be loved & supported too.

    I know the exact twitter post you are talking about & had flames coming out of my ears. I wanted to scream – “I am not less than bc God hasn’t brought the man I’m supposed to marry into my life yet or blessed me with kids so please stop acting l am”. BC that is what that post felt like.

    Here is what I know. My best friend of 15 years is married w four kids – under the age of 8 – all of which I adore & do anything for. We struggled for years trying to maintain the friendship we fostered in college as both of our lives started to take different courses in our mid 20′s. She getting married & having kids at 24 & me pursuing my career, traveling a ton for work & dating (yay dating & ughh dating) – and trying to find time together which most of the time revolved around dirty diapers & kids crying. There were many times we clearly failed or hurt each other. It was hard. It still is hard sometimes bc our obligations pull our attention all over the place. We are both crazy busy – our busy just looks different.

    But we’ve learned to have grace with each other. If one of us gets their feelings hurt, we talk about it & forgive each other. 99.999% of the time, its not intentional. I don’t understand what its like to be a wife trying to love her husband well and be everything, everyday, all day long to multiple little people – tending to their every want, need & desire, making sure they are fed, feel loved and trying to raise them in a Christian home. But she doesn’t understand what it is like for 10 years to watch nearly every one of your friends get married & have kids when its what you long for, walking into an empty house night after night, busting your butt to find your place professionally so you can support yourself & to try & be a godly woman navigating the sometimes joyous & other times murky water of dating – it may look glamorous but trust us there are A LOT of frogs out there. Oh & my loins are burning and unfortunately there isn’t much I can do about that.

    At the end of the day, there are fleeting moments where we long for each others lives. I long for her stability, a husband/kids who adore me & she longs for my freedom. The grass is always greener on the other side. But I truly believe God has us in different places to learn, encourage, challenge & strengthen each other.

    So Moms, please have grace with us single gals…and we will have grace with you. We are all wrestling with feeling beautiful, wanted, our sins, insecurities, rejection and Lord only knows what else. Its not a competition. None of us have it all figured out. None are better or worse than the other – they are all just different. While I may not understand your day to day life, I can listen, take your kids off your hands occasionally & love you & point you to Jesus. And while you may not understand my day to day life, you can love me, laugh at my ridiculous dating stories, remind me not to settle for less than God’s best and point me to Jesus.

  42. 119

    Oh Annie. Thank you.

    I’m 31 and single and even beyond that, I can’t biologically have kids.

    There. I said it.

    I’ve found myself, through the years, pull away from friends who had children. It wasn’t that I wanted to or even that it was on purpose. It was just being around them broke me in a way I couldn’t explain. It was jealousy. It was envy. It was an all encompassing depression brought on by the enemy.

    Whenever I would try to vocalize it, I felt guilty and yes, certain friends made me feel even more guilty.

    But sometimes it hurts.

    Being single is not easy. In this world you don’t have that one person in your corner fighting your battles and being a partner through life. It’s just you. It has taught me to trust on God even more though and for that I am grateful.

    I want to bridge the gap with my married/child-producing friends, but sometimes the words are just too hard to say. Is there enough in common anymore? It’s hard.

    • 120

      This.
      Spot on.

      It’s not an envy so much as (for me) realizing I’ll never have these common life experiences… pregnancy, giving birth… nurturing a child.
      And like you said, we’re facing the world all alone, with no one in our corner to help fight battles, or even buy groceries. (Geez, I hate buying groceries – can someone else do it for once!)
      It’d be nice to have someone to come home to, when some meanie at work really hurt me. It’s not like I can call someone to commiserate without sounding like a whiny single person!

    • 121

      Your honest thoughts are amazing, Melissa. Thank you for sharing.

  43. 122

    I have to say that I’ve been able to roll with the punches so to speak with friends who had babies because those friendships were life-long ones. I love them, I love their kids, we make it work. One thing I will say though, is please mommas don’t act like others without kids are there just to serve you. I will and have helped out, and am glad to do so, but acting like we SHOULD be serving you because you have chosen to bear children? It makes me feel like a little servant girl trotting after the queen. You have what I wish with all my heart that I had. Don’t complain about it, please. Maybe I’m taking it the wrong way, and my envy is creeping in, but… Be grateful for your amazing blessings!! Yes you’re busy and working hard, but that was your life choice. Ask for help when you need it – but it’s not owed to you. That’s all ;)

    • 123

      Yes!

    • 124

      I like your thoughts, Agnes. The idea that a person DESERVES to be served by a friend, whatever life place you are in, is wrong and will cause more friendships to dissolve than grow. Thanks for sharing!

