hold onto your childless girl friends, because more than ever, they will
be worth their weight in gold. That's right, most of us new moms
ditch those single gals, whose priorities are now so different from
ours. But in spite of the radical lifestyle differences, accompanied by
the misconception that we must run headlong into
the nearest circle of new moms, it won't be long before we learn that
our childless friends still have so much to offer...
two years as a mom, it has finally dawned on me that my interactions
with mom friends is at best frustrating (at worst hurtful), whilst
interactions with childless friends continues to be satisfying. With
childless friends we can finish a conversation and enjoy one another's
undivided attention, whilst with moms I'll be halfway through a sentence
before noticing that I'm talking to myself, as mommy has just been
distracted by toddler. I have a toddler too, but unless she's in
immediate danger I tend to let her do her own thing while I converse
with the adults (maybe that's the French in me, for those who've read
Bringing Up Bebe).
spite of becoming a mother, I continue to enjoy (and need) the
experience of getting completely lost in a conversation, and unless I
see blood or an eyeball rolling my way, the person with whom I am
conversing will continue to enjoy my undivided attention.
I must be the only mother to retain this desire to feel connected to
other people, to hold eye contact, and to listen and respond in
conversation (you know, the way childless people communicate), because
this has not been reciprocated by other moms to whom I once related as
friends. All too often these moms will enter a conversation with just
half their attention and will only ever be half listening. Before I've
completed a sentence they'll lurch toward their toddler who did nothing,
and I mean nothing, to warrant the distraction other than move from one
end of the living room to the other. Because believe me, nine out of
ten times, the child is doing nothing to harm themselves or others, and
could be left happily to play with my child whilst the adults interact. I
don't know why not one mom with whom I've had a play date gets that.
too often we moms complain about how lonely and isolating new
parenthood can be, and are advised to seek solace in the company of
other moms. I can only say that an afternoon of broken sentences
with a distracted individual only serves to increase my dysphoria and
sense of isolation. On the other hand those wonderful childless friends
give me just the fix of meaty , social interaction that I need to sink my teeth into . Conversations flow, points are made, jokes are told and punch lines are reached. And all this with my kids in the room!
respect my friendships as much as I need them, and just like I wouldn't
want to be distracted from the last chapter of a good book, I wouldn't
want my toddler to unhook me from a juicy conversation. Why other moms
don't appear to feel this way, I don't know. Maybe they genuinely
believe that if they remove their eyes from their child, even for the
duration of a sentence, disaster will strike. Perhaps I simply lack
maternal instinct for not being compelled to jump, jerk, twitch and tic
every time my little darling so much as glances in another direction. Or
perhaps I am so terribly boring that they hide behind the child as an
excuse to not have to properly interact with me.
Either way, I regularly come away from time spent with moms feeling
deflated and rejected, but from time spent with childless friends
feeling invigorated and renewed.
Having said all
this, being blessed with children is a gift and I wouldn't wish a person
to remain childless if they didn't want that. The point is, it seems to
be a rare and special person (I know two and hopefully they know who
they are) who retains good social skills after becoming a mom. The rest, sadly become very good at making you feel rotten, and are best 'enjoyed' in small doses.