When You’re The One Friend In The Group Who Doesn’t Want Kids
It appears that I’m the only friend in my friend group who won’t be having kids. I didn’t realize that I hadn’t spoken to all of my friends about where they stood on the matter—I only realized it when they started announcing their pregnancies and I realized oh like you’re keeping the baby. This is an official announcement, that has been printed, put in a cute envelope, sealed with a bow, and now sits on my refrigerator. It’s not a private, “Sh*t—I’m pregnant” text from a friend. I’ve come to terms with the fact that all of my friends are becoming moms, and that changes things. They’ve mostly come to terms with the fact that I’m not coming a mom, though some still make their little comments suggesting it’s sad or even selfish (not true, by the way). We’re figuring out our new equilibrium. But, the conversations can be clunky because my friends are planning and thinking and breathing motherhood, and I’m not. Here’s what it’s like when you’re the one friend who doesn’t want kids.
Home-buying talks are weird
We’re all talking about buying property. We’re at that phase of life. But I’m over here looking at two-bed, two-bath condos with a sick pool on the property and proximity to bars and restaurants. My friends wouldn’t dare look at a condo—they want a yard for their kids. The places that I think are a great investment seem like a terrible idea to people who want kids.
There’s pressure to get a bigger place
My friends try to pressure me to get a bigger place “in case” I decide I want kids. It’s annoying because I don’t exactly think I should buy a home that is $200,000 above my budget, all because it has a yard, “in case” I change my mind. That seems like the bad idea to me.
And pressure to consider the school district
My friends are also very concerned with school districts. All of their advice to me surrounding where to buy a home is about the possibility of my having kids. I just told them, “I’ll look into the school district because it affects resale value—but that’s the only reason.” Then we all awkwardly sip our iced teas and change the subject.
You think your salary is pretty good
I’m rather proud of what I make for a living. I’ve worked hard for a long time to build my skillset and feel that I have a salary to be proud of. In terms of just covering my own expenses and saving, I’m doing a great job.
Your friends are scared for your finances
It’s funny when you put my salary in the eyes of someone hoping to have multiple kids: they are terrified. Of course they are. They are thinking of my salary in terms of “How will she pay for kids on that?” They think I’m poor! And if I were a parent on this salary, I would be poor. But…I’m not a parent.
Future travel talk is shut down
I can’t even daydream out loud with my friends about taking a long trip to India or the Maldives in a few years. They shut it down and say, “Well, I’ll have a few little ones by then so, I can’t even think about that.”
You can’t relate to their financial stress
My friends will talk about the financial stresses of having kids—of being able to afford the best daycare, the piano lessons, the nannies, and the tutors. I don’t know how to participate in these conversations. I don’t know what those things are supposed to cost.
But you have to fake sympathy
I also have to low-key fake sympathy when my friends complain of how much kids cost. I’m sitting there thinking, “Nobody forced you to have kids. They aren’t a necessity of life. I’m trying to pay for my groceries and rent. Those are necessities.”
Your activities start to alarm them
My usual stories about my weekend escapades—the stories that used to make them laugh—are starting to alarm them. The more time that passes that my friends are moms, the more their faces turn from amused to terrified when I tell them about my adventures.
They’d never want their kids doing that
The truth is that my friends would just never want their kids doing the things I do. That’s what they’re thinking about now when I share my stories.
But, they did that!
On the flip side, and for the record, before they became moms they did that stuff with me. I have plenty of mom friends who also got tattoos in shady places and went home with strange men back in the day. They seem to have forgotten that now.
Comments on the strength of your relationship
They’ll make comments about how being parents has made their romantic relationship stronger and how it really shows you what your marriage is made of. It feels, somehow, like a dig at me—as if they’re saying my relationship isn’t strong because we didn’t take on the challenge of parenthood.
It’s okay to just not want that test
It’s also okay to just not want to put your relationship through the test of parenthood. Parenthood is also the cause of many divorces. Why isn’t it okay to just not want to even go there?
Those “best decision of my life” comments
Those comments about parenthood being the best thing that ever happened to them can feel like digs, too. Oh, and the comments about life having so little meaning until motherhood. Uh. Okay…does my life have no meaning, then?
Meanwhile, your issues feel frivolous—maybe?
I at once feel odd talking about my issues, because in a way, it seems small compared to raising and rearing kids. But also, sometimes I think, “Hey, can we talk about my career for a second instead of diaper brands?”