Once We Become Parents We Don’t Want To Hang Out With You Anymore (But Not For The Reasons You Think)

Before I became a parent, I had a few relatively close friends who began starting families, and after the birth of their little ones, I never really saw them again.  I tried calling periodically, and would offer up the same sort of date idea we used to do together, usually coffees or lunch dates.  Usually the offer was rejected and after a few attempts to stay connected, I got pissed and gave up.

I remember thinking, What assholes.  Don’t they give a shit about their friends anymore?  I mean, I understood they were busy, and of course family comes first, but  I hardly ever saw them again.  It seemed ridiculous.

A few years later, I had a child of my own, and while I make a concerted effort to schedule in time with friends, I’m sure there are some people out there who now think this about me.  Possibly even some of my own family.

So for the non-parents out there who think I’ve turned into an asshole, here are my excuses.

The kid’s schedule is more important than one would think.  Turns out kids need to eat, drink, move, sleep and poop.  Every damn day of the year.  And for the most part, it really DOES make a difference when and where these events occur.  No parent wants to deal with a kid who is dehydrated, has low blood sugar, is exhausted, or has shit his or her pants.  I’m quite sure none of our friends want to deal with these scenarios either.  This means that the noon lunch dates, or 4pm coffee dates or going out to dinner at any time is really, really hard to swing.  Yes, sometimes we can do it, but when we do, we are pushing it, so we tend to save up these moments for holidays, vacations or other special occasions.  Even if it works out okay, and we/our kid makes it look easy, it leaves us exhausted because it basically gives us a heart attack worrying about whether or not our selfish choice will result in us having to calm our child who is screaming bloody murder and/or having to clean urine or feces off of a public bench or the seats of our minivan.

Kids put their parents on a schedule of their own.  Parents usually blame schedules solely on their kids, but the truth is, we now have a schedule, too.  Before the kids get up, we get ourselves ready for the day, empty the dishwasher, pack the lunches and enjoy 15 minutes of alone time with our cup of coffee.  If we’re feeling overly ambitious, waking up somewhere in the 4 a.m. time slot, we might get a workout in or an hour of blog writing before waking up the kids and getting them ready. Before we get to work we’re already several hours into our day. When the kids nap, we clean the kitchen or the bathroom or fold the laundry.  Once the kids go to sleep, we may or may not get to any of the items on our to-do list, bills, home improvement projects, workouts, or any of the other things normal people do on a day-to-day basis (and are virtually impossible to do while the children are awake), before we basically collapse in a useless heap on the couch.  Yes, we know it’s only 8.30 p.m. And, yes, we’re TOAST. If we do see you outside of our typical schedule, particularly in the evening hours, take it as a huge compliment. We’re still getting up at the ungodly hour we always do the next morning, and are unable to make up that extra energy we are expending for the next 18 years or so.

We like hanging out with our kids.  And if we work outside the home, we feel like our time with them is very limited.  Going out to dinner could mean not seeing your kid all day, going away for the weekend could mean not seeing your child for 80% of the week (that we are not working and they are awake).  Seemingly boring activities, like stacking cups, singing the ABC’s, pushing a little one on a swing, or even simply eating a meal with the kids have turned into some of our favorite moments.  Even if you see our kid act like a total asshole, crying every five minutes, or bouncing off the walls like a human pinball, at home there are more instances than you can imagine that result in us smiling the biggest smiles, laughing the loudest laughs, or otherwise NOT being annoyed with our own offspring.  This can be hard to imagine, I know.

“Just bring the kids” is an option.  But it is one that sucks.  Even though we thoroughly enjoy our time at home, we want to see you, too. We really do.  Even so, we often decline invitations to your fun events, not because it doesn’t sound like a blast in general, but because we know, for us, it just won’t be fun. This is not because YOU aren’t fun.  You are a riot.  (Do you hear us?  We really do think this, even if we neglect to express this enough).  We just can’t focus on you very well when we have to simultaneously keep an eye on our kids making sure they don’t choke, drown in randomly placed vat of water or get a head injury bumping into the pointy corner of a table.  We spend a lot more time and energy worrying about keeping our brood alive than you might imagine.  A lot of times we host events you don’t get invited to.  Again, this isn’t because YOU aren’t fun, it’s because our events aren’t fun, at least not for most adults. They are loud, obnoxious, and strategically located where there are wide open spaces or playscapes that allow toddlers to run and bounce off padded surfaces, screaming like banshees, that allow us to leave the Xanax at home since we don’t have to fear death by pointy edge.

Seemingly benign household chores suddenly seem to consume our lives.  Things we used to think were nothing now seem to consume our lives. Washing, drying, scrubbing, cooking. I still haven’t figured out how one or two tiny little humans results in thirty-five times the number of dishes, loads of laundry, and crumbs on the floor, but it does. Chores that we used to be able to put off until we felt like doing them now Must. Be. Done. Immediately. If they wait, we fear our house might implode, much like a black hole, from the massive amount of grime and toys and dirty dishes concentrated in one place.  To top it off, feeding and housing small children results in such an exponential increase in clutter and dirt (which we care about more now, since our kids are rolling around on the carpet all the time) that it is now unacceptable for our own shit to add to the mess, so there’s the double whammy right there.  Not only are we responsible for cleaning up after our offspring, we now are being held responsible, if only by our own OCD, for cleaning up after ourselves.

Kids go to sleep pretty damn early.  Which means we have to leave events even earlier, or we miss attending them altogether.  It’s easy to look at our kids and say, “Oh, they don’t even look tired!” and you’d be right.  And that’s why we’re leaving NOW, before they have a total meltdown and lose their shit.  We can preemptively sense these things like some animals can sense earthquakes before they register on any seismograph.

