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To think there is a divide between childless/free people and parents?

(201 Posts)
zeezeek Mon 27-Jul-15 20:44:21

And that it is mostly perpetuated by women?
As someone who didn't have DC until I was 40, indeed spent most of my adult life without them, I have seen both sides of this. Before the DDs came along I endured a variety of comments in my 20's about when we were going to have a baby, in my 30's about how I was a career girl and then when I (miraculously considering the amount of chemo I had) got pregnant at 40 a whole raft of smug comments ranging from how I didn't know what was coming to relief that I was finally joining some kind of exclusive club.

Since having the DD my life has changed, but it is no more and no less worthy than the life I had before. I don't feel superior, I don't feel wise. I still hate and despise the idea of breastfeeding. The sleepless nights weren't great, but actually the ones I had during my PhD were much worse.

In the years before I had DC I lost a lot of female friends when they had children. It wasn't my choice. I've never been a demanding friend. They decided that I didn't fit into their lives anymore so ditched me. These days my closest friends are male (some parents, some not; some whose DW/DP I know, some I've never met). Some of the women who ditched me years ago have tried to return to my circle - seemingly with the sole intention of smugly telling me how much trouble I have ahead of me as my DDs get older.

People are childless/child free for a variety of reasons - infertility, choice, leaving it too late, not finding the right person.

It doesn't make them less of a person - in some ways they are more empathic, sympathetic and understanding. Many people can tell stories of inspirational friends, relatives, teachers who didn't have children but who inspired, loved and supported DC in their lives. Why do some women allow this divide to happen? Becoming a parent is life changing - but so are a lot of other things....eg surviving a life threatening illness or completing a physical challenge. We all contribute to society in different ways - having children is just one of them.

Sorry for the rant.

DidILeaveTheGasOn Mon 27-Jul-15 20:49:12

Well bloody said.

LittleChinaPig Mon 27-Jul-15 20:51:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Getyercoat Mon 27-Jul-15 20:53:02

YANBU.
Some women go full-mummy post kids, some don't.

EatShitDerek Mon 27-Jul-15 20:53:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SignoraStronza Mon 27-Jul-15 20:57:48

My best friend doesn't have (or really want) children and neither does my SIL. Another close friend was pg with #1 at the same time as I was with #3.
It hasn't made the slightest bit of difference to our friendship. OK, so nights out are rarer but we live hours from each other so is not a massive issue anyway. My children don't define me and I don't think that they're essential to a happy and fulfilling life. I'm still the same person I always was, just with less interesting things to v talk about now. wink

WaverleyOwl Mon 27-Jul-15 21:01:48

I do feel a divide between me and my childless friends, but only in so far as I don't want to bore their pants off talking about kiddy focused things as I know it can be all consuming at times. I would really love to still be able to talk about relevant things. Something that may have happened in the news, for instance!

Also, there is the realisation that their lives have continued along, without interruption, whilst mine has taken a rather mucky detour into the world of sticky fingers and being screamed at for not providing the right coloured cup.

I do envy my childless/free brethren sometimes, and then I remember why I signed up for this, with all the costs associated. It is swings and roundabouts. We all do our best with what life throws at us. And what we realise makes us tick. Not everyone needs or wants to be a parent. And that's not a bad thing.

I would never say or do anything to suggest my child free/less friends are missing out. For all I know, I'm missing out.

I think this just goes back to the fundamentals of being a nice person - accepting people for who they are, and not judging them for the choices they make. Unless they choose the life of a serial killer. And then I reserve the right to judge away.

zeezeek Mon 27-Jul-15 21:02:50

LittleChinaPig - ahh, if only the rest of the world thought the same grin

Likeaninjanow Mon 27-Jul-15 21:02:55

I think you've been unlucky. I'm stil very close with my childless friends. Not to say we haven't had ups & downs, but our friendships have lasted 20 years throughout it all.

SacredHeart Mon 27-Jul-15 21:03:23

I was having a conversation with DH the other day about how sometimes I wished I wanted kids as its hard being childfree (in a completely different way to being a parent which I appreciate is super hard).

I try as much as possible to be a supportive, "child friendly" adult but some things that parents find cute drive me insane or are just annoying or gross but I know I'm in the minority and get slagged off as "heartless" for not finding the child adorable.

Without sound "poor me" I think childfree people can understand why other people may want children but parents don't rely understand how it feels to be so backwards with the "norm" - hence the "I was like this then changed my mind argument".

