To Our Child-Free Friends Who Include Our Kids In Social Plans

When you’re a mom with limited access to childcare, trying to find time for your friends is hard. You’re already feeling isolated, but then you don’t want to feel like a constant burden either. It’s hard to maintain friendships and care for your kids, and for those of us who work, that’s an added obstacle. But, there are those friends who don’t mind your kid tagging along to friend time. And those friends are truly invaluable.

I’m a single mom and childcare is always an issue. I don’t really have money in my budget for a sitter, so I have to rely on friends and family. But of course, everyone has their own lives, so it’s not always easy to come by. And as a work-from-home mom, I crave interaction with other adults intensely. So if I’m going to go out, it should be with my friends — many of whom don’t have kids. More often than not, having friend time means I have to bring my son along.

None of my close friends ever seem to mind. They understand that my son and I are a package deal. Sure, it’s annoying sometimes. We might be trying to have a conversation and I have to stop to wipe up a spill or remind him to eat his meal. Or he wants to feel included in the conversation and interrupts us every five minutes to talk about his YouTube video. But, they love both of us, so they put up with it.

As a result, my son has formed very close bonds with my close friends. He feels seen by them, because they make an effort to see him. When they see him, they’ll ask questions about school or his day. If he brings along toys, they will listen to him ramble on about who each train is. And, if he is still getting to know them, they never try to force him to engage with them. We both appreciate the care with which they handle him.

Recently, athlete Serena Williams shared a series of Instagram Stories from the bachelorette party of a friend. In the video, she mentions that her young daughter Olympia is also on the girls’ trip — mostly because she couldn’t bear to be away from her for a few days. Clearly, Serena Williams could also afford to have a nanny with them, but the fact that her friend included her daughter says a lot to the power of their friendship. Including kids into your bachelorette weekend is a big ask. But every video made it clear Olympia was just one of the girls.

Going out of your way to include your friends who now have kids in plans is huge. One of the biggest struggles for a lot of us moms is maintaining our friendships after we have kids. That goes triple when our friends don’t have kids. We know we’re no longer quite the same carefree girl who could do shots until 2 a.m. Now, we’re yawning over our dinner and please don’t make a reservation after 8 p.m. But including kids in our social lives makes it clear that the friendship still matters.

Sure, those nights out will look very different when you’re including kids. Usually it means you’re having happy hour in an Applebee’s instead of a bar. Or your former drinking buddy is now swigging a Dr. Pepper instead of a beer. The optics of the night out may have changed, but showing up for your friend means it doesn’t matter as much.

For some of my friends, including kids into our get-togethers goes beyond nights out. It may be more nights in, sitting on the couch. There is nothing more comforting than a friend who says, “Come over and hang out, bring the kid.” And then, they make sure there are snacks for him to eat (even if that means a run to the grocery store) and don’t mind having to watch whatever kids programming we can find. Watching Minions isn’t fun for me as a mom, but asking my child-free friends to watch it is next level friendship.

Fortunately, they never complain about doing kids’ activities when we hang out. Sometimes that means sitting on a bench at the playground with a coffee. Or sharing an order of fries while my kid runs around the McDonald’s PlayPlace. Mostly, we’re just happy to be spending time together, so the venue doesn’t really matter.

Because I know it’s a big thing to bring my kid along, I try to make special grownup time too. When I can get a babysitter, it’s nice to sit with my friends and eat a hot meal. Maybe even have a glass of wine or two. Being able to give our conversation my full attention makes me a better friend.

But here’s the thing. I don’t think friends who include kids in their plans understand how much it means. Since becoming a mom, trying to keep any remnants of my non-mom life has become even more important. Because sometimes I need to be reminded that I’m still a person. It’s hard to remember that when you spend all day wiping noses and fetching snacks. And even if we spend half of dinner talking over the din of YouTube while my kid stretches himself across the booth, it makes such a difference.

Losing friends to motherhood is a very real and a very valid fear. Including kids into your hangouts is often the thing that makes keeping your friendship in tact possible. Sure, my son can be a total pain in the ass, but when you suggest that we have dinner at the kid-friendly chain restaurant because they have a kid’s menu, you’re making it clear that our friendship still matters to you. And that is the most important thing to me.

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Here’s To Our Low-Pressure Friends

I have plans to meet a friend for lunch this week.  She’s someone who I’ve know for almost 30 years yet I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen her. Maybe it was a few months ago? It could very well be that six months have flown by since the last time we hung out.

It doesn’t really matter because we don’t keep score in that way. We get together when our schedules allow, usually meeting up at our favorite sushi place, sitting by the window drinking green tea until we have to rush off to get our kids. We rarely text or keep in touch in any way in between the sporadic times we hang out. And truthfully, we are both fine with that.

I love these dates, and the casualness of our friendship has always been refreshing to me. She doesn’t need me to be in touch all the time. If I invite her to a party, there’s no hard feelings if she declines. I’ll see her when I see her. At the same time, I know if I was in a jam, she’d listen without judgment and do what she could. And she knows I would do the same.

In the meantime, we are over the moon about our rare dinner dates, where we chat about the latest fashion trends and goings on of our lives, and then go on our merry way. It never feels like work with her; it feels like connection.

I have a similar relationship with my neighbor. We give each other’s kids rides around town when needed, but other than that, we don’t get together or chat about life. Just knowing we are available to help out when we can and we live close to each other makes us feel better.

These kinds of relationships are all around. My esthetician is a hoot, and we talk about being moms to teenage girls the entire time during my facial. My hairdresser gave me the best pep talk of my life before my first date post-separation. It felt meaningful because she didn’t know me that well and was speaking from a different place than my best friend or sisters were. A woman I used to work with recently recommended an amazing podcast to me.

Some may consider these types of relationships simple acquaintances. They might think they could do without them, and might never stop and think about the impact they’ve had in our lives. But being surrounded by low-pressure friends just might be the key to happiness. Mark Granovetter, a sociologist who has done research on friendship, calls these relationships  “weak ties,” and told the New York Times that can make us feel more connected, empathetic, and less lonely.

Just because someone doesn’t play a big role in our life, doesn’t mean they aren’t having an effect on it. In fact, according to a study, the more low pressure friendship we have, the better. Especially as we get older and our families and responsibilities become more demanding. Not to mention we don’t have the same energy we had when we were younger.

As I reach midlife, I often tell myself I don’t have time for casual friends, and there are times when small talk makes me cringe. But when I really think about what it would be like if all my low-pressure friends vanished, my life wouldn’t be as meaningful or as enjoyable. These are the folks like the nice man I see in the grocery store who has been bagging my groceries for over a decade or the ladies at my local McDonald’s who slip me a free Diet Coke once in a while — and they would definitely be missed.

