Do you ever wonder what Childfree Life really looks and feels like?
Sure, there are the party days of your 20s & 30s (which we both crushed by the way!) but what happens when things start to "slow down" at 50?
Is fun still a priority? Does the worry about the elder years increase or decrease? Does regret set in or fade into oblivion? Is building community with new childfree friends possible?
We share answers and insights to all of this PLUS, wecover topics that matter to all of us- health and wellness, relationships, investments, career, travel and lots more!
When your friends have kids and you are childfree, it can instantly transform your friendship beyond what you may have imagined. In this episode, Rick and I identify some of the challenges that can arise once your friends begin to have children.
You may realize that choosing a childfree life can mean losing commonality with your friends who become parents. How can you manage those inevitable changes? Should the topic be addressed although it may feel uncomfortable or inappropriate? Should you compromise or just let it go?
When you’re the only childfree person in your circle, it may also feel more isolating as time goes on. (we don’t want you to feel this way!)
Rick and I share our personal stories and share some tips that may help you ease the transition.
Rick: [00:00:00] And here we go. Hello. You make fun of that. That's how I start. That's my signature. You don't like it? I know. I just said, is it your signature? Because we've only done very few podcasts. It's now my signature, I think. It's fine. I like it. Let's keep it going. All right. All right. How are you doing? I'm good.
I'm good. I'm
I love the fact that First of all, the weather here has been incredible. Like, this is the weather, this is why we live in Austin. I mean, it's just amazing. It's been beautiful to go out for walks, to just hang out outside. Uh, our dog, Eddie, is loving it. So, I don't know. I think I'm a flower. I'm affected by weather.
So, when the weather is really beautiful, I'm excited.
Rick: Yeah. And it helps that, you know, we're coming out of what, four months of 100 degree heat consistently. I don't think we got one break. It was pretty insane.
Veronica: Yeah, it was pretty insane. So yeah, we're happy because of that. How are you doing?
Rick: I'm doing well.
Thanks for [00:01:00] asking. I think you know everything because I complain a lot, but I'll just say the biggest thing on my mind right now is me. Tinnitus or tinnitus. I think it's pronounced both ways.
Veronica: Oh, your ear. Yes, an ear issue, a big topic around here. And I actually really sympathize because any noise in your ear is really annoying or anything in your ear at all.
Rick: So here's my question. I have for you. Do you think now that I'm aware of it because maybe it got like louder than normal. And now I'm focusing on it that I'm just so hyper aware of it that it's causing me these issues, or do you think it's gotten worse? Like it's, I'm going to an ENT obviously to
Veronica: see what's going on.
I honestly have no idea, but I could imagine that just hyper focusing on it doesn't help. Yeah. But I, I understand that at the same time, how can you not, right? Because you're like, am I still hearing that noise? Am I not? So, so yeah, but I have faith that. We're going to
Rick: solve that issue. We'll figure it out.
It's just the worst because it kept me up last night. I [00:02:00] had another bad night's sleep because I woke up to ringing and I couldn't get it. I couldn't not focus on it. Yeah, I know. I completely understand. But anyway, enough of my ailments. I'm very excited about today's topic. We're talking about navigating friendships as a child free person.
We've talked about some of this in the past, but we're really going to dive a little deeper into specific examples that we've been through that maybe some of the listeners can relate to. Thank you. Or viewers, by the way, we are on YouTube, if you'd rather watch this. I don't know. This one hits close to me.
So I'm happy we're talking about this I mean, I think it
Veronica: hits close to us both and, and like you said, whoever's listening or watching. And this is, I want to say top three questions that we get a lot from the members of our community. Um, and we talk this in depth with the women in my program because it is a big deal.
I mean, our Friends are our chosen family, uh, many times and, um, being able to navigate that, um, those [00:03:00] relationships can get really tough, right? There's just so much involved. So we wanted to talk about that today, but we also wanted to kick it off with like the expectations, right? That we have once our friends start having kids and where does that go?
For example, you and I, uh. You have some friends with young kids still, but my friends, our kids are mostly in college, going into college, have graduated from college. So that's a different experience altogether. So we can get into that as well.
Rick: Yeah, and I think just it's worth mentioning that we'll leave with some takeaways at the end of this.
I always feel like the student with you, cause you've done so much more research on this topic. So it's really, I always walk away with learning something. So hopefully some of y'all will, will have the same experience. So I do want to start it off real quick with that transition period of. Having friends that don't have kids because you're most of your friends, you're young enough [00:04:00] that that wasn't, that's just not part of your agenda, whether you're going to have kids, you're not going to have kids, you're just friends and you're in that space once they start having kids, like there's that fine line of change that really is.
affected me personally. That to me was very confusing. It was I didn't know what to do at that time. I didn't realize how much it would affect me. I mean, obviously we all realize that our friends are gonna have kids and maybe you even thought at some point you would have kids. When my friends started having kids, I had like real Confusion around it and all kinds of emotions, which I think is why it's such a popular topic among the amongst the community.
