It’s a cool evening with just my thoughts and worship music in the background. The kids finally went down after a night of fun with their cousins. It’s also the night my husband left for a birthday trip with his friends. During the planning phase of the trip, the most important part for him was how I would handle pick-ups from two different schools, and attend all our weekly appointments. These conversations got me thinking about the friends in my life who make life run a little smoother without emptying our bank account. This is my homage to our single, kid-free friends; without them, I don’t know how we would survive as parents and spouses.
Having a village positively influences your success as a parent. There is a significant difference in lifestyle for those with people they can trust to help them with parenting and marriage. Your village doesn’t have to look a certain way but there is something about my single, sometimes married, kid-free friends who provide support in a way other friends cannot. Have you ever tried to plan something with a group of married parents?
I’m incredibly grateful to the men and women in our lives who choose to give up some of their time, money, and love to give to my family. At the end of 2016, I was pregnant, and we had just finalized the adoption of two toddlers. Did I mention my husband was living in a different state? The first trimester hit me like a ton of bricks, and it was my kid-free friends who would take our kids to the park so I could nap every Sunday after church. My dear friend now has children, and as much as we want to get together, finding the time is difficult when planning around six kids and four different careers across both families. I will forever be grateful for those uninterrupted naps my body desperately needed to grow a human. She also helped me with household chores when I had no energy to keep both the kids and the house clean.
In 2017 when I gave birth, it was two of my girlfriends who picked up our toddlers from daycare, while my mom and husband cared for me in the hospital. These friends would bring our children to the hospital, take them back home, and answer the many questions I know they had in-between car rides. My single friends visited after we got home and stayed longer than I ever expected. Beyond holding the baby, they helped do dishes, clean out the refrigerator, took the big kids out to play, and so much more.
In 2022, when their favorite uncle came into town, he promised to take them to their favorite restaurant and a kid-friendly activity of their choice. A day with Uncle A started at the Children’s Museum, followed by a lovely lunch at a Japanese restaurant where he let them order soups, salads, and sushi rolls they’d never tried before. This is an experience we simply can’t give them because, you know, middle class, being a family of 6 and all. He didn’t have to do any of that, but I’m grateful for the experience he gave my children.
It’s not always the case but unmarried, kid-free adults, who are also working usually have more dispensable income. My friends spoil my kids and I welcome it because I know it’s out of love and admiration for my family. Although I would love for us to be in the same phase of life simultaneously, raising children, sharing tips on teething, daycare struggles, etc. I am excited to be there for them when they have children and need a sitter for date nights. I look forward to taking their children to the park in order for my friends can get some alone time or a much-needed nap. My kids will be older and will require less of my time. I look forward to loving on my friends and their babies. I am excited to pay it forward in the seasons to come, even when I’m an empty nester.
I know too well how important it is to have friends who will watch your kids so that you can splurge on a date with your husband, since you’re not having to pay for a sitter. I know too well the stress of not having your spouse in town and needing a friend to be home when one child gets home while you pick up the others. I know too well the joy my children experience when they get to spend time with their aunties and uncles.
As a Nigerian child, calling adults “auntie” and “uncle” wasn’t uncommon but my children have a different experience. There are a few adults in their life who love them dearly out of their love for me. These aunties and uncles are a huge part of our lives not just for what they do to support our family but for the love my children and I have for them. I want to say a huge “THANK YOU” to you. You know who you are. I love you!