There are times when all it takes is getting out of the house and talking with someone about how ridiculous the weather has been to pull you out of a funk.

There is comfort in seeing a familiar face and getting help from someone who doesn’t really know you very well. It can lead to bigger, stronger connections and you never know if the person sitting next to you at your kid’s baseball game is going to be your new best friend, help you land your dream job, or introduce you to the love of your life.

The more “weak ties” we have, the better our chances of living a fulfilling life are.

So, ask how your favorite waitress is doing. Stop every once in a while and talk to a fellow mom while you are picking up your kid from school. Strike up a conversation with your neighbor more often. You never know what will come of it. At the very least, you will feel more connected, and that’s always a good feeling.

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When You’re A Lonely Mom Who Doesn’t Fit In

I’m the mom who is lonely. It’s not because we don’t have some things in common. We do. We’ve both procreated: I have three kids, ages 9, 7, and 5. Those children are learning something somewhere, and going through ages and stages. They throw tantrums, do sweet things, and drive us bonkers on a regular basis. We both have piles of laundry and bathrooms to clean. We probably both like Starbucks; we probably both hate pollen and wish we spent less time on Facebook. It’s enough to see us through playdates 

But it’s not enough for genuine friendships.  

All around me, I see moms developing genuine friendships. They laugh together, they see each other outside of playdates. They go on Mom’s Nights Out. They have inside jokes; they sit in neat clusters at big group playdates.

I don’t.

I’m the one who drifts from group to group. No one’s mean to me. Everyone’s super sweet. Seriously. I like all of them very much. I’ll help them out, watch their kids in a pinch.  

But I don’t fit in with them.  

I just don’t get “mom culture.” I’m not into it. It’s not my thing. It was never my thing; I was never interested in it. For that matter, I was never really into pop culture much, and when I had kids, that didn’t change. When the circle of people you hang with narrows from a rich cross-section of adults to a few stay-at-home moms, that’s a serious problem.  

I have never worn Lularoe leggings — in fact, I don’t usually wear leggings at all. My obscure sci-fi t-shirt and jeans, or dressed up look with heels, already sets me apart. I don’t carry those cool purses or one-shouldered bags everyone seems to have. I look different.  

And then I start talking. Everyone wants to talk about their kids. And that’s cool for a little while. I’ll happily talk about my kids. But I yearn for more than that. I am, after all, more than my kids. No one wants to talk about politics. I tried once. It shut down conversation for ten minutes as people squirmed, said they “weren’t into that kind of thing” and if they were, let’s just say, their views were not mine. I felt lonely and alienated — and I learned my lesson quick.  

When they bring up music, I have nothing to contribute. I don’t listen to pop at all; I live in the South and I don’t listen to country or hard rock. Once, I tried to talk about HamiltonPretty safe: popular, right? “Too bad you can’t listen to that with the kids in the car,” one mom lamented. “Learning all the words made my kids obsessed with the American Revolution,” I replied. Then I realized “all the words” included “bastard, son of a whore,” “when you knock me down I get the fuck back up,” “yes I heard your mother say come again,” and “sittin’ there useless as two shits.” The moms goggled at me. Oops.  

Then TV comes up. Everyone else watches “America’s Next Top Dallas Cowboy Ninja Warrior Cheerleader Dance Off.” I watch “The Magicians” on Syfy. Literally no other mom I’ve ever met watches “The Magicians.” My other favorite shows are all too obscure or weird to even bother mentioning, and since I don’t keep up with “America’s Got Talent” and “Queer Eye” and everything else, I’m shut out of all those conversations. It’s lonely.  

I also don’t cook — my husband takes care of that side of things. So there goes the Instant Pot conversations. Instant Pots scare the shit out of me. Shut out again.  

I refuse to bitch about my husband in public. There goes another topic of conversation.  

But I also like to talk about other weird things, things that just don’t fit, stuff that only I’m interested in, along with all the real friends I have, who live on the internet (in my case, these include Oxford commas, “The Magicians,” longform essays, art, poetry, and whatever novel I’m working on). When something hilarious or ridiculous happens, the first thing I think is, “I have got to tell Trish about this.” Trish lives 700 miles away or on Facebook Messenger. When all of your friends live on the internet, life can feel kind of lonely. You pull out your phone a lot. That makes real life even more lonely.   

Like Jason Isbell says in “Alabama Pines,” no one one gives a damn about the things I give a damn about. (It’s cool, you’ve never heard of him).  

When you’re the lonely mom, you worry about a lot of things. You worry, mostly, that your kids will be the lonely kids, because their moms won’t want to invite you over for playdates. You worry that there’s something fundamentally wrong with you. Why can’t you make friends, when it seems so easy for everyone else? You get along with everyone fine. People are sweet. People are nice to you. But you don’t have a bestie. You don’t have people you really have a lot in common with. 

You don’t have people to call to watch your kids.  

You don’t have help when your house needs cleaned.  

You don’t have someone to call and bitch to.  

You don’t have anyone who really gets you. 

That’s the loneliest part of all 

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Book Swap Parties Are The Hot New Trend

I’ve loved reading since I was a child and I’m pretty sure there are well over 100 books at our house.Though it sounds cliché, reading offered me – a bullied kid – the opportunity to create new worlds in my head.

As an adult, I’ve kept my love for reading (and writing), but it’s become more of a continuing education practice than a leisure activity. I love the emotional high I get when I step into the library to pick out a new book. Most times, I end up with more titles than I can carry and the huge stack I’m balancing under my chin ends up falling to the floor. Every once in a blue moon, I get the funds (and the child-free freedom) to go to a brick and mortar bookstore.

I hope more than anything that my children will see me reading through the years and share my love for literature and learning. In hopes of making this dream come true, I try to get them new books regularly.

But my love for reading expands far beyond my household. It’s also a pleasure to share the books I love with close friends and family. Each new book gives me new material for engaging fodder.

The downside is, I suck at remembering to pass on books to friends. My life could be so much easier if I could have an all-in-one opportunity to discuss plots and exchange books with friends. So you can imagine the joy I felt upon finding out “Book Swap” parties are a thing. I mean come on! How can life be any better than getting new books for free? I’ll tell ya! Getting free books, getting together with friends, and planning the chance to do it all over again.

How it works

This is one of those rare times the title tells you exactly what something is.

