Author Topic: It's because of your kid UPDATE pg 6, 14  (Read 34994 times)

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Sharnita

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #30 on: September 11, 2012, 11:42:20 PM »
While I think an occasional girls night or guys night (or days) is a good idea, in general actually not even in relation to the new parents, the reality is the couple can trade off on nights out even if the whole group is still the whole co-ed group.  Just because everyone is going bowling Friday night doesn't mean Mary can't go with out Mark, or vice versa.  One parent can go out while the other stays in with the kiddo and the next week, the other goes out and the other stays in.

very true.

nuit93

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2012, 01:47:51 AM »
Did the couple expect that their social life would change dramatically after having a child, or did they expect things to stay the same?

I've known people who fell into the latter category (even after being repeatedly told "no, really, things are going to change and you won't be able to do all the things you used to do).  Reality ended up being harsh for them.

O'Dell

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2012, 07:11:08 AM »
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.

If it were just the underlined portions of your first post, I'd encourage you to suck it up once in awhile. I don't think being quiet or putting up with some discomfort in seating/space is too much to ask of a friend.

However, the bolded stuff is too much and puts the squarely into controlling and boorish behavior. Worrying about the jokes people tell when he's in another room asleep? Knowing what their friends are like and having been that way themselves pre-child? And anyone directing a conversation back to someone only he/she is interested in is rude.

If you don't want to drift away or modify your behavior (and why would you??), then I think you need to bite the bullet and say something. Others have given you some good wording. I'm afraid my tactic would be to "jokingly" point out the irony of how they spoke and acted before they had a kid. :P
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Knitterly

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #33 on: September 12, 2012, 09:25:41 AM »
Did the couple expect that their social life would change dramatically after having a child, or did they expect things to stay the same?

I've known people who fell into the latter category (even after being repeatedly told "no, really, things are going to change and you won't be able to do all the things you used to do).  Reality ended up being harsh for them.

I'd just like to voice my experience on this matter.  Having Little Knit did not significantly impact my social life.  Having a baby does not have to change everything.  It does if you let it, but babies are remarkably adaptable and it doesn't have to.

I'll give two real examples of two friends who had kids before me.
Marissa was the first friend in our group to have a baby.  Things like movies, of course, stopped for a little while in the first year.  But her husband Brad still came out with the group for those.  Our games nights continued as normal.  There was no need for hushed voices.  They decided in the early days not to go around whispering when Lina slept so that she would learn to sleep through noise.  And she did.  Trips to retaurants involved bringing Lina along in her carseat.  She would quietly sleep.  Later, she would sit on Marissa's lap or cuddle up in a wrap.  Now, at 4, she can sit quietly in a restaurant and behave herself, and has been able to since she was old enough to sit up.  It's just a part of her life.  None of us changed and because Marissa and Brad were so easy going, we were all perfectly happy to accomodate their occasional requests to do things differently.

Duala also had a baby a short while later.  She did things very differently from Marissa.  Neither she nor her husband continued going to the movies.  If one couldn't go, the other wouldn't.  After bedtime, no one was allowed to speak above a low voice.  She thought it was abominably selfish to bring little Leslie out to a restaurant, even if Leslie was sleeping.  (Incidentally, at 3 almost 4, Leslie cannot sit still at a restaurant.)  Getting together with them was always on their terms.  After a while, their friends started dropping them from activities.

It was the attitude, not the child.

As a side note, I opted for Marissa's approach and slotted Little Knit into my life rather than making lots of changes and I have found myself much happier for it.  Of course, I modified things to an extent, but never expected others to make changes.  As a result, my social life is not extremely different now than it was before LK came along.

Edited, as I just realized I mixed up the ages of Marissa and Duala's kids. ;)
« Last Edit: September 12, 2012, 05:14:24 PM by Knitterly »

Sharnita

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #34 on: September 12, 2012, 09:32:57 AM »
Based on OP's description of the group as boistrous is sounds like they are a bit louder than normal conversation.  I am not sure if the parents are asking for whispers or that people refrain from shouting.

