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to want not to ask friends round?

(52 Posts)
fifiroary Mon 10-Oct-11 09:39:27

yes I am, but can't see a way out of this.
I have a toddler and a baby, so do a few of my friends. Throughout the summer we have been meeting at each others' houses for morning play and lunch, roughly once a week.
My house is much smaller than the others and I am dreading having them all over once the weather is bad and the kids can't go in the garden.

so as not to aibu by stealth, i have been diagnosed with pnd and find even minor things pathetically stressful at the moment (they do not know this)

in the past I have suggested doing other things in the morning like soft play or a stay and play near me and then just doing lunch at mine - lunch is easier than having all the free range marauding toddlers, then they all go away for naptime. Even a walk in our small local park would be easier, even if we all have to wear raincoats and wellies. But they all say "oh no it will be fine" and expect to come over anyway, Everyone else hosts the whole morning at their houses, but as I say, they are bigger and their kids have many more toys.

I have happily accepted their hospitality so I feel bad about this but I just can't face carrying on doing this through the winter. What can I do? Can I just tell them we have to go out for the morning and not give them a choice?

worraliberty Mon 10-Oct-11 09:43:18

What's wrong with letting them play in the garden with their coats and wellies on?

Kids normally love that sort of thing and it only seems to be adults that have a problem with cold/wet weather.

CailinDana Mon 10-Oct-11 09:49:31

I think you need to be honest with them. Tell them you appreciate coming to their houses but you would find it too stressful to have them over all morning at yours and suggest your alternatives. Don't be afraid to tell them you have PND, it's nothing to be ashamed of. It's important that you protect your health and if you find having them over too much to deal with, don't do it.

nethunny Mon 10-Oct-11 09:56:59

Are you sure they mind? My NCT group meet up but we usually go to one of two houses because they have the space and the garden. Our flat was up loads of stairs with nowhere to put their massive prams so we never hosted, neither did one of the others because they lived in a tiny flat. I always bring cakes or whatever.

They probably just want to do what's easiest for everyone and won't mind at all if you say, it'll be so cramped at mine, can I share-host at yours, bring the food etc.

You shouldn't worry about this, look after yourself,

wellwisher Mon 10-Oct-11 10:08:26

It's a bit off to go to everyone else's houses if you're not prepared to have them back. Is your house really that small? can you temporarily shove everything upstairs to create a bit more space for the visit?

gegs73 Mon 10-Oct-11 10:13:45

Let them in! Our house used to be tiny and I often used to have about 8 toddlers round and mums. Everyone knows its abit squashed but its only a couple of hours and you have made the effort. Friend I know with a big house always used to complain she was never invited anywhere and people used to come round hers all the time as she had the most space. She liked people coming over but wouldn't have minded the size house for a couple of hours, just nice effort being made!

Sidalee7 Mon 10-Oct-11 10:44:13

YABU. I have a couple of friends who used to basically camp out and mine and another girls house for the day when our dc's were tiny and rarely had us back.

Its really annoying!!!

Pseudo341 Mon 10-Oct-11 10:45:55

Talk to them and explain. I'm one of the ones in my group with a bigger house and garden, doesn't bother me to sit on the floor round at cosier houses but if it bothered the host I'd be more than happy to take their turn hosting too. Besides which it saves me driving and means DD can have a longer nap smile

duvetdayplease Mon 10-Oct-11 10:49:02

YANBU. I had a small house after my son was born, he was very ill and I couldn't cope. If there is anyone who can't understand that when you explain it to them then they are a bitch and you don't want to waste time on them. If you have PND the last thing you need is extra pressure.

In situations like this, I always try to remember that saying - 'The ones who matter won't mind, the one's who mind don't matter' - if someone is so petty as to get annoyed because you need a bit of a break - well, not worth knowing really!

I hate people who invite people round then get all arsey if its not reciprocated - don't invite people round if you don't want to. Its an invitation, not a bloody reciprocal contract.