Imagine Dirty Santa — with books. You can keep clean, and have everyone pick numbers. Or you can make it dirty and get ready to steal titles from others in the group. *insert evil laughter*

During a Book Swap party, you get together with a small (or large if you’re adventurous) group of friends. Each of you brings a book and prepares to leave with a new one through trading.

According to Cindy Jenkins in Orlando, her Book Swap party experience was… one for the books. *wink, wink*

“A friend did it for a birthday party and I loved it,” she said.

It’s an awesome idea, and I can’t wait for the chance to give it a try. It combines two of my favorite things: being cheap and filling my bookshelves.

“We just brought them for a two-year-olds party and put our books on the shelf by the door. It was fun to choose new ones and we also got a little giddy when people liked the ones we brought. My 4-year-old thought it was great fun,” added Cindy.

Side note: A Book Swap is not to be confused with a book club. One involves picking a title in advance and reading and discussing it as a group. The other is a specific event with the intention of trading books. That’s not to say that you can’t do a Book Swap with your Book club members.

“Everyone brought a book, preferably used, wrapped, and we took turns picking new ones. It was a really fun idea! Nearly everyone was happy with what they walked away with (the exception being that one person brought a cookbook instead of a “reading” book, and the person who ended up with it was a little disappointed). It was cool because it meant we all got exposed to books that we otherwise might have never picked up on our own, but which came with a personal recommendation from a friend, Holly S. recalled.

In the unlikely event that words BOOK SWAP and PARTY aren’t enough to convince you, here are a few reasons we should all pack up our favorite hardcovers and schedule a book swap party ASAP.

It’s freeeeeee.

The first reason is pretty freaking obvious. Buying new books is a ridiculously expensive habit to finance. And not everyone has easy access to a library. Through the years, I have been shocked to find how few people (even some of my closest friends and family members) go to the library less than once a year. And depending on where you’re located, your library’s contents may not be fully up to date.

But chances are your local bibliophile has a selection — complete with best sellers and call catalogue — to rival your local library.

It’s funnnnnn.

As pointed out here, you can do so much more than swap books at the book swap party. I mean, trading books is cool AF, but the potential for the event is about more than books (though books alone is reason enough). Of course, we can have snacks (what’s a party without food?), but it’s also a great time for exhausted folks to get together and spend time talking about one of the longest existing arts the world has to offer. There’s something totally zen about the opportunity to turn off the phones and tablets and connect with like-minded people.

It’s flexible.

I personally, prefer hard copies of books. But isn’t it awesome to consider that audio books and mp3 files are also eligible for the swap? Or get this [looks off thoughtfully into the distance]: what if we even listened to a book while we swapped them and did trivia at the end to see who’s been listening?!

Nothing is off limits.

It’s totally possible to have themed book swaps that give the chance to trade self-help, parenting, or even erotica  titles. But the better news is it doesn’t have to have a theme. It doesn’t even have to be for adults only.

It would be super easy to use this as a chance to get our kid’s libraries whipped into shape. It’s also a great way to make sure that our children are exposed to diverse characters, materials that encourage understanding of other cultures, and overall support for people that are different.

There’s no shortage of reasons for us to have Book Swap parties. I can’t believe that I hadn’t heard of it until recently. Hopefully, all of us get the chance to engage with good people and good books soon.

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I’m A Parent Who Doesn’t Drink, But I Still Want To Hang Out

I’ve been asked if I’m a monk. I’ve been asked how I raise three children without alcohol as if I’m doing it without oxygen. I’ve been given the side eye, or the suspicious up and down glance, that only comes from telling someone a fact, and then they immediately become suspicious of you. But what I suppose bothers me the most about not drinking is being left out.

So here are the facts. I don’t drink. This isn’t to say that I’ve never drank. I did years ago. Mostly in high school, and a little bit in my 20s. I can’t say I ever really enjoyed it, although that doesn’t mean I can’t understand why others enjoy it. There are days when the kids make me want to light it all on fire, and I think to myself, I could use a drink.

And yes, there are reasons I don’t drink. The first, and usually the one most people want to discuss, is my Mormonism. I started practicing the religion in my mid-20s, and now I’m 36 and still active. But I actually stopped drinking before that. My father was addicted to painkillers and alcohol. He died when I was 19 because of his addictions, and I must say, watching your father die from substance abuse really ruins the party. He missed out on my kids. He didn’t see me graduate from college or get married. He should still be around, but he’s not. It’s pretty difficult for me to separate drinking from memories of my father, and shortly after he died, I put the bottle on the shelf, and never took it down.

I think both are good reasons not to drink. Both are personal and easy to explain. But for whatever reason, for some people, a lot of people, there’s never a good reason not to drink. Now check it out, I don’t understand that logic. I can’t. I don’t think I ever will. But the reality is, when asked if I’d like a drink, or to get a drink, or if I’d like something a little extra in my Coke Zero, and I say “No.” This isn’t a personal attack against you. It isn’t me judging you. And it isn’t a reason for you to exclude me, my wife, or my children from your social function. We can still party. We are still fun to be around. We can still engage in conversation and enjoy a meal with you, all while being sober.

Listen, we can still be friends even though I don’t drink, okay? We can. I promise. I’m not going to judge you. I’m not interested in convincing you to not drink. And I’m not a buzz kill. I don’t think I’m better than you, and I’m not bonkers or strange. I’m just a father of three, with a job and a mortgage, and a pretty solid sense of humor. I like good conversation, and chances are, we have a lot in common once we all get past the fact that I’m always the sober one in the room.

I’m happy to drive you wherever, and I will laugh at whatever comes out of your mouth, sober or not, as long as it’s funny. If you are an irritating drunk, I won’t judge you for it. I just won’t sit next to you. Once again, not personal.

Just last week I was at a conference, and many of the attendees started drinking mid-afternoon, which is understandable. I must have been offered a million drinks and said no a million times, and received a million suspicious looks that were unnecessary. But once we got past all that, and everyone realized I wasn’t a cop, we all had an enjoyable time. We laughed, and joked, and it was wonderful. I wanted to scream, “See! I’m just like all of you!”

I’ve lost friends because I don’t drink. And that sucks. There’s no reason for it. Honestly, if you have a non-drinking parent friend, realize that they made a personal decision. They decided to not drink, and you should respect that. They are not strange, odd, or untrustworthy. You don’t have to try to trick them into drinking because you are 100% sure that if they just tried it, they would see the light and loosen up. They don’t have a stick up their ass. They don’t think they are better than you. They are not a person who doesn’t know how to enjoy themselves.

They simply don’t drink.

