Author Topic: It's because of your kid UPDATE pg 6, 14  (Read 35320 times)

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Devix

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It's because of your kid UPDATE pg 6, 14
« on: September 11, 2012, 03:59:06 PM »
In a certain group of friends almost everyone is either married or in a relationship.  Out of the 8 or so couples only one couple has a child that's going to be 18 months old.

Now we're all in our mid-twenties and a fairly boisterous bunch so our choice of activities tends to reflect that.  We will usually all meet up together either once or twice every two weeks and go to a bar or bowling or really anything where we can have something to drink and just chat without having to keep our voices down.  All the venues and activities we pick are geared towards more adult groups where you can tell a dirty joke or two and not have to worry about annoying the people around you.  This has been our habit for a couple of years and its been going well except now the couple with the child are feeling left out.

Mary and Mark had a baby by choice and now they have to deal with the responsibility that comes with it.  They're okay financially though I know Mark has had his hours at work cut back.  Usually they're fun to be around but their priorities have shifted with their child as it usually does.  Now the rest of the group still goes out and has fun but Mary and Mark can't join in most of the time usually for lack of babysitter though that's because Mary doesn't trust anyone to take care of the kid for more than a couple of hours.  For the past few months both Mary and Mark have been complaining about how they feel left out that the rest of us are having fun and they don't get a chance to catch up with us.  A lot of the time Mary will invite people to their house instead of going to the bar which is fairly normal since we'll have little parties in our homes whenever we don't feel like dealing with crowds.

Unfortunately, the new baby makes having fun at their house kind of impossible.  He has a bed time at around 6 o'clock and most of us don't even get out of work until then.  Whenever we are at the house, Mary and Mark will constantly tell everyone to be quiet so we don't wake up junior.  Whenever anyone tells a dirty joke or a story that has us giggle they'll complain that they don't want junior to hear things like that as it could affect his psyche and they don't want him learning naughty words.  There is also the matter of space in which their little two-bedroom apartment just can't hold that many people comfortably.  They also have a habit of directing all conversation right back to baby talk which no one is interested in.

Simply put; no one wants to hang out at their house.  We'd much rather go to a bar or go to another friend's house where we're not treated like naughty children every time we curse.  Mary and Mark are always invited to each gathering and we've never made it a point to exclude them but they usually can't come because of the baby.  Now Mary has been complaining more than ever about them feeling excluded and whining about how we'll gladly meet up at Casey's apartment or Joe's but we never want to go to theirs.

Should we let Mary and Mark know the reason why we don't want to go to their place?
Should you call your friends out when they're getting a bit baby-crazy?
Or should we all just kind of mumble and ignore?
« Last Edit: October 04, 2012, 03:57:45 PM by Devix »

C0mputerGeek

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2012, 04:10:04 PM »
I do suggest being honest about why you don't want to go to their place. I think it's quite reasonable to want to gather where there are enough chairs and you can speak at a normal volume. Perhaps Mark and Mary will see this once it's been laid out for them. The priorities of Mark and Mary have changed, whih is fine. What is not fine is expecting the rest of you to fall in step.

One thing I might suggest, if this sort of thing appeals to you, is to change some of the outings up a bit. I know for my friends with kids, I'll also schedule kid-friendly stuff like museums and zoos where the entire family is included. That way, we can hang out and they won't need to worry about a sitter. Of course, parks and zoos and museums appeal to me to this is not a hardship for me.

I honestly think it will be quite difficult to tell a new parent that they are baby-crazy and have them not offense.

Zilla

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2012, 04:12:39 PM »
Can you redirect it? Say, "Oh I don't want to disturb Junior's bedtime as I remembered we had to be quiet.  We can do it at my place where we can be as loud as we want to be.  Oh remember that time..." and change the subject. 


But honestly, if they don't want to use a sitter, that's on them.  I would just use a variation of the above each time.

MyFamily

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2012, 04:13:41 PM »
Your subject line is not correct - you are not not hanging out with them as much because of their kid, you are not hanging out with them as much because of how they are acting.  Since they won't leave their child with a babysitter, and they want to host in their home but are not making it comfortable for their guests, it means you are not hanging out with them.

Yeah, if you tell them that they are very likely to yell 'you hate kids you evil nasty person!', so my feeling is don't say anything and keep going as you've been going.  They are likely to make new friends and create new circles that fit the stage of life they are currently in. I would suggest, though, that you try to do things with your friends outside of the group - ie get together for lunch on the weekends or just you go over for pizza and a movie, not as a group but as one or two people.  Change how you relate with them.


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Sharnita

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2012, 04:13:54 PM »
Here's the thing, at least from my perspective.  Some people make those changes without having children. A lot of people reach a point where a dirty joke is really dirty more than anything and they prefer fun/humor that doesn't need to go there.  And a lot of people might have jobs that start early in the morning and require them to get to bed a bit early. Some people enjoy fairly quiet conversation.  Even if you enjoy the dirty jokes, the being loud, etc.  I find it hard to believe you can't enjoy quiet conversation at all or that you've never heard a clean joke that isn't funny.