VltGrantham

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #35 on: September 12, 2012, 09:51:50 AM »
Quote
But being completely frank, even after I had kids I didn't enjoy hanging with people who were what we referred to as parental anal.  Lives revolving around feeding times or bed time or having quiet hours while baby was a sleep was not how we parented and I wasn't willing to accommodate that behavior in many cases.  So parental anal fell out of our social circle pretty early.

I avoid them like the plague too.  Telling an off-color joke or using the occasional epithet (though not my style) should negatively impact a sleeping child.  We tend to avoid parents who behave like this--just being around them stresses me out because I am not the type to go chasing after DD all the time, watching every single thing said or done, or not taking time for myself or even my husband.

I remember some couple at our church reacting in horror when they heard that not only had I gone to the spa for several hours just days after DD was born but that DH and I had gone to a movie that week as well.  They claimed we couldn't possibly love her, were selfish, and that it was shocking considering the lengths we had gone to, to have a child.  If we don't take time for ourselves and each other, we are cheating ourselves and DD.  No one can do that for a long period of time.  And it doesn't have to be a day at the spa or a night at the movies--it can be something as simple as napping and reading or having a romantic dinner at home when the baby is asleep.

Forgive me for saying this, but while we understood that our lives would be irrevocably changed, we had expected DD to conform in large part to our lifestyle, not the other way around.  I suspect that wouldn't work in all cases, but I do appreciate the fact that we can take her to nice restaurants, movies, theater, have adult parties at home, and still spend a lot of quality time together as a couple.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #36 on: September 12, 2012, 10:45:08 AM »

As a side note, I opted for Marissa's approach and slotted Little Knit into my life rather than making lots of changes and I have found myself much happier for it.  Of course, I modified things to an extent, but never expected others to make changes.  As a result, my social life is not extremely different now than it was before LK came along.

It ends up being a lot easier on the parents and the kids for things to be more relaxed when they're babies.  We don't go to movies as much but that's mostly because it's expensive for a family of 5 to go with the tickets being anywhere between $8-$11 per ticket, and Piratebabe's getting to the age where it's not as easy to keep him still and quiet in the theater.   

Now it's easy to take them just about anywhere.  Once we had a retired school teacher compliment us on how well behaved our older two were when we were out to eat at a sit down family restaurant. :)
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Auntie Mame

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #37 on: September 12, 2012, 01:19:37 PM »
Based on OP's description of the group as boistrous is sounds like they are a bit louder than normal conversation.  I am not sure if the parents are asking for whispers or that people refrain from shouting.

Spending an evening in a small aprtment quietly whispering about one couple's baby does not sound like fun to me.  Because, as the OP stated, they direct all conversation back to the baby.
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Minmom3

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #38 on: September 12, 2012, 03:19:07 PM »
About the white noise thing - I used to have a friend who had a preemie who stayed in NICU for many weeks.  When she finally got to bring him home, she did the 'silent house' thing that so many of us fall into, thinking it's a good thing.  Well, the baby would go down like a champ, but wake right up as soon as she put him in his crib.  Finally, either after talking to the Dr. or friends or somebody, she was reminded just how loud NICU is - it's anything BUT quiet.  From then on, she put a TV in the baby's room, or put his crib in front of the TV, take your pick.  TV was turned on to a fairly loud level, and lo and behold, that baby again slept like a champ.   She had fallen into the fallacy that the house needed to be all but silent, not realizing that silence was not what her baby was accustomed to.  Life was much easier for everybody once she realized that.
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Oh Joy

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #39 on: September 12, 2012, 03:45:01 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?

I think maintaining a tone of 'We're going to XYZ...I hope one or both of you can make it!' is a good approach.  If they suggest their own place instead, I don't see a problem with a response of 'Our group's so loud and off-color...we're probably better off somewhere we won't disturb Junior,' or something similar.

I don't think I'd call them out on being baby crazy.

