I am so sick of the fact that I’m not married with kids that I have to travel to see friends with kids and they can never come visit me sans kids... do they not have a husband who they can leave for a night?
By - Comicalacimoc
'Why do I have to travel for two hours all the time to keep up a long distance friendship for years because they had babies?'
I would just figure out if you want to keep those friendships. I have to travel like that to visit any of my friends (those with kids and without), but I only see them a couple of times a year. If it feels one-sided and you get nothing from the friendship, then drop it. Or if they try to guilt you for not coming to see them all of the time.
Yes. This is the decision that she has to make. If she wants to keep the friendships, then she decides how much effort she wants to put in to keep them.
I’m in my late 50’s with two adult kids. I’ve gone through all of what she’s posted here, and more.
I have somehow managed to keep in touch with and maintain my high school friendships with four other women. Two of them (now three as of a year ago) are back in our home town. I live 3 states away and the fifth one of our group lives across the country. All of them had their kids before I did and I went to visit to see some of them and their kids. This was WELL before the internet, texting, and smart phones. We literally had a group letter at a couple points in time that when you got it you’d add your letter and send it to the next friend! Snail mail. Lol.
Only two of the friends have made it to my home town. Disappointing? Yes. But I know everyone’s circumstances and some just aren’t able. But I WANT to maintain these friendships. Every summer after my kids were preschoolers I drove (with the kids) the 12 hours up to my home state to see family and friends. I stopped and saw one of those friends on my drive. My parents got to spend time with their grandkids and I visited and saw my friends. I last saw them in 2019.
So through the years we’ve all talked on the phone as we are able to find the time. We had a girls weekend when all the kids were older. One friend drifted away for years as a grandchild went through severe life threatening health issues. During Covid we had several zoom calls and we now have a group text to help stay in touch.
These friendships are different than my local friendships. We’ve been friends for 45 years and these are life-long friendships that have waxed and waned as life takes us in different directions.
I’ve come to realize over the years that my local friendships may be for years or only a season. They may be close or only casual friendships. They may stick or not. I think it’s harder to make friends and maintain those friendships as I get older due to all the competing interests of family, elder care, and not seeing them everyday at school or work. Now, time with their grandkids is the top priority! And I don’t have grandkids. Covid has wrecked a couple friendships. Lol. Making and maintaining friendships is WORK. My advice is to find activities that you like to do and you’ll likely meet people with common interests.
I mean... man... it's just the way it is.
I have a friend right now, my last real friend, she has three kids under four. The last time I saw her was two months ago on her vacation. She made time out of her vacation time to meet me for an hour or so for lunch. I am very grateful and happy she did that. I know for a fact that her time that she's earned was precious and few and I would understand if she wanted that time for anything else--a nap, to shop, a bath for herself, something else.
As her friend, I understand that this is her life now--her kids and her husband. It's just the way it is. She didn't do it to hurt me. She's living her life for her as she should. I'm not going to lie, it does hurt sometimes that our friendship isn't what it was--sometimes it's barely there at all--but I can understand that she needs to live life the way she wants to (as long as she's okay and she's safe, healthy and happy).
As far as I'm aware (I'm no expert), there's still a large percentage of couples who are parents where the mother does the bulk of the child-rearing--especially when they are babies, toddlers. I can not imagine how hard and how exhausting it is. That's why I don't do it (I don't have kids, so in a literal sense, I can't imagine it. That was a **very** deliberate choice).
My friend has a full-time job and a family. That is it. That's her life. It's unrealistic to assume she can just drop everything and go hang out for a couple hours, or I can call her up on Tuesday and we go see a late night movie like we used to. Instead, I e-mail her every now and then. We keep in touch. We still clearly care about each other. I still love her. But I accept and ultimately try to respect her choices. You really have to ask yourself if you're being fair to her. I see a lot of hurt in your post. And I can understand that she might not be able to be a good friend to you. And if that's not enough for you, then you do have the right to not continue on with the friendship.
Totally this. Its not forever. They disappear into the 'baby tunnel' for a few years but then re-emerge. My youngest is now 3. I manage to meet friends in the evenings, at a restaurant now, but for several years I couldn't. Part of being a good friend is understanding that and waiting until they are a bit more available.
I mean yes, but part of being a good friend is also to still reach out and care about your friends life even if you have kids. Obviously you cannot drop everything and hang out anymore, but a quick text, a funny meme or one phone call once a month where you really listen to your friend without making it all about you and your baby is completely doable.
Childless people already get the short stick everywhere by being constantly expected to pick up the slack for coworkers with kids, giving quite expensive gifts to relatives with kids when all they get for a birthday is a text, always accomodating everyone with kids in the public and never complain about it not to be labeled a "child hater".
They have right for caring friends too. Even if the care is limited due to circumstances, it cannot be completely one sided.
I am very lucky that most of my friends don't have/had kids, but yes I miss my best friend who is pregnant with her second. But she has a great partner and lately she's gone out with us again more.
But now she's pregnant again so I guess the next 2 years it will be mostly me visiting. That's ok. She apologises for it too and is very aware. She doesn't constantly talk about the kids and she relishes adult conversation. So she's actually quite nice.
But yeah, I feel closer to other friends now who have more similar lives and worries.
But she's trying to stay in touch whenever she can and she's worth keeping the friendship...
I also tell myself in 5 years time we can hang out again more...
But I'm also not just sitting waiting. I try to focus on my life and other friends in the meantime.
It sounds like you might benefit from making friends with people who share the same lifestyle as you. People have limited energy, limited emotional bandwidth. When you have a million things to worry/think about related to your baby/kids, your job, your family, your house, etc, it may not even cross your mind to just “send a meme” once in a while. Even if it’s something they enjoy doing, and miss doing on those rare instances where they get a moment to stop and think about it. These people aren’t being malicious, they just have entirely too much on their plate and are just trying to survive day to day.
I don’t have kids myself, but considering I often feel like I’m drowning and neglecting relationships because of my full-time school/work combo, I can only imagine how much worse it gets when you have a baby. As others have said, and as I’ve seen with my friends, it does get better as the kid gets a bit older. Whether you feel like rekindling that friendship and being open to them when they’re able again is your choice, of course.
It sounds like you get it. And I’m sure any friends you have with kids appreciate your understanding.
Wow I totally expected you to be a parent based on your insightful comment. Thank you for being a reasonable person!
I agree! I understand kids are overwhelming and accept we may not hang out much if at all for awhile. BUT it's hard when the friend completely disappears and makes no effort to even respond to messages or texts. And why am I, the one without kids, expected to hang around for a few years and then welcome them back with open arms as if nothing has changed in the last 3-4 years? Like ok, I accept I won't hear much from you for a few years but why can't you accept I may not be there--as I once was--when you come back?
We do. I had kids earlier than most of my friends and missed out on a lot. Now a lot of them are in the baby phase and I don't see them at all. Others have moved; got new partners or just moved on. Sometimes friendships are forever, and sometimes just for a season.
Friendship isn't always 50:50 all the time and that's OK. If I notice I'm always the one making the first move then I stop. If the other person wants to/is able to then they pick it up again.
Me too. Now that my child is in her 20s, half of my friends have kids under 12. I get that some of them are "birthday and holiday" friends. Just like I was.
