The Pain of Being the Odd Mom Out

An interesting phenomenon has begun to emerge among my mom community.

It seems I have reached the magical age where 90% of my friends either have children or are currently in the process of bringing them into the world.

For years my calendar has been filled with every baby shower, diaper sprinkle, and meal train that you can imagine. I have boxes at the ready with various toys in case there is a last-minute invite.

During Covid, we had poster board in demand for drive-throughs. But then, without notice…the magic stops.

Life on the Outside

Suddenly, the second-time mamas and the soon-to-be mamas who were all too happy to have you browse their registries and guess which candy bar was in the diaper, misplaced your address.

There are playdates, birthdays, and milestones I only bear witness through other’s Instagram stories. And even though I try to fight it, I feel, well, hurt.

For some unknown reason, it seems, if you don’t have children, you don’t get invited to the party.

Another Loss

It’s one of the tricky parts about being a “temporary” parent. Occasionally when we do have foster children in our home, we receive those sparkly invitations clad with Disney or Marvel characters. Sometimes others do reach out to us for a park outing or set up a playdate after church.

But when the children disappear, so do the invites. Through no ill intentions, I’m sure, our friend circle erases one more thing. While we grieve the loss of children we loved and cared for, we are also grieving the loss of being able to love on your children.

Without warning, we’re the odd mom out.

When we see the joy happening and we are—yet again—left on the outside of the circle, it is another painful reminder of what has not come to pass. Or worse yet, that we are somehow less than or unqualified because we have not been able to become a traditional parent.

We Love You, Too

Can I tell you a secret about the odd mom out? She loves your babies. So much. {Too much? I mean, maybe.}

We enjoy spending time with you and celebrating your kids. Having the opportunity to buy gifts for them and participate in milestones with the rest of the mom group makes us feel included. We adore the opportunity to snatch a hug or peruse the kid books section. Sure, sometimes there can be a tinge of sadness for the moms of loss or moms-in-waiting, but we can always decline the invitations when it’s too much. Give us that choice.

I live for a good dance recital or losing my voice at a kid’s soccer match. I can play hide-and-seek with the best of them and I’m always a sucker for the dollar spot at Target. I pride myself on being able to do the best voices during storytime and 10 out of 10 I will be there for a dance party.

Even for those of us that aren’t ready for kids right now and comfortable being an aunt figure, it never hurts to have imaginative, spirited women in your children’s lives who love them. We are more than happy to grab a coffee and warm the bench during a playdate and catch up on what is going on in your life—and with your kids!

Hey, we need a lap or three around the park, too. {We may even push the stroller. I’m just sayin’.}

You obviously have the right to select whomever you want to spend time with, but next time you’re filling out the guest list, don’t exclude your childless friends because you think they won’t want to be around for your children’s big moments. If they are true friends, they chose to be in your life because they want to support you and your family.

Give them the opportunity.

Cheers to Mamas

So, let’s take a moment and give a nod to all the mamas.

Mamas who hugged their children this morning.

Mamas who are struggling.

Mamas who love their furry and feathered babies.

Mamas in waiting.

Mamas who never had a chance to hold their babies.

Mamas who have said goodbye.

People who love you like a mama just because.

Mamas who were there for a time.

Mamas with an empty nest.

Brand new mamas.

Mamas who stepped in and were a mama when yours couldn’t be.

Cheers to all of us—because it’s all hard, and it’s all important.


 

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Kirsten C. was born and raised in Texas Hill Country. After becoming a hopelessly devoted Bobcat and earning a degree in Mass Communications-Public Relations at Texas State University, she was wooed by the never-ending culinary options and vibrant street art of Houston and became a transplant. By day she is a marketing enthusiast for a downtown engineering firm, and by night, an over-the-top {and unashamed} dog mom. She and her husband William are licensed foster parents—advocating for children and families—who hope to one day grow their family through adoption. You can follow their unruly journey on their blog, Cornell Chaos. When she’s not trying a new restaurant, playing behind the lens of a Cannon, piddling in the yard, or scouring markets for hidden gems, Kirsten is often found teaching student ministry through Kingsland Baptist Church or escaping at a local coffee spot.

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