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And, to that end, I set about creating a short (but not extensive) list of things breeders can keep in mind if you're keen to keep the friendship flame alive with dinks.

There are certain mysteries of motherhood that just don't make for particularly interesting conversation.

Description: Breeders VS Dinks - Can We Be Friends?

Some of these would include: vomit, poo, any body parts that leak, hair growing in unusual places, fingernails and acne. And, while we're on the subject, breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural part of life and you should do it freely in front of anyone, but don't ask your friend to feel your blocked ducts. Having said that, don't feel like you have to remain mum on the subject of being mum either; just choose your stories wisely. As a guide, anything that includes Johnny accidentally cussing because he pronounces "TR" like "F" is good - these stories are enjoyed by breeders and DINKS alike.

Non-kio related accomplishments are important too.

One DINK shared with me that she's thrown lots of baby showers for her friends, and even a first birthday party for her friend's child, but only one friend attended her masters' graduation (ouch!). Even when we breeders are totally caught up in our kids and the whirlwind of early motherhood, that's no excuse for ignoring our friends' notable achievements and milestones.

Breeders don't have a monopoly on troubled and tired.

Believe it or not, DINKS' lives aren't all about drinking champagne and throwing fancy pants dinner parties with interesting strangers. DINKS have job woes, financial worries, family troubles, relationship issues... pretty much the same stuff us SICKS and DICKS complain about, just without the little people. Don't act as though your life is inherently harder than a DINKS' just because you have kids and they don't.

Try!

Most of the DINKS I spoke to acknowledged that theirlives are usually more flexible than their breeding friends' are and they don't mind shouldering more than their fair share of the scheduling burden for a while. Having said that, it helps if you recognise and acknowledge the effort they're making and meet them halfway from time-to-time. So, if you have to fake a tequila shooter once in a while for the benefit of your DINK friends, then suck it up and do it - your DINK friends deserve it.

Now dinks, there are things you can also do to ease the friendship transition from pre-kids to post-kids with your breeding buddies.

Be prepared to Jookata lot of baby pictures. Especially if the baby is a newborn!

Description: Be prepared to Jookata lot of baby pictures

You will be expected to view hundreds of pictures of the new little one via email, social networking sites or smart phones. If you can, l f ip through the pictures on your own and then give out obligatory "awwwww"s every now and then. If the parent is controlling how long you look at each picture, you will have to say "aww" for each one or else they will probably not move to the next photo (and this will take years off your life).

Beware of telling a parent anything that happened in your day.

Any story you share will immediately be turned into something they wanted to tell you about the cute thing their baby did. "You have to work tomorrow? Johnny always cries when I have to leave for work; it is so cute!" or "You had a doctor's appointment? Johnny's doctor is always amazed at how well he is growing -we're going to have a big boy on our hands"... you get my drift.

Do not try to talk about anything that you have seen on television because sicks & dicks do not get to watch adult programming.

Children rarely stray far from ABC2 and, if the parent wants to watch something, that's exactly when the kids want to be played with. A safe bet would be to record some popular kids shows so that you can have an actual conversation about when Iggle Piggle can finally relinquish his red blanket, or why the Bananas in Pyjamas are friends with teddy bears, a rat and a kangaroo, but no apples or pears. If not, you will have to talk about yourself and, again, everything you share will be turned into a "my kid is so cute" story (see above).

Realise that your friend is not the same person you fell in love with.

Description: They are blinded by the love

You're right. Your friend has changed and they are not as fun as they used to be when they only had themselves to consider. They are blinded by the love they have for their children and their quest to not permanently screw them up (no pressure).

So can parents & dinks really be friends?

The answer is yes.

Description: So can parents & dinks really be friends?

DINKS, be patient, relax a bit and, in a few years time, your friends with children will turn back into the people you once knew. Sure, they will still have little human beings to raise, but with practice they will have learnt how to switch on ABC2 while simultaneously mixing up a hair of the dog.

And breeders, don't forget that you were DINKS (or SINKS - single income, no kids) once too. It's you that has changed, not your friends. Don't abandon your mates; you were without children once and can understand exactly where they are coming from. Instead, put yourself in their shoes and don't expect them to understand life in yours.

The fact is, your DINKS friends are still your friends; they love you and they are here for the long haul as long as you stay honest and make an effort. Even if you feel a sudden and scary chasm between you, trust that it will shrink over time.

DINKS, SINKS, SICKS and DICKS: we can all be happy families.

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