Thursday, September 29, 2011

Staying Connected to Friends with no Children

As a woman without children sometimes it’s hard not to feel alone, even though statistics show that I’m part of a growing number of women who are choosing not to have children. In June, 2010, Reuters reported that according to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, more American women are choosing not to have children than women three decades ago. Even though I do not have children, I enjoy keeping up with my friends who are Moms. But I admit sometimes it feels a bit like we come from different planets.    

For example, not all of us without children understand the concept of the “sippy” cup until it is too late.

Case in point:  When my best friend Pam’s oldest child, Kyle, was somewhere around 15 months old, I went to her house for a visit.  It was just about bedtime for her son.  He was freshly bathed and looking quite cute in his pajamas.  Pam had just made a pan of brownies, and she suggested I get one while they were still hot.  I thought that was a great idea, and it would be even better with a big glass of milk.

As I am enjoying this homemade treat, Kyle came up to me with arms outstretched saying, “Dink, Dink,” which I correctly translated as, “Sue, I would like a drink of that milk please.”  As I was handing Kyle this gigantic glass of milk so that he could get a sip, I noticed Pam trying to get some words out.  Her eyes were as big as saucers, and I was thinking that somebody must be trying to break in the back door.  What else could elicit such a response?  Before I knew it, the glass was up over Kyle’s head, and he was pouring milk all over himself.  He was drenched from head to toe.  When he blinked, milk would drop to the ground from his eyelashes.

“Why did he pour that glass of milk over his head?” I asked my friend.  That’s when she informed me that he couldn’t drink out of a cup yet.  I was dumbfounded and told her that I had seen him drinking out of a cup on numerous occasions during his short life.

And that is when I was introduced to the “sippy” cup.  By the way, I can really see where those come in handy and would highly recommend them because if you’re the person that gives a toddler a glass of milk without using the “sippy” cup, you’re going to be elected to give him a bath.
Oh, and of course, there are other things girlfriends with differing lifestyles can do to stay connected.
Talking on the phone occasionally instead of meeting at large social gatherings or shooting a text message when something funny or interesting happens lets your friend know that although you may not be able to spend as much time together as you would like, you still think of her often and want to keep her involved in your life.
Dropping a funny card in the mail or sending an e-mail are also ways to let your friend know that she is important.
Sometimes getting together to chat when the kids are in bed is a good option.  When we are chatting, it’s nice to talk about all different topics.  Keep in mind that your childless friend remembers you prior to the time you had kids, and sometimes just being reminded of some of those times can give a busy mom the energy boost she needs when times are tough.

It doesn’t necessarily matter how it’s done, the most important thing is to just communicate that even though you may not be able to see each other as often as you’d like, you will always be there for each other.

Susan Robison, MSN, RN, is a clinical education specialist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano.          

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