But, I do think you should be honest so it doesn't just come over as rudeness.

PattySimcox Mon 10-Oct-11 10:50:38

Fraid YABU to accept their hospitality and not return theirs. In our baby group there was a wide range of homes - some massive Footballers Wives type houses and others mine pokey little boxes.

No-one minds going to a smaller messier houses.

What pisses people off is if they have taken their turn hosting and spending the subsequent afternoon wiping sticky marks off and tidying away after everyone has gone home but don't get a reciprocal invitation.

lynniep Mon 10-Oct-11 10:53:05

I think you need to be honest with them - they arent mind readers. Just tell them you arent feeling up to it at the mo but happy to meet somewhere public.

We used to do this once a week before our eldest DCs started school. One friend was selling her house, so we stopped using hers as a meeting place - then they took the house off the market but we still never got invites over there. This was 18 months ago. The friend group dwindled to just us (others moved away) and I got fed up recently of having her kids over once a week and trashing my house (not just her kids - mine trash it too - but I dont see why it should always be my house) and finally said 'would you mind if we do yours next week instead?'. She averted the question with a 'how about we meet in the park'. This is fine - if she can't face it then I'm not going to force my kids on her - at least she knows now that I'm not prepared for it to always be my place and at least I know that she doesnt want us at hers. So its the park or soft play or not at all.

CailinDana Mon 10-Oct-11 11:02:28

People who are saying the OP is unreasonable are completely overlooking the fact that she is ill. If a friend of mine was ill and struggling to accommodate me because she felt I'd be offended I'd feel absolutely awful and so sad for her. If you explain your situation and they get arsey about it then they're not worth it, but honestly I doubt they will, I'm sure they'll be very understanding.

Dozer Mon 10-Oct-11 11:06:38


I feel similar, hate having loads of kids round. Also hate the "reciprocal contract" thing!

fourbears Mon 10-Oct-11 11:10:53

YANBU. I have had PND for the last three years and still find it so so stressful to have visitors over. It would affect me for days after, would want to be on my own, have a break from the kids which wasn't possible etc. When i was first diagnosed I had to ask my friends not to come round. I think if you haven't gone through it, it's hard to understand. Going to other people's houses is easier because you can leave if it gets too much, don't have to tidy up before everyone comes and generally feel responsible for how everything goes so I absolutely understand OP. You've done really well to be out and about so much!

If you've known them for a while now, would it be an option to tell one of them what's been going on with you and about the depression and how it affects you. Most people I've told have been fairly sympathetic even if they've had no experience of it. That person could then help you with where to go from there.

The one thing I've realised is that I have to do what's right for me and so do you. No one else has to cope with the anxiety and exhaustion that ensues when we force ourselves to do something that is outside of our capabilities right now. I have made myself much worse in the past trying to do just that. Look after yourself and your family. It really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.

Sidalee7 Mon 10-Oct-11 11:12:58

I dont care about "reciprical contact" I just think its plain bad manners to go round to someones house and never invite them back!

In the OP's case if it is putting strain on her because of PND this is a different situation but she should explain this to them because it does look like you are being rude.

I have a teeny tiny house and would just put out a picnic blanket for the kids and it would be fine.

But its nice for those who do host loads and have all the cooking/tidying/making endless cups of tea to have opportunity to get out of their houses and have a cuppa made for them.

substantiallycompromised Mon 10-Oct-11 11:24:55

Contact everyone by e-mail. Tell them you are feeling 'low' and are struggling and that, if it's OK with them, you would prefer to get some fresh air.

Then, if you feel up to it, organise something different like a treasure hunt or puddle splashing walk in the local park, or an organised Autumn nature walk in the local wood (with work-sheets for the little ones on different varieties of trees or similar??). There's loads of info here and here

If you locate it somewhere where there is a local cafe you can treat everyone to coffee, or prepare flasks of coffee and make some cakes to bring along or similar .... Tell everyone to come prepared with wellies and cagoules etc in case of rain.

