Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Friendship Question

Today's considerations...the dynamics of friendship between those who have children and those who are child-free. I have experienced some sensitivities of late feeling like a vast part of who I am today is either invisible to my child-free friends or consciously omitted by me as I relate to them. This omission stems from my concern that I will be perceived as "all-mom" and not "Diana," the once interesting, inquisitive individual who had the mental capacity to think beyond potty training and daycare woes and the physical capacity to stay up past 8:30pm...

And then there is my own envy -- that green-eyed monster that arises when I listen to the stories of world travels, romantic evenings and art shows...the yearning I have at times to run away from this parenting responsibility and enjoy the freedoms my child-free friends have...

Whether it is my friends for whom kids are not really their thing or my own feelings of identity inadequacy, the challenges are real...AND I am hoping they are surmountable.

One friend sent me some links she had found on the subject:
http://www.workitmom.com/bloggers/parentingwithoutamanual/?p=187
http://www.life123.com/relationships/friendship/maintaining-friendships/how-friendship-changes-after-children.shtml

Interesting of course how I had believed this was my issue alone...that I would be the only one who might suffer this relational catastrophe...oy vey

So then...how to overcome this "great divide?"

The first answer seems to be to take it in stride --"optimize reality" as I like to say. To find the spaces where my child-free friends can enjoy interacting with our kids without subjecting them to "kid overload" or even holding them hostage in their own home...(OK, so we recently spent 3 whole days/nights in the home of our dear child-free friends...)

Second is the realization that the challenges we face today raising a 2 & 4 year old will shift over time. That in time, there will be less diaper conversations, as diapers will be a thing of the past. That once regular sleep returns, I may be able to discuss the books I am reading or the recent art film I have seen...in fact I may even have completed my certification program in Somatic Coaching...So, time...patience...

Then, compassion. I realize I have gone from one who has been validated throughout my life by external achievement to now relying on more subtle measures of success (and are they even mine?) like how creative our children are or how connected they feel to a stable home environment... How to learn to be compassionate in my own valuation of myself for the acts of care and development and nurturing of our children, despite a lack of time left for pursuit of other more tangible goals...

Next gratitude. How grateful I am to even be considering this dilemma -- to have the loving friends worthy of exploring it with and the most beautiful children in the world whom I love so dearly. Would that jealousy and internal conflicts would give way to openness of heart and wonder of the amazement that surrounds us all.

And lastly, acceptance of change itself -- that friendships themselves will change over time. That experience and context will shift. I love the question at the forefront of it all: What does "friendship" mean as an adult? What is at the foundation of these connections that transcends all of the externals?

So, I am interested in hearing from others about this experience -- both from those with kids and those without. How can we create a mutually-satisfying experience on both sides? How can we serve to support and care for ourselves, each other and our friendships despite (nay, in celebration of) the individual choices we all have made...

4 comments:

Pam said...

I think it's totally normal to feel like you do; kids can be overwhelming. I feel that way with one, can't imagine two! But I do know that we're going to "blink" and they'll be in high school.

I think you are an amazing, strong, articulate, creative and talented woman ... who happens to be a beloved Mom too.

Blessings to you, my friend.

lowe施cole鈺man駿 said...

幸福沒有鑰匙,只有梯子。.................................................................

曹彥均曹彥均 said...

好久沒有這樣輕鬆享受閱讀的樂趣了~~留個言邀您分享我的快樂~~............................................................

盈廖生家秀蔡 said...

快下班囉~來問個安,跟您打聲招呼............................................................