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Is it possible to remain really good friends with childless people when you have children?

(81 Posts)
emkana Mon 06-Jun-05 13:14:23

Or do I just know the wrong people?

I just spent a week at home in Germany and met up with my childless friends there. They totally lacked understanding for the practical implications of having children - example: They were astounded that I couldn't take my two children (four and nearly two) for an evening visit to the flat of friend number one, to then move on to flat of friend number two at about midnight. When my children were happily chatting and playing, not being misbehaved *at all* they said "God, emkana, you really must have nerves of steel to be able to cope with this." And the whole time I spent with them they didn't see any need to ask me any questions about my life, presumably because I'm "only" a SAHM so what could I possibly have to say?

Grrrr.
I used to be so close to these women...

KBear Mon 06-Jun-05 13:15:51

yep, friendships do move on. I think it is hard to understand that children's needs do come first and you can't ship them around at all hours. Only a parent understands parenting!

colditz Mon 06-Jun-05 13:15:57

think you just know the wrong sort of people..... None of my childless friends would dare suggest I keep my ds up til midnight, in case I actually do it!

hoxtonchick Mon 06-Jun-05 13:21:00

i am still very close friends with people who don't have children. i think it's partly because i was (& still am) the first of my contemporaries (from school/university) to have a baby - i was 26 when i had ds. it means that he has a lot of surrogate aunties who come round & play. they are all also my first port of call when i need a night out. i do think i'm lucky in this respect, & being the first one has helped - he's seen as a novelty! not sure if this will change when i have no. 2 in a month, hope not.

perhaps the fact that your friends are in germany makes a difference. you're not able to see them nearly as often so the stakes are higher when you do. does sound like they were very rude though.

Windermere Mon 06-Jun-05 13:22:08

I know what you mean, I have a really good friend and before we had ds we had loads in common but since I became a mum I feel that we are drifting apart. Sometimes she rings and I have to end the conversation because ds is getting irritable and I can hear in her voice that she thinks that I can't be bothered anymore, on Friday she texted me to ask if I wanted to go out in the evening and I had to say no because I had been up since 2.00 am and was too tired to her it probably sounds like an excuse because I have had to cancel evenings out before for the same reason. I suppose it just takes a bit of effort and understanding on both sides.

otto Mon 06-Jun-05 13:23:18

My two closet friends are childless and they are both very understanding when it comes to ds's needs. In fact, they both adore him.

kama Mon 06-Jun-05 13:32:58

Message withdrawn

dizzymama Mon 06-Jun-05 14:58:02

I have found that, despite still being close to my childless friends, I see more of my friends with children about same age as dd. As dd is still only 4 1/2 months I can remember (just!) how it was before I had her and I can't believe how much my priorities have changed. This must be difficult for my friends who have known 'the old me' for much longer than 'the new me'. I think you can be friends with childless friends (if that makes sense) but it takes a while for them to come to terms with your new outlook.

SenoraPostrophe Mon 06-Jun-05 15:00:00

yes, it's possible.

I have some childless friends who are more understanding than most of my friends with children, in fact.

hellomama Mon 06-Jun-05 15:03:52

I have the same experience as hoxton chick really. I'm the first in my group of friends to have a baby and they are all clucky aunties, volunteering to babysit and they just love coming round to play and bringing presents. There have been a few who haven't been so friendly / understanding but they have fallen by the wayside and I don't really see them anymore. Its a hard situation, but the cliche is true: when you have a baby you really do find out who your real friends are.

Listmaker Mon 06-Jun-05 15:06:59

My three closest friends were childless when I started having my babies and they weren't even young! They were great though and one of them was brilliant and closer to my dds than my own brother. Now they have finally all got babies of their own - last one born yesterday to my 44 year old friend!

But these were really good friends. I did let lots of more peripheral friends go - couples that we went out with for meals etc but didn't really know that well. I only had a few babysitting opportunities so had to keep them for things I REALLY wanted to do and also just couldn't be bothered with a lot of it anymore.

I have had tricky times staying with exp's brother and wife when they and my exp would stay up late drinking and then not get up for hours the next morning leaving me entertaining a baby in a child-unfriendly house for ages. Grrrr! I learnt quickly on things like that and only went away with people with kids after that!

motherinferior Mon 06-Jun-05 15:08:23

I'm with SP on this.

ninah Mon 06-Jun-05 15:14:26

I would be bored stiff if ALL my friends were mums and dads tbh.

expatinscotland Mon 06-Jun-05 15:16:58

Absolutely! Two of my best friends are child free by choice and one has an adult daughter.

Puff Mon 06-Jun-05 15:17:39

My best friend has no children, she doesn't have a partner either, but she's brill with my children and likes to come and play families!

I think it helps that she's a primary school teacher, although I'm always amazed that she wants to come out with me and my two on her days off - I'd have thought she'd had enough of children and would want a break.

sheepgomeep Mon 06-Jun-05 15:31:01

I think its perfectly possible. Two of my closest friends are childfree, same age as me and both have totally different lives to me. Ive become closer to them since i split up with ex.. one was ex's ex bests mates ex girlfriend and I only used to see her occaisionally through exp. They are pretty understanding when it comes to my kids and they understand when I say no to nights out.

They are always texting me to see how I am which is really nice.