  44. 125

    I love this – thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here, Annie, and as well for having Melissa on your blog to share her thoughts.

    I think I’m in a bit of a different position than some other commenters, as I am single but still young (a newly-minted 22 year old).

    But here is what I do know – yes, I am absolutely a busy person. I love my church and desire to be a part of community there and involve myself as much as I have opportunities to do so. I’m a law student, filling my day with hours of reading and writing, and commuting an hour to get to school. I also desperately need my time with God and time to squeeze in exercise to help keep me sane.

    No, I don’t have a husband or any little ones relying on me to help them through their days. Which is why I spend so much time with those I DO have in my life (my grandparents, my younger sister, my dear friends).

    I also adore children and love spending time with them. I would be so glad to spend some time with other’s children right now! It’s a breath of fresh air from my regular, daily activities.

    But I have had my offers rejected – multiple times. My offers to babysit have been taken up only to be cancelled later because friends decided to choose someone else to babysit at the last minute so they could spend some time with that friend instead of me. It can be hurtful both ways, yes. Please do not write off my life as inferior than others because I can’t relate to you in this way yet. And please, please give me an opportunity to serve you – I would love to chat when you’re free, because my time is flexible right now. But it isn’t COMPLETELY flexible. Please don’t be upset when I’m busier during certain seasons (such as exam season)!

    We all have different priorities. We all have different roles to play. Being respectful of both is a MUST. And knowing that it’s so, so important for friendship and community to think of others first rather than ourselves.

  45. 127

    I didn’t expect anything from my single or married/without children friends other than their occasional presence. Before I had my own son I didn’t like babies/children either. I never changed my friends’ children’s diapers. I didn’t even come over and help. Now, having survived that first year, I make it a POINT to help ANYONE I know whenever they have a baby because I’ve been there and it’s rough.

    Most of my single or married/without children friends visited us in the hospital and then we didn’t see them again till my son’s first birthday and my husband and I got the distinct feeling they showed up out of obligation. Is it too much to ask for them to make time to stop by once or twice in a year? Maybe they didn’t want to “bother us” or “wake the baby” but there is emailing, facebook, texting, “Hey when would be a good time for us to stop by?” or “How would you guys feel about getting out? You guys and the baby could come over for takeout!” “Could you guys get a sitter so we can hook up for dinner?” ANYTHING!!

    I don’t expect anyone to change my child’s diaper other than me or my husband. I didn’t expect anyone to come clean my house for me while I was nursing my child every two hours. I don’t expect anyone to be my go to babysitter. Obviously, we made the decision to have a baby so the brunt of the work fell into our lap and we had a lot of people step up to help us. Thank God for every one of them.

    I was specifically talking about those single or married/without children friends who I feel abandoned our friendship simply because we procreated. We did try to maintain my friendships with them. We called and invited them over. They’d always be busy.

    Like I said before, seasons change and people move in and out of your life. In the past year my friendships with other young moms has boomed because we are in the trenches together. But, my husband and I felt blown off by our single and/or married without children friends.

    I’d almost say I’m jealous of Mellissa. She is very lucky to have Annie. I just was saying that from my experience Annie is a rare gem. God Bless her for being such a true giver because I didn’t experience that and I can’t possibly be alone in this. Maybe she isn’t too rare after reading all the ladies on here who bless their mom friends. I’m glad you all are out there blessing moms. I hope you know how special you all are. I know if I had you all I’d certainly appreciate every speck of love shown toward my family even if all you did was stop by and give me 15 minutes of adult conversation.

    • 128

      Sheena, I totally knew what you meant. You were speaking honestly from your experience- just like I was in the post. I love your thoughts- challenges me to think about which of my friends may feel the same way about me. Thanks for your words.

  46. 129

    As one of four kiddo’s, at forty-four I find myself single again. I can relate on so many levels to what Annie, as a single, as well as many of you moms are saying.

    I have three sons, 19, 17, & 14. I would say my youngest sister and I are pretty diverse with our friendships and try to include all family and friends in our daily lives. My brother, however, remains very closed off and everything is about him and how busy his family is. It doesn’t appear like he makes any effort to be in community with the rest of our family. He just doesn’t show up. Then there is our oldest sister, who has never

    married, cannot have kids, and always shows up.

  47. 131

    As one of four kiddo’s, at forty-four I find myself single again. I can relate on so many levels to what Annie, as a single, as well as many of you moms are saying.

    I have three sons, 19, 17, & 14. I would say my youngest sister and I are pretty diverse with our friendships and try to include all family and friends in our daily lives. My brother, however, remains very closed off and everything is about him and how busy his family is. It doesn’t appear like he makes any effort to be in community with the rest of our family. He just doesn’t show up. Then there is our oldest sister, who has never
    married, cannot have kids, and always shows up.

