To All My Friends without Children

I read a very telling blog/post the other day and I say telling because I too have wanted to always take the time to do just as Jason Good did in his “Day 166” blog post to all his friends without children. I feel there are two different types of people out in the world – those who have children and those who don’t. Neither is better than the other – Trust me. I love my children, love my family and love what we have created.

I som20140311-163334.jpgetimes wonder what life would be like at age 33 with no kids, but then I think about my boys, what I would be missing out on each and every day. They are my world….I live through them and love every moment of it. They show me how to enjoy just the small, tiny little things in life that we adults, 33 year olds, sometimes take for granted.

Don’t get me wrong, mommy likes her time to herself at times (when I get them, which tend to be very few with young ones, school meeting, work, etc) but I love my life and where I am today. Once you have a family of your own and a baby/child that loves you unconditionally you’ll know what I mean! There is a reason I am where I am and God has a plan for us all. So friends with and without kid – here is my letter to you through Jason’s words to understand I do still love you, I miss you and gosh darn it – I am here for you – tired and exhausted at times but still alive and ME.20140311-163342.jpg

Day 166: To all my friends without children.

I know our friendship has changed since I had a family. I never answer the phone; I don’t return texts as quickly; I almost never “hang out” anymore. That’s because my priorities have changed. I would have warned you, but I didn’t know it was going to be so severe. I still love you as much as I always have, but I’m really tired at night. I really want to see you, but can you please come to my place? I know it’s far, but I needed a house and yard or I was going to lose my mind. It might be hard to have a conversation because my kids will be angry that I’m not giving then all my attention. I wish I could just tell them to be quiet and go play, but that’s not really how it works.

I hang out more now with families who have kids the same age as mine. That’s because when they’re playing, the adults have a little time to talk. If there are no other kids around, I’m responsible for all the entertainment and it’s exhausting. People with kids understand that I might have to leave in the middle of their sentence to get a juice box. They understand because they did the same thing to me five minutes ago. It’s not that I like them more than you, it’s because they understand the situation and that makes everything easy. I need things to be easy a lot these days, especially when it comes to “entertaining.”

I know you want us to just get a babysitter and drive out to your place and drink wine until 1am. I want to do that too, but I can’t. Not for a few more years. My kids are too young and they still wake up at night for various reasons. I want to be there when that happens as much as possible. So for now, you kind of have to come to my house. Understand that when you do, most of the afternoon will be about the kids and not about us. I’ll have to put the hotdogs on the grill before the steaks because if I don’t, someone will freak out and throw themselves on the ground. You’ll also probably have to spend some time by yourself while I take one of my sons inside to talk to them, read them a book, or put on a TV show. To me, it’s all worth it for that 15 to 20 minutes I get to spend with you totally uninterrupted.

I remember when we used to spend hours talking, drinking and playing pool. We’ll do that again; just hang in there with me during these few years when I need to focus on raising my kids to be interesting and happy. I’m terrified I’m gonna screw it up. My life is like finals week in college, and I spent all semester smoking weed and listening to ZZ Top. I used to be a child-free person who had friends with kids. It’s weird, I get it. It’s also really fun to play with someone else’s kids, and almost all of you do that really well. I encourage you to do it more, even if it feels awkward sometimes. They might diss you, but don’t take it personally; humans aren’t born with manners. Have them run little errands for you. It’s great that they can go in the fridge and get you a beer. They like doing it, and it will make them think you’re cool. Trust me, there’s no better feeling.

I miss you all and want to see you just as much as I ever did. I also understand that I’m a bit of a pain in the ass to hang out with. I take full responsibility for that. I yawn a lot and don’t remember stuff. Let’s just acknowledge that I am a distracted Alzheimer’s patient and try to see each other more anyway.

-Jason Good

In my shoes

When we moved to Milwaukee it was a complete change for J and I. We had been married just shy of a year. He had just graduated law school from John Marshall. We had lived in Chicago for a few years and loved it. I was given a great opportunity to work for Kohl’s Department Stores corporate headquarters in their gift card marketing department. It was a dream job! J and I had agreed that if the perfect job came about we would go where we needed to be. When we finally made the decision to take the job and make the move we had no idea that there would be so many changes.

Both J and I had talked many times about having a family and why not! We loved kids and loved the thought of having our own. After we got settled in in Milwaukee we decided, after a few months, to see what would happen. Let God decide if the time was right. Well sure enough it was! I was probably in my current job with Kohl’s for about 5 months when we found out we were expecting. I was shocked at first. I really didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. We were just meeting people, other couples, others who lived in the same complex as ours and getting to really know Milwaukee and what it had to offer us.

Well 9 months came and went and we were blessed with our first born – JD. Wow was having a child completely different. The late nights up and nights with no sleep…..yet we tried to make it work as well as we both could living in Milwaukee and our families both 4-5 hours away. After about 6 months we decided we needed to be closer to our families, our support to help us make our new family better. Its not that J and I couldn’t do it all, we could however it was hard for us and very trying with no one really to call in need of some help at times.

We quickly realized that life changes. Having a family changes things. Your free time to lay on the couch on a lazy Sunday to watch football is no longer available when you have a little one to take care of that depends on you. Going out on a Saturday night and not doing much the next day, probably isn’t the best mix when you have a child who needs you. We slowly felt a pull away from our friends, not because we were no longer cool to hang out with but that we had different priorities, different needs to make sure were met. Have you felt this too?

Now speed forward tshoeso now – we have been back in Springfield for at least 5 years now. As much as we miss the city of Chicago and the Milwaukee offerings we know being here is best for our family. J has been able to really develop his career and I in the marketing world. We are both busy with our jobs, but more importantly busy with our boys. Soccer, basketball, parents club, grant committee, etc. We get to see our families at least once a week if not more.

Friends every now and then depending on everyone’s schedules. A fully scheduled, heck-it and rewarding life.

I think many readers might be able to relate to my story of how life changes once children enter the picture. I think something I wish those who did not have children could walk “in my shoes” at least once. Life as a parent is busy, demanding, constantly going and rewarding all at the same time. I love my time with my children! They are my world and I wouldn’t change a thing. God gave this life to me and everything in it. I enjoy it all! The good and the bad….and everything in the middle.

My advice to those who do not have children – please try to think about your friends with children. Be “in their shoes” every now and then. Realize that sometimes it take a few extra calls, a few extra texts, emails, whatever it is to stay connected. You’re not bothering your friends with kids. If anything you are giving them a moment of adult time that might actually be needed. And realize that if you ask us to do something once be sure to follow up with them before deciding they aren’t interested, cant go, etc. You never know when in reality they may be waiting for you……