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To resent having to pretend I don't have a child when around a certain old friend?

(152 Posts)
jeckadeck Tue 03-May-11 16:40:10

Old, very dear, childless friend hates listening to people talk about babies. To the point of neurosis -- she tunes out any reference to kids at all and makes ostentatious claims to anyone who will listen about how bored she is by it all. Don't really know whether she hates children, is envious or is just bored by the conversation, suspect a combination of all three. Up to a point I sympathize, there's nothing duller than being sat in a room full of young mothers banging on about the contents of their offspring's nappies if you don't have kids yourself and if you can't have kids it can be quite painful. I have a 12-week old baby and I try my hardest to be sympathetic and not to talk endlessly about my kid when I'm out with her or other childless friends. But she recently said she'd love to get me and another mum friend out for a night out "on condition that you don't talk about your children." I just think that while its one thing to expect that we don't go on about them all night, she can't expect us not to discuss our children at all. But am I being unreasonable? and if not, how do I get this across to her without hurting her? We've had this out in the past when I was pregnant and she temporarily seemed to get better but apparently is now back to insisting that any reference to children be erased from our friendship.

saffy85 Tue 03-May-11 16:45:22

YANBU. Don't get me wrong, some people take it too far and will go on and on about their child (I know I have been guilty of this blush) but lets face it, your child is part of your life, presumably someone you spend ALOT of time with so obviously you'll talk about them to some degree.

You say your baby is 12 weeks old, so you have right to be wrapped up in everything involving them right now imo. It's totally natural. You shouldn't be made to feel bad or boring.

TandB Tue 03-May-11 16:45:23

We have a friend who used to say things like that. He was quite rude about it and the annoying thing was they way all the other blokes in our social circle pandered to it. "Oh, remember A doesn't like kid talk".

Now his wife is pregnant and you would think no-one in the world had ever had a child before. Seriously, they are clearly having the next messiah and need to spread the word.

PommePoire Tue 03-May-11 16:45:53

This is not reasonable. If you swap the words 'my baby' 'my children' etc. for 'my job' 'my holidays' 'my pets' 'my hobbies' or any other aspect of someone's life that is important and interesting to them, but not necessarily all-consuming, does that make it acceptable to ban that topic from ALL conversation? No, of course it doesn't. YANBU. Is this woman's friendship worth this ridiculous demand?

anonacfr Tue 03-May-11 16:46:49

Weird.
Tell her you're looking forward to an evening that doesn't revolve around talking about growth spurt/projectile poo/breastfeeding/lack of sleep etc. but you can't pretend you don't have a baby.

HecateQueenOfTheNight Tue 03-May-11 16:47:03

Are you allowed to mention your partner?

parents?

siblings?

job?

It is unreasonable to demand that you don't mention at all, ever, people that are an important part of your life.

In your shoes, I'd be telling her that.

Does she talk about her job, her family, her partner (if she has one)

If so, then I suggest you say to her that you will avoid all mention of your children but she is not allowed to mention - at all - X <name> ever. And ask her if that sounds sensible or insane.

I thought one of the things you did with friends was talk about your life and the people in your life.

bigbumum Tue 03-May-11 16:48:37

hmm i would personally like to go out and NOT talk about kids for one night.

Not every one likes kids!

YANBU to be upset and offended.

Insomnia11 Tue 03-May-11 16:49:15

I think SHE is being unreasonable. People going on about ANYTHING too much can be boring. Tend to think people who make a big deal about this kind of thing actually have a few issues with their child free status that they probably don't even admit to themselves.

ChristinedePizan Tue 03-May-11 16:50:05

Realistically, when your baby's 12 weeks old, it's not like you've got much else going on in your life apart from looking after them so it's bonkers to issue an edict to say you can't talk about it. Actually any 'friend' who told me what I was and wasn't allowed to discuss would get pretty short shrift (excepting sensitivities around loss obviously)

Bluemoonrising Tue 03-May-11 16:50:10

Do you know why she doesn't want to speak about children? I suspect she is unable to have any herself, or has maybe suffered miscarriages, and that she finds it very difficult.