Leisure time is so limited that we tend to spend it on ourselves (often by ourselves). Fitting in time to relax and engage in activities we enjoy can be so elusive that sometimes we think we are being assholes to ourselves, for not spending enough time with our own self.  I’m not making this up. Getting a manicure or a haircut or a taking a trip to the gym requires creative scheduling, and everything else in our life to go according to plan – our spouse’s engagements, our kid’s health, work obligations. A lot of our hobbies end up being things we can do at any hour of the day, on our own time, by ourselves: jogging, reading, writing or activities that can be done just as well at 3 a.m. or 3 p.m. The demands of the social calendar scare us.  If we’re going to fit in time to actually see another human being, it’s usually someone who can give us the most bang for our buck. A workout buddy or someone to chat with during a playdate, or, rarely, a meet up with a pal who can completely de-stress us, who is totally on board with our entire excursion being completed within a thirty to forty-five minute window. We do not have the time or energy for idle lingering.

Sometimes we just need to idly linger.  Okay, this might seem like I’m refuting my last point, but I’m really not.  We’re spending so much energy carrying, wiping, toting, cleaning, chasing after, listening to, reasoning with, teaching, and doing, that sometimes we need to just sit, in a quiet space, for ten or thirty or one-hundred-and-twenty minutes in a row, for our own sanity, and for the safety of those around us.  There is no sleeping in, or afternoon naps, or resting on the weekend, so these moments are critical to help our bodies and minds recover and recharge for the remainder of our day or week.  God help you if you infringe on our time we’ve allotted to revive ourselves.  My friends might notice that I played Words with Friends at ten p.m., but they shouldn’t take that as a sign of me being capable of sustaining vigorous nighttime conversations or activities. I’ve probably been in my pajamas for hours, expending almost zero energy, using this time to replenish my life stores, an act of sloth equivalent in importance to the hibernation of bears in the winter.

Keep in mind we’re not upset about these things, we are not complaining about our choice to raise our little ones. We are happy as clams, but we still do miss you and recognize we probably don’t tell you this enough.

Basically, when it comes to friendships, parents of young children are forced to hunker down and encase themselves in a protective cocoon in order to preserve their energy, like some spore that can withstand the harshest of elements.

Don’t give up on us, we’ll emerge and thrive again, once conditions are right. In the meantime, if you are not deterred, let us know if you want to come over at 7 a.m. for breakfast. That’s when we are at our peak.

once we become parents

Once we become parents, we don’t want to hang out with you anymore. But not for the reasons you think.

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169 thoughts on “Once We Become Parents We Don’t Want To Hang Out With You Anymore (But Not For The Reasons You Think)

  1. Pretty much. I’m lucky that my kids travel well, but I think a lot of that stems from moving and living out of suitcases in the back of our car for a couple months when A was a baby and sedating E with seizure meds every night when he was little. Plus, they’re used to going up north and hunkering down with 9 people in one tiny cabin. We’ve trained them. Like little, obedient animals.

    • Yes, some kids are definitely easier to travel with/trained better, for sure. We’re pretty lucky too, I think, and I still feel this way – so I can’t image people with more tempermental kids or who don’t get their kids used to some on-the-fly activities.

  2. You are so right on every point (and this from a person who has never had kids of their own) and I understand fully. Bringing up a family ‘third party’ so-to-speak was very much a juggling act. One four year old insisted on swinging his legs as he sat on the wrong side of the swimming pool despite being told not to. Yep, he fell in. You need eyes not just in the back of your head, but all over your body!

  3. “Even if you see our kid act like a total asshole, crying every five minutes, or bouncing off the walls like a human pinball, at home there are more instances than you can imagine that result in us smiling the biggest smiles, laughing the loudest laughs, or otherwise NOT being annoyed with our own offspring. This can be hard to imagine, I know.” Truly amazing, isn’t it?!

  4. My thoughts exactly! I used to feel bad but I shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting to be with my kids when I’m not at work. 🙂 Fortunately, the handful of good friends I have understand (whether they have kids or don’t!).

  5. I do believe you nailed that one! When I married, I immediately had a 14 year old. And even at THAT age, it’s not far off from what you say on little bitty ones.

    There’s her schedule with homework and softball and choir and it goes on and on and on.

    And somebody has to get her there and pick her up. And somebody has to make sure the clothes are done and the dishes are done and there’s food on the table and blah blah blah.

    I know you get it.

    This was bravo-licious!

  6. I love this post very much! It is very concise and well articulated. Being a parent is a lot of work and sometimes 24hours seem not to be enough. Slowly, we change, lose our selves, and our lives revolve around our kids…we miss our friends…and still we would not trade it for anything world

  7. As a non-parent, and a person who has often felt neglected by my friends who are parents, I totally appreciate this post. I figured there were always a billion things to do as a parent, but this helps put it into more concrete examples. All that being said, I still can’t wait for our running/wine drinking date(s)!

    • I’m glad you appreciate it – even though I used to totally feel this way, its hard to know if the explanation came across like i wanted it to – like a clear enough one thanks for the feedback 🙂

  8. While elements of this post are true (schedules are important, kids need routine, parents are exhausted), it seems like you are neglecting other simple truths: people are important, kids need to learn how to function in public, kids need to have interactions with people of different ages. You can find an hour in the day to schedule time outside the house, whether that’s getting grocery shopping done or going to a friend’s house or visiting a local coffee shop or library. And if your kids have a hard time in different places, you start out by only going to one or two spots once a week, then increase it as their behavior gets better. Ultimately, children need to know that other people are important, too, and they need to see their parents interact with other adults (single adults, married adults, AND other families). If your friends have invited you out numerous times and you turn them down, you can’t expect THEM to invite themselves over to your place at 7am. They won’t know to do it, and they’re already feeling abandoned. You need to invite them over to your place and explain how drastically your schedule has changed.

