Being the friend without kids has changed my friendships - but in a beautiful way
Being friends with kids is one thing. Being friends with friends who have kids is another. I love kids. I love babies. It's an honor when kids are happy to see me. If a baby doesn't cry when I reach out to cuddle them close to my chest, I'm stoked.
Many of us are vaguely aware of how we feel about babies and kids as we grow up, but it's kind of a whole different question when you delve further and further into your adulthood. You might think you like kids because you love your siblings and they were once kids (as were you…I'm assuming) — but it's different when these kids aren't in your own family, and when you are faced with the question of whether or not you want to have your own kids.
When you now have to share your friend with a baby, and then two babies, and then sometimes three or four babies, things change. You start losing precious margarita time with your BFF because she needs to spend time with her "mom friends."
There are people who can now relate to her on a different level than you will be able to — at least until you have kids, should you choose to.
Even though I’ve always loved kids, I was not entirely prepared for how many of my friendships would be affected and changed forever by bouncing bundles of joy.
When my first very close friend entered the parenthood arena, it helped pave the way for my transition from "pal" to "Auntie Jess." Cara had her first baby when I had just turned 22 years old. It was a rollercoaster — being newly in my 20s and Cara having baby Lincoln. He was born a few weeks before I met the person who would become my most important partner, the man I have spent the majority of my 20s with (albeit on and off).
Before Cara became a mom, we would watch movies late into the night, making gnocchi and homemade cocktails for dinner. Cara and I spent an incredible amount of time together, and I loved every minute of it. Shockingly, not that much changed after Lincoln's birth. She wore him in a baby carrier around her apartment while we made scones and watched Love, Actually.
I filled her in on the ups and downs of my newfound romance — but as her family grew, our friendship pivoted from gossiping about work and my love life, to gossiping about what I lovingly call #mamadrama.
We still talk about my life when something is significant, but as the kids get older, they are more aware and present in our lives and conversations.
On the flip side, they also spend more time on their own, so we get to talk more openly. It's worth it, though — I love those kids like they are my own family. I am so happy they are part of my life.
When I receive a text message from Cara that was clearly sent from Lincoln — all emoji hearts and capitalization That Looks Like This — it means the world. My friendship with Cara was forever changed when she had kids, but we are closer than we probably would have been had she never had those babies.
Though Cara's family was my first foray into "friends with kids," it has not been my last.
I joke that I have more friends with kids than without, at this point.
And still, that's never been a problem for me — though I admit I love when a friend offers to leave the kid at home to grab dinner. It is much easier to talk about sex and dating without any toddlers around. Earlier this year, when I was visiting my friends who are the parents of four absolutely perfect children, I made them wait until all of the children were asleep before I told them the juicy details from my love life.
Your friendship will forever look just a bit different, but you get to know a whole other part of them.
When kids come into the picture and the friendship remains, it is a sign of maturation for all parties.
Your friend loves you enough to want you as a part of their child's life. You love your friend enough to get to know their new life. There is sacrifice in it, but you will never take for granted the free hours you get to share a glass of wine while you catch up.
And there is absolutely nothing like getting to be there while your friend's kid grows up. What a lovely thing.