I’m a mother, so I know how tempting it can be to talk about your kids all day, every day.
It’s an easy default setting: You’re constantly caring for them. They’re the source of endless joy and ire. You have enough content on the intricacies of your three year old’s dance recital to give a five week lecture on toddler dance culture at the local community college.
But seriously, if we’re going to be real friends, at some point we need to stop talking about our kids.
I’m guilty of it too. When I’m making new mum friends, talking about our kids is the thing that first brings us together. There is a primal sisterhood you feel when you’re talking about sleep deprivation and the hellish battle of making your child put on pants.
Parenthood gives you an automatic bond, but being “mum friends” and being real friends are two completely different things.
Forming a real friendship requires leaving the kids out of your conversation every now and again. Meaningful connections can't be built on poop stories alone. I don't need to know every last detail of your kid's schedule, eating habits, and temperament. I have my own kid's crap I need to keep in my mental notes.
I'm not hanging out with you because I want to be besties with your seven year old. I get to talk about LEGOS and lizard-hunting enough with my own kid, thank you very much.
The reason I enjoy talking to you isn't simply because our kids are the same age. Regurgitating similar kid stories gets tired after a while. It's the same old, same old, and that's not what I'm here for. I'm here because I want adult interaction, because I want to know all the interesting wonderful things about you: the stuff that goes beyond the parenting struggles we share.
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Being a parent can easily suck up your identity, but that's why we're here, isn't it? To remind each other that we are people with more to offer beyond parenthood? Our kids define so much of our existence — shouldn't we at least take a break when we get a chance and talk about something other than them?
I don't want motherhood to be where my life begins and ends.