Day 166: To all my friends without children.

I know our friendship has changed since I had a family. I never answer the phone; I don’t return texts as quickly; I almost never “hang out” anymore. That’s because my priorities have changed. I would have warned you, but I didn’t know it was going to be so severe. I still love you as much as I always have, but I’m really tired at night. I really want to see you, but can you please come to my place? I know it’s far, but I needed a house and yard or I was going to lose my mind. It might be hard to have a conversation because my kids will be angry that I’m not giving then all my attention. I wish I could just tell them to be quiet and go play, but that’s not really how it works.

I hang out  more now with families who have kids the same age as mine. That’s because when they’re playing, the adults have a little time to talk. If there are no other kids around, I’m responsible for all the entertainment and it’s exhausting. People with kids understand that I might have to leave in the middle of their sentence to get a juice box. They understand because they did the same thing to me five minutes ago. It’s not that I like them more than  you, it’s because they understand the situation and that makes everything easy. I need things to be easy a lot these days, especially when it comes to “entertaining.”

I know you want us to just get a babysitter and drive out to your place and drink wine until 1am. I want to do that too, but I can’t. Not for a few more years. My kids are too young and they still wake up at night for various reasons. I want to be there when that happens as much as possible. So for now, you kind of have to come to my house. Understand that when you do, most of the afternoon will be about the kids and not about us. I’ll have to put the hotdogs on the grill before the steaks because if I don’t, someone will freak out and throw themselves on the ground. You’ll also probably have to spend some time by yourself while I take one of my sons inside to talk to them, read them a book, or put on a TV show. To me, it’s all worth it for that 15 to 20 minutes I get to spend with you totally uninterrupted.

I remember when we used to spend hours talking, drinking and playing pool. We’ll do that again, just hang in there with me during these few years when I need to focus on raising my kids to be interesting and happy. I’m terrified I’m gonna screw it up. My life is like finals week in college, and I spent all semester smoking weed and listening to ZZ Top. I used to be a child-free person who had friends with kids. It’s weird, I get it. It’s also really fun to play with someone else’s kids, and almost all of you do that really well. I encourage you to do it more, even if it feels awkward sometimes. They might diss you, but don’t take it personally; humans aren’t born with manners. Have them run little errands for you. It’s great that they can go in the fridge and get you a beer. They like doing it, and it will make them think you’re cool. Trust me, there’s no better feeling.

I miss you all and want to see you just as much as I ever did. I also understand that I’m a bit of a pain in the ass to hang out with. I take full responsibility for that. I yawn a lot and don’t remember stuff.  Let’s just acknowledge that I am a distracted Alzheimer’s patient and try to see each other more anyway.

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Lolo says:

Firstly well said Jason!
This made me laugh and laugh..
Secondly on a slightly serious note I just want to put it out there that there are two sides to this.
I have three boys and life is full on.. But that’s life..
I love it!
However, I have friends who don’t have children yet.
I find the negative comments from the “childless friends” incredibly frustrating.
Yes it’s harder for us to talk sometimes, and it’s not as easy for us to just go out.
But it all comes down to what you are willing to do as a friend more than whether or
not you do or do not have children. I have been both and do both.
I make the effort to go to the cafe, I take my boys here and there.
I arrange a sitter or my hubby and I take turns.
I have yet to turn a friend away if they need help.
I have and probably always will be the one that sticks her neck out for others but find
that the “childless friends” don’t do the same!
I recently lost a baby, and had no contact for the entire week from one of my closest friends,
however when she recently called for help I packed the boys in the car and went to her rescue.
Apparently she was too busy to call “I’ve just been so flat out”
The weekend I helped her she sent a text to one if my other friends, “oh I have been around 2 kids all day, I’m tired!” This is after I clean her house while she was drunk, prevent her from being evicted and washed 15 loads of washing to help her..
But she was tired…
My husband and I even have friends that don’t even invite is or give us the opportunity to
organise something if they are going out and assume straight away we are boring or that it’s too hard… So how does that work?
Ok that should be enough, End of rant!
Summary – it all comes down to maturity and understanding. Everyone has the way they live their life
I chose a family and am proud of it, others choose no children, others greatly want children and sometimes have difficulty. The point is in an idealistic world with rainbows and butterflies we would all respect each others lives and accommodate accordingly. But alas with the way that the world is now everyone is focussing on number one and people take themselves way to seriously!

Sharon says:

My husband abandoned me and the kids for 8 months, and refused to come back because he got hold up by a woman whom he just met, myself and the kids has been suffering and it has been heel of a struggle, but I decide to do all means to make sure that my family come together as one again. I went online there I saw so many good talk about this spell caster whose email is abuyespelltemple@gmail.com so I had to contact him and explain my problem to him and in just 2 days as he has promised, my husband came home and his behavior was back to the man i got married to. I cant thank the spell caster enough for what he did for me, i am so grateful and i will never stop to publish his name on the internet for the good work he has done for me. Dr Oye you are the best of all.

Rose says:

To all of you without kids who commented in here, angrily, about how people who become parents made that choice, and how you shouldn’t be expected to change your life because they had kids, I say this: you do realize that kids grow up, right? They become adults, just like you and me, who are fully capable of befriending people 20 or 30 years their senior. Instead of treating them like an annoyance your friends have foisted on you, realize that in time, these kids will be fully capable adults who will remember you as a kind family friend who came to dinner and got them a juice box when mom was busy chopping veggies, or as a douche who abandoned their mom/dad for a little temporary convenience. Further remember that, not having made your own contribution to the future of our society, you will be relying on these annoying “choices” to provide the infrastructure you will need in your old age. I’m not talking just taxes, but everything: businesses, service providers, every job imaginable to maintain a society. Did you forget that? So befriend the little guys and gals now, not just because you presumably care about their parents, but also because it’s good for you. Someday they might be chopping your veggies for you, changing your Depends, and feeding you through a tube, or dismissing you as an inconvenience. Your CHOICE.

Linda says:

Being nice to kids has nothing to do with wasting my weekend spending time with friends & their kids. We don’t force our parent friends to hang out with us, but we chose not to have kids for reasons. So if you chose to have a child, good for you, but it’s your choice, not ours so don’t make us embrace your choice. Parents tend to complain complain complain about childless friends wth who forced you to have kids? NO ONE. So don’t flag us down to keep you & your kids company. We have every right to do as we please in life without being branded as douchebags, and parents have their right to do what they want. You want me to respect your choice and yet you don’t respect mine? Unbelievable.

Keith says:

You’re nuts! This Rose nuts totally lost her mind. Must be postnatal psychosis. You are totally being inconsiderate of people other than YOU. No wonder no one wants to be by your side.

cathy says:

“To me, it’s all worth it for that 15 to 20 minutes I get to spend with you totally uninterrupted”

As a childless friend, I try to be understanding of my mother friends. I hang out with them & their kids in playgrounds, I change their baby’s diapers, I watch their kids for them so they can go out on a date with the husband, but honestly, it gets to point where I feel like HEEY, you’re the one who has a kid, you wanted this, why am I taking part on this? Hello!! The reason I don’t want to have kids is because I do not want additional responsibilities, so why don’t yours on me even for a few hours? Yeah, you’re tired & stressed & could use a little help, but WTF, THIS IS WHAT YOU CHOSE!

Also, while it may be worthwhile for you for us to come over your place for a dinner and get 15-20mins of uninterrupted conversation, don’t you think it’s a waste of MY TIME having to get ready for a dinner, driving to and form your place, buying some food (my share) only to end up with chopped meal ingredients that I have to help cook & interrupting my sentences all the time? It may be worthy for you, but did you even think how much of a waste of time that is for me? THIS IS why I sometimes ask you to meet me at a restaurant, which you say is not possible because of your children. You have to meet me half way. You chose to have children, I didn’t. So don’t start a pityparty if I turn your invitations down. It can’t always be YOUR way because YOU HAVE CHILDREN, you know?