The only thing which irritates a little is that they will tex me and say 'oh u coming out tonight'. I don't think they can quite understand that you can't spontaneously do stuff when you got kids

Anteater Mon 06-Jun-05 15:45:16

NO

Gwenick Mon 06-Jun-05 15:48:45

One of my closest (and longest known) friends is childess. She's now in her early 40's and has given up any hope of having a child ,she's had lots of MC's which they found out last year was due to that blood disorder (can't remember the name ).

She's very understanding and loves my kids to bits

Tommy Mon 06-Jun-05 15:56:19

I think, like everything, it depends on the person! One of my childless friends thinks my children are really cute but always phones me at 5.30pm "just for a chat" and can't understand why I don't want to meet her at 9pm in the pub like I used to (I'm comatose on the sofa by then most evenings!)

Gwenick Mon 06-Jun-05 15:57:30

I think, like everything, it depends on the person!



Oooo I agree with that - if one of my friends called up and asked if I wanted to meet her in the pub at 9pm I'd accept immidiately (DH could 'babysit' the kids )

mogwai Mon 06-Jun-05 16:44:00

this is a really interesting issue. I'm the last of my "old" friends to have a baby but I also have a group of girlfriends who are about 5-6 years younger than me. I can really see the difference with the younger ones - they don't understand some of the issues, for example, one of them got quite sniffy because I couldn't come to her housewarming party when I was pregnant and ill (wait till it's her turn!), but I don't expect them to know how it feels.

More interestingly, we have tried to avoid doing all the things that drove us mad when we were childless - having a child changes your life forever but we don't want to be baby bores. Being the last to have children has been useful.

I'll list the things that drove us mad - do they sound familiar?

- Going to stay with childless people and totally taking over their house with all the baby gear - not even making the effort to tidy it away

- Waking the same childless people up at 5.45am with a rendition of "the wheels on the bus" in the bedroom (part of the "we're awake so you should be awake" policy)

- Talking endlessly about own child

- not listening to a word the childless person is saying, getting completely distracted by your child so that the friend has to trail off what they were saying

- allowing your child to stand in front of you and your friend when you are trying to have a conversation and the child wants to get your attention instead (FFS! tell the child to wait a minute and then give him your full attention!)

- not cleaning your child up before they get out of the high chair, thus allowing them to wipe their spaghetti bolognaise faces on your friend's sofa (how hard is it to get a cloth?)

- not watching what your child is doing and finding them drawing onyour friend's walls with a fountain pen

- taking the attitude of "Well what can you expect? Stupid you for buying a cream sofa!!"

I suppose there's a theme here! And These examples are all real and it wasn't the same people that did them! I used to get so annoyed by other people's kids trashing my home, it was my right to have a nice home! I didn't have kids!

Yes it's possible to stay friends, just give them some consideration!

Amen!!

Pruni Mon 06-Jun-05 16:58:56

Message withdrawn

bossykate Mon 06-Jun-05 17:03:52

hello mogwai

i couldn't resist a few comments on your post!

- Going to stay with childless people and totally taking over their house with all the baby gear - not even making the effort to tidy it away *think that is a tad harsh, the baby stuff or indeed any stuff doesn't have a place to be put away in someone else's house.

- Waking the same childless people up at 5.45am with a rendition of "the wheels on the bus" in the bedroom (part of the "we're awake so you should be awake" policy) *it's really difficult to keep an early waker quiet and amused, agree singing is inconsiderate though.

- Talking endlessly about own child * or does it just seem endless because you're just not that interested in kids till you have your own? find it difficult to stomach the fact that it is considered such a faux pas to talk about one's children. i expect people to show some interest in and listen to me talk about my children in same way i show interest in their lives and listent to them when they speak about things that interest them.

- not listening to a word the childless person is saying, getting completely distracted by your child so that the friend has to trail off what they were saying * depending on the age of the child it's difficult not to do this, isn't it? you'd hardly let your 2 yr old stick their finger in a powerpoint for the sake of politeness to the childless, would you? i know this is very irritating - i found it irritating myself before kids and also don't like it now - it's one of those things which make m&b/t groups v. unsatisfying for me. but rather than get annoyed - save the deep conversations for when the children aren't around, that way everyone will be happy.

- allowing your child to stand in front of you and your friend when you are trying to have a conversation and the child wants to get your attention instead (FFS! tell the child to wait a minute and then give him your full attention!) * agree with this, but again, the success of this strategy depends on the age of the child.

- not cleaning your child up before they get out of the high chair, thus allowing them to wipe their spaghetti bolognaise faces on your friend's sofa (how hard is it to get a cloth?) * unforgiveable!

- not watching what your child is doing and finding them drawing onyour friend's walls with a fountain pen * well perhaps they're not watching them because they're so concerned about appearing rude by not paying sufficient attention to their host! can't have it both ways! personally, i'd rather watch the child and save the socialising for a time when the kids aren't around, as i said.

- taking the attitude of "Well what can you expect? Stupid you for buying a cream sofa!! * oh i have a friend with this attitude, she drives me a bit nuts with her in your face parenting, i agree this is beyond the pale!

in answer to the original post, yes i have kept some really good friends without kids. but have also, painfully and bitterly, dropped others who couldn't meet me half way.

bossykate Mon 06-Jun-05 17:05:32

teehee, pruni, yes i agree, effort on both sides

bossykate Mon 06-Jun-05 17:06:21

oh, btw, i've never been to stay at a childless friend's house so obviously am not guilty of any of those offences myself!

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