    • I agree with you on this! I started bringing mine to a coffee shop most mornings pretty early. Now the workers know him as a regular and even keep some kids books in the shelf for him. Friends just meet me there when they are free during the morning if they want to catch up. And because the other regulars and workers know him already, they know his melt downs are rare but they will happen. They usually pass over with a couple eye rolls and laughs.

      • Totally agree with both of you (actually LOVE that coffee shop idea) – and we do get out and about – but with a huge family there just isn’t the time for as many dates with friends, or at least not often as we used to.

    • Most parents do take their children to public places and on errands with them(some do not have a choice as they are single parents or have a spouse deployed or that works on the road!). Do you really want our friend date to be spent grocery shopping with me constantly telling my child, “No, we do not need Oreos today.”, “Stop touching everything”, “No doughnuts”, etc. Also, as was noted in this post, going out with our kids in tow on an adult date can be tough. I have what would be considered a “perfect” toddler. She rarely cries, sleeps in, and does what is asked 90% of the time, but she is still a toddler. She likes to be the center of attention. There are meltdowns that happen, and those without kids do not understand them and cringe(we see it in your faces), while we are cringing too and wanting to apologize to every person in the place, we have to comfort our child, find out what is wrong and sometimes just leave. This post nails it! It is hard to balance needs of your own family, the demands and obligations of work and extended family, and the want to spend time with our family we chose(you, our friends).

    • Agreed. Someone else pointed out that just dropping off the face of the earth = not being a good friend, even just stating these things, or making the invitation is so needed.

    • BAH AH NO! I disagree with this point of view. This post wasn’t asking for advice on how to fit time in with friends or acclimate young kids to public places. If the above worked for you, that’s lovely. Still, that’s a singular experience. People trying to do the impossible job of bringing up tiny kids don’t need the added guilt/pressure of inviting over childless friends to instruct them on their new lifestyle. Good friends will understand, good friends will wait. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but for a period of time, it’s all hands on deck survival.

  9. Yes this is all true. My babies are all gone and have kids now. Yes, I miss them being little. My friends kids are too. There was a lot of years we didn’t see or talk. But now we are doing a lot of things together. If they are your friends they will be your friends forever, no matter how long you don’t see or talk to them. Your babies will move on with their babies and it go by fast.

    • Yes, you’re right – the core friends remain the same. And I realized that I wasn’t a core friend with some of the ones I was feeling badly about not seeing anymore – even though they weren’t “core” I still enjoyed spending time with them. But, I get it now, completely.

      • I take issue with this idea that childless friends are supposed to just stand by and wait for their friends with kids to eventually return to them. Friendships, like any relationship in life, require work. If you are a parent and expect to maintain friendships with other adults, you must also invest time/energy in those relationships. I think it is selfish to expect your childless friends to just acclimate to your new existence. Whether you want to admit it or not, childless folk have their own full lives as well, and we don’t appreciate being characterized as people with secondary lives/concerns to your own. To sum up, friendships require effort from both parties. If you wish to maintain friendships from the past, you must work to do so. You don’t get a free pass from this just because you now have children.

  10. So true! I thought when my kids got older, things might calm down, but now there’s soccer, musical theater, homework, etc. And I have to juggle it all with a two-year-old in tow. But I love them all so much, wouldn’t trade a chaotic, crazy moment.

  11. I only have the one, and I’m almost ashamed to say that he was pretty much a perfect baby and toddler. He only ever had 1 or 2 tantrums and they were because he was hungry. He would sleep anywhere if he was tired and it didn’t matter if we moved him from car seat (no bucket) to stroller to shopping cart or to diner booth. He only ever had 1 ear infection, never put anything he shouldn’t into his mouth and so on and so on.

    All this being said, my pre-baby friends were almost all work friends and while I was extremely close with some of them, having worked together for 10+ years, it still happened — we “grew” apart. Most of the things you mention above applied to us, even with only 1 near-“perfect” child. There’s no way around it. THOSE DARN CHILDREN CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!! And we love them for it.♥

  12. Great post. I commute two hours a day for work so I value what time I get home with the kiddos and hubby. I try to use my one hour drive home each evening to reach out to my friends that don’t have the same schedule as me. It’s just a phone call, but it does help me re energize to walk into a house of crying hungry kids and a husband in need of some relief and I still keep a connection with them. Although they don’t find poop as interesting topic as us moms do. 😉

  13. Great post. Love it.

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  14. My daughter is 13 and *still* runs our schedule.
    We have friends who get it, and friends who don’t.
    Of course, the friends who get it, are the same friends who get that moving to a farm and having 4 horses just means having 4 more children, and they still don’t see us, unless they come here. 🙂
    But, at least there’s facebook! Haha!

  15. Yep! You’re an a__hole, but not for the reasons you think. You are because you have to pepper your discourse with profanity! I can just imagine the filth your child will spout! Disgusting!

    • I agree totally. I found the language disturbing and hope she doesn’t talk that way around the kiddos

      • People who feel a need to criticize others’ “hypothetical” or assumed parenting seem so angry. It’s hard enough to be a new mom without all the other moms pointing their fingers at what they “think” you might be doing. Women need to support other women. We’re our own worse enemies. And, as the old adage goes, if you don’t like the show, change the channel. Isn’t the whole purpose of blogs to be a creative outlet. There are some bad words in some great works of literature. Are you hoping those authors don’t talk that way in front of the kiddo, or is easier to criticize this blogger because she’s a woman and mother?

        • I too love the blog. I have often thought about creating a blog of my own so I may say the things, that I would not ordinarily say out loud. I am sure that a morning grouch will be loving and clean mouthed with her child because she is getting it out in a blog. My kids are grown and I must say, they were pretty much my life. My friends were on hold unless our kids did activities together, but now we can carry on as our children have their own families and their own activities. They don’t have much time for me and my friends and that is how it should be.

  16. After all those years of dealing with the kids’ schedules, when I retired from teaching (and that meant working long into the night after getting kids to bed, then getting up at the crack of dawn to do it again), and my kids finally moving out, I find I need more “me” time than I expected and once I am home, I don’t want to leave. I was not like like as a young adult, so parenting really changes you!

  17. Wow! This is so true – the story of my life right now!! The weirdest (and possibly most resented) for me right now is the three of us sitting together in our PJs (with all the black out blinds shut) by 6pm on these glorious sunny evenings waiting in hopeful anticipation for the eye rubbing and grouching to start! Give it another ten years and we might just make use of the BBQ sitting unopened in our garage! You know what, despite it all, it’s still the best!

    • oh, man! Our back patio is our HAVEN. We go out there after the little one is asleep – we used to bring the monitor before she became really good at sleeping through the night. Gotta take SOME little moments where you can get them! It did take awhile though to be AWAKE enough to do this.

  18. I love this post! I have friends who don’t have children, but who love my toddler, saying, “Just bring him along! I’d love to see him!”, which is pretty much the last thing I want to do, because I’m the one chasing him under tables, catching plates just before they hit the ground, apologising to neighbouring tables for the new tomato sauce brooch their wearing…

  19. Yes! I love the point that leisure time is so limited, we want to spend it on ourselves, preferably with no living creature in sight. Social time with other adults always sounds nice…until the allotted time arrives and all I want is to lock myself in a quiet room and talk to no one. 🙂

  20. well said……have been trying to find the words ! it could take over an hour for someone to come visit or me to go out depending on NYC traffic and parking. Working full time with twins is no joke – and no time left for anything ! next year the homework starts………

  21. Excellent. This is also why, as I explained to my (then) husband I did not like going to visit his family for “Vacation” – while he was busy reconnecting with everyone *I* was the one dealing with kids. Every minute of every day. He took Lil Miss with him alone once and when he got back decided our next “vacation” would include at least one kid-free day for just us.
    Excellent post.

  22. Just as true 40+ years ago when I had kids that age. Now I watch my own two kids juggle the same type of things. I pretty much concluded that any night out when children were under 8 years old came with a penalty for the adult the next morning. It is the way it is. When my kids were teens and out I had to stay in because the only way to connect was the wired house phone. I felt more limited then than when they were little.

  23. Amazing. I saw you mentioned more temperamental/sensitive kids earlier. SO TRUE. NO LIE, my kid was so sensitive as a baby that he cried when he heard those extra loud sunchip bags… SCREAMED his head off. He couldn’t handle change in routine and HATED anyone else holding him. And he went to daycare! He just screamed all day. 🙁 It was effing awful. And my “friends” thought I was just an overanxious, stupid mother. He’s still very sensitive, but he’s learning how to handle new stuff, and I’m being as supportive and understanding as I can. 🙂

  24. This essay was moving and so helpful to me. You have articulated beautifully something that I’ve been struggling with since my son was born – that being organized, loving my friends and wanting to see them, and having a relatively easy baby, does not particularly help me see friends any more often. The full-on needs of a toddler require my full attention, no matter where we are, no matter what we’re doing. “Even so, we often decline invitations to your fun events, not because it doesn’t sound like a blast in general, but because we know, for us, it just won’t be fun.” Yes!

  25. So, I ask you honestly and with genuine curiosity and love – what are those of us who are your friends supposed to do? I’m 32 and struggling with losing many of my friends to parenthood. I love the kids, I love seeing them, and I want to know how to keep these people in my life. If they would tell me how I could see them – yes, including inviting me over for breakfast at 7am – I would be there! But instead it feels like they host kid and parent only play dates and parties, assume we aren’t interested, don’t invite me and my partner, and instead offer up all the explanations above. Do I just give up? Or do you really expect your friends to just wait around for 3-5 years, until you suddenly have time for us again? Signed, Missing My Friends.

    • Precisely. It’s all very well shedding some light onto why all my friends with kids either don’t bother connecting or attempt to connect during their 6 child free moments a year (or feel too guilty/tired to even do that) but how about realising that your child free friends a) want to see you and b) want to get to know the little buggers that you’re spending all your energy keeping alive!? It’s the lack of invitations to things because, “well, it’ll be boring for you” and the casual, “so let me live vicariously through your social life” that palls (I choose what bores me, thanks!), way more than the doing groceries together while a kid screams/covering cornea and childproofing the bachelor pad. Imagine how nice it would be to have a mate with you when you feel like throwing a tantrum to show your kids how to really do it. Many of us friends are desperately trying to stay in your lives, but you provide the paradox of, “it’s all so hard” but “no I don’t need help/company”.