YANBU, of course you are not.

lubberlich Tue 03-May-11 16:51:58

YANBU - I used to be quite sensitive about this with friends who were unable to have kids (even after a ton of IVF) or ones who weren't into kids - now I don't give a shit. I have never been one to rabbit on and on about kid stuff. But he is my son. The main focus of my life. If they want to know me then they have to know him too. Simples.

jeckadeck Tue 03-May-11 16:52:15

Hecate I've tried making this point before. She doesn't have a partner but the equivalent would be her career. Her argument is that her career (which is in the creative arts) is intrinsically interesting to all while children are only interesting as a topic to other parents and therefore the onus is on us as parents to cater to this more generally "interesting" topic, as opposed to her tolerating the occasional bit of babytalk. I've said until I'm blue in the face that that's a subjective value judgement but she just doesn't accept this.

frgr Tue 03-May-11 16:53:58

Do you actually talk about your child a lot though?

There's a woman at work (I don't want to post too much info because I've been outed before on here) who literally mentions her child every half hour in some shape or form. There's a method she can use to get her children (and how wonderful, talented, exceptional they are) into every frigging subject of conversation, even if it's the most unrelated topic (this morning: split testing of target user groups for a product's marketing campaign we've just had the report on back from March's interview testing... this is a kitchen product in no way shape or form relating to kids, yet she managed to talk about hers for 5 minutes in the (informal) catchup meeting between myelf and two others.. arrrrgh!)

ssd Tue 03-May-11 16:54:31

sorry, you need new friends

you can't pretend your children don't exist, it might hurt your friend but for her to take this stance is totally unreasonable

so no, YANBU

TheVisitor Tue 03-May-11 16:55:52

I would just say "I'll talk about what I want as I am an adult and make my own decisions, thank you very much".

FurKnickersAndNoCoat Tue 03-May-11 16:56:15

she sounds like a right royal twunt to me. "her career in creative arts is intrinsically interesting" - what a thing to say! id find her career chat incredibly boring. as you OP have said yourself there is nothing worse than friends who yap about their kids for the whole conversation because is basically selfish IMO but its just as selfish to talk endlessly about your partner, job, garden gnome collection. is she really worth hanging onto as a friend?

jeckadeck Tue 03-May-11 16:56:57

frgr no I don't... I'm super careful not to be a baby bore at the best of times and hyper careful around her because I know she doesn't want to hear it. I literally can't refer to my baby around her unless its an oblique reference or a negative one (having a kid hampering my ability to go out etc). She has only once asked me how I or the baby are doing since birth and when I answered she cut me off in mid flow and on the two or three occasions I've been out with her since the baby was born we talked about everything but children. To the point where it was almost weird.

activate Tue 03-May-11 16:58:47

Other people's children and babies are terminally dull though

ChristinedePizan Tue 03-May-11 17:02:27

Yes they are dull but pretending they don't exist is really bloody weird. Some friendships don't make it through major life-changing events in one another's lives. That might include finding God, coming out or having a baby. Sounds like this is one of those.

jesterjangles Tue 03-May-11 17:03:40

Definitely not U. I aren't one to bang on about my children all night either and sometimes it is good to talk about something other than nappies and the latest childrens tv show BUT I must admit that people talking about work bores me completely. Its ok for a bit but going on and on about something that you know nothing about is boring. When me and DH go out with one of DH's work friends, all he wants to do is chat with DH about work and his wife doesn't mind talking about it and her work too (they have no children yet). I end up wondering why I bothered coming, but I would never dream of saying that it was boring though or saying that they couldn't talk about it anymore.

A night out with friends should be all parties talking about what they want, whether everyone wants to hear it or not. And actually, if I have friends I want to talk about everything in their lives.

Bathsheba Tue 03-May-11 17:07:00

I think I'd mention that she is being as rude going on and on about it as you would be going on and on about babies.

She is as much of an "anti baby" bore as anyone could ever be accussed of being a baby bore.

Shakirasma Tue 03-May-11 17:08:52

Nothing worse than a baby bore, and ive got 3 kids!

However, you gave got a 3 month old baby. That is surely the biggest thing going on in your life right now, and for somebody to want to spend time with you but not acknowledge thar, well that is downright rude.

You are their friend, you are an individual and you are a mother. All of those roles should be acknowledged and respected by those who profess to care about you.

Do not pander to their selfishness.

LadyThumb Tue 03-May-11 17:11:16

You are talking about my sister, right? She used to turn to face the wall if my other sister's children entered the room, and refused to speak until they had left the room. My son is 26 - she has never seen him. She is childless through choice (and just as well, methinks!).

JamieAgain Tue 03-May-11 17:11:16

I agree with what PommePoire said. Maybe this friendship needs to cool for a bit (it happens)

QuintessentialPains Tue 03-May-11 17:14:52

Make a point. If she starts talking about art, start yawning, look away, change the topic, tell her you are bored, tell her it is not interesting. She cannot say that art is generally interesting to all. It isnt.

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