One day I opened my eyes and realized that life had a brand new soundtrack—literally. It was no longer 50 Cent’s ‘In da club’… it was my best friend’s baby screaming in my face as she handed him off to me to go have a minute of “alone time”, AKA go to the bathroom and hide. I was left in complete terror while she walked away, thinking ‘you don’t even pee by yourself!?’… the baby continuing to cry looking down at my chest as if I had something to offer. It really sunk in at that moment as he peered at me with those hungry little eyes, that it was no longer me and my best gal pals anymore, it was me and my best friends and their mini-me’s, and there were A LOT of them. I was totally out numbered.
This bun in the oven trend started about six years ago, and doesn’t seem like it’s going to go out of style anytime soon; Like cheetah print, it’s here to stay and just when you think it might be gone, surprise, it’s back. One after the other, all of my closest friends caught baby fever and started reproducing little squishy humans…and I am the last one standing. (Do I win some sort of consolation prize? A bottle of tequila perhaps!?)
Having children is the new norm, and for women like me, I started to feel like the odd man out… isolated, and no longer welcome at the clubhouse. I am the childless friend but like to consider myself the cool Auntie (* insert sarcastic, uncomfortable laugh here), although I was more like an entirely different species.
Whether you’re choosing to be child free, aren’t quite ready, or it’s by circumstance… things definitely change when your friends start to have babies. Life was different to say the least, and I often wondered if there was a place for me in this phase of my friends lives filled of breast milk, diapers, spit up, a ton of shit (… it’s actually quite amazing how much poop they have to deal with), lack of sleep, mommy groups and play dates. I often found myself in the middle of conversations of birthing stories (that sounded like a new Alien movie), and the only thing I could contribute was how I once fell and broke my arm, in which I got immediate death stares followed by the tale of ‘a watermelon and a key hole’. Yaaaa, once again too much information ladies—a new level of intimacy I was totally unprepared for.
So I continued to try to fit in with my best friends now turned moms. Everything that once seemed so simple and easy (going for dinner, having drinks, going for a run, shopping) was now full of obstacles—hindered availability, unfinished conversations… “Sorry Amanda, one second, the baby is crying;” “She just dumped her bottle!!!” “You’re running around naked again! Put your clothes back on!?” Why are you covered in makeup,”… although sounding very similar to a wild night out in our 20’s… a totally different experience.
The fact of the matter is, having a baby is like any other major life change. I mean we all stayed friends when we went to university, got that full time job, moved to the other side of town (I still can’t believe you live in Shelbyville by the way), went through that phase of hanging out with what’s his face every day, all day… oh, and then not to mention got engaged and married, so there’s really no reason to fall a part over babies entering the world.
However, I do definitely think there are stereotypes and expectations set on both sides of the fence. I do understand that your little human is your number one priority and you may fall asleep in your drink at 9:00 pm. Please know I ALWAYS appreciate your solid effort as I realize how hard you work to keep that little human functioning and happy. You are completely selfless and I admire it; I think what you do is nothing short of awesome. Yes, I know I am soo lucky to sleep in on the weekends, and I do like working late, drinking margaritas on a Tuesday, going on trips and doing other “me” things, but I hope that doesn’t make me shallow or selfish? And ya, sometimes I do feel a little sad when I can’t find a hiking and/or dance partner on a Saturday. It makes me miss you.
So I say (and encourage you), invite us (childless friends) to the Birthday parties and mom gatherings- I am well aware that “it’s going to be a bunch of wild, hyper kids” that I “probably don’t want to be around”, BUT I DO, and I also really like cupcakes and loot bags. Those outings are also where 99.9% of my friends are— where they catch up and socialize as all of their little meatballs are busy amusing one another. I also definitely don’t mind trading some nights out for a night in, watching Paw Patrol and playing Shopkins (seriously who invent’s this stuff, it’s terrible), eating take out and tripping over toys. And honestly, you don’t need to apologize when your kid is throwing a tantrum and having an absolute meltdown… I have them too.
In a perfect world me and my besties would live parallel lives, but where is the fun in that? Point being, we don’t need to separate into two tribes: the mom’s and the child-free. If you have a strong friendship, you know how to meet in the middle. I truly love watching all of my best friends become parents and love their little bambinos even more… all twenty-one of them (and more on the way).
Side note: For those that are wondering- my snake plant is alive and well. 2.5 years old (or 30 months in baby years), three new shoots, and almost outgrowing its pot. 🙂 Thanks for asking.
Now go, BayAwesome xo
Luv, Auntie Amanda
Photography by the talented and very patient Dave Zahodnik of DZ Photography. Also a HUGE thanks to all of my best friends (Erin, Katrina, Kristi, Laura, Lindsey, Mandi, Mandy, Nancy, Tanya and all of their munchkins) for joining me in the creation of this post. It was an awesome day and meant the world to me to have so many people I love in one room. I will treasure these photos always. I am grateful to have each and every one of you in my life. Love you all.