I t sounds like you can do a lot of stuff without them but that they want to be included sometimes and when they are they would like to have their new tastes considered a bit.  I certainly don't think every event, or even most, need to be timed and held so they can attend but I do think going to their place once in a while and doing it "their way" is not a bit baby-crazy, it is the give and take that happens when friends care enough to be there for each other.  You are in your mid-twenties - more of you are going to change, so i'd be a bit open to it.

Cat-Fu

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2012, 04:21:14 PM »
Presumably Mary and Mark knew about their friends' dirty sense of humor before they had a child. It's true that people change and interests shift, but I don't think the solution is scolding friends until their mannerisms and activities suit your preferences.
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WillyNilly

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2012, 04:21:27 PM »
Should we let Mary and Mark know the reason why we don't want to go to their place?
Should you call your friends out when they're getting a bit baby-crazy?
Or should we all just kind of mumble and ignore?

Yes.  But gently, and soberly and don't mention the babysitter thing.

But as a friend be kind, be compassionate and say "Mary, Mark, listen this does need to be addressed.  We understand you feel left out.  We've felt your lack of presence and missed you too.  Unfortunately the reality is while we adore junior, we have all made a conscious choice to not have kids yet because we aren't ready to curtail our social lives yet.  That you made a different choice means your options are different then ours.  We absolutely would love for you to join us at the bar or the bowling alley, etc and will continue to invite you even though we know you often can't make it.  But its not fair to ask we stop going because you can't.  We'll keep inviting you to people's homes as well and the same goes for that.  But honestly we don't often go to your home because its not the same - we have to be quieter, we can't tell the same jokes and stories, we have to curtail our behavior in ways we didn't sign up for and aren't ready to take on.  Sure once in a while we will because we enjoy you both and want to spend time with you, but its not fair to blame your new social position on us when its due to your life choices."

Expect them to be hurt, maybe even offended but realize its not a hurtful or offensive thing to tell them the truth, gently and with love.

You might also ask that they find ways to make socializing work by having them suggest things everyone can do that work for them and everyone else.  Perhaps a Saturday afternoon BBQ, where adults can drink and the kiddo can run around out of earshot but in sight.  Or alternating events like Mary comes out for a Sunday brunch with cocktails and then you all go for manicures while Mark is home with the baby and next week the guys go out for golf & beer while Mary is home.

lowspark

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2012, 04:29:44 PM »
Can you redirect it? Say, "Oh I don't want to disturb Junior's bedtime as I remembered we had to be quiet.  We can do it at my place where we can be as loud as we want to be.  Oh remember that time..." and change the subject. 


But honestly, if they don't want to use a sitter, that's on them.  I would just use a variation of the above each time.

POD to the bolded above.

Really, my guess is that Mary and Mark know what's going on but just don't want to admit it to themselves. The dynamic of the group is what it is and if you try to change to accommodate one couple, it's almost inevitable that the group will fall apart. In this kind of situation, if other couples in the group start having kids, the dynamic may naturally change to accommodate that. If not, Mary and Mark will probably naturally move on to find other friends and groups of friends who have the child aspect in common. Maybe they'll still be part of your group only not attend as often. Maybe as the child gets older, they will be ok with babysitters.

Just as an aside, the "be quiet while junior is sleeping" philosophy has always baffled me. When my kids were babies they could sleep through anything. I used to do all kinds of things in my baby's room while he slept, including rearranging his closet once. It's adults who need ultra-quiet to be able to sleep, not babies.


Paper Roses

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2012, 04:50:14 PM »
I think one thing to keep in mind is that it's not really "because of their kid," but rather the way they insist people change their behavior around the child that is putting everyone off.  May seem nitpicky, but I think it's important to distinguish that it's not the child that's the problem, but the change in the parents since having the child.

Otherwise, I agree with the PPs about how to handle it.
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MrsJWine

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2012, 04:54:33 PM »
Be honest. A lot of things have to change when you have kids. A lot of things don't. But they're expecting to be able to maintain the same lifestyle while their friends make the sacrifices. It doesn't work that way. "I love you guys, but get-togethers aren't that much fun when we have to whisper all the time." "Can you come out this weekend, and Mark the next?"

White noise. I learned to love it very early on. A box fan set on medium will drown out almost anything. They also make white noise machines that cost very little. A towel crammed up against the crack under the door really helps, too, if you have one of those old, echo-y, hardwood floor houses with big spaces under the doors. Also, if you train your kid to sleep through voices in the other room, he will be very grateful as an adult.

I have a girls' night at my apartment every couple of months. Fifteen ladies in our little living room are not exactly quiet. We're like a herd of hyenas, actually. My kids sleep straight through it. The white noise drowns out a lot of it, and the little bit that you can hear in their room, they sleep through. As long as no one starts yelling in the hallway (they don't), everyone's fine.

When it comes to going out, my husband and I take turns. A babysitter every weekend would really add up. Hey, it's less fun than going out together every weekend like we used to, but it's better than whining at people who have the audacity to not bend to our new lifestyle.


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Devix

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2012, 05:21:49 PM »
Your subject line is not correct - you are not not hanging out with them as much because of their kid, you are not hanging out with them as much because of how they are acting.

You're absolutely right.  The problem is with them and not the baby.  Junior is an adorably happy, bouncy baby boy and he's lot of fun to play with but he needs structure and stability to grow up healthy.  The problem is with the parents but it's become a bit of a running joke in our group that whenever anyone asks why Mark and Mary aren't there someone will always reply with "Because of the kid."

@Sharnita:  I can enjoy quiet conversation but I have no desire to.  The reason we all gravitated together as friends is because we're all loud, boisterous people who share the same weird sense of humor.  No one else in the group has shown any displeasure about the way we act except for Mark and Mary.  They're the ones who have changed from the group dynamic and I don't feel as if I have to alter my personality just because they have.  It is a give and take but we've tried it their way on 3 separate occasions and they have yet to reciprocate and join in on occasions that didn't take place in their home. 


For those who suggested child-friendly activities...that just isn't an option right now.  Most of us work white-collar jobs and some of us are in grad school so the only time we really have to hang out are Friday and Saturday nights usually after 7.  Not a lot of child-friendly places are open that late and after a very long day at work we all just want to sit around and unwind.

Though WillyNilly's advice certainly seems spot on.  I wouldn't mind going to their home for a nice brunch or even just for a visit sometime during the weekend but these large group meetings just won't work. 

SuperMartianRobotGirl

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2012, 05:25:58 PM »
Hmmm I think when they suggested hanging out at their place, I'd say something like, "That doesn't seem to work out so well because it's hard to keep quiet enough to not disturb the baby. We'll meet at X Bar. Hopefully you can make it at least for a little while!"

They can either start getting a babysitter or miss out until everyone else starts having kids and the group starts to meet at the park. LOL. But for a while anyway they're on their own. They can't expect the whole group to change because of their baby.

MrsO

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2012, 05:38:16 PM »


I t sounds like you can do a lot of stuff without them but that they want to be included sometimes and when they are they would like to have their new tastes considered a bit.  I certainly don't think every event, or even most, need to be timed and held so they can attend but I do think going to their place once in a while and doing it "their way" is not a bit baby-crazy, it is the give and take that happens when friends care enough to be there for each other.  You are in your mid-twenties - more of you are going to change, so i'd be a bit open to it.

What, so they have to change the whole group dynamic to suit the couple with a  baby?

Also, not wanting them to tell dirty jokes while the kid is *in bed* is just ridiculous.

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2012, 05:39:58 PM »
I think one thing to keep in mind is that it's not really "because of their kid," but rather the way they insist people change their behavior around the child that is putting everyone off.  May seem nitpicky, but I think it's important to distinguish that it's not the child that's the problem, but the change in the parents since having the child.

Otherwise, I agree with the PPs about how to handle it.

Parking my pod right here.

I don't think it's nitpicky at all.  You phrased very succinctly what I was thinking when I first read this.

I have friends who have children and friends who don't.  Among those who have kids, I have two types of friends: those who change their lives significantly after having children and those who fit their children into their lives and do not expect their friends to change who they are.  It has been my experience that the former lose friends and have friendships fade while the latter manage to maintain their friendships and their social lives.  I have also noticed a marked difference in the behaviour of the kids between the former and the latter.  I find it more pleasant to be around the latter for many reasons.

I have had friends complain to me about losing friends after having kids.  It's very hard not to point out how difficult they make it for their friends to want to be around them when they have endless rules about how to change their behaviour.

Sharnita

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2012, 06:05:00 PM »


I t sounds like you can do a lot of stuff without them but that they want to be included sometimes and when they are they would like to have their new tastes considered a bit.  I certainly don't think every event, or even most, need to be timed and held so they can attend but I do think going to their place once in a while and doing it "their way" is not a bit baby-crazy, it is the give and take that happens when friends care enough to be there for each other.  You are in your mid-twenties - more of you are going to change, so i'd be a bit open to it.

What, so they have to change the whole group dynamic to suit the couple with a  baby?

Also, not wanting them to tell dirty jokes while the kid is *in bed* is just ridiculous.

No, I suggested going on as normal and just adjusting once in a while.  To me, that isn't changing "the whole group dynamic".   That would be making a small adjustment once in a while.  I do that for friends I really like.  Maybe I let them choose a movie that isn't my top pick.  Or they choose a restaurant that isn't my favorite. Now they don't call the shots all the time but do I sometimes put their needs or wishes ahead of mine - yes. It isn't an all or nothing situation in most cases.