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AIBU WRT children and adult conversation being interupted?

(64 Posts)
MightTinge Mon 25-Mar-13 14:09:12

Wasnt really sure how to word the OP.

I see a friend, who I love to bits, but I find it difficult to hold her attention to a conversation. I wondered if anyone else did this themselves? Or like me, is on the recieving end of it.

She was fine when our toddlers were babies, but now conversing with her can be rather painful.

Id not seen her in weeks, she knew Id split from my partner so it was one of the first things she asked. I began to tell her, but she'd be constantly tickling and playing with her toddler, blowing raspberries on him, laughing with him, talking to him. As though I wasnt in the room, let alone answering her question.

She'll do it with her eldest too, although its not so bad now her her first DC is no longer a toddler.

Is it a bit rude, or AIBU and this is usual once your a parent?

I have children myself but when someone is talking to me they have my attention. Unless of course child needs a wee or is hurt or something obviously.


ditziness Tue 26-Mar-13 18:15:06

I have a friend like this who I can't meet up with anymore because I just feel so ignored the whole time. She also completely dominates whatever we're doing with her toddler's schedule, even though I've got a three year old and a 10 month old. So if we're sitting having a coffee, she'll suddenly announce that she has to leave and walk as her toddler needs his nap and will only nap in the buggy. So I either have to drag my two with her, or let her leave. And the whole time she's constantly talking to him. And if I do manage to have a conversation with her then it's usually about her son. If I ever talk about my two, or myself she kinds states blankly. Does my head in.

My sister's like it too on the phone. Sometimes I'll need to hang up on her as she literally spends 75% of the phone call talking to her kids! Drives me mental

quesadilla Tue 26-Mar-13 17:56:10

It depends on the degree... It's impossible to shut out a toddler completely if s/he wants your attention but actively stimulating a child and encouraging him or her to play when you are obviously wanting to talk is quite rude.

MamaBear17 Tue 26-Mar-13 14:52:37

I think it is rude. My mum does this with my dd. She 'mmmm's to everything I say; I know she isnt hearing a word!

mindosa Tue 26-Mar-13 14:47:52

This is a pet hate of mine.

I have a friend who revels in the fact that her children cling to her and need her all the time. She recoils when she hears me say 'Mummys speaking'

I am hands up not great at the whole getting on the floor and playing imaginary games type of thing. I will read to them, speak to them, cook with them, go to museums, parks etc but I just hate building blocks, barbies etc
I think today that makes me a bad mum - Oh well.

LaQueen Tue 26-Mar-13 11:28:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

vladthedisorganised Tue 26-Mar-13 11:25:13

Not at all Maja, sorry if I came across that way. I do think that a mother ignoring her friend to play with the child is bad manners; what I was disagreeing with was some of the comments directed at kiwi - my personal feeling is that it's more complicated than "your toddler thinks they're the centre of the universe because you've made it that way".

MajaBiene Tue 26-Mar-13 11:19:11

No one has mentioned sitting quietly for hours, have they? I don't think that is even ideal. What would be normal is for the toddlers to play with the toys, the mothers chat, conversation is interrupted now and then to get drinks/wipes bums/soothe bumped heads. What isn't normal is for one mother to play with her child while ignoring the other mother.

vladthedisorganised Tue 26-Mar-13 09:51:31

It's a long process though. I would think it would be very optimistic to suppose a 2yo could sit perfectly quietly for several hours with only a small 'pleasemayIgotothetoiletIneedaweemummy' every so often. Sure, it's the ideal, but it's not usually realistic. I know for instance that I can either have DD running around and playing with stuff (in my own house) and have an uninterrupted conversation; or have her sitting perfectly still and include her in the conversation from time to time (in other people's houses where there are no toys and lots of breakable things). Of course I bring toys, sticker books and colouring things with me, but that won't keep her happy for a whole afternoon.

I'm kind of with kiwi in that toddlers are inherently self-centred; even if we spend a lot of time teaching them to wait their turn and be quiet. I don't think it's a parenting failure if they think they are the centre of the universe at that stage, more so if they still do when they have the maturity for empathy.

I wouldn't be too happy at being brought to, say, DH's single friend's house, have them witter on about cycling for five straight hours, and have nothing to do but sit on the sofa looking straight ahead with nobody paying a blind bit of attention to me. TBH I think my having a long conversation about, say, employment regulations with my childless friends must feel much the same to a two year old.

MajaBiene Tue 26-Mar-13 08:41:55

Kiwi - surely it's your job to teach her she's not?

fluffyraggies Tue 26-Mar-13 08:12:04

My best mate and i have 3 children each, all one year apart. So in the early days we had 6 children with us when we met up - all under 6!

We had deep meaningful conversations non stop while tending to all our kids needs at the same time. Lunches, disputes, nappies, cuddles, rubs for bumped heads - never a break in the chit chat grin

It is possible. And - gasp - the kids suffered not a jot for not being the absolute center of our attention for a couple of hours.

I have a friend who has no kids. She loved/loves my DDs like nieces, but i could tell when they were little that she found it frustrating to have them around when she wanted a 'proper' conversation. She was used to adult only company and wanted 100% of me, not just 98%. She just wasn't used to being 2 people at once - friend and mother. I could hear her doing that stopping in mid sentence because she thought i wasn't listening thing while i was feeding baby or whatever. I used to think - oh grow up! I am listening! I just cant be looking right at you at the moment! Never said it though grin

Frogman Tue 26-Mar-13 07:48:46

Kiwiinkits - sounds like you've let your child think she's the "centre of the universe".

echt Tue 26-Mar-13 06:43:28


I teach the teens who are the result of this kind of parenting: talk about me,me,me. Right now.

