Lost In Translation: Communicating With Non-Mom Friends

I love my friends who don't have kids. They remind me that I'm so much more than a mom. But... they also don't always understand what I mean when I say certain things like, "I'm so tired today."

I love my friends who don't have kids. They remind me that I'm so much more than a mom. But... they also don't always understand what I mean when I say certain things like, "I'm so tired today."

A mom’s best friend is a fellow mom. They know exactly what you’re going through. They can offer insight into situations you’re struggling with because they’ve been through it. They can offer a hug or reassurance or a good laugh. They even understand why you interrupt them all the time. (It’s because you’re just so excited to have an adult to talk to that you blurt out whatever comes into your head regardless of who’s talking.)

And while mom friends are super important, I also value my non-mom friends. They remind me that I’m more than “just a mom” as well as how truly blessed I am to have toddler hands tugging on me every minute of the day. They see things I don’t and encourage me as an individual.

But, see, if you don’t have kids, you don’t really “get it.” You can’t understand the struggle of motherhood until you’re in the midst of the battle. Of course they try to understand, they say they understand, but until it becomes a reality, they have no idea what’s really happening. For example:

I Say: I am so tired today.

They Hear: I could use a nice, long nap.

I Mean: I want a two-week long vacation in a hotel with just HBO and a Costco-sized box of cookies as company.


I Say: Junior’s finally slept through the night last night.

They Hear: Junior slept 9 hours straight.

I Mean: Junior slept for three hours, woke up to nurse for a half hour, then slept another four hours. It’s a miracle!


I Say: Can I get you something to eat?

They Hear: Should I whip something up really quick for us to nosh on?

I Mean: Would you like a graham cracker or some fruit snacks?


I Say: I cannot wait until my kids go to school.

They Hear: I’m looking forward to my kids learning and growing and becoming well-rounded members of society.

I Mean: I am so excited about a couple hours of silence five days a week.


I Say: My kids are starting to get picky about what they eat.

They Hear: My kids don’t always eat their vegetables.

I Mean: They have somehow survived the last three days on just bread and milk.


I Say: I’m sorry my house is a mess.

They Hear: I haven’t gotten around to cleaning today what with being an awesome mom and all.

I Mean: Can you get me a maid for my birthday?


I Say: Since we’re friends, I should let you know I haven’t showered yet today.

They Hear: I haven’t showered today but I will after the kids go to bed.

I Mean: I haven’t been able to do more than wash the poop off of my hands since last Friday.

It’s not their fault; they just haven’t lived through what I have. Maybe I should have them babysit one night so they get a better idea. Or a couple weeks. I think I saw a Groupon for a short term hotel…

© 2015 Toni Hammer, as first published on Scary Mommy

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2 thoughts on “Lost In Translation: Communicating With Non-Mom Friends”

  1. Honestly… all your ‘I mean’ clarifications, are reasons why I never wanted a kid.
    Being an aunt since the age of 11, I grew up realizing it’s not all fun and butterflies and pink clouds.
    It’s 30 years later now and I’m happily childfree surounded by mom-friends. I love them and their children dearly, I really do, but sometimes… my friends remind me of martyrs with their stories about how awfully hard it is to be a mother.
    Yes, I don’t know by experience, but it is what I’ve always guessed. Not appealing to me 🙂
    I’m ok with them talking about it snd I let them vent without any ‘told you so’ or ‘duh’. But pffff…. sometimes it’s all they can talk about! As if they don’t remember what it was like before they were a parent. None of them enjoyed to listen to the many stories of their mom-friends or mom-sisters, but now they do it themselves and rarely even simply ask how the other party is doing.

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