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That age-old frustration – getting friends to appreciate you sometimes can't do the same things as you did pre-DC

(10 Posts)
MaebyF Mon 08-Apr-13 11:43:43

I know this one raises its head regularly, I thought maybe one thread for people struggling with this would be interesting.

I have one DC, 15mo. While I was pg we moved, so we are further away from our friends and can't just pop out for a few drinks. DP and I work shifts, so the number of evenings were we are both around, and one could babysit, are rare. Let alone the number of nights and mornings where we are both around, so one of us could go and visit our friends. And bear in mind we want to occasionally see each other, and also have to go and visit our parents, who want to see their grandchild. No extravagant problems, nothing out of the ordinary, but it does mean that we just can't have the social life we did before DC.

At the moment I have two frustrations. One is our group of shared friends, old friends from university. We are the first to have children. A long weekend away the other side of the country to catch up with mutual friends is being planned, with plans to meet different friends on different days over three nights. We're happy to go away for two nights (it's a bank holiday weekend) as DD can go to my parents, which she loves, but not for longer – we both work full-time, we want to see DD as well. This isn't going down too well, mainly because our friends seem to feel that we are turning in to what they term 'one of those couples' who have kids and drop their friends. Which DP and I don't want to do, but it is all about compromising, and as much as I love the thought of a short baby free weekend with old friends, I don't want to not see DD all weekend before going back to f/t work during the week.

I also have a very old friend who I used to see regularly, staying over each other's houses for girly nights in etc. Now we are almost two hours' journey apart. We struggle even to find time to catch up properly on the phone. My friend, who also hasn't had DC yet (thinking of trying soon), acts as if I am cutting her out of her life. She is angry that I haven't been to her house for a girly overnight in a year. She is starting to take things personally. But half of it is just logistics, there has hardly been an opportunity where I could just leave for almost a day. And, I suppose, now I don't want to do the girly overnights as much. I want to see my friend, I want to let my hair down, I just can't do the same thing we used to do in my twenties.

Sorry, that was a slightly longer rant than I imagined blush Probably just needed to get it off my chest.

Do other people have these problems? How have you managed them? I want to stay friends with all these people, but the cracks are beginning to emerge as our lifestyle is now so different from theirs. I see them less and less, and then the gaps start to widen.

rubytutu Mon 08-Apr-13 11:57:45

we were the first of our group to have kids by a few years now all but one out of eight couples has them. most have 2 or 3 now. they don't understand and you can't expect them to. but they will one day. what you are planning sounds fine 2 nights away to see them then back to family life. re the girly weekends why can't your friend travel to stay over at yours? unless you spend alot of time with small kids you just don't get how time consuming they are. maybe a weekend with you and your daughter will help your friend understand why you can't just drop everything. it does eventually get better.

hairtearing Mon 08-Apr-13 12:07:11

Yeah I was a young mum and not many of my friends have kids really,I feel like I have been put to one side,

I get quite upset when it happens, sometimes feel like exploding I had a lot of problems with a pregnancy and got next to no support I dunno if its because they didn't know what to say or didn't care.but it still hurt.

And have to deal with all the childish crap, like GIRLS off Sky a lot of women in early 20's are still stuck in the 'silly little girl' stage and I've bypassed them in that respect.

Which you always know put still hurts when it happens.

VoiceofUnreason Mon 08-Apr-13 12:16:29

While this doesn't necessarily apply in your case, it does work the other way around too because there are just as many cases where the parents do drop the friends who don't have kids of their own. I've had it happen to me. Logistically, it is more tricky for those with kids to meet up with those who don't, and so often, those who don't have kids make all the effort and come to resent things being so one-sided or those who don't have kids find it simpler to only mix with other parents (because all the kids can play together) so the former friends are jettisoned in favour of their new parent friends.

In your case OP, it's as much, I think, to do with you having moved away as much as having children.

MaebyF Mon 08-Apr-13 12:29:32

Yes, voice, you're right. I can see how it looks to my friend - I got pg, moved away, and now she's just lost what was a big part of her life (we used to live quite nearby and as both our DP's worked night shifts, we'd often stay over at each others). I hate that she might think I'm dropping her.

