Thank You, Friends Without Kids, for Being Awesome

friends without kids Fargo Mom

As parents (especially to a young child), my husband and I know how important “parent” friends are. These are the people in our lives who just get it. The ones you can text with weird questions or share your most embarrassing parenting fails with because you know they can commiserate.

But unfortunately, we don’t see these friends very often because, let’s face it, family life gets busy. While we only have one child, it appears that the more humans you add to a family the busier it gets. The busier it gets, the harder it is to make plans. Even when we do get our acts together and plan a playdate in advance, the odds are exponentially high that someone will be germ-infested and we will have to cancel. 

But the friends we feel really thankful for? They are the friends without kids. 

Our son just turned three and the attendees at his birthday party included his grandparents and three of our adult friends without kids. The birthday boy had requested pizza and mac and cheese. While both are solid comfort foods, it’s not like our friends came for the spread, nor did they come for a few hours of forced interaction with my parents.

They came because they are awesome.

Since our kiddo’s birthday, I have thought about the many friends my husband and I are lucky to have in our lives. There are many things these friends do that make them so awesome:

1. They still invite us to social gatherings.

When our son was born, our lives absolutely changed and our availability changed. Our entire world view shifted; now we had a lot more to worry about and had to optimize our time and energy. But just because we had a child we didn’t vaporize or suddenly become werewolves or something. We were still us, with brains, hobbies, and interests; and our friends knew that. The invitations to backyard barbeques, brunch, book club, and beers after work kept coming. Our friends made sure to keep us included, and for that they are awesome.

2. When they do invite us, they have a family-flexible approach.

No, I don’t mean a family-friendly approach, I mean family-flexible. When I hear of a family-friendly event, I consider that to be an event merely tolerant of families. Our friends are truly family-flexible people and will change the nature of various events to better accommodate our needs as a family. Asking considerate questions, like inquiring about our son’s nap schedule and adjusting their plans accordingly, is one way our friends do this.

Other times that flexibility is shown by making choices with our son in mind. For example, our friends invited us to go to a RedHawks game with them and picked front-row seats behind home plate. They chose them for two reasons: one, because they thought we would be close enough to the action that it would be more entertaining for a toddler; and two, because they figured we would be safer behind the net. The way they made an effort to make the outing as enjoyable for us as possible, was awesome.

3. They interact with our kid.

When we get together, our family is not off sitting in some family-only section of the party and our kid isn’t treated like an unusual guest. No, our friends interact with our son and treat him like a truly valued guest. Often, our friends will take turns entertaining our son at events so that my husband and I are able to relax or get to visit with someone. It is common for our trusted friends to take turns playing with our son or engage him in some activity. As a result, my husband and I don’t spend the whole time chasing around the toddler (though, there is still a fair amount of that going on). When people step up and engage with our son, it’s pretty awesome.

4. They adapt, instead of making us adapt.

Last year we went to a Superbowl party at a friend’s house after they had gotten new furniture. At some lesser-awesome friend’s house, we would have been hovering over every little bite our son ate while the homeowner stared intently with toddler-spill-hating eyes. Instead, our friends adapted. After we dished up his food, one of our friends went and got a beach towel and asked our son if he wanted to have a picnic on the floor. Then our friend sat on the floor with him, allowing us to enjoy the comfy new furniture and view of the game. We would have happily sat on the floor with him, but our friend is the one who cared about the furniture, so they took the initiative to adapt and sat on the floor with him. It is this type of effort that helps us feel more welcome, which is awesome.

We love our friends and family members who have kids and we wish we could see them more often. But, lucky for us, my husband and I have some friends without kids who take the time to get to know our son and make the effort so our social gatherings are enjoyed by all.

Thank you, friends without kids, for being awesome.

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After meeting here during college, Caitlin and her husband, Tanner, settled in North Fargo and live a pretty upper-midwestern life full of trying to appreciate the small adventures. As a mom to a son born in 2017 and a daughter born in 2021, Caitlin tries to balance all of the mommy things with taking time for what makes her a human outside of being a wife and mother. Along with spending her days working as a program manager, she enjoys finding unique family experiences in the Fargo-Moorhead area, volunteering, reading, and simply being honest about the realities of motherhood in all its vehement glory.

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