Yeah, I mean,
Veronica: that's very typical for that to happen. And some of the times if you haven't done some deep thinking about what's going on and reflect on it.
Um, but yeah, that transition period can be really challenging [00:05:00] as you're navigating through this person that now has a whole human being to take care of. When this happens, just like you're saying, I think the most obvious thing is to be prepared for that. You're not going to see your friends as often as you did, and you may not see them for a really, really long time.
So did you experience
Rick: that? I think I still haven't really understood, I don't think I still understand what happened. You know, in a weird way, I'm like, I'm like, I know I got through it, but it If there's anything I want, we, we want to do here is discuss things that, that everyone else feels most likely or not everyone, but most people feel so we can, they can learn from our experiences that we can also grow from them as well.
So I still have that weird, like. Thing that I just don't understand what happened. It just, it just started happening and I felt like I was left out to dry, which is not anyone's fault, but my own, it was how I felt. You know, everyone moved on [00:06:00] with their life in this, in this trajectory of their life, but it was just very strange for me.
Veronica: And I mean, I think that also correlates with the idea of the people in our community saying that they begin to feel very isolated, right? Because you are in that transition period. Maybe it's just one person in the beginning and then it becomes. two, and then it becomes three. And depending on your circle or where you live or where you are, whatever, a variety of factors, you could end up in a situation where you're the only one without kids.
I mean, you ended up that way. I ended up that way. Um, I know that people in our community have ended up that way. So it is very confusing and you're right. Like it's sort of sneaks up on you if you're not uber aware of what's happening.
Rick: Absolutely. It really just. Once that first, I guess it's because in my particular circumstances, you as you just outlined that both it happened to both of us very quickly, everyone just started having kids at that age, you know, and it wasn't like a trickle effect.
But, um, and then there's so many layers to it too, [00:07:00] because once they start having the kids, the relationship remains the same for a little while, then it starts to change more and more and then it becomes something else. So it's not just, you know, a linear thing. It's, it's very stacked and very confusing at times, as I mentioned.
Veronica: yeah, but let's get clear on what happens after, which is why I think what you asked just a minute ago, like what can you expect to happen? Because if you weren't expecting anything to happen, that's why it feels so jarring all of a sudden. And so there's a few things happening. Number one is that the change of how often you see these people, right, because these might be the people that you're hanging out with pretty much every weekend, right?
Or weekend nights, whatever your social schedule was at the time. And it feels like a big loss, right? It does feel like this. Emptiness to your lifestyle to your plans, um, because what happens is that, [00:08:00] first of all, you have to find the time, right? Parents, um, of young kids are extremely focused on their baby as they should be and making, um, spontaneous impromptu plans, uh, really just go out the window.
And I should also mention that. Yeah. I've had women tell me this before, and I've heard of several stories about this, that um, they'll say, and I don't know about men actually, I don't know about the, it's, it's, I don't know if it's the same, you can chime in, but they'll say like, don't worry about it. I'm not going to be one of those moms that is like just all consuming with their child.
I still want to have an identity. I still want to be able to go out when I want, do what I want. Um, maybe not out what I want, but I'm not going to not hang out and be fun and all these things, right? And it ends up that when someone really focuses on, I'm not going to be that mom from my personal experiences, [00:09:00] they turn exactly into being that mom.
And I think that's because they themselves can set themselves up that way. But when reality strikes. That's not necessarily what happens, and it's nothing bad or good, it's just what happens. Right.
Rick: I agree. I think that the intention of our friends who have kids and try to guarantee us almost that the friendship won't change.
Mm-hmm. , I think the intention is there. It's, it's a good intention, right? I think that when you have your first kid, I think you don't know what to expect. So, You realize this wave of responsibility that crashes down on you, and it's not like you're trying to intentionally ignore your friends, but you don't have the time.
You don't have the space. You don't have the, you're, you're just so in
Veronica: it capacity to do something on. Yeah,
Rick: it goes, it goes both those ways. It goes both ways. And, and we as child free people, at least I didn't be able to really witness that. Now we lived in New York and my friends lived on the outskirts.
So I wasn't there day to day. If you're [00:10:00] living in a neighborhood, you might be seeing that more. And what they're going through, but I didn't understand what they were going through.
Veronica: So it wasn't from facing wasn't accessible to you. So, so sorry, I don't want to cut you
Rick: off. Go ahead. No, no. It's just that, you know, back to what you were saying earlier was it was morning a friendship.
In the past, I wasn't losing a friend, but I was mourning the old relationship that
Veronica: I had with that person. Right. Exactly. And then, um, also what happens during this time is we start spending time with our friends, but pretty much a high percentage of the time you're going to be spending time with their kids too.
So even the gatherings. Um, change because you're no longer meeting your friend for drinks or I mean, maybe that opportunity arises, but it can't be quite that often, right? You're not going to go away for the weekend right away. You're not going to be, uh, going out to many dinners with them. So oftentimes, and this is from my [00:11:00] personal experience, is that when we did make a plan, They would have their child with them, or it meant I was going over to their house and their child was there as well.