      • I agree. My children are grown now but I have been the friend who didn’t have kids at one point and the person who had friends without kids at one time. Before I had my kids, I involved myself in my friends lives and their kids lives. I babysat so they would have some time to do things they needed to, I sat at dinners at their homes with the kids and not just parties. I brought dinner once in awhile and I helped them clean up. And while we were cleaning up, that is when we talked and caught up. I also had friends that did that for me. And to this day I am still friends with these people and with their now adult children and visa versa. I must say, it seems we all had good kids because even as babies I don’t remember them disrupting everything I did or every minute of time. I do remember plenty of really tired nights and wishing I had more time. I think part of the modern problem is that spending time together isn’t always the point. People want others to give undivided attention to them and always want to go out for it to count as having fun. Going out is fun but not the only way to have fun. Maybe offer to babysit for your friend, so she can have a quiet dinner or movie with her husband. That could be an opening for her to realize that you want to be part of her kids lives also.

    • I know. I don’t expect people to wait around, in fact, I gave up on a few that I have now consider whether or not I think it’s worth reaching back out to! I would let your friends know you miss them and if you really WOULD like to be invited to those things, let them know you wouldn’t mind an invite. I know for me, personally, I don’t want someone to feel OBLIGATED to come to something they will hate (like the last person who commented after you said, I know they should decide what they want to do – but people do sometimes feel obligated to come/buy gifts and I don’t want to be a burden) – also I’ve found connecting with friends in a few ways that work well, without having to meet face to face…IN FACT. I’ll write a post about that. SOON. Cool?

  26. what happened to getting a babysitter? or letting your spouse stay with the kids?? My mom used to go out with her friends after I went to bed all the time when she was young. These days, everyone insists you can’t have both a life and kids. Posts like this make me NEVER want children.

    • Babysitters cost money. Spouses are as exhausted as we are. And sometimes we actually want to spend time with our families after handling all the other obligations.

      • Understandable, but like I said in a post above, if you don’t figure out some way to reach out to your friends, don’t be surprised to watch those friendships die. It’s a two-way street.

  27. I don’t have kids, and I have had some friendships stay strong after a friend had them, and others disappear entirely. From that perspective, let me say: we totally get it. We understand that there are new, overwhelming demands on your time, and that your priorities have changed. (At least most of us do.)

    ***BUT***

    You have to tell us that. Personally.

    If you tell us “hey, X, I value your friendships, but this is what’s going on, and so I’m going to be flakey for a indeterminate period of time”, we will totally respect that. We may be disappointed, but we’ll know what to expect, will take what we can get, and will look forward to a time when we can pick up where we left off.

    But if you just disappear from our lives without explanation, no matter how good your reasons are, then you have ditched us. And that is not being a good friend.

      • As someone with no children, I think (or would hope) most understand when their friends have kids, things change and there has to be a mutual desire to maintain the friendship. I have many close friends with children but it took maneuvering, I don’t remember ever thinking they were assholes 🙂 Obviously it is easier for many people to hang out with those in the same life experience, I myself am happy I have a mix of both as I think it provides a wider perspective for me.

        However, I just have to say, this post could be construed as a bit condescending to the childless population. When you don’t have children through choice/lifestyle/predicament, you focus your energy in other ways. Just as you are extremely busy and exhausted, and focused on your children-rightfully so, we work late, foster meaningful relationships, have to maintain households, we have our own struggles, schedules, and challenges, in other words I bet most of us can relate on some level…just not exactly the same level! All it takes is a conversation.

  28. My kids are grown. I stayed friends with folks who had kids before I did, and manage to maintain friendships with folks who have babies and toddlers (and older kids) so here are some suggestions, if you are really interested:

    Offer to bring dinner over on a Friday or Saturday, then stay to babysit while your friends take in a movie. You’ll spend time with them and their children, have some time to get to know the kids better (which will come in handy) and spend a bit of time alone with your friends when they get home.

    Offer to meet them with their kids at a fast food place with a toddler playground, or bring a picnic lunch to join them at a park.

    When you are at their house, spend some time playing with the kids, offer to change diapers, read books to them, even offer to put them to bed or give them a bath. And as the get older, keep a cabinet of kids’ books and toys and crafts in your house for when they come to visit you. I find that the higher end art supplies — things that you likely DON’T keep in the house when your own kids are young — are a big hit.

    When the kids are older, offer to take the kids out to a restaraunt meal. The kids are likely to be better behaved then when their parents are around, and your friends will be more relaxed and able to enjoy spending time with you when you return. (As a bonus, you get to help the kids learn restaurant manners, which is kind of fun!)

    Understand that, especially if they work outside the home, they may NOT value time away from their kids, but that with the kids around conversations will be interrupted and take WAYYYYYY longer.

    My oldest is single and has no children, but continues to maintain friendships with several friens who have children. She looks forward to playing with their kids as much as to seeing her adult friends, and the kids look forward to seeing her.

    And if your response to these suggestions is that you aren’t interested in getting to know the kids and becoming friens with them, too, then accept that the close friendship is going to be over, at least until the kids are much older.

  29. This is great! I am too old now to be really dealing with this, but I remember that feeling in my late 20s/early 30s when all our friends started having kids. It’s sad to say, but it’s just easier for people with kids to hang out with other parents who have kids around the same age. The kids can play together and the parents can have adult time and break up fights when necessary!

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  31. I am married with no children. I have friends with children of all ages that party their brains out and have a way more active social life than me and my wife. I make up excuses to not see them (hard with no kids). I finish a weekend with them and i can’t remember how to drive to work on Monday. It’s not like their kids are deviants and delinquents, They are honor roll students with great attitudes etc who are on sports teams and boy scouts and math club.. The reason you don’t see your friends or do anything with them or do anything besides herd your children is because you choose to. No other reason. That’s fine, but your excuses are lame and not universal and your friends with no kids know it. get over yourself.

    • I agree with Steve. I have 4 kids and it’s not that difficult to get together with friends occasionally. My friends with kids for the most part will get together with their kids. My childless friends are still in my life. I meet up for dinners or drinks or lunch. I invite them to events. Then I have this one semi new mom her DS is one. She turns down every invite. When we do get together it’s rushed and she fusses over every move the child makes. Come to think of it, she had plenty of excuses before she was married with children also. I find that those that don’t make time for your relationship just don’t care plain and simple. It is a choice to use your kids as an excuse. Before kids it was money, or the boyfriend, or laundry, or claiming multiple obligations. Some people are full of excuses. These people are not friends. They are acquaintances at best. No point in continuing to bother with people who can’t give you a few hours out of a handful of the 365 days a year that there are.

  32. Very aptly put!! My husband and I adopted our son Jakob when he was 11 months. Jake was born at 23 weeks gestation and needless to say, had some significant delays. He is a fighter and now 13 years later you would never guess that he was born so early, as he completely “caught up” The reason for the brief back story, is that although we had friends that were very supportive, some, were not. They didn’t say it in so many words, but the invites STOPPED! Granted, we were quite busy, with doctor appointments, thenthere were the therapies, physical, occupational, and speech as well. Our “down” time was spent playing and interacting with our new son! We did however, take Jakob with us everywhere. We went camping, to the park, the store, you name it, we did it! Our friends that were single, just more or less, dropped out of our lives. I realize that their thoughts that we no longer could go to the bar twice a week, and somehow that made us no longer able to “hang”. Our going out became bbq’s and beer at our house, and to telll you the truth, it was a blast, often lasting well into the night, with the kids being put to bed at our house in sleeping bags and such, it became their own “slumber party”! These get togethers became quite popular during the summer, and the stories and anecdotes that came from said get togethers over the years, are very fond memories. Now that Jake is 14 and is able to be left home for ocassional evenings out, we have found that the summer nights of “Bags n BBQ”, were by far, more fun than any night out. So here’s to another season of our nights in with friends and their kiddos, who have become “best buds” with our son, after pretty much growing up together!

    • LOVE the BBQ nights! And, funny you say that, because our patio is our OASIS. Vacation right out the back door! We do utilize that, though for our other friends with kids (which are MOST of them, we were late on the bandwagon) we get that they can’t always come over for the same reason we are staying home.

  33. i know you don’t have time for friends…but if you did…i’d ask to be friends. haha

    this article is SPOT ON! i have 6 kids….for 7 yrs i was having babies, losing babies, recovering from having/losing babies while raising babies. people didn’t understand why i couldn’t do stuff and i basically became a hermit. and i even felt kinda guilty for not doing things and for being too tired to do things with friends and family.

    i so wish i had this article printed out and framed during that time. i’m going to have to print it out for when my kids have kids and they can see it’s all going to be ok.

    thing is, i wouldn’t trade it for the world. it’s the craziest time in my life, some days i wonder wtf i was thinking having a million kids bc i’m so tired and not quite sure HOW i’m going to get everything done….but i wouldn’t change a thing….these kids are the best thing i’ve ever done…..love their faces. <3

    thanks so much for blogging this….it's perfect. 🙂

    • haha i mean, i still have time for friends, but it is nowhere near what it used to be! i agree, too, this time in our lives is crazy crazy crazy beautiful and full of love. exhausting, hectic, grateful, love.

      • oh good. let’s meet up for a drink. haha 😉

        on the really rough days i remind myself this won’t last forever and then i’ll be sad. even though a little part of me will be happy bc i’ll get to catch up on all of my shows and lose my mommy weight….i hope.

  34. I posted before (I have no kids) and came upon this string because it ended up on my facebook feed, due to one of my “friends” who is now a mother posted a derogatory comment about her “clueless” childless friends and linked to this. As a pointer – this is really not a great way to keep your childless friends – and perhaps I should start a blog about that.

    That said, I have many friends with children and I feel very lucky to have them. However if anyone here has a childless friend and you want to maintain that friendship or you miss them, you must reach out to them too sometimes. Friendship is a two way street, we all have crappy life challenges, that can leave us paralyzed for a time or even years! I remember often assuming wrongly that my friends with children were too busy/exhausted/tired and that is why I left them alone, – not that as the previous poster mentioned , “oh gosh they can’t go bar hopping with ME anymore.” (Granted I was in my 30’s already when my core group started having kids so that scene was a bit old.) I initiated more in the beginning or at least we all met for more brunches, but my friends did not vanish -they reached out also. That’s how it goes, you either make it a priority or you don’t and with folks outside of your life predicament, you just have to work a tiny bit more and decide if the effort is worth it. I have to say, my friends with children can party surprisingly -once those kids go to bed. 🙂

    • Yes, I agree about the priority or not thing that’s a fact whether you’re talking about working out, hobbies, kids, whatever. The difference is how often the high priority thigs happen, not IF they happen at all.

      • Yes I can see that, my only issue with the post, as I know the whole point was just to commiserate with other Moms, which it great and I think everyone needs to get support from the folks that are in their world. But when you target “non-parents” instead of just “everyone” it already sets a premise of division – and gave my “mom friend” a great opportunity to be insulting or I would have honestly not even come across this blog! Ah well – what can you do – as the next poster expresses, everyone can be an asshole independent of family status. It’s just that we all get buried once in a while and find it hard to keep in touch. Anyhow good luck to you and congrats on having a child after all of your challenges – hang in there.

  35. Here’s the truth: a person can be an asshole whether they have kids or not. Sometimes people without kids treat people badly, sometimes people with kids do the same. The fact that you now have kids and a different schedule doesn’t make you an asshole. I don’t have kids, but I am an adult with a full-time job, a relationship, and a home. My life is different than it used to be too (and extremely busy…just like yours). It’s also difficult for me to find time to spend with friends, but I do it when I can.

    In my experience, the thing that makes a parent (and truthfully, it’s usually mommies) an asshole is the belief that you are now some different (read: more important) creature because you have kids. You’re not. Your schedule is different than mine, you have different responsibilities than me, but we’re both just adults trying to make this thing work. The “mommies vs the world” point of view that this author and so many others take on is the real issue. The only thing about your behavior that makes you an asshole is your belief that having a child (as billions have done before) causes you to transition from the real world to a world where your needs, wants, responsibilities, and schedule somehow trump those of the rest of us. It’s delusional. I have many friends with kids who don’t have this attitude and a few who do. Those few are no longer friends, in case you were wondering.

    …because once they became parents, I didn’t want to hang out with them anymore (for exactly the reasons you’d think).

    • Agreed! Just because you choose to have kids does not mean that the lives of your childless friends become secondary to your own. My life goes on..I experience triumphs, disappointments, etc. These things are important to me, and I need to feel that my journey is still important to my friends with kids.

  36. I don’t have kids but agree with most of this article. My best friend has a 5 month old and I understand obviously she is very busy between the baby and work and doesn’t have the time she used to. But is it that hard to return a call or send a quick text? If you want to have any friends in the future you have to try at least a little bit. You can’t expect people to keep putting in much more effort to a relationship than you and still be there when you put in little to no effort in at all.

    • I think texting and calling are important, but face-to-face meetings are still very important to me. If you want to maintain a friendship, you still have to occasionally make time to meet in the flesh and maintain a human connection that is not mediated by technology. If you live far away, however, that is quite different.

  37. Great blog! I agree with most everything. But I can’t understand why your generation calls their small children a**holes. My son says the same thing about my grandson. They are TODDLERS, people. Their behavior is perfectly normal for their age and circumstance. When I think about calling someone an a**hole it’s because they have done something intentionally stupid. I wish this could change!!

  38. Perfectly said! I want to print it and send it to all my family and friends that think I’m trying to avoid them.
    Any minute I get for myself when hubby comes home is for me! To rest, bathe, do mindless activities and pray for strenght for the rest of the day and the next one 🙂
    I love them and miss them more than they miss me but when they have their own they’ll understand.

  39. Kids seem to be as flexible as your attitude towards raising them is. If adjusting their schedule stresses you out, they will pick up on that. This article doesn’t fit with my experience so far, and the occasional meltdown is a welcome part of my life if it keeps our social relationships strong and teaches the kids to be a bit adaptable.

    • I totally agree with you! If you are stressed about scheduling and behavior, the child 100% picks up on that and reacts accordingly.

      I have four kids, ages 9, 7, 6, and 1. I in no way relate to this post or the “struggles” set forth in it. I am not trying to downplay or say these issues don’t exist for some people, I just think parenthood is what you make of it and I wouldn’t want someone without children to be scared away from becoming a parent. Parenthood is the best decision I (and my husband) made. Sure my life has changed. I don’t choose to go out with my friends as often as before I had children. But, I don’t put my life on hold waiting for nap time or babysitters. Household chores and errands may sometimes take longer, but my kids are also learning important life skills along the way. I did not find it more difficult as we had more children either.

      The key is to not freak out. Kids will misbehave, it’s all part of learning rules and boundaries. It’s ok for them to get upset. Making every day revolve around them can (not always) cause them to expect it from everyone. It is the job of a parent to love their child and to raise them to be successful, independent adults.

  40. Found you via HuffPo and so glad! This was brilliant and so true. #6 made me laugh out loud and yes, here it is almost 5am as I sit in the quiet to enjoy my coffee before my little one wakes up. Following you now and seriously can’t believe you got haters over this, but just goes to show you wrote something excellent!

  41. My brother sent me this link and my oh my it made my day! i cannot tell you how much I absolutely LOVED this. Girlfriend, you are right on. I think we are sister soul mates! Your words clearly describe our life. Thank you for getting it and writing it! Going to bed and getting up in a few hours to get my run in and get a head start on our day because this is how we roll, when you have a toddler and a baby!

    • I believe this is a truly disgusting post that encourages mothers to disregard their own life and goals. To suggest that you can’t make time to be with close friends because you have to change a nappy truly says to me that you never actually had any close friends. It’s this self absorbed attitude spewed into social media that forces new mothers to aim for unrealistic goals that create a reduced sense of self worth. It’s ok to be selfish and still have a life of your own even if you have a child. Just because you have a child that does not give you an excuse as an individual to become an asshole and still expect to keep the friends you previously had. I really don’t understand your motivation for posting this other than to justify your own selfish actions and it’s nothing but harmful to women especially new mothers.

