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"The things I wish my childfree friends understood."

Five years ago, I suddenly found myself single, moving interstate to start a new life and about to turn 30 (insert doomsday ‘da-da-DA’ sound here!). I wasn’t in a good place, for a couple of reasons, and felt fairly lost. When you add the fact that the majority of my old close friends were ‘loved up’ and in the process of having babies, something I thought I ‘should’ have been doing by that age, it was a tough time.

Gradually I settled in, kept climbing that corporate ladder and became pretty darn happy. My social life became very important to me.

The thing is, most of my old friends didn’t want to go out with me drinking and looking for ‘the one’. They had responsibilities, so I hardly ever saw them. I now look back and realise just how much I didn’t understand everything they had on their plate. I made a new circle of friends – all single, childfree and free as a bird.

Now, the tables have turned. I’m married with a 16 month old and another baby on the way in just a few weeks. I try to stay in touch with those single childfree friends (some of whom have now met their other half, some who haven’t) but increasingly I’m finding it harder and harder.

"Now, the tables have turned. I’m married with a 16 month old and another baby on the way in just a few weeks." Image via iStock.

There are many things I wish they could fully appreciate - things that, pre-baby, I should have tried harder myself to understand. I can’t just drop everything and share a bottle of wine with you one leisurely Sunday afternoon, as much as I’d love to.

I don’t have the energy to go to a movie at night, even though my husband is home to look after the baby. No, I'm not 'boring', I just haven't had any sleep in weeks and will be asleep by 8pm! No, I haven’t 'changed' – I just don’t have the free time I used to. The old me is there somewhere, she’s just buried under piles of nappies and exhaustion.

If I go out with you, the evening has to be planned with military precision and well in advance. And don’t you dare cancel on me – that window might not be open again for months! Looking after a child with a hangover is THE WORST – so if at midnight I say I have to go home, don’t give me grief about it, okay?

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Despite what you think, it’s not that I’m 'not fun' these days. I just don't have time to muck around while you um and ah about your plans.

I can’t return texts in a timely manner, or wait for you to rock up at a café half an hour after we said we’d meet. And if you are selfish or incommunicado, don’t expect me to chase you – I simply don’t have the energy.

"I can’t return texts in a timely manner, or wait for you to rock up at a café half an hour after we said we’d meet." Image via iStock.

Currently, I’m immersed in nappies, feeding, sleeping routines and outings with mummy friends – so excuse me if my chat is shit. I have little interaction with the ‘non-mummy’ world, and baby brain means my conversational skills are zilch (unless you’re talking the latest baby product, in which case I’m totally all over that).

It would be ridiculous of me to expect my childfree friends to actually understand any of this, because before you become a parent you just can’t fathom what a huge upheaval it is. While I like to think I haven’t lost myself to motherhood, maybe I HAVE changed. Becoming a parent is widely recognised as one of the most life changing experiences a person can go through, so surely that comes with side effects.

So the next time I say, “I can meet for breakfast but it’ll have to be early otherwise my child will whinge and make the whole thing miserable,” please try not to bitch and moan about having to drag yourself out of bed a bit earlier that one particular Sunday.

Call me self centered or obsessed if you want, but one day you'll be in this baby bubble too. I still love you, even though we might not talk much. I’ll try to stay ‘cool’ and ‘fun’ – but it’ll most likely be ‘mum cool’ and ‘family fun’ – sorry.

Is it hard for you to stay in contact with your childfree friends?

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