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Do you feel upset about your friends ignoring your child?

(30 Posts)
Booklover Tue 22-Feb-05 21:34:59

We haven't got any friends with kids (don't know why as we are 32 now....) and although they are all planning to have kids at some point I have the feeling that most of them are not really interested. Don't get me wrong, I am not planning to talk about typical baby stuff with them, as I know quite a few mums and we go to several baby groups but they could sound a bit excited when I tell them that ds has just started to crawl etc. Some of them don't even acknowledge him when we meet, I get two kisses and my ds not even a "hello". A couple of my friends love ds to bits and I feel so much closer to them now than to the others.....does anyone have the same "problem" with friends?

wheresmyfroggy Tue 22-Feb-05 21:40:57

We have close friends who have little or no interest in our dd (they have no kids and are not planning to have them soon if ever) and unsuprisingly we don't see much of each other because we just don't have much left in common iykwim

Gobbledigook Tue 22-Feb-05 22:02:23

That's really sad Booklover - all my friends love my kids and make a real effort with them - always make a point of saying hello to each one, always try to engage with them even though the kids can be shy. One friend had no kids for ages but now has a ds - she's not particularly Mumsy but has always been great with mine. Another friend has no kids as yet but is getting married this year and is planning to.

Dont' really have any friend with no interest in kids I suppose - yes it would piss me off if they didn't acknowledge them though. How rude. Are children not people?!?!

suzywong Tue 22-Feb-05 22:05:38

IME once you get PG you can divide your friends in to 2 distinct catergories and thus in they remain for evermrore

dancer77 Tue 22-Feb-05 22:06:09

I don't have this problem either really but it would certainly piss me off too if people didn't acknowledge my ds

wordsmith Tue 22-Feb-05 22:08:25

TBH, children really aren't that interesting unless

a) they're yours
b) they're similar in age to yours
c) they're freakishly cute or good looking
d) you're actively planning to have some of your own and want to find out about it.

If you're child-free and happy about it, then your friends' children are really about as interesting as their pets. And how interested are you in your friend'd hamster?

Sorry but it's true. That's why we don't see much of our pre-parenthood friends. And when we do, we tend to see them without the kids. I don't really think there's anything wrong with that.

Ignoring them is a bit off, though.

motherinferior Tue 22-Feb-05 22:09:01

I'd get pissed off if my friends without kids didn't acknowledge my dds at all - but I think it's truly fabulous to have a bit of my old world there...

wordsmith Tue 22-Feb-05 22:10:06

Sorry I meant to say that most child-free-by-choice people don't find children very interesting. Of course I myself find them fascinating!!

wordsmith Tue 22-Feb-05 22:10:53

Agree MI. The last thing I want to talk about with my pre-kids friends, is my kids!

Jimjams Tue 22-Feb-05 22:45:57

You need kids like mine. DS1 climbs onto the lap of and grabs anyone he likes (ignores anyone else unless they're doing something he either likes or hates). I popped out of the room to get a changing mat last Wednesday and came back to find a very surprised HV with 6 year old ds1 hanging off her and kissing her. Ds2 meanwhile will stand there yelling "do you want to see my new baby" (ds3) until he's been acknowledged. they'd have no chance of ignoring my kids (although I'd rather like to).

Caligula Tue 22-Feb-05 23:18:52

Hmm, don't buy the child free argument. There are lots of things your friends do that really don't interest you - have birthdays, go on holiday, buy new shoes, get a new job - all of which are dull dull dull. But I always do the polite "how's the new job?" "how was your holiday?" "fabulous shoes!" etc.

And if I didn't, there'd be trouble!

I don't see why children should be the one thing I can forget about.

Levanna Tue 22-Feb-05 23:34:45

Not a running problem for me, but I have come across it now and then. My answer is to ignore the other adult and engage in conversation with my LO's. The adult in Q usually geets the idea and joins in too .
Some people WOC just don't know ^how to^ talk to the strange little beings!

ScummyMummy Tue 22-Feb-05 23:39:49

I was in this situation a couple of years back and was definitely mildly offended by my childless friends' evident lack of interest in my sons. I'm actually still slightly peeved with a friend of my sister's who visably grimaced and shuddered in pure disgust while watching my very young children eating ice cream! I know it wasn't a pretty sight but she could have made a bit of an effort, couldn't she? I was paying for her luch, after all. Nowadays I'm pretty much resigned to this phenomenon though, and, like mi and wordsmith, am actually rather glad that there are a few people who still see me purely as an individual person outwith my family roles. Of course they aren't seeing the whole me but then neither are those who see me only in a "mothering" context. A bit of compartmentalisation can be no bad thing IMO&E.

