there seems to be a dichotomy between mamas and women without children. a lack of common ground, nothing to talk about, the inability to see eye-to-eye, to understand each other's choices.
but whether you've been a mama for 20 years or 2, you were once a woman without children. you remember what life was like without a tiny you to care for. so why is it so difficult to keep our friendships with women who haven't yet followed in our footsteps and become mothers themselves?
it is absolutely possible, and necessary, as a mama to have people in your life who are not mamas. just as it's equally important for childless women to stay friends with the mamas in their lives. what we need are some ground rules and tips for keeping those friendships blossoming and not turn in to a who's busier, who's more tired, who has more free time, etc contest.
RULE NUMBER ONE
for mamas: limit the amount of time you spend talking about the bodily functions of your children, their sleep habits, and what foods they're currently eating. it's not that interesting and women without children are not all that interested.
RULE NUMBER TWO
for non-mamas: don't be tempted to talk a walk down memory lane. 'remember when we were both single and went clubbing every night?' will most likely make your mama friend sad and it won't be the uplifting fun conversation you had in mind.
RULE NUMBER THREE
for non-mamas: the burden for scheduling and outreach is on you. this is something that you're going to have to just pick up and run with. is it fair? perhaps not. but your mama friend has the life of another person literally in her hands and she needs you to pick up the slack in this arena.
RULE NUMBER FOUR
for mamas: make an effort. when you receive an invitation to meet up with a friend from your past who's not a mama, put it on your calendar, take a shower, maybe even wash your hair. make the effort to get there and to have fun. it's hard to get out of the house, but you'll be so much happier once you have.
RULE NUMBER FIVE
for non-mamas: mamas are tired. all the time. keep this in mind when calling, texting, and scheduling coffee or drinks. mamas have an early bed time. while drinks at 9pm sounds like a great idea to you, your mama friend is probably already in pajamas and feeling guilty that she's no longer 'cool' enough to go out at night. save her that awkwardness and pick another time (sunday brunch? yes, please!)
RULE NUMBER SIX
for everyone: celebrate each other's differences, successes, and milestones. a promotion? celebrate. baby slept through the night? celebrate. a new PR for your marathon time? celebrate. a new pregnancy? celebrate. don't compare achievements. just share in your celebrations.
RULE NUMBER SEVEN
for mamas: do not ask when your non-mama friend is having a baby.
do not ask. do not ask. do not ask.
RULE NUMBER EIGHT
for everyone: find something you still have in common. were you sorority sister? talk about that. are you both entrepreneurs? talk about that. do you both love natural makeup products? talk about that. are you both budding minimalists? talk about that. do you both love to do yoga? talk about that. stick to subjects that you have in common and build upon those.
RULE NUMBER NINE
for everyone: do activities together that you both love. see rule number 8 for some suggestions.
RULE NUMBER TEN
for everyone: keep it light. keep it fun. and share a hug when you part. and don't forget that just because you're in different stages of your life, that doesn't mean you can't still be friends.