I have many childfree friends – childfree in the “I have a made a conscious decision to never have kids. Never ever” and not in the “maybe” or “just not yet” sort of way. Many people seem to be under the impression that those who have chosen not to have children cannot/will not/don’t want to get along with those who have had children and vice versa. However, I’ve come to realize how much I need my childfree friends.
Of course, this doesn’t take anything away from my friends who are mamas and papas or who do want children someday. Unfortunately, this blog post isn’t about those awesome people but about other awesome people in my life.
Part of the reason these relationships remain strong is due to respect, from both sides. I never try to convince my friends that they should have kids, that they are “missing out,” or that they’ll “regret it” later (none of which I believe). I never assume that being childfree means hating children or not knowing how to take care of them. I trust my childfree friends with Droidlet – they love him and our little bot family.
And this respect is reciprocated. My friends don’t spout off statistics of over-population, or refer to me as a “breeder.” Yes, I had a child, but that does not mean I am breeding for the sake of procreation, or because I believe it’s my role, or because I have to. My feminist friends don’t try to retract my feminism card because I’m a mama. And most of them are even gracious enough to put up with me talking about the Droidlet, though I try very, very hard to not only talk about him.
What’s most important is that mamas and papas benefit from childfree friends and vice versa. Some of Droidlet’s coolest aunties and uncles are childfree and are going to play a huge role in his life and shaping the person he becomes. I very much believe in building a community around Droidlet of people who are going to open his perspective, love him like crazy, and broaden his world – this includes both friends with children and those without.
And yes, I’m not delusional. I know that it gets hard sometimes. I know it’s frustrating when I have to flake last minute on plans because something happens at home; or when I do get overly excited about this huge life change (I HAD A BABY! AHHH!); or when I get that small pang of “what if” as I watch my childfree friends live a lifestyle that isn’t a reality for me anymore because I chose to have the little dude. I know it won’t always be rainbows and butterflies and puppy dog kisses. I just think it’s important that mamas don’t feel like they have to drop all of their friends that don’t have kids; or for childfree people to feel they can’t associate with women who do decide to have children.
So, rock on, you childfree ladies who are proving to the world that having children is NOT the primary goal for a female and making a life decision that works with who you are. And rock on, you mamas out there who are proving that being a mama doesn’t mean losing your life, your goals, or your individuality. And thank you, to the ladies and the mamas, who remain friends and show how children bring people together, not rip them apart.