Rick: think it's in stages. Like for me, at least, it didn't happen. It wasn't just one day. It was like this. And the next day it wasn't. I like I said earlier, and I've said this before, it really plays out slowly, like everything in life. That's a life altering decision that you make, you know, but for me, it was stages like for me, and I don't know if it's the same for you.
Be curious to know it. didn't really change much at the very beginning, you know,
Veronica: remember that we're also talking about men and
Rick: women, right? That's what I'm saying for you. I'd be curious to know. It didn't change much for me. It was, it was, wow, they have a kid and our relationship is still the same. This is great.
Like this is going to work. This is fine. Not that I was thinking of it subconsciously as the responsibility became more and more as the baby grew. I've noticed a pullback, a slow pullback. And I think it's important that we mention that. So there are [00:12:00] expectations, at least from the male's perspective for me, but I'd ask you, did you, was it, did it feel like it was in stages or was it a real big jump from, we have this type of friendship and now we have a totally different friendship?
Veronica: Well, that question gets in. Gets us into gender roles, right? And responsibilities in the home. So it depends how that particular couple had laid out what parenthood would mean to them, right? Because my, um, girlfriends who were who left work and became full time moms, they in it from day one, right? There was no period of things aren't so bad.
Uh, you might have been seeing like the husband's version or, or hearing about the husband's version where like, you know, yeah, the baby's, you know, crying, sleeping and needs to be fed, but it's just laying there all day. And maybe they're at work just thinking like, you know, how hard can this be? Or maybe it's not getting in the way of their current lifestyle.
Right. [00:13:00] So you're seeing like the responsibilities. as the kid grows, because now the kid walks and you know, it starts going to school and then it starts doing sports. So, so it's a different experience, but I don't want to say it's a, it's a, it's a woman, man thing because it's just a matter of. Who's taking on that role, right?
Because now, I mean, we see, uh, stay at home dads all the time. So if the dad is staying on home, you would feel that transition instantly of them just being like fully taking care of the baby and having to focus on it. So I. I think that might be where the different experience comes from.
Rick: That makes sense and it varies as depending on who, um, yeah, I, I totally can relate to that.
I guess I'm just speaking really from my experience and it was consistent that way. Yeah.
Veronica: Um, we're older too. So things were, uh, different, you know, now I see. I see. I mean, I see, [00:14:00] you know, even my mom makes the comments, um, someone in the family had a baby recently and, and they're all just like, Oh, he's doing, you know, the dad, like he, you know, he helps to feed it and walk it and he's so involved in the, you know, it's still seen as like, Oh my God, he deserves this like grand prize.
Whereas he's doing 50 percent of the work as he should. And he's very aware of it and wants to do 50 percent because that's what. That's how they're doing it, right? Parenthood. They're both working. They're both sharing the responsibility, but it's just funny to me that, um, you know, my mom is. It's still in that mindset of like, wow, a man helping is like, you know, let's like, yeah, that's a problem.
Let's like stand and give them a standing ovation. Um, but yeah, I am glad that that's shifting and that's happening. So that's what I'm just saying. Like we're, we're looking at it when we were younger, things have started to change, although [00:15:00] in many ways they haven't at all, which is why. A lot of the women in our community can understand that, you know, I can't, I don't want to be in a situation where all the responsibility is put on me.
And that's a very valid, uh, opinion to have. Yeah. Yeah.
Rick: I mean, I don't think anyone wants to be put in a situation where Everything is responsible, especially if this is a, you know, a quote unquote family. And it's, you know, to your point, it should be a 50 50 responsibility. And I'm not saying that it wasn't a 50 50 responsibility.
Veronica: seemed my I'm just saying it was a different time. But It's, I still see it today. I see it all the time. People DM us and they talk to us, the people in our community, we are in contact with them constantly. So we do see examples of it all the time. And before I forget, the other thing I want to mention is that there is an, um, I mean, so many things shift.
One thing that just came to my mind was you don't get invited to kid friendly [00:16:00] events. At least I didn't, but it's a tricky one because we talk about it all the time. Um, it's a tricky one because not, you know, we don't necessarily want to be at a two hour bouncy house. Second, you know, second birthday party, right?
Like, I don't think a lot of us have tons of excitement around that, right? It's different if it's your really good friend's kid, your niece, your nephew, or whatever, like someone that you're really super connected to. Um, you know, I went to all my nieces and nephews, uh, birthday parties, of course, but, but you don't get invited to these, like once your friends have started having kids and then you can tell me if you were.
And, and. I at least, you know, I was wondering, like, why did I at least want an invitation? Right? But there's really no way to compromise between those because in my mind, like, I wanted the [00:17:00] invitation to the ones that were like in the backyard having a barbecue because all the parents were coming and all the parents I was friends with.
So I felt like, oh, that, that would have been fun, but I didn't want to. get invited to the bouncy house, right? Because I had no interest in that. So it is confusing, right? And I think that the parents are also thinking, because I've asked them as adults, like my friends were like, there is no way Veronica is going to give up a Saturday to come to the bouncy house party.