It's no biggie tho. I get to be the cool auntie that shows up with amazing presents, plays with the kids, feeds them treats, and then fucks off back home. Just like my friends were 20 years ago
My litmus test is will they occasionally email or text. I get phone calls are hard with bedtimes, etc
Exactly! Any kind of effort and interest, honestly.
But you cannot give nothing fo years and expect everything in return.
Agreed, if I'm always the one initiating, then I'll let it fade and leave the door open if they want to reconnect down the road.
Honestly a part of it is just being at the end of their capacity. I always feel like I’m failing somebody- work, family, friends, etc. It is exhausting to work full time and take care of little kids, keep a clean home, make sure we all have healthy food to eat, exercise, and just keep on top of life. I have had stretches where I just didn’t have the capacity to so much reaching out. It’s not that I don’t care about my friends but sometimes it is a constant cycle of work/motherhood/housework/sleep.
Exactly. When you have a fulltime job, then come home, do dinner/bath/bed then probably some housework then your partner will want some time, there's nothing left for you. At the weekend, that's what left to see our kids. Time for ourselves doesn't even feature in that equation.
If we give you some of that time understand that you are getting something very very precious, and that's how much the friendship means to us.
Yep. It seems that concept is hard for somebody without children to understand.
The thing that’s hard is, although we all have limited time that we are allocating, we don’t understand why you think you get 100% of the deference bc you chose to have children.
I still have things happen in my life like family members getting ill, getting divorced, etc and the mothers on this thread seem to be saying, sorry, even though you thought we were friends, I’m no longer obligated to show up for you bc bath time. AND, to take it a step further, I’m the one who is selfish bc I expected something from you.
Also the smug overtones of your comment that I just don’t get what it’s like to be in the mom club. It’s too adjacent to you can’t be a real woman unless you’re a mother. This is exactly why I stop putting effort into friendships once people become mothers. It’s just too one sided.
It was not intended in a smug way. There were comments above insinuating that somebody with kids who does not ask have tons of time for friends somehow doesn’t deserve friends. I never said it has to be a completely 1 way street but a friend who understands when I might be MIA for a couple weeks because my baby isn’t sleeping, I have intense deadlines at work, and I’m just feeling utterly exhausted is really appreciated.
For me, traveling to see friends would be a rare luxury. I get together with a close group of friends once per year. We talk via zoom every month or so but drives to get together are tough. Everyone understands that.
It’s not that somebody without kids doesn’t understand being busy. It’s just hard to understand how all consuming motherhood can be, especially in the first few years. I used to make all kinds of judgements and assumptions about it that I quickly realized were wrong when I experienced motherhood myself. And the truth is that after a long week of go-go-go I just want to be able to take whatever time I have left on the weekends after grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, and whatever other obligations I have that week to enjoy my child. It is a Choice, of course. And I’m fortunate to have friends who are in similar phases of life and all get it.
I also don’t think you are selfish if you don’t want to always be the one to initiate contact and feel like the friendship is one sided. The friendship may have run its course.
I understand, motherhood is hard. Especially when fathers are not pitching in as they should (and you can see me going on a rampage about this constantly).
But you're still not owed years of 100% one sided effort from your friends. If the friendship isn't worth it, that's ok - it's your decision.
Just don't complain later about people not being supportive enough of moms - we all have to prioritize. If you don't ha e time for one text a week or one call a month - that's your own doing and don't be surprised to find yourself without friends later. It's just how life is - for the childless AND the childed.
>They have right for caring friends too.
Of course! But they don't have the right to get this care *from friends who have small babies or very young kids*.
>but part of being a good friend is also to still reach out and care about your friends life even if
Nah. You wouldn't write this comment about a friend who was fighting cancer, you know? IDK about your ethics, but in my opinion it's kinda shitty and self centered if I look at someone who is going through chemo and is struggling with illness for a few years and rather than empathize or offer help, I judge as a bad friend for not texting me funny memes or calling me once a month or whatever schedule ***I*** have decided should be doable for them. It sounds ridiculous, right??
When people have babies, *that is exactly like dealing with a long term illness.* The demands of a baby are exactly as exhausting and inescapable as the demands of constant hospital visits, medical treatments, and sickness on your body and mind.
You can choose to take a step back, lower your expectations, understand their circumstances, and get your needs met from other friends for a while, until the parent is able to recover from the demands of their infant and regain their capacity to live a normal life again. Or, you can bow out of their life and end the friendship.
But either way, it's kinda shitty and self centered to judge them as a bad friend for not being available to you during this insanely demanding time of their life.
Literally the people in this thread are saying that they don’t have to show up for your cancer or long term illness if you are childless or childfree. But you still have to show up for them or you’re selfish.
I think you read the OP wrong. I do get my needs met from my other friends but my friend with two babies is annoyed I don’t drive out to hang out at their house.
I was responding to u/cojavim's comment here, not to your post, OP.
If your friend is annoyed, maybe you can have a conversation with her to help her reset her own expectations? Or if you don't feel like doing that much work, you can blow her off? It's certainly unfair for her to expect you to keep up a one-sided effort. You don't have to let her expectations rule your decisions.
Sorry, but no.
I went through abuse, depression, anxiety, extreme poverty, chronic illness and I still reached out to friends, even if only they tell them "sorry for not reaching out, I'm having a shit time".
You say "But they don't have the right to get this care from friends who have small babies or very young kids.".
You're wrong. If a new mother can't make time for one text a week in 4 years, yeah, she loses friend privileges, no matter what your opinion is. Having children is overwhelming the first 6-12 months but it's not a death sentence. I'm sorry, but your stance sounds very entitled to me.
You're entitled to your own opinion, but don't be surprised of losing friends irl if you treat them like this.
Thanks for writing this. It's not just because of the baby. It's because after the baby, everything else in our lives is extra draining. We have no bandwidth for anything more than the bare minimum.
As a parent who feels really isolated, thank you for this. You're a good friend and I'm sure your friend deeply appreciates you. This is just so refreshing to read.
You're a wonderful and understanding friend I would love to have more of in my life. Bless your heart and everything good in your life because you deserve it.
Thank you! This is so good to see. As a parent, I feel bad (and a little hurt) when I see posts like these. We are not trying to hurt our non-kids having friends, and we have not stopped caring. But we have made a life choice (kids) which is super engrossing and time consuming, especially for the first few years. We are allowed to live our lives as we like, just like non-parents. Lovely to see someone be so understanding!
Yes! When I vent about friendships becoming one-sided when pregnancy/kids happen, I'm told repeatedly to "leave the door open" for if/when they have time for me again. Why?! Why is there a guarantee I'll have time for them or a desire to make time for them, when there was no time for me? What's to say this situation won't happen again? It's emotionally tiring. Wanting to feel wanted in a friendship is not "demanding".
This isn't a common problem with fathers and their friends. Maybe ask yourself why that is.
This is definitely not true. We are in the thick of it with babies and toddlers and if anything, I get to see my friends more than my husband, even though neither one of us gets much friends time. He goes to work while I am home though, so if we have an evening where one of us can get some alone time, he usually lets me have it.
...yes, yes it is. Pop over to the askmen's suite of subs to very similar sentiments expressed regarding fellas dropping off the face of the planet for a decade once kids come into the picture.
