You don’t realize how much you’ve changed since becoming a mom until you hang out with friends who don’t have kids and this is particularly apparent once your little one has entered the into-everything-toddler stage.
I keep seeing this e-cards meme all over the place that says “I’m 30, but I still feel like I’m 20…until I hang out with 20 years olds…and then I’m like nope, never mind, I’m 30.” I’m not quite 30 yet, but I feel like this card needs to be made in mom version. It could say, “I still feel like the same person I was before I had kids…until I hang out with my childless friends…and then I’m like nope, never mind, I’m a mom.”
This isn’t to say that I don’t have fantastic friends who don’t have kids. I do, and they’re great! It’s just that I’m quickly realizing that our lives are very different, despite my best efforts to hang on to my former childless self.
Take yesterday for example. We went over to a friend’s house for tea. She doesn’t have any children and thus no toys to play with, so I made sure to bring a few of my own. But within approximately 3.6 minutes, Fern had decided that all of her toys were crap and proceeded to try to grab anything and everything that was off-limits. It became apparent pretty quickly that tea wasn’t Fern’s thing, so we changed our plans and went for a walk instead. My friend was super sweet about it and seemed totally unfazed, but it was definitely a reminder of how different life is now with a busy toddler.
When I hang out with my childless friends I’m also reminded that I’m definitely a mom when I hear them talk abut parenthood. I’m also reminded of what an a-hole I must have sounded like pre-kids. My friends aren’t a-holes, but I’m pretty sure I sounded like one pre-kids because I totally didn’t have a clue.
I was actually talking to a mom friend of mine recently about this. We used to hang out a lot before I got pregnant and she already had a one-year-old at that point. I remember trying to plan things with her and getting annoyed when she would run late or not understanding when she had to plan an outing around nap. I remember thinking, “Can’t your kid just nap in a stroller or in the car?” Ahhh…so naive. We laughed about it and about how she knew I would be there one day and then I’d “get it” and she was right.
I can’t even begin to tell you all the things I thought I would do/not do when I had my own kid that totally left me eating my own words (i.e. extended breastfeeding, chewing my kid’s food, having a strict nap schedule, etc.). I tried so hard to make my daughter “bend to my will” so to speak. I tried to get her on my schedule and resolved to continue taking her to adult places, but now that she’s a toddler I’ve learned to let go and roll with the punches.
Maybe I can’t go out to a cute coffee shop with a friend these days without having her throw their croissant on the floor (Yep. That happened.) or without dumping a glass of water in my lap, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still hang out.
Attention all childless friends: You can totally still come over and hang out over fragmented conversation while my kid tears apart my house instead of yours and I’m always game for a cocktail sans kids…just sayin’.
Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland Oregon. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble. More from Lauren: