Dear Friends With Kids: Don't Drop Me Because I'm Childless
A piece published by the Huffington Post entitled "Once We Become Parents We Don't Want to Hang Out With You Anymore (But Not For The Reasons You Think)" has gone viral over the past few days. I know, I know, throw a stone and you'll find a piece on the internet going viral. This one caught my eye because it so firmly divided parents and childless adults into "Them" and "Us" camps. Your friends who are parents, the piece states, don't want to hang out with you anymore because kids have demanding schedules that control their parents lives, parents don't want to bring their kids to social events they might have attended while childless, and any spare time parents have they want to devote to their children and not their adult friends.
While there are universal truths in this piece (kids are a handful and require superhuman amounts of attention and love, check and check) there are also a lot unfair assumptions. This piece purports to speak FOR all parents (and if you check the comments section of the piece, you will quickly see it does NOT) and it also purports to speak TO all childless adults. It assumes that your childless friends can not adapt to your child-raising lifestyle. We can't be friends because we are incapable of changing our relationships to include your children's needs. That's not only completely unfair, it's also completely untrue.
I love when my friends become parents. I love going over to visit newborns, I love reading stories to toddlers while my mom or dad friend in question runs to the bathroom or lies down on the floor with their eyes closed or does WHATEVER with those three and a half minutes, I would much rather go hang out at the playground than at a bar (yes, even a really cool bar where you need a password and secret staircase to get in). I get so excited when friends with kids want to hang out. I don't always say yes to coffee dates with acquaintances, but I always say yes to a hangout with a mom or dad with the kids in tow. Me not having kids at this exact moment in time doesn't mean I don't REALLY like children and doesn't mean I'm not COMPLETELY down to hang out with yours.
On behalf of childless friends, we feel left out. Just because we don't have a kid, it doesn't mean you're entitled to exclude us from fun times. The mommy club is totally your thing, but it's hard to not be welcome to the clubhouse. Maybe that's why some friends drift out of your lives when you have kids. No, it's not because they're witches who hate kids from a Roald Dahl book.
It's true that some childless people aren't exactly comfortable around kids, and that's ok. But new parents tend to have childless friends who are "kid people," who would love to spend time with your little ones, and more importantly, still want to spend time with you. We'll hang out at your house on the couch. We'll go to Chuck E Cheese or Legoland. Just tell us where to meet you and we'll be there. We want to figure out a way to keep you as an important person in our lives. So… please still want to hang out with us?