She has come to mine a few times but I know she is increasingly annoyed by this. She's not very interested in DD - which is absolutely fine - and I think she finds it tiring that a) she is the one who comes to me, and b) we have to spend a lot of that time with a little person too.

I don't want to do that smug "oh, you just don't understand, you don't have kids" - but that really is how it is. You don't quite understand what it is like trying to look after a wannabe toddler with a raging hangover. You don't quite understand that if you haven't seen your DC much during the week, while a few nights of carefree, baby-free time is lovely, you don't want to spend your entire weekend without the DC.

I can at least admit that a little part of the frustration is jealousy - I love DD, but every now and again I'd love to be able to go out after work, get drunk and not worry about the next day.

Dahlen Mon 08-Apr-13 12:29:43

I think it will get easier. I know when mine were under 2, the thought of leaving them for an entire weekend was unfeasible (largely because I could only use professional sitters, which was unaffordable), plus very young children/babies dominate your life in a way that is incomparable to say a three-year old or above.

You will probably find that as your DD ages, you will want to do more with your old friends and rediscover that side of yourself, and then things will smooth out a little.

Don't be too hard on your friends though. Remember what you thought parenthood would involve and how it would change your life? wink

It's all about communication.

MaebyF Mon 08-Apr-13 20:29:31

Yes, communication is the key, you're right. I probably could try harder to explain all this. With the uni friends it currently feels like a little bit of a lost cause as they are still living in London, working long hours, going out a lot - our new town life with a baby is currently a million miles away to them. But I guess it won't be at one point, and we'll hopefully come back into alignment.

With my old friend, I a trying hard to explain (politely) how hard it is to schedule a night like we used to have, but I get the impression she still thinks I am skiving somehow. I've also suggested the obviously less ideal situation that I bring DD down with me for the night, as there is something about me being at her house which seems to be important, but she isn't keen on that (fair enough, not everyone wants a child in their house).

It just gets so frustrating sometimes. I know compared to many of the friends I've made locally with young children, DP and I do manage to go out and socialise more than they do, but somehow that still isn't enough to keep our friends from feeling as if we are massively distancing ourselves.

First world problem, eh? smile

teacher123 Mon 08-Apr-13 20:41:12

I totally feel your pain, we have hardly seen some of our friends since having DS who is 11 months old. We moved away from London about 5 years ago (only 45 minutes away, so hardly the depths of beyond!) and logistics of a social life just make things really tricky... We're lucky in that we have 2 sets of grandparents who are happy to look after DS, but we don't want to take the piss. DH works shifts and I do a lot of work in the evenings, and I feel like I use up a lot of babysitting goodwill from family for those things.

We meet up for lunch with friends regularly, and try to ensure that we stay in contact, and also I don't drink so am happy to drive to London for a night out so that we can see people. It is hard though. I also find that people just don't invite us to things, it's like we don't exist anymore and they assume we won't be able to go out.

MaebyF Mon 08-Apr-13 20:48:18

Teacher, I'm worried about that with our uni friends too. Especially re this weekend away, there are different friends booked in on different days over a long weekend so whatever we decide to do, we look as though we are choosing who to see. We're the same boat with babysitting - none of the GPs are near enough to come to our house to babysit, so DD has to go and stay at theirs - she loves it and they love it, but she's a tiring age and we don't want to do this more than a few times a year, which generally just about covers weddings and weekends away like the one coming up.

teacher123 Mon 08-Apr-13 20:52:58

DH and I were talking about this the other day. We're the couple that have been together the longest out of all our friends, we were amongst the first to get married and amongst the first to have children. Our really good friends will wait for us to come out the other side, and some of them will probably have children of their own within the next few years. I think there will be some who fall by the wayside, and there's not a lot we can do about it really. I currently don't have enough time or energy to constantly be juggling childcare commitments, work, hobbies, DH's shift pattern (which might as well be written in bloody runes for all the sense it makes to me) and seeing people who have no interest in DS. He's part of our lives now, and much as we want to maintain friendships, he has to come first.

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