It’s all cool. Invite them out. Be their friend. Don’t comment. Don’t gawk. Don’t offer to buy them a drink over and over again. Just accept it and move on. The fact is, they have their reasons, and whatever they are, they are good enough. Then, once you’ve processed it all, be friends.

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I Had To Learn That Self-Care Means Letting Go Of Toxic Friendships

I’m a determined woman. I don’t give up easily, on tasks or on people. But that all changed after I faced a crisis.

The day I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my world turned upside down and inside out. I was only 35 years old and a busy mom of four children. Breast cancer didn’t fit into my life plan. But there it was.

Six weeks after diagnosis, I had a bi-lateral mastectomy. It was absolutely terrifying, yet it was my path to healing. Only a handful of friends and family knew I had cancer and knew about my surgery.

Two weeks after my surgery, I received the pathology results. I was deemed cancer-free by my doctors. Obviously, I was thrilled. I then took to social media and shared the news with my extended friends and family.

The result floored me. We had people bring us so many meals we didn’t have to cook for ourselves for over six weeks post-op. I had friends offer to watch the kids. We also had visitors who came bearing gift cards, flowers, and pans of brownies. The endless stream of well-wishes was beautifully overwhelming.

But during the two months I spent living in my bedroom, my breasts heavy with swelling from the surgery and implants, I felt a weight on my chest that had nothing to do with cancer.

I realized who wasn’t there–the friends who never showed up. As the days and weeks passed, their absence became more and more apparent.

No text. No meal drop-off. No card. Just silence.

I’m not one to have hundreds of social media friends. My circle of friends is fairly small. So to have women whom I’d known five or ten years meet my cancer news with silence was heartbreaking.

These were women I’d send a condolence card to when they had a parent pass away, women I’d text the minute I saw on Facebook that their child had broken a bone, women I’d call to congratulate when I learned they got a job promotion.

There I was, in one of the most vulnerable, frightening times of my life, and I was ghosted by some of the women I thought were my friends.

At first, I took it upon myself to justify their lack of responsiveness. My cancer diagnosis was too scary for them. They were so busy with their own families. One was in the midst of her father’s health rapidly declining.

But, deep down, I knew the truth. It wasn’t me. It was them. I wasn’t too much. My silent friends weren’t enough.

As I gained strength and energy, I also tackled my new lease on life. I took on a new attitude after realizing that it’s true: life really is short and precious. Why was I wasting my time pining for the attention of those who demonstrated they really didn’t care about me?

I was forced into a season of self-care in order to heal from surgery. I realized that I needed to not only coddle my physical needs in the midst of a fragile life season, but I needed to “clean house.” I had spent too much time and energy investing in friendships that weren’t reciprocated.

I truly believe self-care is essential for the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health of all women. Friends of mine get massages and pedicures. Some retreat to Target for a solo shopping spree. Others go on weekend getaways or attend workshops. Others engage in hobbies ranging from knitting to boxing. Some, like me, might put on a mud mask and a teeth whitening strip while the baby naps. Perhaps a Netflix binging session is in order. To each their own.

But what if we’re missing something when it comes to self-care? What about deleting some people from our lives who don’t contribute? What about the women who are always complaining, who only call you up when they need something (like a babysitter), who thrive on the worst gossip?

I’m talking about the drama queens, the know-it-alls, the takers. These people aren’t our real friends. Continuing to engage with them isn’t healthy. In fact, it’s not just unhealthy, but it can be toxic.

Some of these friends are, at minimum, self-absorbed. Others are downright soul-sucking, leaving you exhausted after every conversation. Some are quick to call you up with another complaint about their boss or partner, but when you need them, they’re too busy.

I began to notice that as I quietly broke up with the absent women, I felt more at peace. I wasn’t carrying the weight of their struggles while being fully engulfed by my own health crisis. I wasn’t yearning for them to realize I was worthy of a check-in text or coffee invitation.

Instead of mulling over these friendships, I was living my life and not in the shadow of their half-ass (if that) attempts at friendship. And because I deleted them from my life, I had more time and energy for the people who really mattered: the friends who did show up when I needed them most. Plus, I had time to make new friends.

It’s easy to feel guilty about letting people go. What about the friend who was in your wedding 15 years ago? What about the college roommate? What about the co-worker who sat one cubicle over with whom you gossiped with over lunch every day for two years?

How and where you met, plus how long you’ve been friends, certainly makes breaking up difficult. Some of the memories are good. But if the present friendship is lackluster at best, if you’re always fighting to keep the relationships above the surface, then is it really worth it?

Cancer was the catalyst for a shift in my self-care perspective. I’m regretful that it took so long for me decide that I am worthy of authentic, loyal, balanced friendships, all of the time.

The goodbye doesn’t have to be dramatic. It’s OK to let someone slip out of your life. But if she asks, when she temporarily comes out of her self-absorbed bubble, tell her the truth. The friendship wasn’t balanced, and you know you’re worthy of better.

Next time you add a mani or massage to the calendar, think about who needs to go. Don’t waste your precious self-care time and energy on those who aren’t willing to invest in you.

You deserve it.

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Here’s To The Friends Who Love Us Even When We ‘Go Quiet’

I rarely get to see one of my best friends. This has nothing to do with distance; we live five minutes from each other. It has more to do with life. Her kids are older than mine so their activities are different. Our kids play sports but, of course, they are at conflicting times and on conflicting days. Work, family, relationships, and time for ourselves all interfere with our ability to connect with one another.

I want to be better about connecting, yet I know she will always be there even when I seem absent and she knows the same about me. I cherish the few texts we manage to exchange within the span of a month or two; I don’t complain that there aren’t more. Life is bonkers and neither one of us takes our silence personally. We get it. We still love each other even when we go quiet.

Thankfully I have other friends who this applies to as well. I need patience and understanding, not resentment and anger.

I used to have a friend who would post passive-aggressive comments on social media about feeling left out of gatherings. She was really good at “vaguebooking” — or maybe not so great because I knew exactly what she was bitching about. After seeing photos I posted with friends in common, she claimed she was never invited places. This friend was watching and taking notes. It didn’t seem to matter that she posted similar pictures of outings where I was not invited. She only seemed to care about herself and her status within a group that actually didn’t need any sort of membership. Another friend I used to have would keep score. She would constantly remind me that she was the one who called last, or she was the one who invited me to do something. She would complain to me when other friends didn’t reach out in a timeframe she felt was appropriate.

