When my son was born 5 years ago, I noticed something: I lost all of my friends.
I had one or two good friends still but most of them completely fell off the face of the earth. Sure, some of them I still have hanging around my neglected MySpace Page but with the exception of one “real friend” most of them I haven’t talked to or seen in ages.
Most of this I blame on what I call the “friends with kids divide”. When you have kids, you’re in a COMPLETELTY different world from the friends who don’t have kids. This past weekend we spent some time hanging out with some friends that didn’t have any kids. Here’s some differences that I noticed between them and us that contribute to the friends with kids divide:
1. They have coffee tables: I used to really like coffee tables. They’re nice, stylish, and even useful for holding coffee. But to a baby walking or a kid who wants to catapult himself off the couch, they’re DANGEROUS! I don’t know if I will ever have a coffee table again!
2. They squirm when the kids start screaming: Little kids are good at making a LOT OF NOISE. Whether they’re just screeching in pure glee or throwing a full blown temper tantrum, it makes people not used to kids very uncomfortable or annoyed, while most parents are almost oblivious to the amount of noise their children are making.
3. They don’t understand nap time: The worst thing is to wake up a baby from a nap. Many friends without children will get mad if you’re running late because of a nap time or don’t understand that you might need to leave or stop what you’re doing because life revolves around nap time.
4. They have a fridge full of beer: I drink a beer about 3 times a year. Before kids I have fond memories of going out with friends or having parties where beer was a necessity. Now I’m looking for lemonade, juice, water, or milk for the kiddos to drink.
5. No toys: There are no toys strewn around their house or yard. No stuffed animals, action figures, crayons, or anything else to play with. They’ve never experienced the joy of walking into the kitchen in the middle of the night and nearly killing yourself after stepping on a hidden matchbox car. Since no toys are available, the kids instead start eying up expensive knick knacks and collector sports memorabilia to play with, usually found on a coffee table.
While these things don’t seem like friendship busters (and they won’t hurt a true friendship) they can result in experiencing the friends with kids divide – making it likely you will start subconsciously spending less time together. The only hope of ever recovering the friendship is that they may have kids some day, or you stay in touch long enough that you can be friends again after the kids grow up. Otherwise, you’re much better off to find friends that have kids or don’t mind the screaming, strewn toys, or missing coffee table and they’re better off finding friends that can actually participate in adult activities.
Have you ever experienced the friends with kids divide?