As a childless man in his late 30s, let me assure you: this is very, very untrue.
Because men do not step up at home, because that's why moms are so overwhelmed, because that's the whole problem?
I think that depends a lot on where you live/your culture. My husband is as busy with the kids as me, we have an equal amount of free time for friends. I realize this is not the fact in all places/cultures though. In addition, a) a lot of guys seem to have less emotionally close bonds with their friends, and b) the askmen subs tend not to focus on emotions, kids or other traditionally feminine stuff, as far as I've seen.
Also fyi: though I like, support and largely agree with your feminist angle, tacking on "ask yourself why that is" is a somewhat arrogant way to make this point. Being busy with kids does not mean you are in an unequal relationship.
> We are not trying to hurt our non-kids having friends,
We know that (most of us), but that doesn't change that it still does hurt.
Even while acknowledging that that is everyone's own choice to make, it was still a choice that made even close friendships a collateral, and it's the friends that are carrying more of the pain from that than the person that got to make that choice, because the fulfillment that was on the other side of that choice lies in your life, not theirs.
Occasionally seeing posts like this and being reminded of that is simply something that's part of that choice.
Note that I'm not saying you should not have chosen that way – I'd have made the same choice, given the option. But even with knowing that hurting friends wasn't the goal, and you dearly wish it weren't so, that doesn't change that it still does hurt. I know that children need to be prioritised, and that all the rest of your life also is taking a hit, up to and including yourself. I make time for you whenever you have it. But I still miss you. A lot.
I totally understand and agree - being reminded that my friends (perhaps) miss me is a part of my choice. And people are allowed to be hurt. It is sort of like when you are young and your best friend gets in their first serious relationship and suddenly has less time for you. It is a great life event for them, but sad for you..
I think it is fair to be sad, but not fair to act angry and resentful at your friend for having made a life choice. I definitely respect that it is hard though!
I do not agree. My friend has a 2 years old and a job and still has time to go to a pub with me now and then. We also go to restaurants or the zoo with her family. And they do travel. This is because her husband is a partner. I don't want to blame women who are more or less single parents with a provider. But I don't consider kids an excuse to have everyone else wrap their live around them. I expect more. I need a friend, too and a friend that is available now and then.
This isn't a common problem with fathers and their friends. Maybe ask yourself why that is.
We know five couples with young kids and all of them still keep up healthy social lives. Usually the kids come too, but they also go out without them. The dad is actually a parent, though, and that makes a huge difference.
But another difference is a support system outside of just mom and dad. The couples with grandparents that live nearby are able to do the most.
Unfortunately, not all women have that support system. And not all women find out their husband is useless until after they have kids.
>But another difference is a support system outside of just mom and dad. The couples with grandparents that live nearby are able to do the most.
The double-edged sword of this setup, though, is that those couples with grandparents often have all sorts of social or familiar commitments that come along with having a large or active extended family. So their social lives stay full, but they're just oriented entirely around their extended family and there's still no room for their friends.
You take them or leave them as they are. It isn't about fairness. It's are you willing to accept their life choices. They are choosing to not drive to see you. You aren't required to drive to see them. Drive if you want or don't drive if you don't want to do it. The thing to ask yourself is if it is worth the drive. If it seems like too much for now then skip it. You will only be resentful if you go and that won't help the friendship. It's okay to say that doesn't work for me. She is basically saying it doesn't work for her to leave the kids behind and that's okay too.
I have two kids who are adults now. I never left my kids behind to go away over night. My husband sometimes did for work trips and it made them very clingy. Having that clinginess was not worth it to me. Each kid has a different personality and so for some women going away overnight will work and for some it won't. There is also the big age gap between the two sets of kids. The older two probably have activities on the weekend that you wouldn't want to try to sit through with toddlers so one parent will be running the older two kids around to their activities/playdates and the other parent will be watching the preschoolers. When the two youngest are school age things will start to get easier.
It's okay to put the friendship on hold until she has time to devote to it. It's okay to say you need more from this friendship than you are getting. It's okay to be fed up and do something else that will make you happier.
This is such a sensible and balanced perspective.
I would just maintain a friendship via phone calls, videochat, email. Because traveling four hours roundtrip to keep seeing someone is not fun for me, especially when they never come see me. I get she has kids and can’t- no problem. The big problem is that you mentioned in a comment she tries to make you feel guilty if you don’t see her. I would straight up tell her that you spending your free time traveling four hours is not fun for you, and you’re the only one who does it (and add that you understand why she can’t travel), and that her making you feel guilty for it shows she has no respect for your time, your needs, and boundaries. Then I’d say I still love you and want to be your friend but it’s going to be by phone until you can come see me too. If she doesn’t understand or accept that than I’d say bye because to me that’s not a true friend. I’ve had friendships I’ve maintained for 10 years and more - now via phone because everyone moved far away. It can definitely work.
I am also childless and I will travel sometimes, but traveling gets expensive and I don't want to do it all the time, so I often do not see my friends that have kids.
It’s just a season of life that will change once the kids are older. My husband and I don’t have kids, so we’re always traveling to see friends because it’s so much easier for us to travel. We don’t mind at all and these visits always include long-term trip plans for when the kids get older.
I get your frustration, but it won’t be forever.
>but it won’t be forever.
It’s been decades now". I think the friend may have fallen into the comfort of friends coming over to visit and not having to go over to the friends. If I was OP i would invite them over many times and see how things are, especially if it has happened over so long. If they did this before they had kids, it shows the priority that OP plays in the friend's life. That says nothing about OP as a person.
apparently their friend had another set of kids who are only 2-3. Once all their kids are older it may become easier.
They said it’s been decades. Yes the friend has little ones but this continued with the previous set of kids too. So the span of time between the first set and 2nd set is about a decade. OP indicated multiple decades so that would include the whole span of time for this particular friend.
She's got a lousy age spread. If the oldest are 10-11 that's really pushing things regarding leaving them home alone, depending on their personality. Leaving them home alone with 2-3 year olds really isn't an option. Dad is in the picture it sounds like but 4 kids is definitely still a challenge. If he has to work or run the older kids to sports or events that gets a lot trickier. God forbid the two older ones have divergent interests and schedules too. A two hour drive for me personally puts things into "overnight" visit range, or at minimum "all day". It's likely doable, but it's definitely onerous.
I'm guessing it's not going to get better until the older two are driving.
all my friends with babies and kids have disappeared in the void of parenthood.
My experience it was the other way around. Often I was left out of everything after having a kid. My husband was fine with me going out with friends. But the calls came less and less and stopped all together.
I frequently would hear from friends of friends "oh __ didn't think you'd have the time." Or "yeah but we planned to be out late" and when I would invite them over they wouldn't have the time.
I'm not friend with those people anymore.
Yeah, agree, long ago when I had kids. It's just the inevitable. It's essentially akin to what happens after high school: one group goes off to college, one group stays in the hometown and remains "in the know" about everything going on there. Now it's one group has a family, one group is still going out at the drop of a hat, deciphering texts from love interests, etc. Your lives aren't enough alike anymore to hang out all the time.
