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Are we going to lose our non-parent friends?(60 Posts)
We are now knee-deep into parenting with a 6mo and a 3yo, and currently travelling is hard as the 6mo hates carseats. Also neither child sleeps well at all, and so we are very very precious about bedtimes and routines, moreso than more "easygoing" parents who have children who sleep reliably and for long periods.
Some old (childless) friends of ours who live several hours drive away, have made several suggestions over the last few months to try and meet up, but each time the time and place was just unworkable from our point of view. They suggested late afternoon meetups with "dinner out", or meeting for events which start in the late afternoon. And we keep having to say no.
I'm sure they think we're being dicks, but how could they have any idea of the stresses and pressures we are under - like planning naps with military precision to ensure a "good" bedtime, and not being able to drive a car more than 15 without a child wailing.
I'm worried that we're going to lose them as friends as our ideas of when and where and how to meet up seem diametrically opposed at the moment.
Or are we just being to precious with our kids. Do other people just get on with their social lives and the kids just have to deal with it? How?
I guess this isn't exactly a new ground breaking problem, but will they give up on us soon if we don't meet up?
Your life and routine sounds incredibly rigid.
What suggestions for meeting up have you come up with?
Can you suggest some ways to meet up that will wotk for you? Coming to you for a meal perhaps?
Or one of you sees them at a time?
It will get easier as the kids get older.
Well, we lost our friends WITH kids too, they all turned into people who frowned when you turned the tv on for a half hour break during a shared holiday, as though it would forever limit their childs life chances, or started one-upping you every two minutes by bragging about their two year olds violin lessons. I swear they were nice people before, and of course we were perfect both before and after having children . It is natural that your focus is on your family, just be honest about that.
They have suggested some things that could work; they have no idea what family life is like for you.
What have you suggested to them? Have you made any effort? Of course they will stop offering if you don't make even a counter-offer so you both compromise.
If they don't know your routines and parameters then everything they suggest will be unworkable for you.
You are the ones with the information, so it's up to you to think of how it can work and make suggestions for ways to meet up that you can manage.
Maybe explain it to them or you suggest something local to you? It sounds like they are trying to make an effort.
Hi, we have a coming up to 7 month old baby boy and I like you live by my schedule. The schedule keeps us and our baby sane! And no night out in the history of man is worth our child turning into a Damien devil child for!! It can be difficult when people don't have kids themselves as they struggle to understand unless they have had more hands on experience maybe with nieces/nephews.
Do you have a willing babysitter who could maybe take care of your children one evening while you maybe meet your friends for a dinner?
Can they come to you? Let them get nice and pissed whilst you settle the kids?
They probably dont get it, i never did until we had kids and were the same for a while (it does get better, but ita not what I call free and easy!). People who don't have kids often dont understand the dog tiredness that comes with it and the domino effect of going too far away from what v young kids are for.
In your shoes I would tell them your routine and why you can't deviate from it, then suggest a time and activity type that would suit. Pub lunch at the right time and a walk whilst the kids napped often worked for us in your situation.
I'm of the opinion that you just have to sort of get on with it. Child screams in car seat, they'll get used to it or drop off to sleep at some point, a lot of them don't like car seats! I also had a terrible sleeper but the most rigid nap routine in the world made no difference so I just gave up trying - i figured I wasn't going to give up my daytimes as well as every night. She would just sleep in the car or in the buggy. I think parenting is a bit more enjoyable if you can relax and go with the flow a bit and they learn to adapt - a travel cot and a sling and ours can go anywhere now.
We would do a Sunday afternoon in a pub garden or a walk in a park or country park with an ice cream at the end for toddler.
I don't think you can stick rigidly to routines all the time or you really will limit yourself to never going out!!!
I would suggest meeting them at lunch time. Or at yours. Or both. Maybe just take the baby and leave dh with the 3 yr old. Then swap once the baby toddles and 3 yr old is a bit tamer.
And yes likely to give up on you if you never meet up!!
We did days out to the zoo that everyone can enjoy, pubs with play areas, walks in parks.... people round for tea and cake....
It sounds like you're making them do all the chasing. They probably feel like you're trying to drop them.
Why don't you suggest something that works for you and see what they say?
Tbf to OP, I would expect certainly with a 3yo that they've worked out if theirs respond best (i.e. least badly) to a rigid routine or if a period of going with the flow sorts it out. I'd think by three that they've given it a good bash and they are where they are.
My first thought was could they come to stay for a night?
We are of just-get-on-with-it-parenting school but I know that doesn't work for others.
However I wouldn't be too hard on friends without kids - just explain the situation - they might not be in the trenches with you but few people are stupid enough not to understand that some kids do better with routine and naps.
Text something like
"I wish we could do x thing you suggested but our kids make that impossible at the moment. Some kids allow for an easier social life and some don't and at the moment ours don't but they'll get there. A long journey and evening meal would be miserable for all involved (I'd hate to subject you to the tears) why don't you come to us for a dinner party or maybe we could go for Sunday lunch or a brunch?
Things will change, sorry we're inflexible at the moment. Thanks for understanding - can't wait to see you for a catch up and a glass of wine - we really value spending time with you guys."
1. suggest a way of getting together that works for you
2. loosen the routine / regime for one day (feels impossible, but isn't actually the end of the world).
Thanks for replies. I don't think we're routine maniacs, but maybe the lack of sleep is just making us crazy.
It certainly seems other parents ate able to achieve a lot more than us. We've not been out in the evening together since no1 was born. Maybe we are uptight, who knows. We are just desperate for sleep!
The only option is for then to come to us, or near us at the moment. So we'll see where that gets us.
You make it sound like them coming to you is a suggestion you haven't made? If they're keen to see you they'll do something that works for you too - so suggest some ideas to them
You've not been out for the evening in 3 years?! I'd have gone bananas and I'm not sure our relationship would be doing well either.
How far away do they live? Maybe suggest meeting up at a national trust property or similar half way between you for the day. Very kid friendly and usually do decent food for the adults. The car seat thing is a pain but generally they improve with time and sometimes you just have to grin and bear it. Do you have any public transport options near you? A train or bus might be less stressful. I do think it sounds like you're being particularly difficult.
national trust is a very good idea. space for eldest to run around and also put a blanket down for the small one. Take a buggy for a nap, coffee shop and stop able to chat to friends.
This sounds harsher than it is meant because I haven't slept in 48 hours so apologies in advance
I hate the stereotype that all childless friends will just drop their mates once they have kids because their lives are so busy now. Yes it's harder to plan when there are young children involved but you just get on with it if you actually want to see them.
If you can't find a couple of hours in your schedule to see your friends then yes you will lose them eventually but don't make out like it's their fault for "just not getting how hard it is". If you value your friendships then put some effort in, or be honest and tell them that things are manic right now but you will try your best as things get easier.
Friendships take effort and time and if you are not willing to out either of those in, for any reason - including because you have children now - then yes you will lose those friendships. You can't expect them to just hang around in the background until life gets a bit easier for you whilst you contribute nothing to the friendship.
I think you do sound a bt uptight tbh. I am sorry if that is harsh, I had amazing sleepers so I don't know what sleep deprivation is like. (they could be complete arseholes when they were awake though if it's any consolation) I was quite young and the first amongst my friends to have a baby so I was absolutely determined that my kids would not restrict friendships, travel, our relationship, my own space etc.
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