I barely have time for the amazing people in my life; I certainly don’t have time for people with standards I can never live up to or high maintenance relationships that require a lot of obligatory work. I am no longer friends with those women, but it wasn’t because I didn’t try. It seemed as though I could never do enough, and I got tired. I got quiet. Instead of taking it as a sign that maybe they could do something differently or even ask me to make changes, they let go. Not without huffing about it and throwing tantrums, but they decided to end a friendship because I wasn’t meeting their expectations. Without seeing what was wrong, they assumed I was in the wrong. The right thing to do was part ways.

Maybe I expected too much. Maybe I was a bad friend or not the kind of friend they needed. While it initially stung to be dismissed, I realized just how valuable it was to have friends who don’t take shit so personally.

I don’t always text back. I should say “I love you” more often. I don’t call when I mean to. I should see when the people I love can take a timeout to get coffee. These may seem like flaws, and if they are then the friends I keep in my inner circle have them too. We are human. I am far from perfect, but I have surrounded myself with people who not only trust my loyalty but are secure enough in themselves to know that if I not around or seem unavailable, it has more to do with me and nothing to do with them.

My friends intuitively know when to see if I am okay. They check in without judgment. They hold me with compassion instead of withholding it. My friends may miss me, but instead of letting spite get in the way of love, they know when it’s time to check in and not check out.

And for this I am so thankful. Good friends don’t keep score, but we do return the favor of sticking our noses into our friend’s business when it’s for their own good. When real friends haven’t heard from one another, we ask how we can help. We all know how busy and hectic life can be. Work, kids, aging parents, struggling marriages, depression, anxiety and all of the things that make it hard to function make it easy for us to shut down. Find people who get it. Find people who will send you a meme just to remind you that you are loved. Find the people who hear struggle in your silence, and hang onto the ones who love you anyway.

And if we put together a string of texts and gifs that double as a full conversation, then we feel caught up. We don’t mourn the way we used to communicate; we breathe a sigh of relief that after all this time, after all of life’s hiccups we are still communicating in vulnerable and important ways even if interrupted by bedtimes or as explained through emojis.

Thank you to the friends who hear me when I am silent. I hear you too. I may be quiet but my love for you is not.

The post Here’s To The Friends Who Love Us Even When We ‘Go Quiet’ appeared first on Scary Mommy.

15 Things Your Divorced Friends Want You To Know

We were all once like you. We once had a spouse and kids. We had a family. Maybe it was picture-perfect but was wrecked by an affair or betrayal. Maybe it was never as perfect behind closed doors as it looked on Instagram. Maybe it was always a hot mess and everyone knew it.

But, regardless, we had what you have, and now our family is no longer the same. It has changed. Our lives have changed.

One of the hardest things about joining the Divorced Wives Club is that it can be isolating. Whether our old friends just feel like they can’t relate, if they think divorce is contagious (it’s not), or if they think all newly single friends want their spouses (we don’t), many of our married friends seem to disappear.

I choose to think it’s just hard for some of our married friends to understand this new phase in our lives. Maybe they have questions they’re afraid will be uncomfortable for us to answer. Maybe they don’t understand why we’re only available at odd times (every other weekend we are all in, but the once-perfect Thursday nights are now out). Maybe they think they’re hurting us by talking about their husbands or being invited to family events.

Anyhow, I’m hoping this list may clear a few things up.

1. We are worried that our kids will be treated differently.

Our kids have been through a lot, and we know it. Many of us carry guilt about not making our relationship work, even if we did all that we could. We have to answer questions that our kids have, hear them complain about going back and forth between parents, and see them miss out on events because they are with the other parent on that weekend.

We, just like all parents, just want our kids to be healthy and happy.

Our kids know that a lot of their friends have parents who are married. They know they are different.

Anything you could do to include our children, to treat them as you did before the divorce, would be so appreciated by us.

2. Being divorced/separated is not the same thing as having a traveling spouse.

While I personally have had a traveling husband, and I know how difficult that is, it is not the same as being divorced or a single mom. If you happen to suggest as much or call yourself a “single mom” because your husband is gone for a few days or a week, just be aware that you are probably offending a single mom you know. I know you probably mean nothing by it, but while you may run the household alone, you do still have someone to do life with. True single moms do not.

That being said, I personally think that being a divorced mom holding down the fort at home is a bit easier than having a traveling husband in some ways. When I was married and my husband would come home on the weekends, he would kind of rock the boat of everything we had going on. Sleep schedules, routines, meals, etc. would be thrown out of whack. Also, I felt like I had to clean like a madwoman every Friday before he got home. AND I still missed out on some girls nights, etc. when he was traveling because a sitter was so expensive. So, while you aren’t a “single mom” while your man is out of town, that doesn’t mean that it is easy or that you have nothing to complain or be frustrated about. Just know that particular phrase tends to get under some single moms’ skin.

3. Unless you got married less than 5 years ago, your dating advice is old school. But we still love it when you try to talk dating with us.

We LOVE that you care about our dating life (if we are talking to you about it…unsolicited questions are not so welcome). It’s nice to have someone to talk to about that cute guy we met or the last date we went on. But wow! How times have changed! Not only is dating in general totally different with dating apps galore, but dating with kids is light-years different than dating without them.

Just remember, we are trying to figure out this new dating world too and may make some mistakes along the way. If you can just reserve a bit of judgment and try to be encouraging, that would be great! And, yes, we do appreciate all of your advice…we just might not take it.

Also, the phrase “I’m so glad I don’t have to date these days!” is probably meant as a way to relate, but it can kind of sting. Most of us aren’t exactly thrilled to have to go out into the dating world the second time around.

4. Complaining about your spouse to us may be a bad idea.

There are three types of divorced women:

TYPE ONE: The well-adjusted ones who are not bitter and who want to hear everything about your life. You can have an occasional vent session with these girls and they are not offended or bothered in the least (I fall under this category). But not every divorced woman is there yet.

TYPE TWO: The ones who are hurting. Complaining to these friends about your husband is like complaining about your kids or pregnancy to someone who just had a miscarriage or is dealing with infertility. Unless you know for sure your friend can handle your vent sesh, try to be sensitive to her feelings. While you may be pissed that your husband didn’t take out the trash last night, your divorced mom friend has been taking it out by herself every single time since her husband walked out.

TYPE THREE: The bitter ones. These should be easier to spot. If your friend is a little too gleeful of your irritation with your husband, and especially if she encourages separation or divorce, stay away from her. She is toxic to your marriage. A good friend (married or not) would suggest counseling or reconciliation if you are having issues. I personally hope my married friends have life-long and happy marriages! If your friend isn’t on your marriage’s team, drop them.

5. Please don’t leave us out now that we’re single.

We want to be invited on that girl’s trip or to the family cookout. We miss you. Our kids miss your kids.

I was so thankful for those friends who still invited me to things after I was divorced. A few of my friends truly made me feel as if nothing had changed. They still invited me to adult events where couples were, and to be honest, since the guys usually hang out with the guys and vice versa, I didn’t stick out like a sore thumb. We were still invited to family parties and cookouts and events. They made me feel normal. They made my kids feel normal.

I also had other friends who no longer invited me. It was as if since I was a little different, I wasn’t welcome. Or maybe they thought that I would feel uncomfortable, so instead of leaving the decision of whether to attend up to me, they made the decision for me. Either way, it hurt. It made me feel weird, out of place, and alienated.

So, if you are on the fence about whether to invite us or not, please invite us. We’ll make an excuse if it feels too uncomfortable, but we will appreciate the invite all the same.

Oh, and another thing…if you go to church, invite us to sit beside you on Sunday. It can be weird to get used to sitting alone at a service where almost everyone seems to have someone with them.

6. We may have changed, but we still have things in common with you.

I know that having a husband is a big part of your life, and it used to be a big part of ours. But even though we no longer have that in common, we still have other things that we share with you.

After all, we still have kids and all that comes with that. Most of us probably originally became friends over our kids anyway…that’s what moms do.

Plus, even though we are no longer wives, we are still women. We still love neighborhood events, shopping, dancing, trying new restaurants, laughing over a glass of wine, girls trips, etc. Whatever we did with you before, we still love now! We can still be friends.

7. We try to make the most of our “free weekends.”

For those of us who have our children every other weekend, that time is precious to us! I know that I personally have my kids 80% of the time. That means that 80% of the time, I do it all. I don’t have anyone to pick up the slack or to pass the kids off to if I need a break. On the flipside, I’m totally alone 20% of the time. No kids. Not as many responsibilities  So, in that 20% of the time, I try to do the majority of my socializing, dating, etc. as well as catch up on housework and my to-do list. There is nothing worse to me than a wasted “free” weekend. So, if you do have a weekend free when you would like to have some girl time: grab brunch, get a little pampering, etc., call up your divorced mom friend. If it is her free weekend, she would probably love nothing more than to have some time with you.

8. But when we are with our kids, we don’t want to leave them.

I cannot tell you how many times I have said no to a kid-free event on a weekday or a weekend when I have my kids. Yes, I need a break. Yes, the 12 days straight with my kids without having help can drive me insane. But I work full-time. I spend most of my evenings shuttling kids to afterschool activities. When I have time to spend with my kids, I want to hang out with them. I DO know I need time for myself and so once in awhile I will do something for me, but don’t get offended if I say no, even if I have someone to babysit.

The worst part of becoming a divorced mom is that almost every single MNO takes place on a Thursday, no matter what it is: Bunco, Book Clubs, Wine Nights, etc. It’s hard to justify getting a babysitter for a Thursday night when my kids are going to their dad’s for the weekend the next day.

9. Our kids are going to miss important events because they are with their dad, and we hate it.

My kids have missed out on a lot when they were with their dad. Even though he and I co-parent very well together, he lives three hours away. Which means that my girls miss a lot of birthday parties, sleepovers, playdates, and other events.

Our kids are sad to miss out and we are sad that they have to miss out. But don’t stop inviting them. They may be able to make it next time.

10. Our stress level is high.

Oh what I wouldn’t give sometimes to have someone to share the load with. If anything, I think I miss that the most.

Just someone who could watch the kids while I run to the store. Or who could unload the dishwasher. Or do the nighttime routine so I could just have a little break. Someone who could help with taking the kids to their afterschool activities. Someone who could be there with the kids so I could run out to a girls’ night without feeling guilty about it. Someone to share paying the bills. Someone to take over with discipline when I’m burned out. Someone to back me up when the kids want to keep arguing with me.

It is stressful doing it all on our own.

And on top of that, we are the breadwinner in our family. And we’re worried about our children’s well-being. And we’re trying to make sure our kid doesn’t miss out, because they already miss out on having both mom and dad there in their home together like all of their friends whose parents are still married have.

And if we’re dating too….oh boy. Have you seen the people on those dating apps? Remember how stressful and nervous you were to go on a date in college when all of your girlfriends were there helping you get ready and sharing in the experience with you?

Well, now it’s just as nerve-wracking, but you’re getting ready on your own, and most of your friends can’t really relate because they have been married for eons. Plus, if you end up going on a date when the kids are with you, you’re trying to get your kids settled with a sitter and battling “mama guilt” before you head out.

So yeah, it’s stressful. And it never ends.

11. We are exhausted.

I’m not 100% saying that I am “having a newborn at home” exhausted, but I’d say I’m pretty close to that most of the time.

Look at everything I listed in #10.

My days are spent:

– Getting kids up for school, packing my child’s Gluten-free & dairy free lunch, getting myself ready for work

– Going to work for 8 hours

– Rushing (always rushing) to pick up my kids from daycare and the sitter’s to get them to dance (one of them dances or tumbles every day).

–  We get home. I cook dinner. Because not only is it expensive to eat out all the time (and out of budget), but my oldest can’t have gluten or dairy, so I have to make special meals for her.

– After dinner we: practice dance/stretch/sometimes watch a tv show/play basketball/walk to the park on our one early dance day.

– We do bedtime routine/devotion/prayer/my youngest begs me to sleep with her. I try not to fall asleep and give myself a time-limit on how long I will stay. I stay about 30 mins longer than I tell her I will. She still cries when I leave.

– I do dishes and laundry and clean if I can muster the energy. Or I fall asleep in bed with my clothes on. Or I have already fallen asleep in bed with my youngest and stumble to my bed in the middle of the night.

–  I set my alarm to do the same thing the next day.

While not every divorced mom shares my exact schedule or circumstances, almost all of us have one thing in common: We are trying to be everything to everyone, while trying our best to support our kids and help them have the best childhood possible. All with no partner to help.

And, yes, those of us who have every other weekend off can sometimes catch up on sleep on that off weekend.  But we’re also so busy making the most of the that time (we have so much to do to get caught up around the house) that if we DO catch up on sleep and rest, we are behind a day when the kids come back.

12. When the kids come back after a weekend with their dad, it’s hard.

So, picture what it’s like when the kids spend the weekend with Grandma and then you get them back. We all know about that “adjustment period” right? Well, for many of us divorced moms, we deal with that every other week.

When kids see dad only every other weekend, they tend to get a little spoiled at his house. I’m not faulting the dads for that. It’s just that…when you don’t have to actually be a parent to your child every single day, you can let things slide. You want to make the most of the time the child is with you, and you want for the visit to be a great experience. It makes sense, and I would probably feel the same way if I were in an “every other weekend” dad’s position.

My kids definitely have different rules at their dad’s. There’s more candy and sweets, a lot more screen time, and no responsibilities. My youngest sleeps with her dad (she is very cuddly), which makes it SUPER fun when she comes home and wants me to lay with her until she falls asleep.

Very doable two weekends a month. Not practical or feasible when I have to use the time after the kids are in bed to get the house in order.

13. We are on a tight budget.

No matter what kind of lifestyle we had when we were married, no matter whether we have gone back to work or if we get child support, we are probably on a tighter budget than we were when we were married.

I had a sweet friend once who was trying to help me house hunt. She told me that the house down the street from her (in our old neighborhood) was for sale. While I could have afforded that house when I was married (and I do receive child support and have a great job), I couldn’t move into the same type of house that I’d had before my divorce. Some may be able to fund a similar lifestyle, but most of us have had our budget take a bit of a hit.

14. We can do it all (almost). But sometimes we do need some help.

We are strong. We can do almost anything.

Since my divorce, I have learned to kill bugs, conquered my fear of being in a house alone, started paying all the bills by myself, taken up every household chore…

But when you or your kids are sick with something major, you never wish you were still married more.

When I had the flu, my friends dropped off soup, crackers, tea, and medicine to me. When my daughter had the stomach bug and I couldn’t leave, my friends dropped off Gatorade, Pedialyte, and saltines. While we don’t want to be pitied, and we can do a lot on our own, there are just some times when we need some help.

There are also some household issues that I can’t tackle alone. A friend sent her husband to help me hang a light in my house. My brother-in-law checked out my car when it was acting funny to see what was wrong. My dad and boyfriend helped me put the furniture together in my house. Even though we have to do almost everything alone, it is nice to have a little help when we need it.

15. Please don’t trash our ex-spouse or get involved in the drama of our divorce.

We all have our moments when we want to vent about our ex, but it isn’t healthy for us to dwell on the past or on his bad traits.

I know you may have things you want to say about our former spouse, especially if you didn’t like him or the way he treated us, but please don’t use our time hanging out as a trash session. Also, please never say anything negative about our child’s dad in front of the children! After all, no matter what you think of him, he is still the father of his children, and they love him. They don’t need to know everything their father has done wrong, just as we don’t want them to know everything that we could have done differently.

If you get too involved in the divorce drama, you aren’t going to be able to be supportive of a healthy co-parenting relationship (which is best for the children and all involved). Your negative behavior could even cause us issues in court as most custody agreements include a clause about disparaging remarks made about either parent in front of the children.

Instead of bashing, keep our mindset positive and help us find solutions to our problems. Encourage us to make some time for us (maybe even offer to watch the kids for a bit so we can relax). Remind us to keep our eye on the prize of a healthy co-parenting relationship so our kids can be healthy and happy! That is what we really need…even if we don’t realize it!

As an added bonus, if you don’t get overly involved in the negativity, you can treat our ex kindly if you see him at a band concert or dance recital without feeling weird and awkward, which is a win-win!

The Verdict

Even though some things in our lives have changed, your friendship is still valuable to us. Don’t give up on our friendship or shy away just because you don’t understand exactly what our lives are like now. I hope this post helps those married mamas who are having a difficult time relating to their newly divorced friends, but if you are having a hard time connecting to an old friend who has gone through this huge life change, just ask her about her life now. She may be dealing with the same things as me, or she may have other challenges, but either way, the path to understanding begins with open dialogue.

I’d like to thank those friends of mine who have been there for me through all of the changes in my life, who have never ceased to include me, and who always made my kids and I feel like part of the group. I love you.

The post 15 Things Your Divorced Friends Want You To Know appeared first on Scary Mommy.

I Kinda Hate My 30s

I often wonder if I’m the only person who feels this way. And, any time I gather up the courage to say it aloud, to say how I’m really feeling — I’m met with blank stares and disbelief. So maybe I really am the only person who feels this way.

I hate my 30s. I hate the monotony. The 9-5++++. The busy schedules. The around-the-clock responsibility. The sheer and utter exhaustion. The caregiver burnout.

And, most of all, I hate the loneliness. My 30s are filled with heart-aching, gut-wrenching loneliness, boredom and lack of stimulation. Yes, I love being a mother. But I need more than that. Lately I’m wondering if maybe I need more than most.

Maybe I watch too many sitcoms featuring groups of happy 20-somethings spending all their time with their friends, but nowadays, hangouts with friends are a rarity. They happen once in a blue moon, when everyone isn’t exhausted, breastfeeding, sick or taking care of sick kids, overworked or on parenting duty.

Here’s the even more bonkers admission: I miss being in my carefree early 20s. Those days were filled with spontaneity, random road trips, always something to look forward to. And, as cliché as it sounds – my wallet was empty, but my heart was full. I had what I thought was a solid group of friends around me, and I was never alone. We did everything together.

Yes, alcohol is my social elixir, and in my 30s there’s no real reason to drink it. So, I’m alone on the couch at 7 p.m. every night in the same damn pink fuzzy robe.

My heart aches from loneliness. From stress and from lack of self-care. From lack of meaningful interaction. From a lack of passion for anything.

I exist in my 30s. That is as far as it goes. I’m alive, but I’m not thriving. Not in the least.

I have so many Facebook photo albums hidden that highlight my 20s, and I’m guilty of looking at them way too often. Feeling sad and alone. Wondering if any of those people even think of me (newsflash: they don’t).

My early 20s were the happiest times of my life, and I can’t help but think it is just going to keep getting worse.

I have anxiety. I’m isolated. I don’t want to make new friends yet desperately need to. I know I come off as clingy and desperate and crazy for wanting any human interaction at the end of the day. Everyone else seems to get along just fine with their robes, their TV shows, and their families filling the space where bars and parties used to be.

But it’s not enough for me, and I can’t figure out why. I can’t understand why I need alcohol to open up. I feel like no one even knows me. I fade into the background. No one notices me.

I want adventure. I want to stop working myself to death. I want spontaneity. I want to be free of anxiety and worry. I want a break that actually feels like a break. I don’t just want a break – I desperately need one.

The people I had in early 20s aren’t in my life anymore. From what I can tell, they’ve all managed to keep a close relationship, but certain circumstances made it so I was cut out, and I’ve felt so lonely ever since. Some of them didn’t treat me all that well, and ironically as soon as I finally stood up for myself, I was left lonelier than ever. It makes me feel as though I would have been better just shrugging it off — just to maintain some sort of companionship.

