I was processing with my therapist recently about how some of my friendships have faded away as friends have grown into motherhood alongside others, but without me. I don’t assume it’s necessarily intentional. I know priorities shift, and I just can’t offer that same level of understanding and experiences that another mom can.
But this separation that sometimes occurs is a real loss, and I wish we as a society could have more open and gracious conversations about these changes and the differences in lifestyle.
A quick definition: When I say “mom” I’m referring to a woman who has at least one child living in her home and under her care. “Moms” actually include so many more people than this, but let’s keep it simple right now.
Moms are amazing. I don’t know how you do it . . . the schedules, the noise levels, the chaos, the extra sleep challenges; I’m overwhelmed just thinking of the idea of constantly being in charge of another life! I applaud your work, and the way you maintain your sanity and compassionate relationships with your family through it all. You are worth celebrating and supporting — big time!
However, as we know, not all women are moms . . . and non-moms are worth celebrating and supporting occasionally too.
As a non-mom, there are different reasons we may not have children in our care. We may not want them, or may be unsure about having kids. Maybe we’re postponing that life change, have infertility, have miscarried, or had an adoption that didn’t pull through. We could have tried multiple ways without success, are burned out from trying, or are afraid to try; it’s possible we were advised not to. We could also have kids in someone else’s care. It could be some combination of reasons, and we may or may not want to share about this part of life.
Motherhood is a high calling, but it’s not the only high calling for women.
Our purpose may be different. We may have a sweet career or have other people we care for. We may be really active in our community, create inspiring works of art, live a simple life that honors the world around us, or bring beauty to the world some other way. These are all meaningful ways to be women — humans — in the world.
Cheers to all the non-moms and the moms who do these things!
My plea, as a non-mom friend:
I get it . . . sometimes you may be completely overwhelmed and you can’t think about us. Sometimes with limited time or energy, you need to choose a playdate with another mom!
Speaking personally, I also have busy seasons of visitors, work responsibilities, and travel. I’m open to low-pressure friendships. Even if it’s been a year or more since I’ve seen a friend, it’s never off the table for me. The same may be true for your non-mom friend!
If we reach out and you like us as people, invite us over. We can bring dinner sometimes. Let us be a female friend to do gal things with. We may be the ones who can be there for you in a hard time better than anyone else.
We know you have schedules you have to keep with your kids, we just may not know what they are. So feel free to tell us when you generally might be free to hang out, with and without kids. Then we can invite you to do things as well!
Let your children build “auntie” relationships with us. Invite us to your kids’ sports games and performances. Invite us to a pool, beach, or playground day — that way your kids have something fun to do, and we can chat with you or play with them. As a heads up, it may or may not mean that we are open to babysitting. (Example: Not all females feel comfortable with babies. My husband is way more comfortable with them than I am!)
As someone who works from home, doesn’t frequent bars, and doesn’t have that built-in family community (making friends with your child’s friend’s parents at school, church, activities, etc) . . . to be considered for occasional get-togethers means a lot.
I am grateful for the moms in my life who have intentionally kept in touch. There are many ways that non-moms can be good and helpful friends, if we know you value our friendship, and keep communication open!
About the Author
Originally from upstate NY, Stefanie and her husband have lived in Charleston since 2014. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker, currently serving as the Executive Director of a local nonprofit, Sanctuary of Unborn Life (SOUL). Stefanie is also a professional musician, writing and performing soulful story-filled songs about things that matter most. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor adventures, tap dancing, supporting the arts, and quality time with loved ones.