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Why Working Moms Need to Stay in Touch with Their Kid-Free Friends


By Audrey Goodson Kingo, Working Mother

Their friendship is a welcome reminder you were an interesting person before you were a mom, and you still are.

There’s a sad phenomenon that often happens when you have a kid: You lose touch with your friends who don’t.

Mostly, it’s a matter of time—or rather, a lack thereof. Wine tastings with girlfriends tend to take a backseat to PTA meetings.

But I’d like to offer a handful of compelling reasons why those friendships should be nurtured just like every other relationship in a working mom’s life. And no, not just because your friends without kids can babysit. (In my experience, that’s a fallacy. They’re busy too, and not likely to be free on a Saturday evening.)

I recently had a reunion with some of my closest college friends, all kid-free by choice, that involved a Cher concert and lots of sequins (but that’s another story). It was a wonderful reminder just how necessary these friendships are for working moms. Here’s why:

1. You don’t have to talk about kids.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my kid, and like any good mom, I could extol his virtues and bemoan his behavior struggles for hours. Days. Years. In fact, that’s pretty much all I do when I get together with mom friends. Even if we have something else in common, the conversation inevitably circles back to our children. To getting them to go to sleep. Getting them to eat something besides apple sauce and tortillas. To finding the right school. To picking the right extra-curricular activities and managing meltdowns.

It’s all so necessary, because you need your mom tribe for advice, ideas and commiseration. But sometimes I want to shout, “CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT GAME OF THRONES FOR FIVE MINUTES?”

That’s the beauty of hanging out with your kid-free friends. They’d love to talk about Game of Thrones. And politics. And celebrity gossip. And pretty much anything and everything else, besides kids. After all, you have insights to offer on subjects besides potty training. Which leads me to my next point ...

2. It’s a refreshing reminder you were an interesting person before you were a mom, and you still are.

It’s likely your friendships with your kid-free friends predate your kid’s birth. Or, they exist a bit independently of your family life. In other words, your friends without kids don’t see you first and foremost as a mom. They see you as the crazy person who danced on the bar in college, or the one who steals the show on karaoke nights. They see you as a person who’s ripe for adventure, ready for a laugh and down for a good time.

And while I’d love to be that kind of mom too, the demands of being a working mom in 2019 just don’t allow for that much free-spirited fun. Working moms are the planners, the organizers, the enforcers.

When we get together with our kid-free friends, we’re free to shed our no-nonsense working mom persona and be the wild and wacky person we were before kids. The wild and wacky person we still are, when there’s not 14 loads of laundry and 97 unread emails waiting for us.

3. They don’t feel a need to offer solutions when you whine.

When my 3-year-old son recently refused to stay in his bed at night, I lamented on Facebook, and my mom friends came to the rescue with a wealth of wonderful advice. That’s exactly what I needed.

Moms are great, but we’re fixers. We have hard-earned, first-hand knowledge, and we want to share it, understandably so. But sometimes you just need a sympathetic ear. Sometimes there is no solution. Sometimes you’ve tried every conceivable fix and you’re still struggling.

That’s why kid-free friends can be the best listeners. They have no idea how to get your kid to stay in bed, but they’re happy to listen to you lament for a few minutes. And they’ll probably make a joke or two to lighten the mood. And, crucially ...

4. They won’t judge you for complaining about parenting.

We all know that mom who waxes beatific at all hours about the blessings of being a parent. Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out just the right caffeine consumption to keep me going as a working mom, without fueling my rage. Even when we find mom friends who understand the struggle and aren’t afraid to talk about it honestly, we still feel a need to balance our  complaining with a dose of gratitude.

I am grateful. I’m grateful for my healthy son and my husband who works hard at his job and pulls his weight at home. But it can be so freeing to complain without caveats. And your kid-free friends are perfect for this, because, let’s be honest, there’s a reason they don’t have kids in the first place. Often, they love kids but recognize they can be an enormous pain in the butt. So they’ll just laugh when you say your bundle of joy feels more like a beast of burden. (Admittedly they might also say, “And that’s why I don’t have kids.” To which, I say, “Touche.”)

5. It’s a needed reminder that not every problem is tied to parenthood.

Working moms put in 98 hours a week at work and at home. It’s a wonderful gig but an exhausting one. So when you see a few extra wrinkles on your forehead, or wish you were having more sex with your husband, or moving up the ladder more quickly at work, kids can seem like the obvious culprit for your woes. After all, pregnancy and childbirth do a number on your body, it’s tough to find time for intimacy when your kid is crawling in your bed every night, and the bias against working moms is real.

But you might be surprised to learn your kid-free friends have many of the same struggles. They’ve started buying anti-aging moisturizers too. They’re probably not having as much sex as you think. And they’re also wondering what their next career move should be. Not because they’re working moms, but because they’re 30- and 40-somethings, and aging happens to all of us. There’s no life path that’s problem-free, so you can stop torturing yourself with visions of the pristine green grass on the other side of the fence. Embrace your life and embrace all of your friends who make it more joyful, with kids and without, because eventually ...

6. You will miss your kid.

As great as all that grown-up-only time is, soon enough you'll start missing your little one. And that's the best reminder of them all: why you wouldn't change a thing.

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