The Childfree Life

When having it all, means not having kids
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 Post subject: Plans Change?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:16 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:43 pm
Posts: 6
Do you make plans with someone & then those plans change because of their children? Does it happen a lot?

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Over the last few years, most of the time I got out with friends they feel a need to bring their kids along. I don't mind children in small doses but they also stress me out & make my anxiety go through the roof so I really love not being around them. BUT they insist on bringing their kids. Like, to EVERYTHING. I've talked to them and asked if we can have a one on one day where it's just us. A quiet lunch or a couple hours shopping alone. I'm very accommodating. They are not. Most of the time they act like going out without their children will bring about the apocalypse.

Sometimes they'll even promise to be 'just us' next time. And then they bring their kids...

I have a friend / coworker who has 4 kids, & yet she works & she manages to hang out here and there without them even if it's just for an hour or two. She's a rarity though. Most people with kids just make me change MY plans to accommodate them.

For instance this past weekend was my birthday & my BFF promised to be just us. She offered for us to have lunch then do some shopping. Then the morning of she texts me - asking to bring the baby as her husband was 'overwhelmed' by the kids (Even though the have just 2 kids & was only going to be for half the day...). Since the baby she was bringing is actually the quiet one - the one that rarely cries & is very calm, I normally let her take her kid with her. I really wanted to say no but then I noticed the time - considering she was taking a bus from the other side of town & we were to meet up in 20 minutes that told me she was already on the bus. So obviously I had to say yes. Otherwise an argument was probably going to ensue.

Anyways, that part was no big deal except our 'lunch' plans changed. She said she needed to watch the budget as she just bought a bunch of baby clothes for the kids. She was 'all set' for clothes & gifts for the kids for awhile. We just had to have a cheap lunch. So we ended up in the food court. We went shopping after as planned but she kept dragging us into the baby-shops. She JUST said she had bought all their birthday gifts and much of the Christmas gifts already (yes this soon...) and she told me she didn't need anything else. So we went into every single baby store. She had to lift up every single outfit and go 'aww'. I just smiled and nodded as I didn't want to get into an argument even though it was getting on my nerves. After awhile I just reminded her her that she had a budget. Eventually we got to the stores I liked.

Then she said her arms were hurting from pushing the stroller (which had all this stuff on it that she bought & felt like it was full of bowling balls). She wanted to cut the shopping short. But she asked me if I wanted to have dinner with her & her husband (who is also a friend) & she said she wanted to watch a movie with me as it's been 'ages'. So I agreed because it as around 3 by that point. Got to her house & her husband starts whining about doing 3 loads of laundry (poor baby... also, that's what I do all the time clothes/towels/linens...) & feeding their other daughter after she woke up from her 3 hour long nap. (so basically doing something for the last 20 minutes). He laughed it off passive aggressively then handed my friend the girl & went downstairs. So it ended up me basically babysitting with my friend, the two girls. Fun... :roll:

Then 'dinner' went from making a nice meal to ordering pizza. Fine, whatever... then the movie...*sigh* My friend insisted I pick as it was my birthday. At that point, the husband took the one kid downstairs with him and we had the quiet one with us so I was like 'finally some peace'. We get 40 minutes into it then my friend insists on picking the baby up to try to put her to sleep...baby starts screaming...screaming...screaming. Baby tries to get out of her arms. I know what the baby wants as I've been around them enough (and family's babies). I say 'I think she just wants to crawl around'.... and since the room has gates up, it's not a problem. So my friend puts the baby down, the girls grins and starts crawling & plays with her toys. 10 minutes later, friend picks baby up again...screaming screaming screaming... tries to get down. Round & round it went. Finally husband comes up and puts one kid to bed then takes the other up.

My friend starts talking about how tiring & frustrating kids are (meanwhile I have a few thoughts about that -like, take a few hours off away from the bloody kids! that might help!). Anyways, she goes on for about a half hour. I start talking about a few things I've wanted to talk about but didn't get the chance to. Then after talking for about ten minutes, I just wanted to relax so I suggested we finish the movie. She goes "I'm actually really tired now..."

I was so mad. I tried saying something but she looked half asleep so she wasn't paying attention. I just left. :evil:

I'm just glad I had done other things with people for my birthday on other days.. but seriously, every time we make plans, we end up at her place, basically babysitting the kids. (Not just her, but other friends do this too). I swear to God the next time this happens I'm going to start charging them for my services!


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 Post subject: Re: Plans Change?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:33 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:00 am
Posts: 648
Location: North Wales, UK
Just say 'no', don't explain, don't justify, just say 'no that doesn't work for me' put the phone down and walk away. By always going along with it tacitly implies you're OK with it.

I guess this is going to require some patience i.e. when the kids get older you/they can rekindle the friendship and the meantime start cultivating other friendships (easier said than done, I know), but instead of looking for CF groups look for people with shared interests who actually act on them. They're the ones who understand that they need and want their own life away from the kids.

When my friends started having kids I just walked away, not that I was exposed to their offspring as this was in the days before breeders felt that the umbilical cord hadn't been cut and they had to be with their spawn 24/7, but because that was the sole topic of conversation. I found new friends, new activities, that was over 30 decades ago and I can't say I miss them at all, because I know the conversation will still be about kids, but now it'll also have the added element of grandkids.

It can be hard walking away from a relationship, but it's infinitely better than putting up with a load of shite and being told you're being selfish at the same time. Friendships often have a lifespan, remember the good times and consign the rest to the bin where it belongs and move on. My attitude would very much be 'fuck 'em there's more to life and I'm off to find it', they made their bed but it doesn't mean I have to lie in it.

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 Post subject: Re: Plans Change?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:24 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:59 pm
Posts: 62
It sucks that your friends husband doesn't help her out. I must admit the friends I have with kids get together when they are free without their kids. I see less of them but when we have gotten together with the kids it is usually a disaster. I find it particularly annoying as you visit and they get side tracked by the kids. Especially when kids are younger they hate it when the parents attention is off of them so the visit is spent with 3 sentences and then interruptions, 3 more sentences more interruptions. It's ongoing and you spend your afternoon watching them cut up strawberries for the kid, then an apple, then a mandarin, then putting on peppa pig, then the wiggles, then something else again. This is probably why parents like to socialise more with other parents, they get it.

Perhaps next time you meet up make it outside their home. Maybe see her less but make it a childfree night.


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 Post subject: Re: Plans Change?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:43 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:34 am
Posts: 253
I've been through plans changing when making plans with childed people. I am accommodating within reason if the person in question has really tiny kids...they're equal part dependent and unpredictable at that age. I never did have someone show up with their kids, but I imagine I'd cut the visit short if that happened. Once or twice I just stopped by their house later in the evening...they'd get the kids' dinner, the kids would scoot off to play, and we'd hang out. Sure, the kids would be around, but they generally didn't interrupt much as their parents are fairly old-school when it comes to kids entertaining themselves.

Generally my friends with kids are the type who like to get out without their kids every now and then, so they made an effort to find a sitter who was a really good match and who was young and wanted the $ and thus was willing to work. So when I'd set up something, I'd phrase it as, "Great, when is [sitter's name] available? I can work around her schedule". That made it clear that "oh there's no one to watch the kids" was not an option. Even if it was just half and hour or and hour to grab a drink, I'd take it because I knew time was a scarce resource for them. In the case of a friend I'd known for like 15 years before kids, I was willing to be patient because we were like family to each other. We saw a lot less of each other for about five years, but made do with short meetups, phone calls, etc.

I think part of it is picking friends carefully. I dropped the friends who're annoying modern helicopter parents who are up their kids' asses all the time. I kept the friends who have made an effort to maintain their own identities, hobbies, etc. and who expect their kids (within reason) to do the likewise. Obviously not possible when the kids are preschoolers. But it got easier when the kids hit school age. But yeah, I did lose friends. It was frustrating. I've found it's harder to make friends as a real, live adult (as in post-college years). My most successful ways of meeting people who are CF (or at least understand the magic of getting a sitter) were through activities that simply don't allow children. Stuff like wine tastings, adult cooking classes, beer brewing classes (never did get into homebrewing...cool people tho), hiking meetup groups, etc. If they're childed, I at least have proof that they're willing to set aside time for adult things, and that often meant it was someone who would do other stuff sans kids.


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