Does anyone else find their 30s depressing as hell? I realize that now we’re parents and we have responsibilities, but why can’t I seem to get over that period of my life? Most people are happy to put those times behind them, but I can’t stop thinking about them.

And how the hell do you make a friend in your 30s, anyway? Are we destined to only have “mom friends”? Am I nothing more than a mother? Will I ever talk about anything but my child again?

People joke that I spend too much time online, and I do. But no one realizes that online is the only place I have ever felt like I can be myself. Online is the only place anyone will stop to listen to me or consider me. I don’t fade into the background online like I do in real life.

Being an introvert is hard. Being a socially anxious introvert reliant on alcohol (and actually being in society) to open up is even harder.

I’ve written lots about how I’m planning to make friends, but the truth is, I just can’t seem to pull it off. I love my mom friends, but I’m so much more than a mom. I’m smart. I’m sometimes funny. I know deep down I’m someone worthy of knowing. But I can’t force others to see that in me. I’m in desperate need of meaningful conversation. I’m so tired of talking about my child, but that’s all anyone cares about. It’s like my identity is being absorbed entirely.

I miss my 20s. I want them back every day.

The post I Kinda Hate My 30s appeared first on Scary Mommy.

This Is Why Friendships End Over Politics

Since 2016, many friendships have ended because a lot of people were more vocal about their political affiliations. Before 2016, politics were always regarded as something you talk about behind closed doors, and even then only with certain people. People were able to leave their political party behind the curtains in the voting booth.

But with such a polarizing set of candidates, 2016 changed literally everything. Politics became personal, and as a result, we saw many friendships end over politics. Except, the reasons those friendships really ended go much deeper than “just” politics.

In the last 30-plus years, the Republican party has become increasingly more conservative. We’re talking to the point of dangerous extremism. Their candidates tend to support a platform of “family values,” meaning they uphold a cisgender, heteronormative concept of the “nuclear” American family. Even though you can walk out your door and find that narrative doesn’t really exist anymore.

The other piece of their platform is that somehow there is an “attack” on whiteness. Meaning that minorities will try to take over the country and must be kept under control. As our country becomes more ethnically diverse, it may feel like there are fewer white people, but that is simply untrue, and kind of ridiculous.

Politics have always been personal. People align themselves with the political party they feel will most greatly benefit them in the long run. But when the political party you choose to align yourself with builds their foundation on concepts rooted in the oppression of literally millions of people, your friends who are being oppressed are likely to have concerns. Friendships end over politics when those politics are rooted in exclusion and marginalization of those who are already excluded and marginalized.

As a black, poor, queer single mother, I fall into several of the key targets of conservative Republican ire. I have been a recipient of SNAP (food stamps), I receive federally funded healthcare for my son, and my sexual orientation and race really make me a moving target. Prior to 2016, I didn’t really talk about politics with my friends. Many of those I’m closest to are, like me, very vocal about our beliefs that marginalized people reserve a right to live just freely as the majority (in this case, cisgender, heterosexual white people.)

Leading into the 2016 election, and those few months between the election and inauguration, several of my friendships ended over politics. There were a few reasons why, but the overall reasons was that I didn’t feel comfortable continuing relationships with people who were either celebrating the election of a man who ran on a platform of hate and oppression, or who subsequently felt superior enough to take pleasure in the pain of those who had real fear about the future.

Anyone who had friendships end over politics, especially in those days and months post November 2016, will tell you that while they felt like knee jerk reactions, they weren’t really. When someone shows you that side of themselves, it feels like a slap in the face. But I know that there is a time where your finger is hovering over the “unfriend” button. You’re thinking to yourself, “Am I really going to let this friendship end over politics?” But then, clarity comes.

Because it’s never really about “just” politics; it’s about values, priorities, and core beliefs.

“Politics” reflect some portion of all those things. The president ran his entire campaign on hate and fear. Fear that immigrants were coming into this country to rape and steal. Hate of people with brown skin who were literally running for their lives from countries that America has ravaged with war. Hate of women. Fear of black men. None of his stances were “political;” they were personal.

Choosing to support him means you support a hatred of women in hijabs, of men in turbans, innocent mothers seeking asylum and having their babies ripped from their arms. I hear people say they don’t support those things, but they liked what he had to say about jobs. But that’s the thing about voting — when you vote for someone, you’re voting for all of the parts of their platform, not just the parts you like. And with a platform like that, you’re going to have to do some major reconciliation with your conscience.

The president and the vast majority of his political party are perfectly fine with innocent people dying in the name of their political agenda. Hate crimes are on the rise. As a black woman, I fear certain situations because I don’t know how they will end. White men with access to guns can kill me literally anywhere. Their hateful children can bully children like my son for being mixed race. Or they can bully another child for being gay or transgender, leading these kids to potentially die by suicide because they feel that’s their only way out.

Women are living with the fear that the government is stripping away their rights. If a woman medically needs a late term abortion, or a woman wants an abortion because she does not want a child, they are subjected to more scrutiny than a man who wishes to purchase a military-level assault rifle. These are the times we’re living in. So many of us are walking around with our guards up because we simply do not feel secure leaving the house.

Poor children aren’t getting an adequate education. Children coming to this country for the safety to grow up are being stored in internment camps where they are subjected to harsh living conditions and the fear of rape. All of this is being done in the name of making America “great.” How is any of this great?

This is why friendships end over politics. It’s not the fact that you have different political affiliations. It’s that your political affiliations support the dehumanization of millions of people who call America home. By voting for anyone who calls themselves a conservative, you are saying that you are okay with millions of people being subjected to life or death conditions.

Friendships end over politics because people with a conscience cannot support their friends who support people without a conscience. When you say those who end their friendships are being “immature,” you’re wrong. Immaturity is voting for people who get ahead by being the bullies on the playground. Or being selfish enough to vote for liars, cheaters and murderers because the other side is supposedly “trying to take our guns away.” It’s immature to vote for a man who openly admits to sexual assault while saying that Mexicans who cross the border are coming to the United States to rape our women and get everyone addicted to cocaine.

Real, mature adults understand that there is a world outside their neighborhood. Those people deserve rights to a livable wage, the same freedoms that everyone is supposed to have. No city in America should have tainted water. Families shouldn’t be wondering where their next meal is coming from. People with brown skin should be able to walk down the street and live their lives without being harassed or killed.

Friendships end over politics when people realize that their friend’s politics are intrinsically tied to the suffering of others. And that is simply unacceptable.

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