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.
We were all fully-formed people before we became parents. We were interesting and multifaceted and unique.
The truth is, we still are, and we might realise that if we switched gears and tried to talk about something other than the upcoming Yo Gabba Gabba concert or which brand of all-natural cough syrup works the best (none of them, the answer is none of them).
I want to know what you're passionate about.
I want to know about your dreams and the things that make you feel alive. I want to hear your origin stories and listen to the things you want to do when your kids aren't tethered to your side.
I want us to laugh. I want us to have adventures.
I want you to remember that parenthood is not the only thing in the world that defines you. I want you to remind me that I'm more than just a mother and a parent too.
So, can you please stop talking to me about your kids and start talking about you?
I don't want motherhood to be where my life begins and ends. Sure, we can still talk about our kids, commiserate, and share in one another's parenting accomplishments — but at some point, we need to be more than mere storytellers of our children's lives.
We need to be our own people, with interests and stories of our own.
We need to create our own lives.