One of the common downsides of being childfree is that many of your friends become parents. Now friends becoming parents is not a downside in and of itself – unless you are one of the few childfree people who genuinely dislike kids.
Which we are not.
No, the downside it that many friends seem to lose themselves in the act of becoming parents.
Before moving on can we state the obvious? There are significant obligations that come with being a parent. We get that. Anyone that takes on a major new project is giving up free time to do the project, whether it be parenting or the cult of Crossfit or getting that MBA or something else.
However there is something more to this parenting thing. We see two common changes when our formerly childless friends become parents.
First is the lack of time for the friendship. Again, we get that there is less time when you become a parent. What we childfree don’t get is how there is often no time. Parents these days really seem to run themselves ragged and that ragged running is all about the kids. Sports, Boy/Girl Scouts, dance, music lessons, recitals, karate, organized this, organized that. Parents spend all their time, energy, and money to make sure that the kids are gainfully occupied every moment in some sort of proctored activity. And there is seemingly an amazing amount of inter-parental pressure to do this; a parenting arms race to see who to be most helicopter parent-y. Gone are the days of mom or dad telling little Johnny/Susie – or J@hnie/Soozee, you crazy original name people – to go find their friends and play outside. Gone are the days of having much time for your non-parent friends.
Second, if by chance you can squeeze on to your parent friend’s schedule, their ability to talk about anything other than J@hnie/Soozee will often have gone AWOL. Now we don’t mind talking about the kids some, but we don’t want to only talk about the kids. You’re our friend…we want to talk about you, and about ourselves, and the news, and the recent book you love, and the band we found, and…
We want and need the you we knew before you were a parent.
Childfree Meetup Revisited
That was the long way round to get to this point: Many childfree go from having a large group of close friends to having few – or no – friends that have time for them due to this parent thing.
To fill that gap a little, we have created a group on Facebook where childfree folks can connect with each other, talk, and plan events. If you are childfree we’d love to have you join the group and come to our meetups.
We’d love to be your friends!
P.S. Next outing is March 7th in Bangor