You’ll understand when you have kids.
I hate that line.
As a mom who had kids earlier than most of my friends, I would’ve thought that I’d be all over how my friends now UNDERSTAND and WOW ISN’T IT GRAND that so many of them FINALLY have kids. But I barely catch those with kids on the phone to act all HAHAHA, and I’ve never wanted to be special for being a mom anyway.
Of course, there are a moments and ideas and gifts and words, which mean more now that I have children, but they aren’t very important. I now know telling a new mom not to write me a thank you card for a little YOUR BABY IS HERE! present is a second gift I can give . I know to bring food. I know how tired and happy and confused and strange being a parent is. But I also don’t think it makes me a better friend because I’m also busy with my kids.
I can’t figure out why so many parents lose their childless friends. I kept all of mine and tried to find more. They are flexible and fun and love my kids enough to think E and N are cool without being so focused on my kids that I’m not Alex anymore. Our lives are just different enough that there’s no competition or awkwardness.
Plus, my friends with no kids (and this also goes for friends who have 50% custody or no custody as well as grownup kids but I think the childless-friends get the evil-eye the most often) are the easiest to catch on the phone and actually SEE IN PERSON. They show up at my house after the kids bedtime to hangout while my friends with kids have to stay home with THEIR kids.
My friends with kids are great, too. I very much appreciate that they understand some of my concerns and heartaches in ways that take less explanation or dog comparisons. At this moment, I’m feeling over-protective of my childless friends because certain parents are so hard on them. “You’ll understand when you have kids.” is the pinnacle of sanctimoniousness as though motherhood gives us moms special powers of love and life when some of the most caring people I know will never be mothers.
Both sets of friends (childless and moms) have gotten me through the last six years with laughter and understanding and hope when I felt lost and lonely or just wanted to celebrate something in my life: my son’s 1st birthday or my 30th birthday or watch an R-rated movie. And the friends who “changed sides?” They didn’t become better or worse. Those friends were more understanding about short phone calls and harder to catch on the phone. They were still the my friends either way.
Families look different. Some have kids and some don’t. Some will and some won’t. I don’t want my friends to understand once they have kids. I want my friends to be my friends, and I’ll be theirs whether they have kids or not.