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aibu to expect more from my child free friends....

(266 Posts)
formerbabe Mon 03-Feb-14 09:26:14

Morning all

So I have a few 'mummy friends' but my main group of girlfriends are mainly still young, free and single (we are in our 30s). There are about 7 of us who have been friends for years...I am the only one with children. When I was pregnant, everyone was so excited...saying they would babysit, discussing who would be the coolest 'auntie' etc.

Fast forward to 6 years later...and despite me still firmly being friends with them, they barely know my kids. When they do see my kids at social events, they practically ignore them. They never have offered to babysit, even when I gave birth to my second baby and had no one to look after my eldest. My kids are very shy around them as they are near enough strangers to them.

I don't know if iabu in expecting more? Do your child free friends offer to babysit/take them out etc?

lifeinthefastlane1 Mon 03-Feb-14 09:44:34

not sure if this counts as child free, but my bf and I both had our older children together now all grown but I still have a 5yr old, my bf is always there to help, and loves having her and has been a total life saver even though she has no little ones anymore, however that may be because she can remember what its like to need help, but she genuinely loves my dd and vice versa. she is the coolest! (friends who havent had children? no they do not babysit or help in any way)

ViviPru Mon 03-Feb-14 09:45:25

had no one to look after my eldest

Did you explicitly ask any of them to?

formerbabe Mon 03-Feb-14 09:46:40

No...I just dropped lots of hints!

NynaevesSister Mon 03-Feb-14 09:47:30

Before I had children I had no idea really. Wasn't even that great with my sister's children, although I thought I was putting in some effort. You really don't realise how fast time goes for children, it is a different timescale.

SaucyJack Mon 03-Feb-14 09:47:33

YABU to even ask IMO.

I wouldn't dream of expecting my child-free friends to give up their weekends to babysit my children.

MeepMeepVrooooom Mon 03-Feb-14 09:47:35

Why do you think they should babysit. You chose to have your children not them. They are under no obligation what so ever to take your children out or babysit them. YABU.

It is just a fact that many single people just don't have a massive interest in other peoples children. I know I certainly didn't before I had my DD. I saw my best friends on nights out and occasionally when she had her DS with her for lunch during the day. The fact of the matter is I worked full time and evening weren't suitable for her on weekdays. At the weekends I occasionally saw them during the day but more often than not my social life was at night (I was only 21 at the time). We maintained our friendship meeting up for dinner and drinks.

Obviously once my circumstances changed and I had DD we spent a little more time together during the weekdays because it suited us both but once her DS went to school and she started working full time again that stopped. It's swings and round abouts.

dexter73 Mon 03-Feb-14 09:49:16

The thing is other peoples kids just aren't very interesting. If you want them to babysit then I think you need to specifically ask. People who don't have kids have no idea about childcare issues as it isn't something they have to think about.

annieorangutan Mon 03-Feb-14 09:49:18

They sound like fairweather friends. Fine to hang around with, but wont help or be there for you.

formerbabe Mon 03-Feb-14 09:51:58

I usually pay baby sitters and am fine with this. I am just puzzled as when I was pregnant, they all said they would babysit and were so excited that I was having a baby. I hear many of my 'mum friends' say their friends are babysitting. I just think that in 6 years, I would have expected an offer at least, especially as when my 2dc was born, they all knew I was struggling with a newborn and a toddler.

drawohamme Mon 03-Feb-14 09:52:32

Think this is pretty normal, eventually they'll have their own kids and you'll prob find you reconnect with them

pussycatdoll Mon 03-Feb-14 09:52:39

Yabu

If you need a babysitter you have to pay if you gave no family prepared to help

Your friends are under no obligation to look after your kids

ViviPru Mon 03-Feb-14 09:53:41

You should have asked! Be more explicit with them, they probably have no idea what your expectations of them are.

They're probably not studiously ignoring your kids socially, rather steering clear because they're not sure how to interact, or it might not even cross their minds to.

You probably need to be more proactive in facilitating interactions, or saying "how would you feel about maybe babysitting/taking DC/s out once in a while?" rather than thinking they would take it upon themselves to offer to do so unprompted.

WooWooOwl Mon 03-Feb-14 09:53:45

I was in a similar position being the first of my friends to have children by a long way, but because we were younger than you are it never occurred to me to expect my friends to want to be majorly involved with my children. I wouldn't have expected them to babysit because they would be the people I wanted to spend time with if I had an available babysitter, but I think you could have asked rather than expected an offer when you were having your second.

It's come full circle now that my dc are older and my friends are having their babies. I feel like I'm expected to be the most interested and involved because I've been there, done it and come out the other side, and I'm certain that one of my friends especially is a bit miffed that I'm not more interested in her babies. But she hasn't suddenly become more interested in my children now that she is a mother too, so I don't think she has any right to expect me to be any more interested in hers than her child free friends are.

To most of us, other people's children just aren't that interesting.

pussycatdoll Mon 03-Feb-14 09:54:06

Well what do you do for them ?
Help them move house, attend their birthday parties etc?
If they all have kids will you be able to offer babysitting?

expatinscotland Mon 03-Feb-14 09:55:17

YABU. When I was child free, I wasn't at all interested in kids and certainly wouldn't offer to babysit. Dropping hints would have gone over my head.

annieorangutan Mon 03-Feb-14 09:55:46

My 3 main single friends have done pick ups and drops off for me, took my children to cinema,zoo, play cafe,park and town without me on many occasions. They have babysat whilst I went out with dh and looked after them for my work meetings etc. Thats what friends do.

CrispyFB Mon 03-Feb-14 09:55:49

Sounds familiar. My oldest is 7 now and I'm currently expecting DC4.

When I was expecting my first they threw me a baby shower, talked of being "cool Aunties", babysitting, the lot. The vast majority were child free but seemed so excited for me to have the baby.

In reality most of them I've not seen again (or maybe once a year) despite me making a LOT of effort in the beginning, it was never reciprocated. The ones I remain close to are happy to see me when I come out, but have zero interest in the children - it's me they want to see.

When I was pregnant with DC2 a few years after having DC1 I needed to go on strict bedrest for four months. The silence of zero support made me realise that these friends were just fair weather friends and I'd been kidding myself that they were ever anything else. A few people came to see me, and those are the ones I still talk to now.. the others I just let the friendship lapse and stopped trying.

It's depressing, but having children DOES eventually change a relationship dynamic in most cases. The child free would argue that the parent is not putting the effort in but of course it is much harder to socialise than it was.. the parent would argue that the child free need to make allowances and more of an effort too, but in the end it's just easier for them to hang out with people they don't need to make a special effort or allowances for.

I ended up getting a lot closer to the ones who did have children and of course (eventually..!) made new friends who were parents too.

echt Mon 03-Feb-14 09:55:54

If you struggled with a newborn and toddler, how skilled do you think a child-free person would feel? I'm not suggesting all such are clueless, but really, most would balk at the idea, I think.

ViviPru Mon 03-Feb-14 09:56:22

I hear many of my 'mum friends' say their friends are babysitting

Their childless friends are babysitting? I think that's quite unusual actually.

when I was pregnant, they all said they would babysit
That's just something people say. Doesn't necessarily mean they're flaky friends not they're not offering to do so.

raydown Mon 03-Feb-14 09:57:25

Other people's children are generally boring and annoying. I would babysit for a friend if asked but I'm not sure I'd offer. I'm not particularly confident around children or babies so I'd worry I'd do something wrong. What do you do for your friends?

TinyTwoTears Mon 03-Feb-14 09:57:44

Not sure I would want my friends to babysit if they dudn't have children and weren't that interested in mine!

I imagine that yours is a common scenario. I hate to say it but in general people who don't have kids don't understand what a life with kids is like. I appreciate that is a massive generalisation though.
Not sure if you are BU for expecting more, but Yanbu for being a bit sad about their lack of interest.

formerbabe Mon 03-Feb-14 09:58:12

They all live very close to my house. My dh was working at the weekends when my 2dc was born. I thought one of them could have offered to pop to the park with my eldest or pop over to see if I was OK or needed a hand...I would do that for someone.

QueenofKelsingra Mon 03-Feb-14 09:58:25

i think YABU to expect it, but YANBU to be disappointed/upset at their lack of interest.

Similar to you I have a group of childless friends (late 20s), I am the only one with kids. One of these friends is godmother to one of my kids. while I was pregnant she was all excited, telling me all the things they would do etc etc. she has seen him perhaps 5 times and he is 4!! I don't mind the others not bothering but I get very annoyed about her!

I think you have to accept that their lives have a different focus to yours and as much as childless people hate us saying it, if you haven't got kids you just don't get it.

I sometimes have the opposite problem, they keep asking me to things (birthdays, their weddings etc) and expecting me to bring the 3 DC, I always leave them with my parents so I can have a good time and stay to the end of the party etc, they feel it is unfair to them that I don't bring them to these things!!

on the no offers to babysit while in labour, unless you asked I think YABabitU, if you don't ask you don't get! (and it was only my friewnds with kids that vollenteered to have my DC if I needed them too)

Onesleeptillwembley Mon 03-Feb-14 10:00:00

YABU. They're not there to facilitate your lifestyle choices. Your children, you look after them.

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