Anon says:

I have a child and I feel the same way you do about one of my friends. She always uses her kids as an excuse. I don’t always want to go to her house while I sit there and she runs around mad after them. I invite her to come places with me and my child and she can’t because “she can only bring one child at a time”. She can’t take both kids out together anywhere.. it’s too stressful for her. She can’t handle them both together because they do whatever they want. It’s chaos. I can’t get a word in edgewise. It’s frustrating because before she had children I was always there for her, even when I had my daughter, I made the time to talk at least because I wanted to be a good friend (granted, she was always a perfect child and a good toddler, so it was never an issue bringing her place). Now that she has two kids I get interrupted on the phone, cut off with the screaming in the background and “omg let me call you back” and no call whatsoever. It’s draining. Pointless to me to have that kind of friendship when they can’t be there for you at all. I love my child to death and she is the most important person in my life, but I need some me time once in a while. I NEVER go out. If I can’t get that – not even with a simple uninterrupted phone call, I don’t see a benefit here.

Keith says:

Anon, kudos to you for having a life even if you have a child. That only goes to show that you know how to manage your time wisely.

cynthia says:

House of my parent friend, dinner. You invite me over to dinner at a certain time & when I get to your house, the food needs to be prepared, chopped up & cooked. No worries! I’ll help! Your child starts to ask for something and your good-for-nothing husband yells “honey, baby wants this, can you give her what she wants?! I’m watching tv!” You ignore your child because you’re busy preparing food with me. Child asks again, and again, and again, prompting you to yell at the child. Child cries. Good-for-nothing husband comes over the kitchen and starts asking you why you’re not minding your child, goes back to watching tv. Child cries louder to get attention. Irritated, you snatch your kid & off to the bedroom you both went. Then you get back to the kitchen and complain to me about YOUR life. Child comes out of the room and you yell “go back! go back to the room and face the wall!” Child cries and yells uncontrollably. This time, your husband starts yelling at you, too. While you fight with your husband, I pick up your child and console her. THen YOUR husband comes up to me & tell me, please don’t pick her up. We’re trying to discipline our child! Oh. ok. I put down the crying child and go back to chopping up the onions. My God it’s 8pm. You invited (begged) me over for dinner at 7pm. While (finally) eating dinner & us starting to have a conversation, your child continuously asks for something. By the time dinner is over, I realize that we actually didn’t get to talk about anything else other than your child’s whatever. Dinner is finally over and I make some excuse to leave early. But you BEG me to stay a bit longer. No I can’t I need to leave now, Oh no! we miss you! my child misses you!okay, fine. As soon as I said okay, I’d stay, you replied “okay feel at home, I’m just going to give my child a bath.” So I sit on your couch, while your husband is laying on the other couch, watching his sports program. Since I don’t want to disturb him, I take out my cellphone to have something to do. What a total waste of MY time.

As a childless (by choice) adult, I do understand your responsibilities as a parent. And I respect that. I’m not the type to ask my parent friends to hang out until midnight, etc. In fact, I’d much rather give my parent friends all the time to be with their family. Before all you parents begin to attack me, let me tell you that I have offered to meet up with parent friends in a playground a million times. This is because I’ve noticed that this is the most relaxed scenario for my parent friends. I put up with this because I can’t always come to your much awaited dinner invites (roll eyes), and I’m sorry, I can’t reciprocate and invite you over to MY place with your whole circus with you. I can’t have children messing up my floor or dropping food on my couch. I don’t have a diaper changing table and NO! I don’t want you to use my bathroom counters for that! I’d prefer having a lunch out at a restaurant, but like you said, that’ll be to stressful for you with your child around.

