to ask if it's difficult to be friends with childless people?(144 Posts)
Neither do I
Most of my friends do.
Bit confused by the question tbh but then again I suspect it wasn't aimed st other people without children?
I don't base my friendship choices on whether someone has children or not - it's based on whether I like them or not. Why do you ask?
If you mean is it difficult from child free people and parents to be friends, no, not in my experience.
There's another thread in AIBU which might help
OFFS. Some of my best mates are childless. Who cares?
Yes all parents must be kept separate from non parents - they can't possibly be friends
No. my best friend is child free. We've known each other for 20 years my Dd is 6. We have lots of other things in common it's irrelevant that she has no kids.
I am more than just a mother there's lots of other stuff to talk about.
Honestly, I get confused by the opinion that seems current on here, that parents and child free people are essentially different species who occasionally wave at one another across some huge divide. Maybe it's because I had my son late, but being a mother doesn't particularly define me.
In all honesty my friends without kids dropped off the radar when I took on my dss full time
Livia - yeah, this thread was inspired by that thread, thanks. I'm wondering if the difficulties the OP in that thread is experiencing is a general thing, not specific.
It can be. I had to dramatically cool a friendship because she came out with lots of unsupportive comments and I just started to find her draining. On the other hand I have friends without kids who are like aunties to my children. I'm a stahm at the moment so most of my socialising time involved the children in some way- it doesn't have to be a problem. I also absolutely don't want to talk about my children all the time. I value friends who discuss films/art/work/music/politics with me, but they have to be able to cope with the fact that being a mum is an integral part of my life.
I love my childless friends, they are my fucking escape.
From the mess, the noise, the smells, the relentless "muuuuummmy" the washing, cleaning up, ironing, food planning and of course the crippling guilt.
Love hearing about their adventures, travels, lives, it's all so different to my life.
There are some difficulties. I have a toddler and am pregnant. My best friends are both childless, one in a relationship and one not. They often have more time, energy and opportunities for carefree nights out and they also can't really relate to my life or how little time I have between a full time job and a toddler. I feel like I can't commit to things like they can and I have had to cancel at last minute which has made me feel terrible.
I also feel that my single friend has distanced herself further since I told her I was pregnant again. I know she is feeling like she'll never meet anyone. She has also told me that a husband and children are all she wants. I try to be sensitive but I also really miss her and I am trying for a gulf not to open up because our lives are so different right now.
Fundamentally, of course child free people and parents can be friends but I have seen my closest friendships change and suffer because my friends are child free and I'm not.
I was one of the first in my close friendship group to get pregnant.
Strangely enough, it made me cherish those childless friends more because the last thing I wanted to do when going out for a drink/meal/cinema trip, was to talk about babies or children.
Each to their own but I was never one for joining NCT groups or seeking out 'Mummy friends' (pukes slightly in throat), or anything like that at all.
As a single mother, I actually prefer the company of childless friends. Conversation is so much more interesting. Of my two best friends, one has children in their early thirties, the other has none. The 'acquaintances ' have with kids actually bore me to tears.
That's just me, though.
In my experience of MN, most users who don't have children are on at night. Most of the users with children are asleep (or wishing they were) at this kind of time, so if you want to canvass the opinion of parents, this was the wrong time to pose this question.
But I'm a parent (and a night owl!) so I'll answer you. FWIW (I talk a lot of bollocks though, so don't take this too much to heart!)
My DD is almost 15. I have 3 very close friends who don't have children and a 4th who only had her (pfb) child 7 yrs ago this week.
The answer is we were all worried about how it might change our friendship back when I got pregnant.
It didn't ruin the relationships I had, but it DID change it. Yes, my priorities changed. I was bloody tired for 6 years (had a bloomin' early riser). Non parents don't understand the hell of being woken up and having to be awake and take care of someone every day or every other day for year after year after year. You just can't come out and play like you did. Esp if you are breast-feeding.
I stopped (or - at least - massively reduced) my intake of recreational drugs. I miss them!
I found DD fascinating and adorable. And although I understood my child-free friends wouldn't find it as interesting as I did, and I DID try and reign it in, I did and do burble about her, which isn't interesting for them. I'm sure they'd describe me as VERY boring. And in some cases, it's bloody painful (something I try to be sensitive to, but don't always get it right). It's impossible (and possibly rude/hurtful) to explain to a non-parent how amazing it is when your baby looks over, sees you, recognises you and their lips do this twitching thing they don't quite understand, and then they smile. They smile because they recognise you and they love you and you feel a gazillion miles tall. You can't say that to your BF who hopes to meet a man and for it to happen but it hasn't yet and she's 43 already.
I should say at this point, one of my good friends describes me as a "smug married" (she is single). I'm really, really not smug (could happily strangle him most of the time!)
I think the thing is, your life changes when you get pregnant and have a baby. Surely it should do. But if you're both sensitive to each other, and if you're prepared to spend time having conversations (eg, about the contents of a nappy, or how you managed to dupe your partner so you got 7 hours of sleep instead of 3) and love and support each other, the friendships can continue to thrive.
I should say, I have another BF. It took us 6 years to conceive. She and her partner got drunk and forgot to find the condom once, and she was pregnant. We are still friends too, but it was bloody hard at that point, because I was SO fucking jealous. We needed medical help.
AND there's a whole OTHER thing of relations with other parents.... An unexpected side effect of having a child was meeting other parents who liked DD/had a child who liked DD/(in a v few cases) liked us and DD was a follow-up thing.
When you become a parent, these relationships become very important (I think), because there are people you can share experiences with, ask "is this normal?" to (if you don't have MN, as I didn't). So, to an extent, you ditch the people you love for similar-ish parents or parents who your kids bond with because you can lift share to all the extra-curricular stuff or share worries with, etc. And, as well as lift sharing (which is huge, because you spend ALL your life driving here and there to drop them off and pick them up again), you can ask all those questions. Plus the kids love each other, which is lovely for them. And you can babysit for each other for free, which is great. And you just see them every day on the playground. You don't LIKE them in the same way you like the friends you've got as your BFs, there isn't the same CHOICE you have with your other friends, but they are a regular part of your life, so they see you at all moments and they get to know you quite well. You reach a certain stage of intimacy. And you can't avoid them.
BUT the one thing you can't do with those parents is shamelessly boast about your child. But you CAN do that with the ones who don't have kids, but they love you, so they'll let you do that. This is really, really, really important in my life, and i'm so grateful that K and K and R and previously J (but can't do J now because she's got a DD of her own) don't care enough that they're happy to hear I'm proud that DD got a speaking part in an assembly (or whatever). You can't say that to another parent, because their kid might have less than yours.
BTW, I'm aware this post sounds like a stealth boast about how popular I am. I should point out that have very few friends (maybe because I'm a parent, and def because I'm not very nice) and because of this, I stick like glue to the few I've got, so when I say "my 3 bfs" I actually mean "my only bfs!"
I wouldn't class thus as a TAAT, more a thread inspired by a thread.
I think it depends on the friend who has just had the child.
If you've met them and they are a parent already, it's usually no problem, you sometimes see the kids sometimes not.
This can be the same with people who become parents, they want their "time out" "adult conversation" "a nice meal" etc
But SOMETIMES, you get the PFB extremis who only wants to talk to other Mums and only wants to meet with other couples
This is all other peoples fault for NOT POSSBLY UNDERSTANDING WHAT IT'S LIKE
and not of course their fault for having become PFB and Smug Married, to the exclusion of themselves as a whole person.
These are the self same people who were their DH leaves and/or their DC become independent wonder why they have no network of friends with common interests in the things they were interested in before
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.