Tuesday, August 16, 2011

play dateless

When you reach a certain age, most people are married and either have families or are working on having them. So when you don't fit into that mold, it can be stressful and sometimes painful. As a very good friend of mine said, a big part of friendship is what you have in common. And that's very, very true. Friendships are fluid and they evolve as the people in them evolve. So when I looked around and realized that I was surrounded by mothers, it made me stop and think for a moment. Where, exactly, do I fit in with all of these people?

My friends are wonderful people. They don't judge me for not having a child and (I think) they understand why I'm not a mother. But no matter how wonderful and understanding they are, there will always be a divide between us. It can be frustrating when I'm one of the few people on my side of the line. Mothers have a way to bond with each other, whether it be stories about their children or discussions on parenting. Those of us without children can't understand exactly what they are talking about and sometimes (a lot of times) that's thrown back at us in a negative way.

But just like my "mommy friends" want to be close to other mothers due to what they have in common, I want friends without children who can understand the world I live in. It's a world free of play dates and park visits and worrying about diapers. And you know what? That's okay. I'm not missing a part of the world because I don't have children. I'm not better or worse than the people who are parents. I'm not lucky or unlucky, missing out, empty or any of those adjectives you might apply to me. I am happy with my life and it bothers me immensely when I am pitied or prayed for or anything else.

Another close friend of mine pointed out that in a religion (and perhaps society) where children are considered a blessing, it's hard not to feel as though you've done something wrong when you don't have any. The pressure to be a mother is overwhelming. When you enter into your late 20s and early 30s, you can actually see how separated you are from your friends who have children.

Mothers, I know how happy you are to have children and I love you for that. But please, please, remember that my own desire to be around people in my situation doesn't mean I love you less. It simply means that occasionally, I need to be around people who are on my side of the line.

6 comments:

Erin said...

Ive said this to Julie before, but I would never fault someone without kids for wanting to hang with others without kids. I wasn't overly interested in a kid world u til I ha my own...I'm so silly as to believe that my kids are such special snowflakes that people without kids should want to come hang out with them ALL the time.

Sarah McDaniel said...

We were 30 when Cady fell in our laps, but only a few of our friends already had children. Maybe your crowd just got biz-zay earlier? Some of our friends are 40 and refuse to even marry, laughing at clucks of sympathy as they head to Paris or Jamaica. Sorry you feel sort of isolated in your group. It's always a good thing to gather MORE friends, so start looking!

Julie said...

Dude, you KNOW I understand. And I think this means we need to hang out. A lot. :-) I LOVE my friends and their kids, but, yes, sometimes we non-kid people do need a conversation that isn't about diapers. And this is the same as those with kids needing other moms/parents to hang with so they can share about diapers. For some reason, it's just not judged on the other side.

Traci @ Travels in WV said...

So, I love you. And I love this post. And I love your face. And STUPID OHIO.

Tiffany said...

Can I not be on both sides of the line? I, obviously, LOVE my children..but I also enjoy my time to myself, hanging out with people who want to talk about anything but child rearing.

brunettebabe53 said...

I know EXACTLY how you feel! *sigh*

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