Everyone around me is having kids, or is baby-obsessed. It’s understandable, as many of them are married and it’s clearly the big thing in their life or the next thing to do on their list, but it’s so boring! I’m happy for them, but I’m not on the baby track myself. Even if I were, I don’t necessarily want to hear about their pregnancies and babies non-stop. Am I awful for feeling this way? —Cindy
Fact: everything that other people do is boring.
It didn’t used to be this way, when the life-machinations of anyone even tangentially involved in your social group were a total high-drama thrill-ride. Now, my friends and I have basically given up on learning each other’s boyfriends’ and girlfriends’ names, and it’s all “How’s that going?” and then scrolling through Twitter while they tell us.
What happens is that time moves forward past communal, in-it-together excitement and into life-building—career-having, baby-making, house-buying—like a fishing boat with a net attached: as you go, you pick up more obligations and responsibilities and general ass-aches. Our individual lives get harder and fuller until we suddenly have more to do than we have attention for each other. It’s just what happens. Sad, true, whatever.
So, that’s the first part of your problem: you’re inevitably going to be bored by what other people are doing when you’re not doing it, too. It’s not even really boredom, I don’t think, it’s just your brain and heart indicating that they’re already heavy with your own stuff. It’s also kind of a threat: my friends are starting to have kids, and it’s cool in the abstract, because I’m already a Fun Aunt (of six!) but it’s also a dark and devastating turn of events, because I’m not pregnant, and I don’t want to be for a (long, or long-ish) while, and I don’t want to lose more friends to a world that is adjacent to but different from the one we’ve been hanging out in. Anyway, this is all harder when what you’re dealing with in your own life is invisible to other people, or just less official, but, so? You know what’s up.
The second part of your problem is that the thing you’re not interested in is babies, a.k.a. humans, which is a different thing than not caring about your friend’s new job in the C-suite. Babies are twenty-four-sev; it’s not like you can expect comforting sameness with your friend; a baby isn’t a tiny caveat.
The third part is that you feel bad about thinking it’s boring, or, you feel bad about your feelings. Don’t. Feelings are magic, and they’re information, and—hot tip!— dishonouring your own “truth” or whatever is how and why so many adults are f-cking miserable.
The fourth part of your problem is that you’re a woman (eeeugh), which means that even before you were a tiny baby boring the shit out of your parents’ friends, a narrative was created for you about how you’re supposed to feel about and react to babies themselves and the culture of baby-having. That narrative also demands that you feel shamey and wrong (see: above!) if you’re not super-interested; the wail of the baby-less woman is supposed to be “When is it my tuuuuurn?” and not “When are we getting spicy Caesarsssss?” (This is also something that women, even cool ones, sometimes put on each other, even by accident.) It’s this part that’s probably making the other parts a lot worse than they have to be.
I think you just have to live with it, though, because of part one (your friends are going to be bored of you when you buy a house with the structural integrity of a Snickers), and part two (babies = people), and part three (your feelings are legit, but your social obligations still exist). And, trust, even if you’re not into babies, kids get way more fun in a few years, and eventually you might want to watch TV and talk about pop music and play video games with them, instead.
More great advice from Kate:
I Have Proof My Friend’s BF is Cheating. Do I Tell Her?
My Best Friend’s Life is Perfect. Can I Tell Her to Stop Complaining Already?
How Young is Too Young?
Is Long Distance a Dealbreaker?
When Do I Need to Disclose My Dismal $$$ Sitch?
How Can I Curb My Tinder-Rejection Sads?
When Should My Guy & I Talk “Numbers”?
Can We Be FWB When He Wants More?
Is It Ever OK to Date a Friend’s Ex?
How Do I Get Over a Guy?
Why Aren’t I More Obsessed With My BF?
Should I Propose to My Guy?