FaFoutis Mon 27-Jul-15 21:04:28

That hasn't been my experience at all. I had children quite late and nobody ever asked me when I was going to have a baby. I had friends with children and it was never a barrier between us.
When I had my first baby the friends who I was closest to were childless, I could not have coped without them.

Why do you see mothers as smug?

TheRealAmyLee Mon 27-Jul-15 21:05:41

Most of my closest friends right now are single and childless. I am neither. It just worked out that way. Doesn't mean we can't be friends. Just means everyone comes to mine! They also do stuff without me and I don't take offence.

It shouldn't matter but sadly it seems to.

SaucyJack Mon 27-Jul-15 21:08:30

I had my first in my early 20s, yet the friends I grew up with are only sprogging now we're in our mid early 30s.

TBH some days we may as well have been living on different planets. They just did not get "it".

zeezeek Mon 27-Jul-15 21:11:24

FaFoutis - I don't see mothers as smug. From my experience, however, there is a particular subset of women who are smug, yes. I think most people have people like that in their social circle, at some point in their lives and, frankly, smugness is a general part of their personality so if it isn't the perfect husband, it's the perfect kids, kitchen, house blah, blah,blah!

Ineedtimeoff Mon 27-Jul-15 21:12:18

I'm one of those mothers that has changed and lost friends since having DD. As I'm on my own with DD it makes going out of an evening more of a challenge. I'm constantly skint and have working mums guilt that means the only socialising I get to do is with mums of children who are the same age as my DD.

It doesn't mean I don't value other women.

Luckyfellow Mon 27-Jul-15 21:13:11

I have never experienced this from either side. I had children in my mid thirties. Nobody ever asked about my having children until I was pregnant. Everybody acted very surprised that I was. I have not lost touch with anyone because they are child free but am definitely not available for nights out in the way I was before I had children so therefore don't see as much of my friends as I did. I am older now anyway and wouldn't be having 4 nights out of 7 on the town anymore even if I was child free. You sound very bitter but I'd be careful about dismissing all 'women' in such a way. I have not lived in the world you are painting.

Luckyfellow Mon 27-Jul-15 21:14:57

I have just read your last post and see it is smug people you don't like. I don't think anybody does so in that yanbu.

Only1scoop Mon 27-Jul-15 21:17:06

I kind of get you Op

I avoid at all cost the types you describe.

FaFoutis Mon 27-Jul-15 21:20:43

True re. the smugness OP. I see that as a consequence of money though, rather than children. It is where I live anyway. Or actually a combination of wealthy husband, stay at home motherdom and jogging.

patienceisvirtuous Mon 27-Jul-15 21:20:45

Yadnbu.

CognitiveIllusion Mon 27-Jul-15 21:20:48

DH and I are very close friends with two other couples. Both had their first child four or five years after we had our first, but we stayed close during that time - even going on holiday with them.

It can work if you want it to.

PtolemysNeedle Mon 27-Jul-15 21:24:12

My experience doesn't match yours, but I had my first child at 21 when most of my friends were at university or starting careers they were excited about, which also invloved some of them moving quite far away. I was the exact opposite of smug being a young unconfident mum that couldn't keep up with all the interesting things my friends were doing.

mintpoppet Mon 27-Jul-15 21:24:28

I am child free (not by choice). Most of my friends have children. I enjoy time with them and their children. Just occasionally I would like to spend some time with just my friends i.e. being able to sit and have a conversation without a toddler demanding attention every 10 seconds. I completely understand that 99%of the time that their children will be present. I like their company but just occasionally I want it to just be my friends. Adult time.

SheKnowsHerNose Mon 27-Jul-15 21:25:42

The trouble is the childfree person's definition of being 'ditched' is often when the woman with children isn't free to go out on nights out in the same way or generally socialise as if she had no commitments. I suspect if you hate and despise breastfeeding then I wonder if you were also the sort of childfree friend to think any friend who says she can't go out due to breastfeeding is snubbing you?

If you've genuinely been ditched then I sympathise, but I don't think that's as common as the other way round.

PiperChapstick Mon 27-Jul-15 21:32:27

Since having the DD my life has changed, but it is no more and no less worthy than the life I had before. I don't feel superior, I don't feel wise.

This. I feel the same. Luckily I having fantastic friends who have adjusted to my new life, although a few aren't interested now I don't want to constantly get shit faced. I do remember when I was childless I visited a friend and her then 3mo PFB. She had the "if you don't have kids you don't know what it's like" mentality - which there is some truth to but I resented the implication that only parents know struggles and difficulties of sleep etc. even now I'm a mum I have very little in common with her, I don't know what changed but it's just life I guess

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