Friendship dynamics change with life changes (I made a swift transition from active single gal to married mother and am still figuring out what works for me and my former circles) but that doesn't mean the whole group must accommodate the one couple.

Best wishes.

cheyne

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #40 on: September 12, 2012, 04:52:34 PM »
It sounds like the OP's group likes to go to loud adult places.   Bars and bowling alleys are not the most 18 month old child friendly places IMO.

...
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?

I think maintaining a tone of 'We're going to XYZ...I hope one or both of you can make it!' is a good approach.  If they suggest their own place instead, I don't see a problem with a response of 'Our group's so loud and off-color...we're probably better off somewhere we won't disturb Junior,' or something similar.

<snip>


I like what Oh Joy says here.  You are showing Mark and Mary that you still desire their company, but are unwilling to go to their home and completely change your group dynamic.   

hobish

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #41 on: September 12, 2012, 05:05:00 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.

I think i am going to cut and paste this into a word doc for personal use. Even though a lot of my friends have kids already - including 2 newborns - i have a feeling this situation will come up sometime for me, too. Of course it may very well be that i will be the unfortunate one left out because i don't want to talk about teething and diapers and all my friends will have kids while i am the one pleading "Why don't we go to the bar or a club? I am tired of the stupid park and restaurants with kids menus..." so it works both ways :)
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Mikayla

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #42 on: September 12, 2012, 05:38:39 PM »
They can't have it both ways.  They can't be super-overprotective parents who don't want to leave their child with other people and don't want inappropriate humor/loudness to damage junior's psyche, and then complain because they're excluded.  Basically, they're asking everybody around them to adjust to them, rather than making the adjustments that every parent has to make when socializing.

When Mary announces parties at her house, decline.  If she tries to move activities to their house, say, "No, sorry, that won't work."  If they don't want to join in because the venue is not on their "approved" list, that's a decision they have to make.

Exactly. 

The way I see it, it's not wrong for a couple to decide their social life will stop including typical adult activities.  But this is a choice, not a necessary byproduct of being a parent.  And, like all choices, there are consequences.

I also loved WillyNilly's wording on what to say (other than the part about offering to use their home occasionally for group activities).  Their home doesn't work for the group and it doesn't work for their preferred activities.  The focus should be on letting them know they're always welcome to join in on what the rest enjoy doing.

Edited for clarity
« Last Edit: September 12, 2012, 05:41:27 PM by Mikayla »

AliciaLynette

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #43 on: September 12, 2012, 05:53:15 PM »
As a parent, I have to agree that your friends are trying to change the dynamic of the group because their lives have changed.  Since they're the only ones who are having problems with your usual routine, just keep inviting them out, and be honest that the group doesn't feel comfortable holding a night at the baby's house.

When we had Lilbit, my life changed, because I stopped working.  However, we made sure that DH went out one or two nights a week, and I went out one or two nights a week, and we went out together one night a week and left LilBit with a sitter.
Our social groups changed not because of our baby, but because several of the couples had babies within a couple of years and some moved away for work.  Children just changed who attended, not what happened.
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Elphaba

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Re: It's because of your kid
« Reply #44 on: September 13, 2012, 03:54:51 PM »
While I think an occasional girls night or guys night (or days) is a good idea, in general actually not even in relation to the new parents, the reality is the couple can trade off on nights out even if the whole group is still the whole co-ed group.  Just because everyone is going bowling Friday night doesn't mean Mary can't go with out Mark, or vice versa.  One parent can go out while the other stays in with the kiddo and the next week, the other goes out and the other stays in.

This is exactly what I was thinking. The first couple in our group had a kid, and they had another and then a 3rd, and still none of the rest of us have kids. For YEARS I very, very rarely saw both halves of this couple together at a party or group gathering. They would alternate and one of them would go out ~ once a month but there were also times neither one would come. There were a few times (weddings, etc) that they got a sitter but it's pretty rare. Now that the kids are older (6, 5 and 3) there are more frequently together but as often as not it's one or the other.