Can you still have a deep friendship? Sure, but I'd say that's not the norm. People hang around people who are doing the same things they are, and can relate to their lives. "The void of parenthood" is a little insulting; I wouldn't say "The void of plant or pet parenting." I imagine the friends with families are doing what they planned to do. It can be stressful, but that's life. It isn't unheard of for parents to have a night out with their old friends who are still single and childless, but again, it's a fork in the road that really separates all but the best of friends/longest of relationships. Remember that not all friendships are meant to last forever.
I try to empathize with them. I know I’m in a better situation to leave my home without a feeling of worry like they may.
Yes, they have husbands who can take care of the kids but, I also don’t have experience in the mother/child relationship department so I don’t know what it feels like to be away with children at home.
Ask them why they wouldn’t be willing to come to you. That will answer your question better than Reddit can.
Also you don't know how their relationship is, they might be perfectly comfortable leaving their kids with their husband but already have household tension and resentment about divisions of responsibilities and rightly or wrongly just not want to rock the boat.
Basically bc they can’t leave the kids but they get offended if I can’t come see them
Are they offended or just expressing their feelings of “aww, I wish you could”?
Set expectations. If you say you can’t then you can’t. Offer a different time.
Following up with a specific date/time on the spot is a great point that I always forget to follow through on. Thank you comrade 💪
How old are the kids? Babies? Toddlers? If so- hang in there they will be able to leave more in a few years.
She’s had two sets. 10-11 and now 2-3. It’s been decades now
For me as a mother of three, I felt that life started to open up again and I could start to do things for myself when the youngest was 5. So just as she was starting to be able to get her head above water with the now 10 year old being 5 or so, she got pregnant with the now 3 year old.
There may be other issues too. Is she maybe an anxious traveller? Maybe her husband isn't a good partner in terms of childcare? Luckily my husband is a great dad who can do all the kid stuff, but the other day my one friend said it was too much to ask her husband to help two kids to get ready, then take them to soccer. I was like WTF mine used to take 3 to Costco on Saturday when the littlest was a baby. But many men are crappy like that.
That being said, if you are feeling resentful and you don't want to travel to her anymore, then you don't have to! You can make any decision that feels right to you.
Oof. That's a tough hand to deal with. I can understand her reluctance to take off for what I assume is a weekend.
I mean… saying this gently, but it sounds like this is who she is now. Decades is a long time. It’s ok to mourn the friendship that you used to have, but if what she is offering you now is not working for you or meeting the needs you have of a friend, it’s ok to step back.
It’s like any relationship, you can’t make someone be who or how you want them to be. Even if you believe they could and should be that way! People change but you can’t change them.
“It’s been decades now”. It sounds like the problem is not the fact that your friend has kids, if this started pre-kids. Seems she only wants a 1-sided friendship. I can understand how these two sets of kids (even 1 kid!) would make it difficult for her sometimes, but if it’s been going on for decades, then it started before she had her first.
i remember my mother not liking to go on dates with my dad until both me and my bro were over at least 10.
she was convinced she was going to come back to a burning house.
My mom was the same way. She didn't trust anyone to babysit me and my 2 siblings so she never went out until I was 12 and able to watch them. She's still bitter about that to this day, but that was her choice and I do think we were somewhat socially stunted because of it.
Idk I've learned to accept that my friends with kids are a package deal (especially since the kids are all young and can't be left alone). I can't expect my friends to prioritize time with me over taking care of their kids.
Don’t see them if it’s so hard for you or you don’t want to travel. With kids that are young (you mentioned 4 of them as well), it’s a lot for to coordinate and handle. If one of them is 2 or 3, that’s really young and hard to leave for her partner to handle on his own. If you’re frustrated, then don’t travel to see them; I think it’s quite hard for them to come just “take a night off”, kids don’t work that way.
But, if this happens for years and years, it really shows the priority of how their friends think of OP, too. Yes it is difficult but if OP invites the friend over to their place 1 out of every 10 times that OP goes to their place (just pulling that number out of my butt), and they always say "I cant, because of the kids", then it shows the friend without kids doesn't have much priority to the one with kids.
It doesnt say anything about OP or the parent since we dont know everything about them. But it is something for OP to think about. I got this from watching the TED Talk from Laura Vanderkam: "How to gain control of your free time". Here it shows that we are all busy with things in our life, but if something really important comes up, magically we have time to attend to that thing. Its not that we created more time, its that our priority changed. Example: If I had to work and a friend wanted to go to lunch, id say no. If that same day my mom was in a bad car accident, id say "no" to work and go visit her. Eating lunch < work < visiting injured parent in hospital.
Like I said, then OP should draw her boundaries and don’t see them. This parent isn’t just doing this to OP or childless friends, it’s probably the same deal with her friends with children too. I think it’s a little self centered to think that OP’s friend is prioritizing her kids over OP — her friend is probably prioritizing her kids over many many things, including her own personal life. I’m sure OP’s friend would love to take a couple of days off and be herself again and “not a mom”. It just doesn’t work that way. The inconvenience and pain that OP is feeling sucks, but honestly OP’s friend is going through decades of constantly prioritizing her family over her own wants.
So you do agree that the friend is prioritizing her kids over OP. Just like what I said, but I am getting downvoted for saying that. I said I’m not blaming either side, I am just laying out the objective facts so that OP can think about what she wants to do with that information. I’m not saying the friend shouldn’t prioritize the kids. But I’m also not saying OP needs to put up with the friend doing that. I’m 100% leaving the choice to OP on how she wants her life to look like.
Yes, parents tend to prioritize their offspring over other adults, including themselves...that's sort of the natural order. Children rely on their parents in a way no one else does.
My siblings prioritize their children over me, though I knew them first, and that's what I would expect. You bring kids into the world, you prioritize them, typically.
I agree with others that OP shouldn't feel required to visit friends with kids, and if the parent friends are offended, that's silly. Maybe they're not good friends. But OP also shouldn't be offended that their parent friends prioritize their kids.
Exactly. We agree. I just put it in a way for OP to have what’s really going on and letting them decide what to do. But I’m getting downvoted for it. Which is fine because reddit points are meaningless.
Fwiw, you make perfect sense to me 😅 I’m not sure why explaining how to handle this from the childfree side of things is so unpopular in this thread, but it does *seem* to me like you’re getting downvoted for mentioning that being a parent isn’t a get out of jail free card for maintenance on a friendship; it is just a huge discount on bail.
If someone doesn't prioritize their kids over me, they have their priorities wrong, lmao. That's why you're being down voted. It's a stupid point to make.
This is unnecessarily harsh. It’s not that black and white. You can prioritize going to a dinner with your friend occasionally. That’s all this person is saying.
My friend group is blessedly-to-me mostly childfree, but one of my besties had a baby a few months ago and I can already tell I will not see her or that baby for years unless I go to her. I’m glad I’m just barely still in range of day trips to see her, but if/when we move, 😭 … I get that she’s super happy in her spot and is a bit utilitarian about friends in the first place (she always makes it to important stuff, but fun/unimportant *and* inconvenient things not so much) so I’m not sad for or mad at her, just mostly sad for me 😅 I would be significantly less patient with her if she complained about me not visiting enough, but she’s definitely happy (and tired) right now, it’s just pulling teeth to find a time to see her. I could be wrong, but once she’s more recovered from childbirth I do think she’ll be in the void for a while anyway as a new, first-time mother.
My only other friends with kids sort of snapped back to their old selves once the kids were 5+ years old. I think they were just tired all the time for those first five years (won’t lie, we grew a bit more distant), but I also wasn’t as close to them as my new-mom friend mentioned above to begin with.
If some of my other, different friends had kids I’d try to be very understanding about their situations being a lot more frustrating than mine and maybe succeed like 70% of the time, but. well. They don’t, so I don’t have too much to worry about yet, heh.
Kids are so much easier to handle with both parents. Parenting 2+ kids solo, even for a night, is a huge ask. A lot of parents wind up without any friends at all for this reason.
Is it possible they have an inflexible partner? Sometimes this isn’t apparent until after kids come into the picture. I once had a partner who flew his mother across the country to help with parenting when I needed to be present for a few days for a friend in a serious crisis. Some partners are like that.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to keep doing the heavy lifting if it feels crappy to you.
Also, when you say “all the time,” I can’t gauge frequency. If you are seeing these friends frequently, an added issue may be that they don’t want to miss out on time with their kids, especially if they are working and only see their kids a couple hours a day.
a few things, really:
* a lot of husbands out there aren't up for managing the kids on their own and it's harder on the mom when she comes back so it's just not 'worth' it for her.
* some moms aren't comfortable/don't want to be away from their kids.
* if it's a 2hr drive to see someone and they're already exhausted from the kids, they'd just rather stay home.
this is where you have to reevaluate your relationship ie. if it's worth it for you. If you are resentful/not getting anything out of the friendship, then maybe it's time to distance yourself.
> a lot of husbands out there aren't up for managing the kids on their own
Is this actually true, or is this society saying so? Because society says/believes a lot of stupid things.
A little of both, in my observation. One of my friends has 6 kids and her STBXH only ever changed one diaper. One. My sister's fiance can't be bothered to take care of their kid alone for so much as 2 hours so she can go do something for herself. If you browse through the parenting forums, you will see post after post after post from moms wondering if their men are being normal men and fathers by playing video games and going to work and *maybe* holding the baby for 20 minutes while she showers. It's still a very prevalent thing for dads, especially of young children, to be quite hands-off. I consider myself very lucky that my SO is fully capable of taking care of our kiddo and even willing to do it so I can take care of myself, I don't worry at all that I'll come home to find him still awake at 11 and in a dirty diaper or anything like that. It just never happens because I don't have any friends because I have a kid and everyone I used to hang out with just stopped calling. Maybe they assume I have a more stereotypical partner so they just don't think I'll be able to come or maybe it's something else, but here we are.
There are some. I definitely suggest gauging that before marrying or deciding to have kids with someone. My brother in law will not watch his kids overnight just refuses and says “it’s too much”. My husband don the other hand happily cares for my son when I leave for work trips and loves the special time.
Set your boundaries and don’t do it if it bothers you that it isn’t reciprocated. I don’t think your friend is making an unreasonable ask for her situation, but I think you’re allowed to not want to do it, too.
But what you can’t do is make her want to leave her family for a weekend to see you. You have to be willing to accept what you can control here and worry about only those things.
You don’t HAVE to.
As a person with a kid, I say, you could just not if it’s not that important to you? I’ve lost some friends since I had my kid and I just sort of accept we have taken different paths and that’s fine. Maybe we’ll converge again, maybe not. If it bothers you just stop.
I’m the only one in my friend group who has kids so far. As a mom of a toddler and a newborn, my life revolves around school, activities, nap and feeding schedules and my window of free time is minuscule, if any. I hardly have time to pee let alone hang out with friends. However, I do make some time to text my friends daily and hang out whenever I can get help watching the kids. My friends usually accommodate my schedule when we hang out and I am so grateful for that. Luckily, I don’t live two hours away from my friends but it’s much much easier to get up and go drive two hours when you have no kids, let alone 4 kids. I would say look a little broader and empathize with your friend. It’s not easy to keep four kids alive, fed, clean, and happy. Don’t keep tabs on who’s doing what each time and enjoy the time you do have together. If she’s anything like me, I bet she’s very grateful you make the effort to see her and give her a nice short break from the family.
This was so well said and warmed my heart. As the friend who always has to make minor adjustments to accommodate my friend’s schedules, I never let it bother me too much because I know my friends are appreciative and grateful the same way you are. I think your comment does a great job showing things from OP’s friend’s perspective.
They key for me as the childless friend is that you make time to text and hang out when you can get help.
When I was younger and not a parent, traveling long distances for me was easy. I packed up a super small bag the night before and just left the next day on a fun road trip.
Traveling with a kid consists of basically having to pack the entire house, driving for a few hours with a kid who may be screaming the entire time and you as the driver can do nothing to help the small child feel better or safe. If they're not in diapers you have to stop at gross gas station bathrooms every 30 min to an hour to let them pee because they have tiny bladders. Then when you get to your friend's house, you're stressed your kid is going to destroy something nice or hurt themselves on something because your friend without kids doesn't have a "kid friendly" house. Then you get to do it all over again heading home. It is incredibly stressful and enjoyable to noone. This is why I travel maybe once a year with my kid.
Also, I'm exhausted. It was my choice to have a kid, but I have less free time than I did when I didn't have kids. I don't just forget to message my friends sometimes. I also forget to shower. I forget to take care of myself. Most child-free, job-free time I have is spent taking care of things around the house I have to maintain, going to Dr appointments, etc. And then any "vacation" time I have, my family wants me to come see them - I only get to see them 1-2 times a year.
I have 2-3 friends I do my best to keep up with. I'm thankful they have been understanding and I tell them that often.
You shouldn't have to do anything you don't want to as others have said. If you don't enjoy the friendship anymore or can't do the driving, then don't. But please understand that your friend most likely still does really value your friendship - she's probably just drowning and trying to do the best she can right now.
I am the only single, childless person from my friend group. Many have disappeared on me, because my career owns me, their family life owns them. It’s give and take. The ones I still keep in touch with, are worth the 15 minute coffee breaks every 6 months. Sometimes this is how life goes. We have to decide our priorities and who really matters. Some of my friends are worth it, so I make that 2 hour drive for a cup of coffee, or to be there when their horse is sick, or only sadly getting to see them at a funeral or what not. It’s life as adults. We make choices and decide what’s important, who is important, and what sacrifices we are willing to make.
Sometimes it’s one sided, sometimes it’s not, and it’s just what is happening in life. Don’t give up on people if you really love them.
>do they not have a husband who they can leave for a night?
Unfortunately my understanding is that many men don't pick up the slack. The truth (backed by data) is that the only reason some women spend less time doing housework is because they outsource it
Families are part of people's lives. Expecting people to leave the kids behind to come hang out with a 2 hour drive is honestly a bit out there.
Some people are comfortable with it. Some aren't.
Your friends aren't.
I get you don't have the kids but that doesn't mean they have to leave theirs behind.
This is something you should be disucssing with them.
That’s true but is it my job to always be driving ? I have family too just not kids
I’ve been on both sides of this argument and I know what you mean - but as a childfree person I didn’t really appreciate how much people LOVE being around their kids.
As a parent I want to be around my kids cos I love them, but also because I work a lot so I’m already away from them during the daytime in the week (so I feel guilty about that) and our youngest is autistic so he’s easier to manage with two parents watching him, and at our home which is totally safe and comfortable for him. And then there are the pandemic worries - my autistic child doesn’t understand social distancing, won’t wear a mask and is too young to be vaccinated. I’d rather keep him safe at home!
I also don’t have the same interests I had pre-kids. All afternoon shopping trip- no thanks, I’m too busy for that indulgence. Wild nights out are reserved for special occasions because my weekends are busy and I don’t want to feel hungover at a 4 year olds birthday party or while surrounded by squealing kids at Mr Buggs BounceHouse.
If you expect your friends to bring kids to see you consider that a 2 hour drive with kids isn’t much fun, requires planning and packing (nappies, toys, spare clothes, snacks, and at least one stop for someone to vomit/pee) and there is the worry the kids will do damage or not be safe in a non-kid friendly house. Sometimes it’s easier to ask the child-free friend to make the trip.
If you are genuinely keen to keep these friendship I’d suggest - doing activities with your friends that the kids can come along to, offering to meet halfway if you expect them to come without kids, planning something they can do without kids that is truly tempting to a stressed parent - manicure, spa trip etc etc.
I’m sorry you’re in this transition stage, I hope you work it out. I can say that as the kids get older it will become easier for your friends to leave them, but they still might be home birds after that.
Like I said, this is a discussion you need to ahwv with them.
I suggest adopting "I language" or talking about yourself - "I feel like I have to be the one to make effort to come to you"...
But if they're very small kids, yeah. Probably. 2 hours in a car with a small kid is hellish. It's also not a seperarion I'd have handled well while my kid was small.
Then again, I didn't have anyone driving to see me either.
A discussion for them. Not us. We don't know the particulars of your lives the way you all do.
Kids are different. Is your family completely dependent on you 100% of the time? If you want the relationship, you probably will have to be the person going to them. Especially for little kids. It just is what it is. All of my friends got pregnant in their 20s and I’m just now pregnant in my 30s. I do understand your frustration, unfortunately, you’re probably fighting a losing battle.
Would OP mind if their friends brought their kids to visit too?
That’s a good point. Maybe the mom could make a day trip of it and they could do stuff while they’re there? Either way, it would take a lot of prep though. But if op was open to having the kids, it might interest the mom more.
OP, are you tired of driving or does this go deeper? Do you feel like you're pulling all the weight in the friendship?
Or like you're being punished/ excluded for not having kids like them?
Kids can be tedious, and when you don’t have them, it’s natural to not want to have them always there when you socialize.
Being a mom can be isolating and lonely, and getting together with friends takes so much more energy.
Not all friendships are life-long, and even when they are, there are period when the connection waxes and wanes. Maintaining friendships for the long term requires the investment of time and effort. If you don’t care for her children and she finds it hard to leave them, for a while your friendship may be more distant, and that’s ok. Maybe it will survive, maybe it won’t. You may want to cultivate friendships with women who have more freedom to do fun things with you. She may want to cultivate friendships with women who enjoy being part off this stage of her life. It’s hard, but no one is wrong.
Yeah sure but do your family need you to feed them out your nipples at night? Cry if they wake up and you're not there? Not be able to sleep without a goodnight kiss from you?
It's really not the same.
This brought back a memory of my first outing as a parent. It was a 2-3 hour outing. I pumped for the first time so my partner could feed the baby. When I returned and pulled into the driveway, I could hear the baby shrieking, even though the car and house windows were closed. The baby had rejected being fed by bottle and both baby and partner were freaking out.
I understand your frustration. Friendships are a two-way street, regardless of who has kids and who doesn't.
Of course it's more difficult for parents, but it's not fair for you to be putting in 100% of the effort.
I've found that, sadly, when my friends have had kids, the friendship changes a lot and we're a much less compatible due to our different life choices. :(
I don’t have children but many friends now do. Traveling with small children is awful. Leaving them behind with a spouse who also probably works would be a hard sale. When they are older it’s far easier, but when they are young it’s gonna be a no go. Sorry.
I don’t have answer for you, but I feel you and empathize.
This sounds like you ranting about the answers to the very questions you asked. You know the existance of children isn't the issue.
I went through much the same except we both had kids. I made every effort to come visit my friend and be there for her. And yet she never could find time to visit me. Something always came up. She made a select few visits but I could feel her pulling away. I definitely noticed the posts of fun park and shopping trips in the town I lived in. With my phone remaining silent. Her children were close to my children's age yet at my youngest's last birthday only she came and spent the whole time talking about how she didn't want her boys around girls who weren't "godly women." Sure she never came right out and said it but the message came through loud and clear.
It's heartbreaking. All the childhood talk of us hanging together with our families. Having our kids play and grow up together. Being old ladies sipping coffee and reminiscing about the past. All gone for reasons that I'll never fully understand.
But then maybe this isn't the situation you are going through. I just find it hard to believe that if you are indeed friends with this person you wouldn't already be aware of their family situation and weather or not leaving the kids with someone else is feasible.
I feel this. I’m married, but soon we’ll start trying Procreative Sex™. We’re gonna have an only child and call it good. We have quite a few friends with kids.
We have one couple friend who have an agreement: once every six months, they get a long weekend away without their children. They could go on a trip to see family. They could go see a friend. Stay at a spa. Camp in the middle of the woods just to enjoy peace and quiet. And the other person is responsible for the kids during that time. So (at least) twice a year, each person gets totally off the hook for childcare and can do pretty much whatever they want. Both partners fully participate, so this agreement is truly 50/50, you take care of your kids alone for a weekend so you can later be away from your kids for a weekend. It really seems to work for them. And they’re super involved parents.
And then. I have a wonderful friend whose husband has some very traditional ideas of gender roles at home. So even though she also works full time, the kids are, by default, her responsibility. I just watched her do mental gymnastics trying to prove how she could be away for less than 24 hours to attend her godchild’s baptism across the country. It was filled with responses like “you’ll never make enough milk for that.” “I mean, why go at all?” And my favorite, “if they really cared about you being there, they would’ve given you more than two months notice” (it’s covid times, plans fluctuate). My friend is planning to take a 20-hour trip with her two-month-old because her husband sees childcare as her responsibility. Sounds like an actual nightmare. All the guy would have to do is watch his two kids for like one full (weekend, non-work) day.
I don’t even know what I’m getting at here. Maybe that some families make it work, while others are unwilling to? I know it’s hard with kids, but it IS possible to figure it out. And that you also don’t know what somebody is dealing with. Maybe they’re unable to travel because they’re being met with unfair expectations from a partner. I don’t know. I guess all I’m saying is that lots of people prioritize and figure it out. And then lots of people (mostly women) are at a huge disadvantage in terms of labor, responsibilities, and power imbalance.
I have kids and my best friend doesn’t. All the shit she’s had to deal with! But she hangs in there for me. And I do as much as I can for her. I try to meet her halfway in situations, but she mostly has to come all the way for me.
I think the difference is that I make sure she knows how much I value her and all the little things I try to do for her. If I didn’t, I don’t think she’d put up with my ass. Well now she probably would, since we love each other by now.
I would say talk to her. If you feel insecure in the friendship, talk to her. If it comes to no avail, then you need to make your choices, and realize that they are indeed *your choices*.
I think your post touched a sore spot with the moms in this sub.
I would think of it this way: if you had young kids as well, would you guys be taking turns in terms of who travels? Or do you think the friendship wouldn’t be maintained because then no one would have the time to travel 2 hours?
Long distance friendships are hard enough to maintain without kids.
I agree with you that the husbands, in principle, should be able to take care of their own kids for a night or two. However, I don’t know how the mom feels about being away from their kids. Or maybe your friends didn’t marry someone responsible and it just is what it is?
If this is a deal breaker for you now, then so be it. Invite your friends over for a girls thing. If you’re comfortable specifying no kids, say so. Otherwise make it clear by the activity (going to a bar or whatever). Be tactful about it and stay friendly.
They will probably say they’re too busy for that date and suggest doing it another time. Agree. Try again one other time, after giving it enough time, and then stop. Leave it at your last invite. It will be up to them, then, if they take you up on your offer.
Because, yeah, being a mom is a lot of work…but ONE night without kids, where you, their friend, isn’t the one to travel, isn’t asking much.
This may very end your friendships, though. But if this situation is really that difficult for you, then maybe that’s OK? Make friends closer to where you live, that share your interests. It’s normal to drift apart. We don’t *have* to keep our childhood friends.
There’s a reason people drift apart after someone in the friend group has kids.
A lot of husbands are utterly useless and you can't leave the kids with them. Speaking from experience. In the first 4 years of my child's life, I was able to leave the house child free for a few hours, about 5 times. 3 of those times it was less than 2 hours, the 2 times it was more was an absolute disaster with my kid's dad calling me nonstop because "child is crying, blablabla I can't do it, I haven't fed him, I can't get him to sleep". And then me in trouble when I get home, because I was not home quick enough.
And they never tell you they are THAT useless before baby is actually there.
Friendships have to grow as the people involved grow. They've made the decision to marry and have children, while you have not. Expecting someone to have their life partner stay behind and watch the children so that you and your friend can see each other is not very reasonable, but neither is it reasonable for you to be expected to make the trip to see them. What you're probably not realizing is that married foljs have obligations to go visit BOTH families (this is a general statement, I'm sure there are exceptions) so not only are their finances often strapped after traveling to visit the folks and the in-laws, but that also means their vacation days are also used up.
It's a tough scenario, no doubt about it. If you can figure a vacation where you can stop by and visit on your way somewhere else, that's always an option. Otherwise, phone calls, Skype, and long-distance communication will have to do. I'm sure they aren't celebrating the fact that they can't pick up and go on a vacation whenever they would like, but part of life is making the best of what you have. You have friends. Some are nearby, some are far away. I have no doubt they think of you fondly and cherish the time you are able to spend together, just as you think of them. What's a little distance, compared to that?
I don’t get this at all. Expecting your friend to occasionally have their partner stay behind and watch their children so you can hang out with your friend is totally reasonable.
Not always- it depends on too many variables. If children are involved, that makes it even harder. Couple that with family obligations, and you have the typical conundrum.
OP I feel you. I'm in a different, but similar situation. I have one child who's 9 now. My friends have multiple kids that range from 2 - 10 yo. It is so much easier for me to get out for the night or the weekend, or even a week long vacation, without my child because he stays home with dad. I get frustrated when I want to have some adult time with my friends and they either can't make it, or they bring their kids. It's annoying as hell. My solution? I put those friendships in a box, and made friends with woman that don't have kids or are OAD like me.
I WISH I could get my best friends to hang out more without their kids, but it's a losing battle. They don't want to leave their kids behind, but I don't want to be swarmed by their kids. Now I see them every few months and don't stress over them.
You dont have to travel to see her. If she has small kids , as bad as this sounds, your time may not be a priority.
You dont realise it but you making that effort every time prob means the world to her.
I totally get you, OP. It sucks when your friends have kids and disappear or put you in the position to do all the work for the friendship. The happy, healthy mothers I know insist on time for themselves and their friendships and they have a partner or support system to help facilitate that. One of my best friends has six children and one on the way. They are loved, cared for, and at least once a month each parent goes out or takes a small getaway alone. And those kids are learning independence and growing up with healthy role models.
I think we need to be understanding when our parent friends are exhausted or overwhelmed. Parenting is really difficult! But if our friends aren't willing to make time for adult relationships and reciprocal friendships then maybe we need to evaluate how important we actually are to them. And how much we even have in common.
If you don't want to travel to see her, stop traveling to see her. If the friendship doesn't work for you, it doesn't work for you. You are allowed to end the friendship. You are allowed to prioritize other friends who meet your needs.
Your friend isn't going to start choosing you over her children. Their needs will always come before your friendship (and literally everything else in her life, including her own need for a shower, most likely). That's the way parenting works. You don't get to demand that she should change her priorities.
But you do get to take this friendship as it is or leave it, or put it on hold, or lower your expectations, and find other friends. You have choices.
It really does depend on the husband and age of the kids.
RE: Husband. My son is 19 months. I can do and go anywhere I want - a weekend away with friends, to the store, anything. My husband is like "sure." And he the same. I have friends with the same age kids who's husbands cannot be alone for a weekend with the kids. They need grandma to be free so that they can "help." It's utter bullshit. One of the husbands is one of my best friends (along with wife), and I give him shit all the time. Wife is always pressured to come home at night for all of our girl's weekends and get's shit if she's out all day. UGH. Her husband used to say I didn't understand bc I was childless, but now... I have a child and my judgement stands- you are a lazy POS to your wife (also our BFF).
Re: Kids age...For reference we have an 19mo old so it is a little easier for us to get out there - My son doesn't have weekday or weekend schedules so our time is free. Once kids get older, I can see this being much more difficult on a mom. It will be much harder for a parent to casually go away on a weekend or a day trip when kids need to be picked up, dropped off, games attended, etc. So I kind of feel for your friend if her kids are older. It's too much to do that, plus drive 2 hours to visit a friend. And bringing multiple kids to a friends house is kind of anxiety ridden, especially if she's going solo without her husband there to help so she can socialize.
IDK i have a lot of feelings about it. You just don't know until you are in it.
I don’t have an answer for you; there are so many sensible and wise perspectives here. I do sympathise with your pain and I feel the same sense of loss sometimes.
Well, you dont have to. I, for example, love to travel. A lot of my riends live abroad. Before Corona i would go see them about once a year. Bonus, I get to stay at some places for free AND I get to see my friends. Win win. I see it this way: life and friendships are about give and take. I am in a position where i can go and see my friends. I accept that having kids limits your freedom. I am not bitter about it, it's a fact.
I’m probably going to get dv’ed due to the tone of the comments on this thread but here goes. I normally agree with most of the advice on here but these comments aren’t it.
OP, this happens to me all the time too. People choose their priorities and I have some friends with kids that choose to continue to prioritize friendships and some that don’t. For the ones that do, I’m grateful. For the ones that don’t, I don’t bend over backwards to accommodate them. Maybe we can be better friends when they get more free as their kid grows up, if we’re both at a mutually agreeable place in our lives.
