Can parents and nonparents be friends?

If I didn't notice it before, I get it now: There is a huge difference between my girlfriends who have kids and those who do not.

The latest proof came when my 2-year-old took down a Starbucks with my childless friend as a witness.

Here's what happened: I recently called a friend to see if she wanted to meet for a coffee because I was going to be on her side of town.

I had to stop by a store first, but a quick errand turned into 45 minutes. The delay meant that Aubrey was starting to lose her patience, and she began pulling out stuffed animals and walking around the store with them.

The place was packed. I got Aubrey a cookie hoping it would keep her busy.

Nope. She thought we were playing musical chairs. My friend and her pal, who I could already tell did not have children, were confused at this game.

Her friend asked me about being on a sabbatical.

"Yes," I said. "I took a break to be a stay-at-home mom."

She gave a slight smile as Aubrey started dismantling the Valentine's Day display by removing boxes of hearts and putting them on the table.

While I tended to that, my friend said: "Is that your Mommy uniform?"

I looked down at my attire. I didn't think it was that bad.

"Remember you said when you stopped working, you wouldn't have a Mommy uniform?" my friend continued.

I have on corduroy jeans and what I thought was a decent sweater. OK, so I have these corduroy jeans in every color from the same store. I also bought solid-colored long-sleeved shirts in every color. So does this mean this is my uniform? Maybe it is.

I realized I had no makeup on. I think I washed my hair. Can't remember. But I know I took a shower.

Meanwhile, Aubrey was emptying my diaper bag onto the floor. It was then that I noticed my friend's Coach tennis shoes. I didn't even know they made those. She was in slacks and a nice dress shirt and looked so relaxed.

Her friend gave me an awkward smile as I picked up Aubrey's latest mess.

Then it happened. Aubrey threw herself onto her stomach and started a tantrum. She was actually lying flat on the floor screaming.

My friend's eyes grew wider and she struggled for words. Silence was all she could muster. Then Aubrey took off and started circling Starbucks. I ran after her.

Yes, I wanted to say, my child is crazy and I have no control over her. And yes, I am wearing a Mommy uniform. And yes, I am different from you. But I am trying here!

I slung Aubrey under my arm, grabbed my drink and we were gone. I don't think I said goodbye.

Later, I imagined how the dinner conversation at my friend's home that night.

"So you know my friend Angie? Well, she took a sabbatical from her job to be with her kids more, and now she can't even do that right! Her child is out of control!"

That night, I thought about the outing and how wrong it went. I know another mother would understand it's just what happens to all moms sometimes.

But I am a bit envious of my friend's free time, her tantrum-free life. Maybe even of her Coach tennis shoes. I hope she doesn't think my daughter behaves like that every day.

If she does I'm just going to have to count on my friend to empathize a little — even if she doesn't have kids.

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