Friday, May 23, 2014

Once You Become Parents, We Can Still Be Friends

I have lots of updates and whatnot, and the truth is at this very moment I should be doing dissertation-related stuff and I'm not sure anyone reads this anymore, but...

So, this article has been going around the Internet about how once your friends become parents, they basically don't have time for you and that's not because they don't think you're awesome or anything, but still they won't be able to hang out with you ever again. 

I have a response, but I should first note that my friends have been extraordinarily excellent about making time for me, even after having kids. Yes, the relationship has changed and schedules have certainly changed and we don't talk on the phone until midnight or 2 a.m. (quite frankly, I don't think Z would appreciate that either), but my friends are truly excellent. This is a more general response to the assumption that people without kids cannot possibly understand people with kids. </disclaimer>

Dear friends with children,

Your kids should obviously be your priority. We get that. I mean, you brought people into the world and you're responsible for their well-being and that's a tremendous thing. Don't assume that just because we don't have kids we don't get that. 

It's OK if you talk about your kids a lot. They're adorable. Also, they're important to you, and we value that because we care about you so we care about what's important to you. But we need you to care about what's important to us, even if it pales in comparison to your kids. Whatever it is—boy trouble, school trouble, job trouble, clothing trouble. At least pretend to care. If you roll your eyes and make it clear that you don't care about the things that are important to us because they're not as serious or as difficult or as exhausting as taking care of children, well, that's insulting. 

We get that your schedule is much more limited and you won't always be able to make time for hanging out, but gracefully make exceptions for the big things. We appreciate when you come out for our important events even though it's hard, but the last thing we want to hear for the next year is how awesome a friend you are because you left your child for a few hours to come to our engagement party/wedding/graduation/birthday party/whatever. 

And on that note, if you can't come to some event, large or small, that's the way it is. But, again, graciously bow out and do not share all your machinations about how hard it is for you but maybe you'll think about trying but on second thought how could you possibly think of leaving your child even for a moment, etc., etc. If you can't come, we'll be sad. If you make us feel guilty for even asking, we'll feel unimportant and sad.

That said, we love you and we love your children, and we're so happy for you.

Love, your children-less friends


At 5/25/14, 4:37 AM, Blogger Scraps said...

Here, here. While the whining on both sides gets annoying, the smugness of the side with a child (or even a spouse) is why so many single/childless people don't bother trying. I hate the attitude of "Well, you haven't [been married/have a child/etc] so you can't possibly understand." It makes me feel like less of a person, and since I don't like that feeling, people who make me feel that way are buying themselves a one-way ticket out of my life. But the prevailing attitude makes me appreciate it more when friends in different life circumstances do make time for me and don't make me feel like it's the hugest favor in the world to spend time with a friend.

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