Sunday, January 25, 2015

Friends With Kids

Now that a growing minority of my friends are becoming parents, I'm finding it harder to navigate those friendships. While Jeff and I may have kids in the future, we are currently relishing our child-free state. We stay up late, we go out to movies, we try new restaurants...we enjoy our freedom while we have it. Understandably our parent friends can't do the same, so we're asked to accommodate by going over to their house for dinner. If the kids have later bedtimes, then it means we all eat dinner together and the kids will take their baths and go to bed once they're done.

From our parent friends' perspectives - this seems so easy for us to manage. Our schedules are so free and flexible, we could be anywhere at anytime. The truth of it is - we could be anywhere at anytime. So when they request that we eat dinner before 6pm to accommodate to their children's early schedules, that means we can't be at the gym working out like we normally would be at that time. Eating a homecooked meal is fine - except that I already cook at home 5 days a week for health and budgetary reasons so the weekends are when I get to go out. Most of the children I eat with are super cute and have great table manners - but they are kids, so it's difficult to have a real conversation throughout dinner that isn't peppered with child interruptions.

I don't mean to sound so inflexible, but when parent friends expect us to do this regularly, I start to feel conflicted. I know that kids keep them home bound in the evenings so their social interactions are limited to those that are willing to go over for dinner. Sometimes I feel like I bear an unfair share of the burden - and it feels even more unfair because they're not my kids. This probably makes me sound like a heartless monster but it's true. If I don't get the long term benefits of having kids, it kind of sucks that I deal with the inconveniences and hassles that come with kids.

I know that griping about all this makes me seem like such a jerk. Maybe you're thinking that I'll get what's coming when I have kids, because then I'll realize just how hard it is to manage and I'll feel awful for not having been a more understanding friend. But if/when I have kids, my parent friends won't be coming over to come hang out with me on those long, lonely evenings - they'll still be at home with their kids. They're not going to be self-sufficient teenagers anytime soon! But at least I'll know not to over-burden my childfree friends the same way. In fact, I have parent friends that manage this beautifully so hopefully I can emulate their examples - I'll blog about it some more in a separate post.

Athens, Greece, July 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment