Having children changes your entire life! Every aspect is altered, and your whole world is now focused on these little ones. Of course, that doesn’t mean we stop caring about friends! It also doesn’t mean we only hang out with other moms. But is does mean that as a mom, I may act a bit differently, have slightly different priorities, and other things to take into consideration before hanging out with girlfriends again.
The truth is, mamas want to spend time with all our friends, really we do! But we don’t always have the time or the means to do so. And yes, we may have changed a bit – it’s the nature of becoming a parent. My life as a mom is no longer all about me and what I want – I have others to consider. These changes not only impact how we view the world, but also have we react to it.
That being said, just because our family made the decision to have a baby, does NOT mean we expect all our friends to feel the same! We’re perfectly happy getting along with people who make all kinds of different life choices. Nor do we judge or look down on others who don’t have babies!
BUT, there are several things parents want our child-free friends to realize before trying to make plans with us.
11 Things Parents Want to Tell Childfree Friends
1. No, I can’t “just get a sitter.”
Do you realize how expensive babysitters are these days? The current going rate is around $15 an hour. That means if you’re wanting me to join you for a night out on the town, which is usually 3-4 hours if we’re having a good time, I’m not only pay to go out and enjoy myself, but I’m also being charged an additional fee of $60 – just for being sans kids! While I may be able to do this every once in a while, I’m certainly not made of money. This kind of additional expense can only be justified for really important events.
That is, if I can find a babysitter I actually trust. There are so many horror stories out there about abusive babysitters and irresponsible teens caught on nanny-cams. It’s my responsibility to take care of my children the best I can, and that includes not leaving them with unqualified sitters!
Yes, it’s true, I could ask a family member or friend to watch them for free. But what if I don’t live near any family? Or what if they all *gasp* have their own lives to live? Not everyone is going to be willing to drop everything to help me watch my kids for a night.
It’s best to let me know about get-togethers as FAR in advance as possible, which will give me a chance to actually find childcare.
2. Yes, I miss you.
Yes, it’s true – mamas miss our friends! Some days, insanely so. When your only means of interaction are baby talk and baby Einstein’s, you start forgetting what it means to be an adult. Do you realize how much I miss happy hour? Or conversations about current events? Seriously, I feel like I’m living under a rock these days. I don’t even watch the news.
The truth is, we miss our friends like crazy. And we miss hanging out all the time. But if you keep reading, you’ll understand why we can’t always swing it.
3. I’m always busy.
The fact is – yes – kids run my life. And that means I’m busy. Not just work-and-play busy like it used to be, but now I am solely responsible for the life and well being of more than one little one, complete with doctors appointments, play dates, extra curricular activities, school pick ups and drops offs, parent-teacher conferences, homework, messy feedings, crying jags, nap times, and the rest of our daily routines. (And that’s only being a parent – running a business on top of that is even more insane!)
We’re so busy, it’s hard to make time to shower, let alone make plans to go out for drinks. And the more kids we have, the busier parents get. Last minute plans to go out dancing or for happy hour, are very rarely possible.
You can always ask us – we love that you still think of us! – just give us a heads up in advance. We’ll do everything we can to “pencil you in” when possible!
4. Routines are important.
Babies are demanding! And keeping them on a schedule is one of the few ways we try to keep life sane and on track. It also gives kids that sought-after feeling of consistency and security! Nap times, feeding times, play time, bath time… but especially bed time, are usually on set schedules. It takes time and effort for parents to nail down those timeframes for their kids, and altering it is usually a big no-no!
Of course this means spontaneity is thrown out the window as a parent. Gone are the days we could drop everything, pack a bag and leave for a weekend in Mexico.
It also means that if you’re wanting to come over for a visit, you’ll have to work around our schedule. Keeping kids up past their bedtime just so you can see them on your time, really isn’t fair to them. While it’s great for you, it’ll leave them tired and grumpy in the morning. Something we (and their babysitter/child care provider) will have to deal with all day tomorrow.
Just be considerate! And understand that with kids, you have to work around important daily schedules.
Sh*t Life happens.
Have you ever been eagerly looking forward to a fun vacation, only to have your best mama-friend text that she woke up to all her children vomiting? Or maybe you and your single-dad date had a big night planned and his babysitter cancels last minute?
Yep, life happens! And we deal with it as we go.