DD was always told: In a minute, and I always made sure it was.

I remember once when she was little she raised her hand at the dinner table to get her oar in. smile

Damash12 Tue 26-Mar-13 06:02:24

Yanbu - this really pisses me off. I have a friend like this and when her son was around 3 he'd constantly interrupt and a 5 min conversation would take an hour. Now he's 13 and it's bloody worse to the point of painful. She lives far away so I get to see her probably twice a year so we have a lot to chat about. When she comes to mine I make sure kids are in bed so we can have a good chat. The last time I went to hers he was allowed to stay up but the whole time he interrupted with "who's that?" "Why did he say that?" "what's that?" Aargh FFS you don't know the people or need to so fuck off to bed!!!!!! Sorry slipped into a rant there :-0
But yeah it's annoying.

crypes Tue 26-Mar-13 02:30:54

When my sisters and i had little babies and toddlers and were meeting up we could talk very in depth for probably four or five hours while making the kids lunch ,fetching drinks,painting,sitting in garden .I think the kids enjoyed our incessant chat actually .

Cricrichan Tue 26-Mar-13 01:19:05


DH and SIL are like this and I sometimes want to throw something at them.

I have a friend who is a little like this but nothing like you've described.

I have 4 children and can hold a conversation whilst attending to their needs, but if they're interrupting I ask the children to wait.

Kiwiinkits Tue 26-Mar-13 00:53:58

Oh. I think I might be an Entertainer Mother shock

My DD (2.5) becomes more and more insistent and a pain in the arse if I say to her, Mummy is talking right now. Sometimes she plays happily, other times she really demands attention. Like the world is going to end if Mummy doesn't wind up her toy or something. So I use things like tickling or hugging or whatever to actually shut her up for long enough that I can listen to my friends speaking. Short of shutting her in a cupboard for 20 minutes I'm not sure what to do when she really, really, really wants to engage. She's pretty persistent! I thought that was pretty normal, for toddlers to think that they're the centre of the universe. Mine certainly does.

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 25-Mar-13 20:49:14

I have a friend like this. It's more that she will break off mid sentence to me if one of her children speaks to her. Whereas I will hold up a hand to my ds and say "just a minute, I'm talking".
It IS rude, and very annoying.
I have had to be a hard nut about being interrupted, as it's just me and ds, so he is used to my mostly undivided attention and can be a bugger for interrupting, so I make sure I try and make him realise(and have done since toddlerhood) that I am actually allowed to talk to my friends/mum/the man from British Gas, without breaking off every 5 seconds.

ChippingInIsEggceptional Mon 25-Mar-13 20:40:24

She's rude and socially inept. One of my friends is like this, I see a lot less of her now and try to do so when her toddler is at nursery or in bed or we plan to do something for/with the children for their enjoyment (so don't expect to actually have a conversation).

everlong Mon 25-Mar-13 20:36:07

I've distanced myself from women like this. They bug the living hell out of me.

It makes me feel like I've got to say everything I've got to say all in 10 seconds whilst I've got her attention..

SirChenjin Mon 25-Mar-13 20:35:38

Good grief, it's perfectly possible to hold an adult conversation in the presence of a toddler. It may be a bit disjointed while you get them a drink/change a nappy/wind up a toy etc, but honestly, how dull you must be if you feel the need to spend every waking moment entertaining your toddler whilst ignoring your adult friends.

MintyyAeroEgg Mon 25-Mar-13 20:32:22

Dear Lord, I would have thought any fully-functioning adult would positively relish the chance to have some sort of adult conversation occasionally. If you don't work and your toddler is not at nursery then that is at the very least something like 90 hours a week you spend with them. If you can't give your friend a bit of attention for an hour or so then you are a pretty poor friend imvho.

MajaBiene Mon 25-Mar-13 20:25:40

I know lots of people with toddlers, and we are able to hold conversations with each other at playgroups, in cafes or at each other's houses. I would be more surprised to meet someone who felt they had to play with their almost 2 year old constantly while in company. Surely if you would rather play with your child than chat to adults then you do that instead of meeting up with friends?

BackforGood Mon 25-Mar-13 20:16:53

Well, you are lucky that you have a toddler you can do that with. Not all toddlers are quite so co-operative to have their 'content to play on their own' time at a time that suits their Mother's friend.

Apologies if you don't think that's quite a big conversation, I was only going on what you put in your op
Id not seen her in weeks, she knew Id split from my partner so it was one of the first things she asked. I began to tell her confused

MightTinge Mon 25-Mar-13 19:59:59

I do not ignore my toddler.

And its not about deep and meaningful conversations, its the vain attempt to have any conversation at all. Talking about the price of bread and she'd still turn her back on me, pick up her toddler and start blowing raspberries and giggling together.

Letting a toddler play with toys while chatting is not ignoring them. All you have to do is set them up with toys by your feet, and connect with them occasionally and everyones happy.

BackforGood Mon 25-Mar-13 19:34:47

Well I'm going against the grain. I have 3 dc. At just coming up to 2, 1 of them would have played quite happily for ages on her own, 1 would for a little bit, and 1 wouldn't have at all. I'd FAR rather play with him than end up being interupted by his crying or "investigating" something that would then need dealing with.
In all honestly, if I wanted to have a deep and meaningful chat with a friend, I'd arrange a time when her child wasn't with her - be that after bedtime or during nap time or by inviting her for a coffee or a spot of lunch when their Dad was watching the dc for a while.
Am actually amazed how many people think it's OK to ignore an under2, so you can get the full, undivided attention of his or her carer. Imagine the uproar if this were a CM or Nursery staff member {shock]

PS - I do think a Nanny can flick through a magazine when at a playbarn with a 3 yr old wink

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