Why we’re useful to our parent friends

By Victoria Fryer 

I know that a lot of us begin to feel a disconnect with our friends after they become parents. They are absorbed in the day-to-day challenges that come with the care of a little one—as they should be! It’s a complex and all-encompassing job, for sure.

But what I’ve learned from my friends who’ve become parents over the past couple of years is that they often enjoy and appreciate what we childless folks have to offer them that they don’t get from fellow parent friends.

• We provide adult conversation/interaction. Particularly when the babies are, well, babies, there is a lot of talk among parents about ‘this is how we’re feeding, these are my baby’s digestive habits, this is how much we’re sleeping,’ et cetera. But some breaks from that, however short, can be valuable for new parents—even trivial talk about television shows and who said what at work.

• We provide an opportunity for them to talk about them. Parents often fall into a habit of talking about their kids. And that makes sense! It’s a really solid common ground to start from. But we as nonparents are often more likely to ask how they’re doing, too. To us, they’re not just parents. We may be better at reminding them to think about the parts of their lives that don’t revolve around parenting, too.

• We’re available. Parents are super busy. You know who’s not busy? Me. Okay, so it’s not that I’m not busy, but I do have more freedom to make myself available when my friends need to talk, or when they unearth some free time at the last minute and want to have a beer together. And if you want to plan a spa weekend away? I’m your girl.

• We provide an escape from the Mommy Wars. As someone who’s not a parent, it has always blown my mind how competitive parenting can be. Whose child is sleeping longer in a stretch, who’s moved on to big kid foods, who’s already potty trained. With my friends, I can dote on their children and celebrate their milestones without comparing them to my own children.

I find that, the older I get, the more difficult it is to make friends—and some of the best friends I ever had are becoming parents. It can be tempting to pull back a little and let them go full-tilt into their connections with other parents, but it’s helpful to remember that our friendship benefits them in ways that those connections with fellow parents don’t. I bet they realize that, too!

Victoria Fryer is a writer and content strategist. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two pit bulls. You can find her on Twitter @extoria.

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