Just remember that if a mom (or dad) cancels on you, don’t hold it against them! It’s nothing personal – it’s life! While sticking to regular routines is a must, we also have to be flexible enough to cancel or rearrange plans when unexpected things happen.
6. Expect me to be tired.
Parenting is hard, (like I don’t say that enough) and calls for long hours, many sleepless nights, with little to no reward for our efforts. So if we do plan to go out and the planets align and we’re able to (finally!) make it out for a dinner with friends, expect us to be tired!
We might try downing the coffee to stay awake long enough until dinner’s over, but don’t expect us to make it through a bar crawl. It’s more than likely we’ll turn in earlier than our childfree counterparts. Not because we’re not enjoying ourselves, but because we literally can’t stay awake any longer.
7. I’ll miss them. #sorrynotsorry
For all the hard work that goes into parenting and how brutal of a toll it can take on our sanity – we love our kids more than anything! And being away from them can feel like missing an arm. Spending just a couple of hours with other adults, while fun, will make us miss our kids like crazy.
This doesn’t mean we don’t want to go out – of course we do! But for new moms, it can feel pretty weird. I remember with my first baby, I’d cry if I was away from her for more than 45 minutes! Sounds crazy, I know.
Damn those mommy hormones.
We’ll still have fun with you guys, of course. But don’t get upset with us if we make a quick phone call to check up on the baby to make sure everything’s okay.
8. Yes, I talk about my kids.
While I have seen evidence of “mommy-jacking” conversations on the internet, I’ve never witnessed it in real life. Most parents (that I know at least!) talk about their kids, but not in obnoxious ways that overpower conversations. In fact, I don’t tend to bring up kid-related topics in unrelated conversation unless someone asks about them, or it’s a mommy/kid-related topic.
When we do talk to people about our kids (or share photos of them!) it’s not that we’re trying to push our parenting ideals onto you, it’s just that this is what our life revolves around. It’s like when you get a new job or start a new relationship – everything’s new, and exciting, and it’s all we think about!
Do you remember how often you talked about guys when you were single? That’s how often new parents tend to talk about their babies. If you have a problem with it, just say so!
9. Partying days are over.
When you become a parent and everything starts revolving around someone other than yourself, a new set of priorities kick in. Partying is no longer on the menu. (Unless it’s for a big, important event, like your 30th birthday. Or a wedding.)
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t invite us out for fun, but staying in for dinner and Netflix is usually more enjoyable than clubbing and cocktails.
Invite us for brunch the next morning. We’re always up for that.
10. I act differently.
Motherly actions are a go! Have you ever watched a movie where a mom starts cutting up her friend’s meat at dinner? Habits die hard. Although I’ve never known a mom in real life to go that far, moms do tend to act more motherly-like toward their friends after popping out a few littles. Whether that shines through in advice we give, or making sure everyone has their jackets on before we walk out the door, or asking if anyone has to pee before a trip… those habits are hardwired.
Mommy brain is also killer. People say when you start having babies, your brain focuses on everything baby-related so much that it has room for little else. Which is why when we’re pregnant, words, processes and tasks we used to say or do before, easily escape us.
Don’t be offended if we forget your new boyfriend’s name (hey, it happens!) or what you told us about on the phone last week. Honestly, I forget everything these days unless it’s written down.
And if we don’t text back? Send a reminder text. We probably got distracted by something when we meant to send that response.
11. I’m poor now.
Well, not living-on-the-streets poor… but having kids can be very expensive. From food, to diapers, to clothes, and family insurance prices… It ALL adds up. Not to mention when they get older, having to pay for extra curricular activities, school supplies, tuition if they’re in private school… have you looked at the prices for day care alone?? A good daycare is like paying a second mortgage payment. Or more!
And for those of us who decide to have a parent stay at home with the kids and therefore live off of one income, finances get REAL tight. And the more kids you have, the more expenses you have to account for.
That doesn’t mean we’ll never be able to go out again. But having an early heads up to add the cost of an outing into the budget is always nice.
*We’re still friends*
Yes, we have kids now. Yes, it keeps us busy. We’re having to deal with a whole other world of issues these days than our childfree counterparts. But hopefully, even with the mommy brain and motherly tendencies, you don’t find us boring!
While you may start to think we have less in common now – don’t. We’re still the same person, with just a few tweaks here and there. The same caring friend as before, with a few more obligations to attend to. Our priorities may have altered a bit, but we still love you!
And we love hanging out together!
We may not see each other as often, but we’re still friends. 🙂