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(20 Posts)
stranger Tue 05-Nov-02 18:52:15

Hi everyone,
I have a varied circle of female friends with children, some made before children came on the scene for us both, some made after. I meet each of them from time to time with the children in tow.

Because I have two children, sometimes three if my stepson is with me, I have to devote lots ot attention to them during these meetings, especially as my youngest is aged just four. Consquently, I feel I don't get time to relax properly with my friends. And visa versa. We are forced to be in mum mode.

Now some friendships I accept stop just there: mum and child meetings only. You meet a mum at school, your children become friends, you meet up when they meet up.

However some of my friends I have known for years pre children, and we used to go out for meals, drinks, theatre, bands, even (gasp) clubs together.

Yet suggestions that we meet minus children falls on deaf ears surprisingly often. I'm not talking of clubbing, just things like seeing a film and having a drink. The usual answer is, I can't make that but how about we meet up in the park next saturday with the children - ahhhhh!!!!!

Now I understand that time, money, energy and baysitting can be in short supply when you are a mother. Yet I have noticed that these same friends still go out in the evenings with their partner or with childless friends. It's just that they and I have substituted these evenings with daytime child oriented meetings.

I feel really uneasy about this. I have had this out with a couple of friends over the last two years and they say I am being oversensitive, but I think that if you like another mother enough to spend time with them plus sprogs (I'm talking here of good friends) you should like them enough to see them minus sprogs. Otherwise it is more than a bit insulting. Imagine if a male friend or your partner had this attitude!

Just wondered what you think.

kkgirl Tue 05-Nov-02 18:56:31

I can't understand this at all. I think most mums would appreciated the chance to go out without kids in tow, its the only time you get a chance to chat in peace.
The only way to really find out why would be to ask one of them outright, not easy I know but at least you would know why then.

stranger Tue 05-Nov-02 18:59:33

but that's`the thing - I have asked them outright!

agaazaa Tue 05-Nov-02 19:00:53

Hi Stranger

I find that the people you meet at your kids nursery or whatever aren't the ones you really want to let you see with your hair down. I mean my friends from university days are the ones who know me of olde.whereas the ones I have met at the nursery gates aren't the ones I would want to down a bottle of wine and a few ciggies - heaven forbid!! The whole playground would be staring and calling me an unfit mother! Oh no, you never sh*t on your own doorstep, I like the mums at nursery to think I am miss prim!

CP Tue 05-Nov-02 19:06:13

I think you are right - there is a balance to be maintained between socialising with your children and socialising for yourself. A few of us from the friends that I have made since DD arrival have gone out on girls nights and have had a great time. We talk about the babies for a while obviously but then girlie mode kicks in and we have a great time. Perhaps you should ask a couple of girls to go out on a smaller night as a big night can be a bit intimidating if you are not too confident - I know I prefer a smaller group if I don't know anyone...

stranger Tue 05-Nov-02 19:07:24

ha ha - yes I see that,you've got to keep up appearances, but I've also got old friends who knew me pre children who do this mum mode thing. And newer friends who will drink wine, tale about very grown up things, while our children play (not an easy combination if you have a few sprogs like me), yet still shy away from a suggestion we meet for adult time only!

Lindy Tue 05-Nov-02 19:56:17

Stranger - I too am amazed, most mums I know, whether pre or post having the children days are only too pleased to get out WITHOUT children!! I have met lots of 'new' friends (had to, moved to a completely new area when I was pregnant) and I wouldn't be sane if we didn't have a book club, cinema nights, meals out - sometimes we have to have meals & drinks in if babysitters are a problem - but children are definately IN BED!!

I do know what you mean, there are one or two who won't get involved if it doesn't revolve around children!

Sounds like you need a new circle!!

WideWebWitch Tue 05-Nov-02 20:23:21

Oh I'd be insulted too if friends only ever wanted to meet with kids. You just can't have an (entire anyway) adult conversation. I agree, if you like each other enough to spend time together with kids, then why not without? I'm not sure what's at the bottom of this: that they reserve time without kids for friends also without kids who therefore can't do the meet in the park thing? Maybe. Sure, some friendships do just stop there, as you say, but surely others don't? No useful advice but I agree with you - it must be irritating.

Willow2 Tue 05-Nov-02 22:00:34

Boring old bats.

That's not very helpful is it?

Melly Tue 05-Nov-02 22:40:11

No Willow2, but funny

Clarinet60 Tue 05-Nov-02 23:07:08

I agree. I've had friends like this. I think it's weird and I don't like it. It makes you feel that you're good enough for some things, but not for others.

SueDonim Wed 06-Nov-02 06:40:11

How odd. Often at dd's former nursery a notice would go up saying 'there will be a mum's night out on such-and-such a date' and, I tell you, if you stood in the way, you'd get trampled to death in the rush to sign up!!

Batters Wed 06-Nov-02 09:28:28

Stranger, I have to agree with Willow2's sentiment I'm afraid!!

stranger Wed 06-Nov-02 11:36:39

You lucky people. I can see that some of you don't know what I am talking about. I do have to say that some of my friends find any excuse to go out and socialise sans sprogs, and if a mother at school suggests a meal for other mothers, there are lots of replies.

But whether it's coincidence or not, here are some recent examples of mum mode amongst my friends that puzzle me:

One old friend whom I haven't seen in years wants to meet me. She lives a 40 mins train ride from our nearest large town, as I do, yet she did not want to meet for a grown up lunch/drink in town when I suggested this. She wants me to visit her for lunch, and bring my children. Now she has teenage children and by the sound of it, a very nice house. I have young children and I know if I take them to see her, they will be all over it, unless I keep an eagle eye on them. I told her this, but still couldn't get her to see me alone.

Another old friend had a 10-day break from her dh and children recently (he took them on holiday). I suggested it would be a perfect time for us to meet up. She didn't want to go out for a meal or drink etc so I invited her to our home for a meal after my children were in bed. She stalled and eventually cancelled. Because she is an old friend and I am confident that she likes my company (she is usually the one to suggest we meet with our respective children) I decided to talk to her about how I feel. She said that she never goes out now (this is someone who loved clubs and gigs, and to my knowledge still goes to the odd party etc - I haven't noticed that she's become a complete recluse) she wouldnd't arrange to see me if she didn't like me, and I mustn't take it personally, but no she does not want to go out in the evening with me. Before you wonder if I have two heads or something, I assure you I look very presentable! The next week my friend invited me over with my children and was so sweet and apologetic that I ended up feeling really guilty!

I know people choose to do different things with different friends, as driole and wicked witch said. I just think that mothers can get a raw deal here.

Your childless friends won't want to see you at the indoor play centre or muddy farm attraction. It's only your fellow mum friends who you know won't mind that lack of sophistication. So you end up seeing your mum friends at scummy child places and when it comes to having a big night out, you tend to see your other friends.

But am I the only person who feels a great big stab of irritation when I meet up with a friend at the playground on a Sunday, to hear about the amazing time they had with assorted childless friends the night before?

WideWebWitch Wed 06-Nov-02 12:05:09

Stranger, the old friend who wouldn't meet up with you when her DH and kids were away sounds odd. What completely strange behaviour! And the other one, weird! So I'm with Willow2 on this

MABS Thu 07-Nov-02 13:49:42

I'm with Willow2 as well. Isn't it meant to be kids dependent on their mothers - not the other way round....

soyabean Thu 07-Nov-02 13:57:03

Yes I agree its weird. Before yr last post i was going to say maybe they genuinely want to see your children too, but that doesnt seem to be it. Personally I know i dont go out with friends in evenings enough but that is almost entirely a money issue. dh works in the evening and no family nearby so just going out for a drink or film becomes mega expensive and I do tend to put it off. Do have friends round here occasionally in the evenings however. (Tho eldest ds is 10 so has a rather later bedtime now, its not the same as when they were all tucked up in bed)

forest Thu 07-Nov-02 14:13:36

Stranger do you get to go out at all without the kids? You say you have some friends that love to go out and socialise sans sprogs - do you go out with them? Is it just that couple of friends you mention that don't want to go out with you or is it everyone? If it is just the couple that you gave examples of it could be that they have a problem with socialising in the evening. How old are the children that your friend (that used to love clubbing) has? If they are young is she too knackered to go out in the evening? Does she feel she doesn't have anything to say if the children aren't around?
The friend that you haven't seen in years, maybe she really wants to see your children to see how they are growing up. Perhaps she misses children now hers are teenagers.
Maybe your friends with children enjoy going out with you and your children - it gives them an excuse to get out of the house.
Could you arrange a party at your house and ask people over and if they have kids they can bring them too. All the kids hang out (or sleep) upstairs whilst you party downstairs? I understand this isn't really what you want but could it help?
Hope you get some adult time soon.

stranger Thu 07-Nov-02 22:10:43

oh well, at least it's not just me who thinks the behaviour of these two friends is wierd, though forest,I have to say you did a very good job of explaining things from their point of view. I take your points, though I have to say that the friend who won't go out in the evening has older children only, so is past that first stage of 24 hour tiredness.

Anyway, I do manage to see other friends for adult time. Thank goodness, else I would get very worried something was wrong with me and I had 'mother not to be allowed out alone' tattoed across my forehead.

I do feel that some friends do tend to classify me as 'nice, sensible, reliable, undemanding mum - ideal company on park/museum/swimming trips' I like taking out my children out, true. I'm a great day tripper. I really enjoy visiting thorpe park, Blackpool beach with the kids etc. I realise not every mum is like this, so not an inaccurate classification, but it's not how I always see myself, unfortunately.

Clarinet60 Thu 07-Nov-02 22:20:10

Do you live in the North West, stranger?

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