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  43. You seem to be a self-centered A**hole and I doubt your friends care that you don’t hang out with them, because if you are as ignorant and obnoxious as this “blog post” makes you out to be, then your friends are probably having a grand old time without your self-righteous a**. You have one kid. Get a grip. Many of my friends and family have from 4 to 12. You are a “blogger”. Many “non-parents (I mean how insensitive can you be, just because you were lucky enough to have sperm meet egg doesn’t make you any better than a “non-parent” that wishes nothing more than to be a parent) have real jobs, like being a neuro surgeon, also some “non parents” have life threatening illnesses that leave them without enough energy to hang out with their friends sometimes…others volunteer or have young children that count on them because their own parents aren’t equipped to take care of them, other “non-parents” have ailing or dying parents that they take care of day in and day out. We all have a lot on our plates, even us “non-parents” so get over yourself and as a “non-parent” I would rather hang out with anyone but you, any day of the week

    • Well said Katie. To assume just because you have kids, your life is so much more complicated than “non parents” is indeed self-centered and just plain ignorant. In fact, for someone who is so busy and has such little energy left at the end of the day, you sure seem to have a lot of free time to write this “half-assed” blog.

    • Ummm… she’s a professional, and works, a lot. And puts a lot of effort into that work. Thought I’d clear the air for anyone else who assumes people who blog sit are SAHMs.

  44. I have to admit that I don’t really get these types of articles. Do people not have empathy anymore? It seems many people have to experience something for themselves before they ‘get it’. If you have no kids and someone else has them, and their life consequently changes, surely just stopping and thinking for no more than a few minutes will help you to see where they are now coming from. We all need to stop and think sometimes – just imagine someone else’s viewpoint. We’d all do a lot better if we did.

    • I agree yet…there was an initial empathy blind spot in this post (I think anyways). Here is someone who has clearly contended with a huge amount of adversity in regards to having children if you read the rest of her blog (which I did not initially and I reacted and got pissed off- my blind spot), and then was successful in having a child (which is awesome). In retrospect if there is any fault- she addressed “non-parents” when she could have just said “friends.” I think there in lies why she ruffled some feathers (even my feathers), and got some “haters.” She was just reaching out to those who are in her world, she did not mean to be offensive (I hope not anyways). One thing “I imagine” many parents cannot relate to “once they go over the waterfall,” is the isolation and ridiculous comments women without children encounter, it’s laughable sometimes and horrible at other times. I would love to ask all moms, what would have happened if it did not work out for you? What would you do? You might actually feel a little hurt or react (maybe due to past experiences) from a post like this. So try not to condescend to use, and make assumptions that we can’t relate, we are just making our own way in life and keeping busy, and most of use understand struggles and lack of sleep, and the plight of trying to keep up with our friends, just for other reasons. Some of use would welcome the above mentioned obstacles you have. Please remember, non-parents include (and not limited to) those who continue to struggle with infertility, suffer chronic illness, accidents, had cancer like me, simply cannot have children and are heart broken, have not met someone they love enough, or make the super courageous choice not to have children in a society that is way too focused on motherhood and equating female worth to it. In the end that is the real issue and women need to support and celebrate one another. So previous annoyance (ok anger) aside, yes empathy for this morning grouch who is trying to make her way and navigate motherhood and not to lose friends in the process, but empathy and respect for us as well…at least here is hoping.

      • I couldn’t figure out where the blind spot was….since i try to be conscious of the many resasons surrounding not being able to have children, having experienced such struggles myself, but you’re right, the word non-parents! It’s hard (impossible) to catch everything that can be taken the wrong way :/

        • Yup, honestly – it’s pretty bonkers the craziness of it all, but hey you clearly got a good conversation going. I never comment on blogs – until now, it’s actually sort of fun, maybe someday I will start one. Anyhow good luck on your second, and make sure you do take a early morning run, or sneak a glass of wine when you can.

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  46. Loved this post! Laughed out loud, sent it to all of my friends who have kids, read it out loud to my husband and laughed all over again. For anyone who has ever felt like they’re on “borrowed time,” this is a must read. Thank you for sharing, this was a fabulous read!

  47. Oh my god. I forgot the most important rule of the internet: never read the comments- I’m full of fury. Thank you for writing this. Before I had kids, my life was not as complicated as it is now, and I still found it really difficult to manage friendships, relationships, and work. Now, with two little kids WHO ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN MY PREVIOUS ENDEAVORS BECAUSE THEY RELY ON ME TO STAY ALIVE (jesus.) I find it nearly impossible. People without kids have hard lives, people with kids have hard lives- thanks for sharing from the perspective of stressed out young families. I love your writing.

    • LOL LOL i felt the same way. so irritated w rude people’s comments. you no likey? then STFU and walk away. it’s really not THAT hard. sigh

  48. While all of this is true, what is really important that it is really hard to make new friends after getting a few kids. Always try to stay in touch with your old friends no matter how hard it is in my opinion.

  49. This is articulated ridiculously well. It’s comforting to know that I am not going through these ‘struggles’ in my head alone – even though every second person is a parent! To all the haters out there, the blogger is just trying to be the best parent they can be and how can you fault someone for that? The hardest adjustment for me, in regards to parenting, is the amount of laundry I have to do!! It’s insane!

    • Seriously the laundry and the dishes! I was totally unprepared for that with my first – i think the second so far is going so much more smoothly because I am already used to that – it is a ridiculous amount of work.

  50. Haha this can’t be more than the truth! I’m a new mum to a lovely 7 month old baby girl and I’m already mentally shouting “yes!!”in my head to all that you’ve mentioned. LOL!
    Soldier on, mamas! 😉

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  52. I don’t have kids of my own but I helped a friend take care of her children for a few months. I can totally relate to this post. At 6 pm, you are sitting down to play with building blocks with a 3 year old and before you know it, it’s 12 am and said child is running all over, refusing to sleep. Best 3 months of my adult life so far.

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  55. Thank you so much for writing this. I really thought my friends just didn’t enjoy my company anymore and I have been feeling hurt. I understand where they are coming from now. This really eased my mind and helped me to not take it personally. ❤️

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