women

Like many married-with-kids jugglers, my husband and I look back fondly L on our pre-children days. We were together for more than four years before our first daughter came along, and we had many fun times and adventures, from spontaneous overseas holidays to regular Sunday hangovers. Over the past few years, we have fully embraced our lives as parents - but what about couples who opt not to?

Description: DINKS (double income, no kids)

DINKS (double income, no kids)

Such childfree - not childless, thank you! - couples are often called DINKS (double income, no kids). But it's a cohort that often finds itself misunderstood or even ostracised as their friends procreate.

DINKS support groups complain on websites that "people with children" get a better deal from the Government, retailers or anyone else with something to sell or dole out. They feel as if they're treated like second-class citizens, while breeders get all the attention. Plus, they're fed up with the pressure to have children.

Christine, a West Beach DINK, shared her surprise and dismay that friends were unsupportive when she and her husband told them they planned not to have children. "Too many conversations, painful moments and emotional emails to recount," she said. "But the statement that best sums it all up was when a very close couple told us that they did not see us in their lives anymore as we were making the ‘unnatural choice'."

Vicki, a North Adelaide DINK, found that she and her friends with kids all mutually went their separate ways. "We just didn't have anything in common anymore," she said. "I got sick of talking about night feeds and nappies, while my friends didn't want to talk about anything but their children."

Ah, dilemmas dilemmas...

Which brings me to the million dollar question... can breeders and DINKS be friends? Or, should DINKS play with DINKS, and SICKS (single income, complete with kids) stick with DICKS (double income, complete with kids)?

Description: SICKS (single income, complete with kids)

SICKS (single income, complete with kids)

I have contemplated this question for a while, primarily because as a mother with two children, I have just three friends that do not have kids.

One is yet to meet Mr Right, one is perfectly content with a great career and her penchant for Louis Vuitton accessories (and not genuine imitation versions either), and the third truly wants a child but is having trouble falling pregnant.

As you can imagine, this creates an interesting dynamic. And it's really made me question whether or not I can maintain these friendships.

Description: DICKS (double income, complete with kids)

DICKS (double income, complete with kids)

Initially, I blamed the DINKS friends I have. They were too busy living their lives to care about my kids. They couldn't possibly understand what life was like when you're juggling day care, toilet training, solids and siblings at the same time. Not to mention grocery shopping, date night, house cleaning and a job.

But then it dawned on me - the problem isn't my friends that don't have children, it's me! As a parent, my life has become so wrapped up in what my kids are doing that I rarely think to  talk about anything else. A day of Peppa Pig, dry ‘big girl' knickers and kindergym has become more important than the big project I just finished at work.

I realised that, to truly be friends with DINKS, I have to be sensitive to the fact that they are not aware of the trials, tribulations or absolute privilege of being a parent. And, without first-hand experience, how can they possibly understand how hard it is to conjure up a babysitter to meet for a quick, impromptu cup of coffee? The reality is they can't.

However, I was without children once, which makes me far better equipped to understand where they are coming from.

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