And therefore I don't think she's going to want to come to any. Kid friendly event. Yeah.
Rick: Well, now we're getting into assumptions a little bit, but from, from them, but I would say for me, and I know this is going to sound selfish, but I prayed that I wasn't invited to any of these, these events. I really did.
I was like, I, I think it's because yeah. You know, I just really valued
the friendship that we had at the time and that, and again, this [00:18:00] is looking back, obviously you compromise, right, you know, so
Veronica: obviously sometimes the friendship suffers from a lack of compromise.
Rick: Yeah, fair. Fair, but you know, from so when I got those invitation, I was usually coming up with excuses no matter what it was, whether it was a, was, was like a fun outdoor activity with the kids or a bouncing house.
Um, I found myself going to some of these and it was exactly what I thought, which was a nightmare. It was, it was completely out of my element. I was having zero fun. I was pretending to be all excited, but. I'm like, I want to go home and, and I, you know, I'm not saying that to be mean, I'm just saying like, it's just, it was just, again, I think I was just, you know, internally lashing out and being like, this sucks because, you know, they, they chose this and I didn't understand.
What to do with my life at that point. It really, it really sucks. And I can imagine a lot of people listening to this have are feeling that way. And I want you to know [00:19:00] it gets better and we'll get into that. We can break out of almost that transition period and what it looks like now to adopt the friendships for what they are and to compromise and to understand that you're not going to lose your friend altogether.
But I, before we get into that, I will ask you, did you lose any friends when they had kids?
Veronica: That's a tough question because. Like that. I never spoke
Rick: to again. I know that friendships change, but did you not ever speak to not because you were upset just because you just organically parted ways because the difference of life
Veronica: not to my very best close friends.
No, I mean, that naturally happened with other people that were friendly, um, acquaintances, colleagues, things like that. But I can't think of someone that I completely stopped. Yeah. talking to because their, um, children got in the way so badly. Um, I haven't had that experience, but we have heard it a lot in our [00:20:00] community where they say, like, they just can no longer make time for them at all and that they're not willing to.
Go out of their way constantly and it just gets a little dicey and complicated and then the friendship tends to fizzle out. But I didn't have that experience. So
Rick: I want to get into that a little bit because I think a lot of people go through that where it actually not only just changes their relationship, but in some instances ends the relationship.
And if you value the relationship, they should value it equally, right? How do you navigate that? If, if you have a friend that has pulled back so much because they're all consumed with their child, their new newborn or their children, children, if they're pulling back and I can, this happened to me. So that's why I'm bringing it up.
If they pull back completely from you, do you let them go? Or is it? Your responsibility to a certain degree to sit down and say, Hey, I [00:21:00] understand you're all consumed at this point, but I feel completely left out of our friendship. Or is it one of those things where, and I want to try to put my ego to the side here and think like you don't look at as an ego thing.
You just look at it as like, this is the way life is going to be now with, with this particular person. Yeah. That's okay. And I shouldn't be upset or feel a certain way about it.
Veronica: Well. It's it's not a yes or no, or this or that answer to that question, because there's so many factors involved, um, what I strongly believe is that, first of all, we're responsible for evaluating our friendships, right?
How badly do we want to hold on to them? How important is this person in my life? Um, How much are we meeting halfway? So I do think that the responsibility is split, but I also think that if we really want to hold on to it, [00:22:00] there is a level of compromise that someone has to happen. Now, I am not saying that the child free person has to make all the compromises.
I'm saying that. We need to meet them with compromises because they're meeting us with compromises that they're going to do that now to your example If someone is just not making any effort at all to make time for you and i'm not talking about you know, I mean You know one of my best friends. I wouldn't see for six months, you know or eight months because she's Always frazzled and that didn't change my level of love for her or I was just so understanding of What she was going through that it wasn't really affecting our friendship But it's really up to can you have a day to day?
Can you have a discussion with your friend explaining how you feel [00:23:00] and is this something that can be worked on? Like, right? Like, is this something that we can say, you know, once every two months or three months, I would love to Meet up with you alone and catch up and just talk about like here about you.
What are you up to? How are you feeling? And have those types of conversations like we used to have before right so there is that openness of having those discussions Now the answer to that question varies because some people will feel Perhaps offended that you don't understand what they're going through and like, how could you even think about yourself?
Some people do recognize that they're lacking in The effort that they're putting into the friendship and really understand that and by you speaking up It's going to really sink in and some people are willing to compromise and say yeah, let's have that one date But we need to compromise by knowing that it's not going to be every weekend.
[00:24:00] It's not going to be every month, right? So, so it really depends. It really depends.
Rick: It was just one particular person and it was, you know, that was rare because all my friends have kids, but it was just really heartbreaking, you know, because it just went from, I've now chosen this trajectory of life to have kids and a family and.
I can see you're not following along and I'm done, like I'm, I'm gonna just move on because I did reach out and I didn't get any kind of, you know, response. So it was like, wow, you questioned the whole relationship, like how good of a friend were
Veronica: they? Yes, but I also have to say that I have felt that in the past, and we've talked about it again with the women in our community, but I had on one of my best friends as a special guest, um, with one of my program, um, live calls that we do, and she was very nice to come on.