Chandra Tue 22-Feb-05 23:41:28

Only get upset if the other person is presenting a monologue of the qualities of her own chil(ren) and ails to acknowledge main. Agree with Levanna, many childless peope don't know how to communicate with them and if they are a bit as I used to be pre child, are more afraid of scaring the child off. Besides, people tends to look at the eyes of the adults and sometimes forget to check if there's someone down there IYKWIM

Chandra Tue 22-Feb-05 23:41:48


Caligula Tue 22-Feb-05 23:45:40

Hmm, I have a friend who uses a wheelchair who has the same problem, Chandra. People talk to the person at eye level and forget her. It's inexcusable in her case, and I don't see why it's any more acceptable in the case of children.

Maybe I'm very militant about this (I think I am ) but I just see it as a social ineptness that people ought to make an effort to conquer!

Chandra Wed 23-Feb-05 14:30:14

Have you heard about tunnel vision? is more usual in men than women but still... usual

About your friend in the wheelchair... that is unexcusable, however sometimes I feel invisible with some people specially in the building trade, it doesn't matter that you have made the appointment, that you are a designer, that you are deciding where and when things need to be done or installed... they always spoke to DH even when answering my questions, even when it can be easily seen that DH had take the whatever-you-decide-dear-is-fine attitude [red]

FairyMum Wed 23-Feb-05 14:38:21

It's very difficult to ignore my children because they are..hmm...not exactly shy and quite "in-your-face". I think some childless friends think children in general are boring or they feel awkward around them. Before I had kids I had no idea what to say to them and could not chat to parents about their children very easily at all.
I think like Suzywong and I usually meet my childless friends away from my children for girlie nights out. I don't think childless people realise how big a part of your life your children are. When you are a parent, you face such different issues in your life. It's not just about which nappy brand to buy. You cannot compartmentalise them, but I think you are expected to. I know I had no idea as a non-parent......

Caligula Wed 23-Feb-05 14:38:54

What is that sketch where the woman comes along and there are three men discussing some issue or other and she adds her opinion and they just completely ignore her? I think it might be from the Fast Show? She starts to think she's invisible...

Caligula Wed 23-Feb-05 14:39:46

Oops, sorry FM, cross posts, it looks like I'm doing a bloke thing and you're the Fast Show invisible woman!

iota Wed 23-Feb-05 14:41:37

Agree with Wordsmith

I am a reformed child-ignoring mother of 2

Twiglett Wed 23-Feb-05 14:43:01

I wouldn't get upset pre-birth no .. after all its a leap into the unknown for everyone involved

But when DS was 3 months old, I met an old friend in putney for lunch .. she did the obligatory 'isn't he cute' and gave me a present and then spent 90 minutes telling me about her life .. haven't seen much of her since

But I must say I have made a lot of wonderful new friends since I had children, who all happen to have children .. people who are fascinating, sparky, intelligent, witty and downright hysterical

so don't worry .. it all works out for the best

prunegirl Wed 23-Feb-05 15:04:36

Message withdrawn

mummylonglegs Wed 23-Feb-05 15:06:02

I found that some of my pre-mumhood friends just kind of lost interest in me, as though I'd retired from Real Life. It was sad for a while but then I got used to it. Others without kids did / do make an effort but I can sense they feel rather awkward. If anyone actively ignored dd I'd find it very hard to see them with her.

Having said that I do remember seeing friends who'd had kids before I was even considering getting pregnant and being slightly horrified at how much attention they demand. I had all kinds of (stupid) ideas about how I wouldn't let a child of mine dominate things like that. So I can still see myself as a mum through my childless person's eyes, i.e. how I appear to childless friends.

What I find possibly worse is friends with kids who spend all their time getting attention for theirs while dd continuously takes a back-seat. I've had a friend with a dd 8 months older than mine and in the end I got so fed up with us following her dd's whims and my dd having no real say that I've stopped seeing her. What's also bad is people I work with without kids who literally cannot understand that work is no longer the priority for me that it was, and that if dd is ill I will have to put her first. I only work 2 days a week and my colleagues find it so hard to imagine that I don't want to do more and 'escape' from my toddler!

Pagan Wed 23-Feb-05 15:38:49

My pal summed it up rather well and she is without kids. When your pals have kids if you don't embrace this fact then you lose touch coz you can't expect your pals to forget that they have had children. She's great with my kids despite being desperate for some of her own (having difficulties). She also added that it's easier for women to get excited about other people's kids than men. This was in response to my moaning about DH's best pal who has never come to stay with us (even though DD is always in her bed early and sleeps right through). He used to stay a lot before she arrived.

I can see it from both sides. I remember my child free days and used to balk at conversations that completely revolved round children. I do try not to be a baby bore but it gets to me when the childless pals prattle on about something they find enthralling and expect me to be excited about it but are not slow in telling me to shut up about kids. This is directed at DH's pal who goes on about

his work
his own problems
his own life

Never asks or shows interest in anything I have to say and always gives the impression that he'd rather see us without the kids but knows he can't say so.

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