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
ABOUT ANNIE DOWNS
Annie Downs is a freelance writer in Nashville, Tennessee. Flawed but funny, she uses her writing to highlight the everyday goodness of our great God. Annie has been telling stories her whole...