If the others see you have effort in, I'm sure they won't mind. They might even prefer it (I always personally found coffee mornings with feral toddlers slightly tortuous!) and would have loved to have gone for a walk instead!

DedalusDigglesPocketWatch Mon 10-Oct-11 11:28:13

I don't think YABU by not wanting them there, but if it is only once a month or something then perhaps you are being a little unreasonable.

I find that actually little toddlers are ok, it seems to be getting worse the older the children are though. They get bored too easily and I am unable to give them my full attention due to my DS being 14m and into everything.

If you have stairgates up so only certain areas are open to the children it definitely helps.

If you are really unable to face it, then perhaps ask that this time you go to the park as you are struggling and the house isn't in a fit state for visitors, but next time should be ok.

ENormaSnob Mon 10-Oct-11 11:45:57

You are going to come across as unreasonable as they are unaware of your pnd.

fifiroary Mon 10-Oct-11 14:06:34

Right thanks, I suppose I have had confirmed what I already knew which is I either have to have them over or tell them about the PND.
I love the nature walk idea though, not just to get out of my house but to get out of houses. (It is not relaxing being indoors with rampaging toddlers, as someone else said.) I need to be more forceful about suggesting things like that but the trouble is, every time I suggest it when it is not my turn to host, I feel like it isn't really up to me to be too domineering about what we are going to do, and if it is my turn to host, I don't want to seem to be trying to get out of it, so either way it never seems to happen that we break the cycle and go and do something different.

grumplestilskin Mon 10-Oct-11 14:12:58

YANBU. When I once texted my antinatal class and quite bluntly said that we'ld have to meet at soft play or park because I just wasn't coping with housework that week and TBH didn't wanna spend the morning looking at my messy house, the response was all "thank god you said that I feel the same way but didn't wanna say" etc. Now we still plan coffee mornings but if anyone's not up to it or feels too behind with their housework or just isn't up to hosting we do plan Bs. I bet they feel the same some days, no matter how big their houses are x

Thzumbiewitch Mon 10-Oct-11 14:18:07

YANBU and I hope you manage to let them know that it's not something you can manage at the moment, either by telling them about the PND, or by saying your house is really too small to accommodate everyone.

BranchingOut Mon 10-Oct-11 14:24:48

I am a bit torn on this one. In my postnatal group one of my closest friends lives in quite a small flat with lots of work equipment, so has never hosted, but none of us mind.

On the other hand, as you do have a house and garden (although small) it would seem fair to host sometimes.

I think the best option might be to offer to host and still use your garden, with the proviso that you will meet elsewhere if it rains.

Also, try to set up your garden with toys, water etc, so that the children want to stay there. Put down some mats or newspaper indoors and try to make it as clear as possible to minimise the mess.

Why not do it ASAP while the weather is still half-decent?

MumblingAndBloodyRagDoll Mon 10-Oct-11 14:24:52

Yanbu and I am the same way. My house is small and messy....and I work from home so it's also my friends houses are big and they all have cleaners! I just fessed up....look, I can'task you all round because my house is like that of Grotbags. I am untidy and messy...but I will merrily host a picnic for you all!

And I did! I did a picnic and had them all over to our park....twas lovely and they know they understand.

grumplestilskin Mon 10-Oct-11 14:47:33

I completely disagree with branching out. I don't think you host at home to be "fair". Lots of people (me included, most of the time) love hosting at home - you don't have to get the buggy loaded up and baby ready etc etc. I think that those who like hosting at home should host at home and those that don't should arrange meet ups that suit them, or never host but help out the hosts by making/buying the cakes and kids snacks so the host doesn't have to IYKWIM.

These are supposed to be friends. One of my antenatal friends just doesn't like having groups round her house. She has each of us round 1:1 but doesn't host. Those of us that do host don't mind one bit! its nice to have everyone round ours. its equally nice to go round hers and have a quieter chat.

BettyCash Mon 10-Oct-11 15:34:13

What EnormaSnob (snigger) said.

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