A Love Letter to My Non-Mom Friends

non-mom friends non-mom friends

Dear Non-Mom Friends,

First off, let me say something I don’t say nearly enough: I appreciate the hell out of you. Not only because you are amazing, wonderful, fun to hang out with humans, but also because you’ve stuck by me through a LOT.

Seriously, if there is one group of women we don’t celebrate enough, it’s probably all of you non-mom friends who stick with us after kids. Despite how much our lives and priorities shift, you remind us that we still matter to the world outside our family. That we’re still fun. Still worth hanging out with.

And I need that reminder when so much of my life feels consumed by parenting. The endless mental to-do lists. The nagging my kids about chores. The never-ending feeding of other humans. In a world that can feel really repetitive, your friendship is the break in routine I so desperately need.

Yes, we moms act like we’re the busiest, but I’m grateful that you still make time for us considering how difficult our schedules become, how often we cancel last minute because of kid-crises, not to mention the fact that we can’t stay up past 10pm or party in any meaningful capacity.

It takes effort to bridge the gap between your child-free life and my kid centric one, and the fact that you are willing to fight for our friendship in this way is a big deal that deserves celebration.

You flex around our schedules. You understand when things go wrong. You forgive us for not texting back right away (and not being able to talk on the phone, like, ever again).

You have listened to all the TMI details of my birth experience and post-baby body. You have liked every one of the excessive number of baby photos posted to my Instagram. You’ve let my kids tag along when I can’t get a sitter. You allow me to tell kid stories that have probably bored you half to death, just so I can vent. And let’s not forget how you have helped me carry boatloads of gear down to the beach like a goddamn sherpa.

You have adjusted to our friendship time and again as it grows with my kids’ ages and stages. Even when parenthood has put a strain on our friendship, you have loved me through all of it.

And let’s not forget that you deserve a medal of honor for dealing with all the assholes out there who try to act as if your lack of children is their business. Whether you’re choosing not to have kids or don’t want them yet or are struggling to get pregnant or are on the fence, you’ve dealt with all those people who seem to feel the need to poke and probe and cast judgment on this deeply private part of your life simply because you have a uterus. And seriously? Eff that.

But most importantly, your friendship reminds me that there is a world beyond parenthood, and that I am still a part of it. You let me talk about my kids, sure, but you also want to talk about my career, what good recipes I’m cooking, what adventures we should plan together, the books I’m reading. You make me feel like I’m a part of the world – not just the center of my family. When I’m with you, I don’t get sucked down an endless rabbit hole of whether or not amber teething necklaces work or how to get picky-eaters to venture outside chicken nuggets (answer: you don’t). Instead, you make my world feel bigger and more full of possibility. Having those adult conversations with you feels like coming up for air after a day spent in the murky waters of parenting. It’s a release.

And I always love hearing about your life, not only because I love you, but so I can live vicariously through your impromptu vacations and late-weekend wake-up times. You allow me to reminisce about the woman I was before I became a mother, and remind me to keep that part of myself alive.

It’s so easy to become wholly consumed by motherhood. But your friendship helps me remember that I actually have other interests and identities beyond motherhood. You help keep me grounded in a different way than my mom-friends do; you make me feel like my whole self.

Seriously, I don’t know what I would do without you. Thank you for being there, for keeping the invitations coming, for caring enough to make our friendship work.


Your very exhausted, sometimes flaky but oh-so-appreciative friend Gemma

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Gemma Hartley is a freelance journalist and author of Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women and the Way Forward. She lives in Reno, Nevada with her husband and three young children.