    For a long time I felt guilty about the fact that I had kids and she couldn’t, althougBh I was told I couldn’t have them either and had difficult pregnancies.
    Nowi just feel out of place our like the old aunt…when I have time to get away from day to day responsibilities of being a single parent.
    .

  48. 132
    Mary Hampton says:

    I hope that remembering being in your shoes helps me love my non-mom friends.

    I didn’t marry until I was 31 and kids came more than 8 years later. I learned to love being with my mom-friends even when our conversations were a series of aborted paragraphs interrupted by baby blow-outs, sibling blow-ups and little voices interjecting themselves into grown-up chatter.

    Following a girl-friend time, my husband used to ask, “So what did you talk about?” I finally realized that even though we seldom completed a thread of conversation, just being together kept us connected and made it possible for the friendship to continue. Kids do grow up and if we stay committed to one another, we will get back to uninterrupted conversations. (Being a night-person, I found that getting together after the kids are in bed was/is a good way to get non-kid time together.)

    Now I’m the mom, but I love time with my non-mom friends. Those times bring me back to being Mary the friend, Mary the writer, Mary the sister-in-Christ. I’m Mary the Mom for the greatest part of my days, but if I’m not all those other things (first?) I’m not even very good at the Mom part.

    • 133

      Good word, Mary! I think that is definitely one of the benefits of getting married in your 30s- you had a decade-ish of single adult life to learn how this works, so it’s easier to remember. Thanks for sharing.

  49. 134

    I love this and as a single 30 year old woman can completely relate! Almost all my friends are moms and for most of them it’s not an issue in our friendship at all but I’ve had some friendships that have suffered since they had children because they seemed to never want or be able to go anywhere without their kids. I love my friend’s kids but definitely want time alone without them sometimes;) The other thing I would add to the last is don’t pity my life just because I’m single and childless. I spent 13 years as a nanny and think children are a great blessing but I don’t feel called to be a mom. And while I would love to get married, I love the freedom and blessings that come with being single too. Some people think you can’t have a rich, full abundant life unless you are a parent and it’s just not true. The best friendships are the ones that united because of our relationship with Christ not because we have everything in common!

    • 135

      I think you make a great point here- unless someone EXPRESSES discontent in their situation, don’t assume they are. Great thoughts, Stacy!

    • 136

      you know what’s funny? i AM a mom and those same mom friends bug me. :-) totally sensitive to the fact not everyone has a supportive husband who will stay with the kiddos but i have a friend friends who just want to be with their kids all. the. time. i, on the other hand, really enjoy having time sans kiddos.

  50. 137

    I’m 32, the hubs is 37 and we’re each other’s second spouse (God is good and faithful). I happen to really love our story and how we found each other. That being said, we wanted to enjoy each other before having kids. So, that has put us in a very similar situation as you. Thanks for posting about this =)

  51. 139

    Annie, I just love the conversation you started here – and the way you’ve encouraged women throughout the comments, too. Two of my best friends are single, and I work hard to maintain our friendships. I’m sure they feel like they’re working hard, too. (I would never assume to be a cakewalk of a friend!) Honesty and intention are, I agree, the keys to thriving friendships no matter what our stages of life. Good word, Annie. :)

  52. 141

    Love that you addressed this topic. I’m one of those without kids but many of my friends do have little ones. It’s important to be understanding of each other. I think one of the biggest things is that it’s easy to think the other person has it easier.
    Being a mom that’s home with little ones certainly isn’t easy, nor is going to work for 11 hours a day when your heart longs for children that God hasn’t given you yet.
    I really try to have as much as understanding as I possibly can when moms talk about how hard it is, how kids are a 24/7 job, how they’re so much work, how they’re lucky if they get a chance to take a shower . But sometimes I just want to scream (although I never do): Don’t you know what I would give for that chance?
    Also, sometimes it’s hard because moms just seem to have this sense of camaraderie that I can’t really participate in.

  53. 142

    As a married non-mom, I sometimes feel like this is a hard place to be because I’m NOT single and therefore don’t have the “excuse” to not be breeding right now. :) My closest friend is a mom, and I love what you said about “I’m a friend who loves your family” because that is a perfect way to describe what it feels like to have a friend who has a kid (or 5). :)

    Thanks for this post!

