At three-thirty in the morning some months ago, a friend turned to me and said, “I’m going to be so tired tomorrow. And here I was hoping to get up in the morning and do some work. What will you be up to?”
I did not smirk, grimace, or roll my eyes while reminding her that my little guy would be awake in about three hours, in need of breakfast and ready to play, and that my wife would be heading off to her job, leaving me on daddy duty. Instead, I was pleased. I had passed! At some point in the course of the night, which began with a reading and turned into an impromptu adventure to a speak-easy bookstore on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, my companion forgot I was a dad.
I’ve written before about the importance of having dad friends, but I find it rejuvenating as well to have friends who are not parents. But seeing how much The Huffington Post piece “The 5 Things Parents Need to Stop Saying to Non-Parents” was passed around, I wonder if I’m in the minority here. I don’t think I’ve ever said anything on that list, most of which strikes me as either rude (“You think you’re tired? Try doing this with kids!”) or downright idiotic (“My life didn’t have meaning before I had kids.” (Really? If that’s the case, then I feel bad for you.)
No, I’ve made an effort to maintain relationships with my friends who are not parents, and in the past four years have made new friends who are not parents. And why wouldn’t that be the case? I’m more than just a parent, aren’t I?
Of course it takes a little more work on my part to keep these relationships going than it would have pre-parenthood, and a bit of understanding on the part of my friends that my schedule can be tight, or I might not be able to take them up on every invitation (as much as I’d like to). It also takes help from my partner. My wife usually escorts Felix out on Saturday mornings for some outing, a special mommy-son time that, after a busy week at work, both of them look forward to. I appreciate it as well. Most weekends, I work while they’re gone. But about one weekend out of the month I use the time to sleep in, so I can stay out late on Friday and live-it-up old school!
Is it worth the extra time and energy to have friends who aren’t parents? I think so. Click on to find out why!