A while ago, I took the risk of browsing the ‘Everything’ page of Pinterest. I say it’s a risk because it is filled with a lot of things that I love and a lot of things that make me want to throw up a little bit in my mouth. Which is what I said on Facebook, citing wedding photos, bridal shower ideas, proposal photos, weight loss claims, anything featuring a Bible verse, and baby announcements as examples of things I hated to see. My best friend, a Catholic, married, mother of two adorable little munchkins, took great offense to this, feeling that I had essentially said her life makes me sick.
I didn’t want to have a Facebook status comment fight, so instead of typing what I really wanted to say, “Not everything is about you!”, I respectfully explained that, while I am happy that she is happy in her life and I love her husband and babies, that life is not for me and as my best friend of eight years, she knows that.
Now, this has me thinking about adult lifestyle choices. (I’m an adult now- eek!) Now that I (and my friends) are young adults, we have moved on from the ease of high school friendship and are dealing with maintaining (or starting) friendships with people as our personal lives change greatly. High school friendship is easy. You’re all in the same place everyday, you do a lot of the same stuff (because you live in a small town, where this isn’t much to do), and you’re just content to “hang” with your friends. Trying to maintain a friendship when you have different work and school schedules, or you’re doing it long distance is a different story.
So far, I haven’t had too many single and immature vs married and babies conflicts with aforementioned best friend because she lives across the country. I see a lot of baby-centered conversations happening on her Facebook statuses, but I just skim over them as I have no interest in the topic. When she comes to visit I’m happy to spend our few days together just hanging with her, while also watching her son running around being adorable and trying to not-too-obviously avoid looking at any exposed nipples during the breastfeeding process. But I wonder what our friendship would be like if we lived in the same city. Sure, we’d be able to get together more, but would we, really? Would she be able to fit solo-friend (solo- as in no significant other, no offspring) time into a busy mother’s schedule? Would I be able to stand regular visits with screaming toddlers & babies interrupting our conversations? Would she be too busy with her other mom-friends to even remember me? When my friend was pregnant for the first time, I asked her if we would end up like Suze and Becky of the Shopaholic books (Suze has a baby, makes mom friends, and Becky gets left aside. In a nutshell.) and she assured me, no. I fear it has happened, though.
The lifestyle and mindset of a parent is such a huge change. I can’t even fathom the idea of how creating a human being would change your life. It really makes me wonder if it’s even possible for parents to be friends with non-parents. Even if you’re still a “cool”, working parent, your life has this huge part that a non-parent doesn’t have. I just imagine, someday in the future sitting down to a lunch with a small group of friends (Sex and the City style) who are all mothers, except me. What would we talk about? Would I try my best to smile-and-nod my way through parenting stories, or would I create a mom-talk ban on our lunch dates? I’ve heard of mom-shaming (moms judging other moms’ parenting choices), but would there be single-shaming? If Sex and the City has taught me anything (and it’s taught me a lot), it’s that, yes, there would be a lot of judgement of me. It’s all marrieds vs. singles and parents vs. non-parents. I mean, is it possible to say to a mother that I don’t want kids without her taking that as a personal attack on her life choices?
I just wonder if it’s ever possible to say to someone “I don’t want your life.” without them hearing “I don’t like your life.”?
You can read more from Tish Chambers here.
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