Hang out more with your child-free pals

I was reading an article on SF Gate yesterday called Ten tips for becoming a happier parent because I’ve been a bit grumpy since reading the New York Magazine article All Joy and No Fun. (Why parents hate parenting).

The original New York article catalogs the joys (intense) and the sorrows (frequent) of parenthood. Upon reading this quote: children are “a huge source of joy, but they turn every other source of joy to shit,” I started nodding in agreement. Before I finished reading, I had tweeted and facebooked my solidarity.

But was I a hypocrite now cheering on the opposite sentiment from my book and website? Moms having more fun is my schtick, right?

So, is it really true? Did my children steal everything I loved doing before I became a mom? I have to admit, during that moment of doubt, I needed a little extra help finding the bright side of parenting.

Self-portrait by Jessica Todd Harper, shown with her son.

The happier parenting tip (from the SF Gate article) that I’m loving is this: Hang out with childless friends. These people don’t want to wallow in your mind-numbing chatter about sleep battles or comparison shopping on strollers. These people are still a good time!

Right after you have a baby, you avoid childless friends like the plague…at least I did. I’m not sure why. Maybe I feared that I’d feel jealous of their freedom or maybe I was afraid they couldn’t relate.

That was a mistake because once I started reconnecting with those friends I realized that they are the best cure for parenting overload. And no, it’s not because they can drink more wine. My parent friends are actually heavier drinkers than my kidless friends (wonder why that is?). It’s because they know how to talk about things outside of kids. They actually read the “New York Times” beyond the homepage, see movies in theaters, listen to the latest music, and have travel plans beyond going to Hawaii and Tahoe.

And if you want to talk about your kids, these childless friends listen and admire you for trying to be such a good parent, rather than giving you the name of a great child psychiatrist or telling you that you should read such and such parenting book.

You might need to find some stuff to talk about, but we know you can do it!

Read more:
Activity #107: Have some adult conversation
All Joy and No Fun. Why parents hate parenting.
Ten tips for becoming a happier parent.