Why I'm no longer jealous of my friends with kids
I can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened, but somewhere down the line, I zigged left when the rest of my friends zagged right. For years, it seemed like my life ran parallel to my best friends. From bat mitzvahs to college graduations, our big milestones occurred within months of each other. Then adulthood took hold and I watched my friends begin stable careers and get engaged. Suddenly, I felt like a kid left back in school. And while I sat there feeling like a kid, one by one, my friends started having actual kids of their own.
It took me much longer than my friends to find love and enter a longterm relationship (though I’m happy to report that I did eventually find my partner). So there were tons of marriages in my friend group — just not mine. The dynamic between us changed as I took on the role of the “single friend” among all my married friends — but the change was even more drastic when the babies started coming. Our group texts turned into conversations where it seemed like most messages were in a foreign language. It was a mom’s world and I was just living in it; my friends, understandably, couldn’t always make time for me anymore. Still, it was an uncomfortable feeling.
Over the holidays last year, a friend of mine invited all of our college friends — plus their spouses and kids — over to her house. I was looking forward to connecting with friends I hadn’t seen in ages, drinking a bit, and catching up on our lives. Instead, I felt frozen, alone, while children whirled around me, crying and screaming; my friends chased after them — changing their diapers, cutting their pizza slices into little squares, instructing them to drink their milk, fulfilling their every need. When I came to, I spent most of the night with my boyfriend and a glass of wine.
Once again, I was different from my friends. But instead of feeling left out, I could suddenly appreciate my current place in life. I was beyond happy to leave that night, child-free.
I know the biological clock is a real ticking bitch, but I’d like to take out the batteries and just sleep in for a few more years. I do want kids. A mini-me to dress as my exact replica so I can live vicariously through her while we go to Hollywood auditions so she can be the star I never was? Yeah, I want that. (Kidding, I have no acting aspirations.)
But seriously, right now, I want to be a little selfish.
I like to sleep in — a lot. I like drinking quite a bit, and I enjoy going wherever the hell I want at a whim’s notice. (Happy hour, you say? I’m down.) I’m still navigating my career and my income is a bit unpredictable (read: I need to make more money). When I do get a few extra dollars here and there, I want to spend it on myself — and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Once you have kids, there’s no turning back, so why the rush? I have been told I don’t look a day over 22 (when I’m in fact thousands of days over), I’m active, and I have great genes (all four of my grandparents are still alive, thriving in their 80s and 90s). I’m not worried about being an “old” mom. (And to my mom, if you’re reading this, don’t freak out. I’ll suck it up and take care of a child one day, but I’m just saying, it’s a pass right now.)
It feels good to finally be rid of the jealousy that had lurked within me all those years as my friends’ lives seemingly progressed faster than my own.
I’m on my own schedule. Kids are on the horizon, but right now, all I can think about is how grateful I am to go home to my boyfriend and watch some TV. And if we decide to ~get crazy~ and hit up the bars after some Netflix binging, we can. (We won’t, but I’m saying it’s an option.) One day we’ll have some framed photos of little cuties on the mantle, but today is not that day.