So, if I do prefer to spend less time with you, please RESPECT that and don’t label me as a good for nothing friend. Remember, I didn’t CHOOSE NOT to have kids for nothing. And NO, you don’t get to tell me how wrong I am and how I’m missing out on a lot of things by not having children! PLLLEASE! I don’t need a sermon from you about what YOU THINK I SHOULD WANT IN MY LIFE! Not everyone enjoys being around kids, not everyone will want to spend their weekends in YOUR house with YOUR family. Please accept that your world is different from mine now and yes, we will grow apart to some extent. Live with it and don’t bear grudges against me for choosing to LIVE MY LIFE away from your playground parties & “dinners! (rolleyes)”!

I am saying this now because I have a parent friend who is stressing me out. She’s being dramatic about me not wanting to hang out as much. Hello!?! To parents out there- recognize the fact that when you have kids, your social life revolves around having dinner at your house or trying to haul your friends to a playground to appease your child. It can’t be in a restaurant because that’s not remotely possible with YOUR CHILD around. That’s fine. However, it is YOU, the parent who is limited and not US, your childless friends, so don’t start a pity party when we turn down your invites! You’re free to decide whether you want to have coffee at Starbucks with me or not, not a biggie if you don’t, but YOU chose to have kids. I didn’t chose that FOR YOU. SO why are you insisting that I embrace your lifestyle & if not, you start feeling bad about it?

You call me & start being dramatic about not being able to talk to me, etc etc. So I oblige to engage in this conversation. You start venting about your husband. On the background is your child crying. As a friend, I start giving you words of comfort only to hear a dial tone. So I call you back, but you don’t answer. Hmm. Maybe your child wanted something. That’s fine, I’m used to it. So I go back to my web surfing. But then, my phone starts ringing so I pick up. Oh okay. your child started hitting your glass top coffee table. That’s fine. Then you start ranting again about how your husband is living a single life etc etc. By the time you gave me that one silent second, I try to inject my point of vi… what the heck! it’s the dial tone again! this time, i’m not even gonna call you. just call me when you’re available. 3seconds after, you called back. we start off from where we left off. OH WAIT! You pick up from your ranting session! So I just let you pour out your frustrations. You didn’t even recognize that I might have something to say, too, but that’s okay. I forgot what I wanted to say anyway. After you’re done ranting, you say “I’ll call you tomorrow, I need to change my child’s diaper!” great! finally! but you hang up before I can even say goodbye.

the following day, you called. i purposely didn’t pick up. 5 minutes after, you called again. 2 seconds after, you called again then left a message. wth, i need a break. then the day after, you called at 7:30am and left a message asking if i wanted to have dinner at your house oh by the way! you were up early cos you needed to breastfeed your child so you naturally expected me to be answering my phone at FREAKIN 7:30AM because YOU’RE UP! WTH! This aggravated me and at this point, I just really need some space. Then you call and call and call. The day after, I called you back and before I can even say anything, you’ve already blurted out “heeey i was calling you you weren’t picking up your phone! i invited you over for dinner, BUT YOU NEVER ANSWERED YOUR PHONE” shut up, i’m calling you back now. “oh.. why didn’t you answer yesterday?” can you effin move on? i’m on the phone now, talking to you, why even bring up yesterday? THEN YOU START ranting about YOUR life again. WTF. The last time your husband had an affair, it was with our common friend. Didn’t that tell you that you’re prolly better off divorcing him? Oh well. Not my place to tell you what to do with your sh%t! Okay, you’ve been talking non-stop for 30mins. Hey, I need to put down the phone cos I need to do my grocery shopping. What? You want me to come over for dinner tomorrow? Sorry, but I can’t. WHHHHAT? I’m too busy to deal with? Pity party starts again.

This is the life of your childless friend.

I know that having children means a bigger responsibility for you & that you don’t have enough time for yourself, blah blah blah. BUT. YOU.CHOSE.THAT.
AND.
I may not have kids, but my time is just as important as your time. SO, F%CK OFF!

Amber says:

Haha well said from one childless woman (by choice!) to another.