[00:25:00] She has four kids Iwith my How I, you know, I let everyone in the group like ask her questions because people were really confused about this dynamic with some of their best friends and knowing that her and I. Our best friends and she had the four kids and we had this whole lifetime of Difference right where we were like hanging out every week best buddies to not and then now to still be able to hold the friendship It was they were very curious and have on how we had done that so she explained she definitely gave a good explanation of how Rough, she had it, especially with one of her kids with the postpartum depression.
I think maybe even two of her kids and then also the feeling of Yes, I would love to go out for a girls night and like have fun and Not think about my kids, but I just [00:26:00] couldn't right? I just can't there's just so much going on But like that idea seems amazing to me. She's like, I would have loved to have done that.
And, and she's like, you know, because a lot of them spoke about, asked her about, well, when we do hang out with our friends who have kids, you're talking about the kids the whole time, right? And I mean, that even happened to me with my, I would, I would have a birthday party once a year with all my girlfriends and then they all had kids and then we would just be talking about their kids the whole time.
the whole entire time and it was my birthday and nobody was asking me about, you know, so it just gets really weird. But she did say, you know, I wish that we had discussed it because I wasn't even aware I was doing it. Right.
Rick: I was about to say that she didn't even know it's because it is so front facing every single day.
It's right there. Right. You're, you're, it is all consuming. That. You, you have so much to talk about, you know, so
Veronica: that's not [00:27:00] right. And you're not off doing things by yourself and having all these new experiences necessarily, especially if you're a stay at home mom. So this is your life. So this is what you're going to discuss.
And then it, you know, it was really interesting cause she's like, I would have loved it not to talk about my kids. Right. And then here we are like. Trying not to be disrespectful because we know this is our life now, but we're also getting maybe some resentment that that's all they talk about. So it's so navigating it is so tricky, but I do think that not ignoring the elephant in the room is the best way to go.
Rick: Yeah. And getting back to your point about creating a schedule, like we'll see each other every two months. I tried that too, and it just doesn't work. Right. Because so many things come up and. It could come up on either side, but I'm going to guess if you have kids, more things can come up that you would have to cancel plans.
I mean, we experienced that all the time, even with our friends now who have kids and that's fair. I get that. So it's, it's also tricky to, to kind of put it down on [00:28:00] paper, so to speak of like, this is how we're going to continue our relationship and this is how it's going to make it work. So you almost got it.
It's almost feeling it out. You almost got to have some patience, obviously. Um, you know, Oh, you have to sneeze. Go ahead. It's okay. Listen, we're human beings. It's gone, I know. Here we go. It's gone. No. Ready? Three, two.
Veronica: No pressure when you count. Okay. It's gone, it's gone, it's gone. It's gone, alright. Yeah, and I'm not saying that's the ultimate solution, and you do have to, it depends on the person, it depends on the friendship.
Like, for example. Uh, it did work for me, right, because we're both planners and schedulers. So we set a calendar on the date three weeks from, um, not three weeks, maybe two months from now, then I can keep that date open and then she will start working around like what's going on with the kids and trying to set up babysitters and all that.
in two months time. So, but it's not the same and it's not easy. And if you're not a scheduler and if you're someone that likes to just be spontaneous, um, [00:29:00] you know, it's just having the awareness that it's not there anymore. Right? Yeah. The transition
Rick: period is tough at times or it could be somewhat smooth, but for you, what does it look like once you start spending time with their kids?
Veronica: it's not really that I'm spending time with their kids is that I'm. Making time to spend with them and their kids are always around, right? For the most part. Like I said, when we did book those like ones in a blue one on ones, they, they happens, but there were ones in a blue and they didn't happen with everyone.
So. Oftentimes, I was the one, uh, meeting them at the park where they were with the kids, meeting them for breakfast or, or somewhere in between because the kids, like during the kids nap. So that was a good time, um, or going over to their homes. And while the kid or kids are there, so
Rick: it's, can I ask you, can I ask you what was that like?
Like when you first started doing that? Was it fun? [00:30:00] Like, were you really into it?
Veronica: It was really, really challenging when they're teeny, teeny tiny babies, like the first two weeks. I mean, they're just like so cute and they smell so good and like really you go over and they'll just like sleep on you the whole time, right?
It's when they start, you know, making start making noises. They start talking and they start walking. It's when things really change. Um, so the very beginning was easier, like I said, but, um. You know, after year one, especially, it was very challenging and very distracting, too, because you're in the middle of a story, you're in the middle of a sentence, and the kid is, you know, you're sitting at a diner back in New York City, like, and the kid is like, Throwing utensils on the floor and then knocking down all the napkin things and then like taking the napkins out of the, you know, [00:31:00] napkin holder or, or just doing a lot of things that are impossible to ignore.
