The moment you have kids, a space opens up between you and your child-free friends. Sometimes it’s a small gap, sometimes it’s a gaping gulf. And with every subsequent child, it widens.
Here is a video that brilliantly explains the gap in the very funny form of an apology from Popular YouTube mum, Elle Walker, to her childless friends:
My favourite part is when Elle finally catches up with her friend but spends the whole time distracted.
“I need to multi-task you,” she explains to her friend. “It’s not your fault, but you didn’t bring a kid to entertain [my toddler]. So, I have to go halfsies on this conversation or else she’ll melt down in front of you. I’m completely stressed but don’t worry, I’m listening. Wait, no. I’m actually thinking about how much free time you have…”
Squinting at her friend through a sleep-deprived haze, she then blows her own mind by thinking of all the spontaneous possibilities that are possible to a person who isn’t responsible for a small child or two.
I’ve been that mother. Every mother has. None of my friends had kids when I had my first at 25. I was on a different page and in a wildly different life stage for the next few years.
But here’s what nobody tells you: as soon as your kids start school, the gap starts shrinking and another gap emerges between mothers of older kids and mothers with babies and toddlers.
Three of my very good friends are currently on maternity leave for the third time. They each have three kids under five. Even though I too have three kids, we are worlds apart. Their days are a mystery to me and mine are to them.
And this is why.