  54. 143
    Kimberly/OKC says:

    Sooo many comments…and who knows if anybody will see this one but I’M GONNA TYPE IT ANYWAY! I got married at 23, divorced with no kids at 27. Barely had a date till I was 31, went thru a sad breakup at 32 and finally got married at 33. That was 6 years of singleness. I want to encourage some of the single ladies who have commented. I was guilty of living thinking life doesn’t begin until you get married! There are things in your life that you can control. Marriage is a circumstance you can’t control (God is of course ultimately in control). LIVE!! LIVE!! Don’t wait, don’t feel sorry for yourself. Make plans, dream dreams! Dreams that moms can’t have because they are tied down! Join a book club at the library… volunteer to teach adults to read in the evenings…organize at your church to take needed things to crisis pregnancy centers…arrange a day of shopping at a outlet mall/antiquing for the ladies of your church…plan an evening of hymn singing (who doesn’t want to sing some of those good old hymns that we never get enough of) with those who love to sing…TRAVEL! Save your money and GO! Go on a food crawl in your city, take days trips with friends on the weekends, go to plays and concerts, go on girls fishing trip with a guide…rent a house on the beach with a bunch of girlfriends for a weekend…or a WEEK! USE YOUR TALENTS FOR GOD! Get outta your own head! When I was about as down as I could get I happened upon this little poem (which was published in a book way over 100 years old so I don’t have to worry about copyrights):

    It may be He is keeping,
    For the coming of my feet,
    Some gift of such rare blessedness,
    Some joy so strangely sweet,
    That my lips will only murmur
    The thanks they cannot speak. -Anon.

    Trust God. He has the best plan for you. You may never get married…but that is highly unlikely. Most people who want to be married actually get married eventually. At 33 years and 15 days I got married. I had my first baby at 35, my second at 37. I have now been married 20 years come July. To say that I have had blessed gifts and sweet joys is a huge understatement. There have been countless murmured whispers of thanks through happy tears. Everything’s gonna be okay. Wait on the Lord.

    • 144
      Livin life in VA says:

      Being single doesn’t mean that we have unlimited time and energy to pursue hobbies.

  55. 145
    Belinda says:

    I know I’m a little late with this but thank you x 1,000 for posting this. I love Incourage but find many posts about motherhood to be isolating. It seems at this stage in life many of the Bible studies or faith based groups are geared toward moms and its hard to find a place when you are childless. You wrote with amazing courage, wisdom, and sensitivity. As a woman in her 30s married without kids it was very refreshing and a good reminder that friendships between moms and nonmoms can be amazing but a healthy respect from both sides is a must.

  56. 146

    Good for you, agreed on all accounts!

  57. 147

    I loved this post, because I can totally relate! First, I was the only non-married one, and now I am one of the only ‘non-moms’ in my group of friends, and it’s starting to create some friction in my relationships with them. I feel like an outsider in my circle of friends because I can’t relate to anything they are talking about. I am still a newly-wed excited to share about my new marriage and career that I have been working so hard on, but I feel like everyone is too busy in their own lives, to even ask about mine. I am the only one who reaches out to see how they are doing, or see if they want to meet up etc. But why? Am I not an important part of their lives anymore?
    I don’t want to have my own pity party here, but I just need some advice as to how to handle this new phase in life. Help!

  58. 148

    Thanks for writing on this topic, Annie! I think you do a great job of being sensitive, and I agree with your perspective that both friends should approach the situation with a servant heart. You can’t go wrong with a Godly attitude like that. :) I particularly liked #4. When I was single, I was too timid to ask friends to set me up, but I would have loved that. I think mutual friends is one of the best possible ways to meet someone.

  59. 149

    This was a great blog post to put out there.

    I was reading it and thinking it even almost fit with stay-at-home moms or someone like myself who works part-time.

  60. 150

    Dear Annie!

    so very true! i love your post. i am a mum of 4, but can see life from the other perspective as well. what we are, we are, if we have a lot of kids, it is our life and we cannot expect anyone live our life for us (i so completely enjoy my kids i don’t mind having little help many times). the same goes for grandparents. they have their own lives and we can appreaciate any help gratefully but not demand any. i understand you are single by choice, otherwise i would think that all the single guys in your life are blind… love, lucy

  61. 151

    … or scared (hope i did not insult anyone ;) )

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Moms and Me. | (in)courage http://www.incourage.me/My friend group has changed significantly in the last ten years. While my life place hasn't [still single at 32], the majority of my friends have gotten married and many have had children. Whether we want to say it outloud. [...]

  2. [...] On friendships between moms and non-moms – Moms and Me. [...]

  3. [...] “Moms and Me” —Are you single? Are you a mom? Are you married with no kids? No matter what your answer, Annie Downs of Incourage shares great insight on how moms can help grow relationships with non-moms. [...]

  4. [...] I am far from objective but thought her post was terrific. Also, Annie the Real Writer had a good response the next [...]