Right? So, so the mom is trying to deal with all that as. You're in the middle of your story, and I feel like there's like this like let's ignore that all these things are happening Cuz right because the mom's like oh, yeah No I totally relate and like picking them up and trying to like you know get stuff out of their bags and get so they could Give it a toy, and you know now you just find an iPad or so so
Rick: I love I love it when they when it's happening too, because it's funny, I do remember a bunch of moments like that.
And you want to kind of help, but you don't know what to do. And they know their kid better than you know, their kids. So you're like, then you're like, I don't want to help parent them in a way. But I I'm like, okay, throwing napkins or throwing food at someone else, maybe and they don't the parent doesn't even see it.
And you're like, yeah.
Veronica: But they see it, you know, we're just not, you know, we've talked about this before. Like I, when I see kids playing in what I consider like a [00:32:00] dangerous, like maybe it's concrete, uh, stairs or something like that. Like I just get very anxious and I'm a very, um, I'm an empath. I'm also very anxious.
So all that stuff like starts to affect me. So it's not like I'm not acknowledging and not really soaking in the energy of what's going on. Right? So it's not like I'm having a great time sharing my story and they're the ones struggling with it. Maybe you can do that more than I can, but I am like.
Rick: when that's happening. And this is just a little nuance, but when, when the kid is, you know, and the parent is trying to, you know, reign the child in any kind of misbehaving that's happening, especially when you're in a public space or whatever. And they're, they're trying to listen to you and they give you the whole like, uh, no, I totally understand.
Yeah, so your job's going well, but they're looking off to the side and you're just like, yeah. And in my head, I'm like, you're not listening to me and that's okay at all. [00:33:00] But this isn't making it the
Veronica: best experience for me. And then you don't want to do it again, necessarily. I wasn't fine. That was really distracting.
And I'm glad I got to see you, but I don't know anything else. You know, we're, we were trying to keep your kid calm the whole time. And I mean, this would happen to me a lot or a lot of times also I would go over there and I mean, this has happened to me multiple times, but go over there to see my friends.
And then you end up being the kid or kids playmate the whole time because they're new and they, they're really excited that you're there and they want to. play with you the whole time. Now, I don't mind. I mean, I like kids and I don't mind playing with them, but my level of how long I can play with a child is really low, right?
Like I can play like one little thing and then I'm done, right? It was nice. We spend a little time together, you know, 10 minutes later, I'm done. But when it turns into like a whole afternoon of, you know, my friend [00:34:00] is running around, either dealing with the other kids or trying to make dinner or, you know, doing something else.
And I'm just playing with a kid for a really long time. That puts me in a really awkward position because I'm exhausted, right? It's most likely a weekend. I have had a crazy week at work, let's say, and this is like. the last thing that I want to be doing, right? So you, we like get ourselves in that situation and then you have to assess, okay, am I okay with this?
Like, it's this what I wanted, right? Because sometimes you might want that. I, you might want a Sunday where you're just like at your friend's house and their kids are playing and you're playing with them and it's nice, but you may not want that
Rick: at all. Yeah. And it's funny. Cause I have a story and I'll share it with you real quick.
It was, it was one funny thing that was. It was just wow. This happened to me. So I went over to their house and I was led down into the basement where the kid had like all this elaborate set up [00:35:00] of toys and a racetrack and this whole thing and we started off playing, right? And it was like, oh, you know, it was right at the beginning.
I had just arrived and you have energy. Yeah. So I got energy and I'm just hanging out and I'm playing with the kid with him. And we're all like hanging out and then I look up and he's gone and I'm like, okay, no, my friend is gone and I'm left alone with the kid playing with the toys and you know, he's adorable of course.
And he's like, oh, look at this Rick and look at this uncle Rick. And I'm like, first of all. When did we start with the uncle thing? I didn't, I didn't sign on to that yet, but I get it. That's what people say. And look at this and look at that. And, and then, so I'm like, okay, you know, he went to go get a beer or whatever to do something, you know, and then time goes on and now it's 10 minutes and it's 15 minutes and now it's a half hour and it got to like an hour and I'm like.
Where do you go? What happened? Like, I'm still hanging out here and I've run [00:36:00] out of things to do and, and how to play. And I don't know. I don't want to leave him here alone. He was relatively young. Right. So then I went upstairs. You could have picked up the kid. No, it was, no, I don't think it would have been weird.
I think it was a little too old to be picked up. I don't know. You know me. I don't know how to handle myself around kids. So anyway, I go, I finally kind of go upstairs halfway and I'm like, hello. Hello, you know, giving like, where are you? Nothing. And then I finally go up and I find them in the backyard hanging out, like doing, like having like their, their alone time.
And I was like, Oh,
Veronica: him and the wife.
Rick: Yeah. And then the one, like spending some quality time. So, like, I wonder, like, whether they're at a restaurant or whatever, do you think the parent, all right, that's a whole separate thing, because,
Veronica: you know, do they see us as like a
Rick: relief? Do they see us as a relief?
That's question one. And then number two is do the parents think like, when they're hanging out with a child free person? Yeah. Are they saying to [00:37:00] themselves, especially if things are chaotic, like I wish the child free person wasn't here right now because I could be so much more efficient of parenting if they weren't here distracting because I have to now pretend that I'm interested in their life because I have the chaos going on right now.
Veronica: I think, I think it could be none and all of that at the same time, I agree with you. I mean, it's interesting to see the dynamic, like what goes on in their minds, what goes on in our minds, because we're both so sensitive to our needs and what makes us Happy and how we wanna spend our time. Right. That we, everyone values their time so much.
So all these little scenarios can get really tricky. Yeah. Yeah. Mm-hmm. It's,
Rick: mm-hmm. I just always wonder what they're thinking. 'cause I never wanna be a burden. I'm like, look, if you need a parent, I'll leave. 'cause like the hour in the basement, right. Playing with toys and stuff and trying to entertain a child.
It's very exhausting. It's hard to do. And if I have no experience, I'm doing it wrong. 'cause I [00:38:00] know the kid kept looking at me like, what are you doing? Like that's not how we play and I'm like, okay, well, I don't know how to play. I haven't played for
Veronica: I know I'm a terrible 30 years actually. No, for some reason I do well with kids.
I always say I'm a terrible, I'm terrible at play, but I guess I'm pretty decent. You're very good. I'm
Rick: not so much. But anyway, maybe what are some key takeaways that people can use to really navigate these waters as they're going through these different stages as we outlined? Yeah, I
Veronica: mean, the first thing is.
Rick: As they navigated certain waters, that was, as we outlined, it sounded so businessy, sorry. Oh, it's
Veronica: okay. I mean, one thing that we touched on already is open communication. You cannot ignore the elephant in the room. You cannot ignore how you're feeling because a lot of times, um, getting back to the example of my friend earlier for, for a minute, she had.
Said, I wish that someone had taken me like someone like [00:39:00] myself was able to say like, hey, hey, hey, like, I love your kids, you know, everything's great. But can we not talk about them? Where I would have thought that that was very rude, but she was like, I would have welcomed that so much because I didn't even, like I said before, she didn't know she was doing it.
And what a great thing to talk about other things in life. Right? So open communication is key because you're, you're, I think that we both on both sides make a lot of assumptions. Right. And now sometimes the other person could be a jerk, right? On either side, really. Um, so we have to decide like. Is the friendship, uh, worth having these open and honest conversations, right?
And if it is to make sure that we have them, I think it's a good idea. I don't know if people agree, but I really think it's a good idea to start having the conversation beforehand and not so much. As far as your friend saying like, look, everything's going to be great. Nothing's going to [00:40:00] change. I think at, for the most part, people realize that there is a change there, but feel free to say like, look, um, I don't, you know, as you know, I don't plan on having any kids.
I really value our friendship, but how do you see this? Um, moving forward, like, can we still have a girls night once every X amount of months? Can we still go for a walk in the park together once every whatever or things like that? Or let's not put anything in the schedule per se, but what are you? How are you planning to, um, not however they're planning, because I would put it all on them, but like, how can we make this work?
You're right. I want maybe not set anything in place, but like, just open up with like, I want to make this work. I know that your life is going to change drastically. I welcome that, obviously, because I'm happy for you and I love you. But how are we going to make this work? I don't want to get in a situation where we never see each other again.
Like, you know, and just start having [00:41:00] the conversation. Maybe there's no solutions. Maybe there's no. Answers at the time, but at least it's open, right? Because then you can say like, you know, we talked about it before the baby. Now the baby's here. How are you feeling? Do you want, you know, do you want to still hang out more?
Do you want me to just give you some more time? So, I mean, I know those are hard to have, but they have to happen
Rick: sometimes. Yeah. I, I completely think that's a great. Piece of advice and you know, would you, I would even say maybe before the baby's born, you know? Really? Oh yeah, that's what I said in the beginning.
Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. I missed that part. But yeah, I mean, have that conversation when they can give you the time. Yeah. Yeah. My piece of advice too would be acceptance. Like just start to accept it early that it will be different. Yeah. You know, you don't want this drastically square peg round hole situation where you're trying to make something work.
Acceptance. Acceptance, acceptance. Yeah. Like, just realize your friendship's gonna be different if it doesn't change that much. Good for you. That's a great, that's, that's fantastic if you're able to make it really continue to [00:42:00] work that way, but know that nine times out of 10, it's probably going to be vastly different.
And once you get in that mindset, you will limit the amount of, you know, hurt
Veronica: feelings that you may
Rick: have or just internal frustrations or was that meant exactly just accept it. Um, Yeah, absolutely. And then, you know, I think also once you fall into the flow of the different dynamic of your friendship, I think it's important to, you know, really appreciate the moments, you know, as opposed to just be caught up in it used to be this way.
And now it's not appreciate the new moments for what they are. yeah. You know, we've at least I can spend a lot of the time in my past trying to recreate what I thought was a good time. But things change as life does in every aspect. And when it doesn't happen the way it used to that, I interpreted as fun back then, which is usually a false interpretation.
You know, I define that as I'm not having a good time and this is [00:43:00] different and I'm frustrated. You know, so I'm not saying everyone's like me, like in that, in that regard. But I think it's just really, yeah, I think it's really just appreciate, appreciate the new moments.
Veronica: Yeah, absolutely. And then also I can talk about the fact that we're so much older now and our friends are older and their kids are older.
And I I've I've shared this before and people have said, well, I'm not going to, you know, uh, I'm not going to just drop a friendship for 20 years and then pick it up once the kid is in college because now it's convenient for them to have me back. And, um, I mean, first of all, I think there's some anger there behind, behind that comment, but, uh, I'm not saying that.
Necessarily that, you know, you allow your friend to, like, completely ignore you, and then once the kid is out, you know, out to college, they call you back, like, let's be friends again. I wasn't really meaning that. I was just meaning to accept the change of the [00:44:00] relationship throughout because It does come back around, right?
Because they are more available once their kids are in college. They are more available when they're about to graduate high school. I mean, senior year is really busy, but I'm just saying things start to shift like they can start to plan. They want to make trips. They want to have trips again, and they want to do so.
It's just the nature of life. I don't think there should be any anger towards that. But what I really mean is that now I'm in a place where I can speak to all my mom friends and we're not talking about the kids the entire time. And I do get updates still, right? What's going on in college, uh, what's going on with their first job, because I'm clearly interested in it, but we don't go into a 45 minute conversation about the kids.
It's very much like, how are the kids, five, 10 minutes, and then we move on.
Rick: Yeah, I mean, it's a full circle effect, right? I mean, you end up having, even though you're older and you have a different friendship and relationship and you have so [00:45:00] many more factors that are in your life in different ways.
And the last thing that I want to say is that it's so important because people get really upset when they start losing their friendships. Um, to people who have kids, it's so important to build your community. I mean, that is like the biggest takeaway anybody could have. It really allows for us, for child free people to find new friends and make new friends and find new relationships.
And I think that's why Uh, community building is forced upon us because we don't have a little tribe at home with the, uh, with all the kids. So we do go out there for, for those of us that want to, right, if you're an introvert that has no care in this, I understand, but it is healthy to maintain your, um, an active social life.
I mean, it's just been proven over and over again with health and wellness information. Um, so I think that building community is [00:46:00] So, so important. So I advise everyone to do that and that it also doesn't keep you in that resentful, angry mindset because now you're alone and you have nothing to do because you're blaming that person that had kids.
Rick: would put that at the top of the list actually is, is, is building your community. Anyone that's younger, that's listening to that, to this, I mean, truly take our advice to work with really your own feelings and like. What you're going through the acceptance period and obviously that friendships are changing and start to reach out and find other like minded people that have other child free people.
If you can, or, you know,
Veronica: um, it's, it's so, I mean, it's so great. Even, you know, even for us now, like at, at our age now, um, we have so many, uh, child free friends here in Austin and we can be spontaneous. We can meet up. We just met up with our friends last minute yesterday afternoon. Um, and we gave them what, like I said, Six minute heads up.
We're going here if you want to meet us. Uh, but that's [00:47:00] always happened to us. That's been regular and normal for our entire lives with people with no kids. And that's also why we have our global membership community because it just, it's so easy to chat with other childfree people and connect. And, uh, I mean, you see how everybody just becomes fast friends.
Rick: Yeah, I mean, that's that's been amazing. I'm so I was surprised at how our global memory like I can really go on to that our platform and start talking about things that are so relatable to everybody.
Veronica: Yeah, you can share a personal moment. You feel like all these people are your friends. I mean, we talk about going on vacations together.
And, you know, how can we expand this experience that we're having? So So, yeah, it's for I think community community building is huge while you're navigating your friendships
Rick: like this. Absolutely. And if anyone's interested, this is a shameless plug, but feel free to go to the child free connection dot com and it tells you all about exactly what our global community is all about.
And I'm looking forward to at some point having some in person meet ups, which we're getting there [00:48:00] because some of our members have met up already. So that's even even more exciting because I think the to the point about. Building your community. It is tough for some people that live in areas where there isn't a lot of people or you only have like three or four friends in surrounding neighborhoods, and they all have kids, and you just don't want to drive 55 minutes to find a friend that doesn't have kids or, you know, a old college friend or someone that chose the path.
And it can be really frustrating. And so sometimes
Veronica: it's everywhere. I mean, I didn't have child free friends in New York City. We have members that are in New York City. We have members that are in big cities. It's all over the country, all over the world, and they still don't have child free
Rick: friends. No, I get it.
I think it's, it can happen in a big city or it can, you could be remote in a remote area and it can be a problem, but not to worry because, like I said, we are here.
Veronica: Yeah, we'll keep talking about this. Please let us know if you have any questions or what you think. We've been talking about friendships for a while, so I'm glad that we, we had [00:49:00] a chance to discuss it here.
Yeah. And I look
Rick: forward to our next topic. Yeah. It'll be
Veronica: fun. Yeah. Absolutely. So we'll see you next time. Yep. Okay.
Rick: See you soon.