Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Almost immediately after becoming a parent you start surrounding yourself with others of your kind as a type of survival mechanism. 
You still keep in touch with your single and childless friends, but some sort of instinct kicks in where you're inherently aware of the bumpy road ahead and you recognize the need to arm yourself with a strong alliance. 

Don't get me wrong.  It's not that you've fallen out of love with your single girlfriends or those who are married who haven't taken the plunge into motherhood. You still need those friends.  In some ways you need them even more now that you're a mom.  They're there to remind you that there's such a thing as life without children.  And that life is pretty damn fun.  These friends also stick around because they know that despite the fact that you no longer look and dress like yourself, you're still you. And for that, you'll love them forever.
The fellow parents you befriend along the sometimes often tedious road of parenthood are just as important. 
Who else are you going to exchange war stories with? Who will you turn to for consolation when you've just about lost your mind? Who else wants to hear about the "big dilemmas" you face on a daily basis: whether or not to enroll your infant in a music class, which developmental toys are best for baby, do I or do I not let my kid cry it out. 
These people - whether they're new acquaintances or longtime friends - serve as your brothers and sisters in combat, with combat loosely translating into night waking, food slinging, and incessant whining. 
You can still talk about the serious stuff with these friends, but inevitably the dinner conversation had by a group of new parents will turn to kid-centric chatter. 
Regardless of which box you're checking on the "status" part of the questionnaire at the doctor's office, getting together with old friends is always good for the soul. And what's really refreshing is how many things you have in common despite the fact that you may be at different stages in life. 
For example...

* We all love Modern Family and Parenthood, but seem to be equally disturbed by Skins.
* Your single friends are just as interested in birth control as your friends with babies are.
* Anyone can manage to have an entire conversation about where to find the best Target. 
* Sleep is a universal indulgence. 
* We're all just working for the weekend. 
* Everyone is in agreement when it comes to winding down the day with a couple of adult beverages. 
* Jeggings are every woman's go-to pair of pants these days.  
* Facebook has evidently become the best means of communication for all of us.
* It's official: Everyone has a hard time with the first hundred pages of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo 
* We're all searching for the same thing: happiness. 

So the next time you single folks need to RSVP for a kid's birthday party, know that we need you and we need you badly.  Not only do we secretly love to live vicariously through you, we need you to remind us that we're still the same people you liked back before we had kids.  You may end up leaving our house with drool on your shirt, pee on your pants, and spit up in your hair, but we're relieved that you decided to show up at all.
And to all the parents out there, embrace those in the same boat as you.  You'll share stories about your kids' potty training and bath rituals, you'll laugh about the fact that your current fantasy involves nothing but a nice, long slumber, and you'll feel better knowing that you're not the only one who reaches for the baby Tylenol when Junior isn't sleeping through the night. 

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