My life hasn’t stopped bc they had kids. I’m still busy with my own stuff, and I still have times when I need a friend. I dont understand why having kids is the ultimate gotcha that trumps every other reason that makes maintaining friendships hard. Friendships are a give and take and I’d rather invest my limited time in situations where I’m not the only person expected to give.
ETA seriously what is going on here?? This sub is usually a safe space for lots of perspectives and usually gives reasonable advice. I’m shocked at the repeated insistence here that you can’t leave your child for a single second and your childfree and childless friends are selfish to suggest otherwise. Where did this vocal group come from? This is really bizarre.
I'm with you. I have several friends with kids who I still hang out with regularly, and the ones that had kids and fell off the face of the earth just aren't my friends anymore. I didn't bend over backwards to maintain friendships with people who weren't doing the same for me.
What happens when the kids are grown and have left the nest? Seems lonely if you don’t also invest in relationships with people your own age.
That why you make friends with other parents with kids the same age. You have stuff in common, their houses are baby proofed when that's an issue, they like doing kid-friendly stuff and when your kids are grown and you have more free time so do they.
Sometimes life takes you in different directions than your friend you grow apart.
New friendships can be made.
Idk how in the US, but in my country usually the parents cling on their children and make their lives hell with all kinds of "but you owe me for raising you" when this happens
My parents culture is like that. Seems unfortunate, like making kiddos is the only way to have people around as you get older. That’s a lot to put on a child.
Yep. Sorry OP.
There are ways to maintain a friendship other than in-person meetups, specially in covid-times, if *both parties* want to.
There’s a lot of space between can someone else handle bath time for one night while I meet a friend for dinner and your very black and white comment.
I have an amazing group of girl friends from New York. Now that we’re all mid-30s, everyone lives in a different city. The last time we all got together, of the 4 or 5 that had babies, not a single one’s husband was alone with the kid for the weekend. Every single one had a parent with them.
I feel this. As a divorced childless person, I have seen most of my friends get sucked into the void of marriage and parenthood. They will usually make time to see their other married and parent friends, but single friends tend to get left out. They are dealing with a different life stage and between in-laws and children, they have no time. What little time they do have, they want to discuss their circumstances with other people who can commiserate or understand inside jokes, mostly because it's low-effort to do so. People who really care about you will stay in touch no matter what.
It's hard but... you might need to expand your social circle and even make friends with people who are younger and unattached. I have had no luck with this so far. Let me know if you come up with strategies.
Kids are hard.
Maintaining family relationships and sanity are hard.
Friendships are the last in a long line of people who are hanging on you as a mother…
Your either an understanding friend or your not.
I was infertile and among the single but supportive friends while all my friends had kids for 14 years..
We adopted my teenager at 13.
This shits fucking hard.
I knew that going in.
If you don’t have it in you to want to deal with the drive- then don’t. We don’t need friendship guilt adding to the strains of parenting, spousung and possibly work strain too.
I’ll bet money- your friend appreciates you making time for them and you might be the bit of respite they need from time to time, snd if they don’t- then maybe the friendship has reached it’s natural end.
Mourn it and move on.
No they do not always have a husband to take on the default parent role. Traveling to see friends for leisure can become lower on the priority list. Friendships and priorities shift when people start having kids. I am a mom to a young child and my list of things I am behind on is so long, traveling to see someone to hang out wouldn’t be happening in this season of my life. This is coming from someone who was an exporationist for work, river guide, backcountry medic .. before kids. Now going anywhere is pretty tough.
After reading some of the other comments if they do have opportunity to travel and don’t, your friendship might be changing. Might be worth a discussion with the person face to face to figure out what is going on. Maybe they just don’t want to make the trip. It might be time to start putting effort into other people.
To be honest it sounds like the 2 hours thing is the bigger issue. I have friends with kids who are 5 minutes away that I see all the time, and friends both with and without kids who live 40 minutes away that I rarely see. Yes, kids are a part of it, but the distance is the greater culprit. And yes, whether we like it or not it *is* easier for the childfree one to make the drive since, as others have said, it’s harder for parents to get away for any real length of time. I don’t have kids, but I get it. To me the bigger red flag in a friendship is if I’m always the one initiating contact.
I plan on being child free, and this is one of the things that's kind of keeping me partially on the fence, I'm afraid I'll lose my friends or I won't have anyone to connect with when everyone around me is a mother and I'm single
Wishing you all the best honestly
?? Motherhood is an extremely isolating experience for most people. You seem to be under the impression that when people have babies, they drop their former friends and start hanging out with other moms? For most part that is absolutely NOT the case. Especially until the kids are about 5, i.e. when they start going to school, moms (and sometimes dads too) become totally isolated and stop connecting with *everyone* for a few years.
So please don't have a child just in order to keep your friends. You won't really have friends during those first few years of baby's life whether you're the one with kids or whether you don't have kids. Parenting doesn't work that way.
From what I've read here, it does happen.
Not that the parents isolate, but they are very consumed with their kids (naturally especially very young kids) and their lives revolve around their kids so there isn't much of a common ground between you anymore and they connect better with other parents
Yeah sure but "connecting better with other parents" doesn't mean "hanging out with other parents all the time" or even "being friends with other parents" in the normal sense of the word "friends".
Like... you communicate with other parents in purely in half-second grunts and nods at pickup/dropoff time. The only obligation we have to each other is to make sure the other person's kid is invited to birthday parties and trick or treating. We consider keeping in touch to be looking at each others' kid pictures on instagram or facebook. We maintain the "friendship" mainly by showing up for each other's kid-related emergencies like, "my kid just told me she has a craft project due tomorrow and it's 9 pm and the shops are closed and please can I have some glue and glitter."
The relationship is not about us. It's all about the kids. We become each other's instant kid-support community - community that any parent desperately needs in order to survive. It's valuable and life saving and because of that it really is wonderful but *it's not a real friendship.*
And what's more, all this only happens after your kid starts going to school. Before that we don't even have community. We are absolutely isolated and utterly alone. (I know there's this trope of moms who all connect with each other at mommy-and-me classes or whatever, but you have to be really rich and not have a job to do that! Most of us aren't living that kind of life.)
Parents don't stop having personal friendship needs when kids are born, you know! We still have those needs, we still desperately wish we could have real friends. We don't willingly isolate, but we are isolated nevertheless. During this time of life, friendship is impossible. Friendship and companionship on a personal level is just one of the loooooooooong list of things that must be sacrificed in order to be a good parent in those early years.
All of which is a very long comment to say: IT'S MADNESS TO HAVE CHILDREN PURELY IN ORDER TO AVOID LOSING FRIENDS. ***MADNESS.***
It is rough. I am sorry this is such a hard thing. I don't have kids and I know how hard parenting is, as in it can be all-consuming. I hope things change with your friend as the kids get older. Would she be agreeable to meeting halfway with one or multiple children for a park day or something? Heck even meeting at a Starbucks or McDonald's could work. They might have fun memories of visiting with you and it being a special getaway with mom. My husband's best friend from junior high is like this. I try so so hard to empathize because I know he has his own business and when the kids were teeny it was much harder to get together. Well the kids are both in high school now and he is local and we still never see him! Priorities. My husband is much more patient about it than I am. I hope you can talk with your friend and she will see your point of view and have more visits soon.
I’d echo what others have said, you don’t have to. I’ve been on both sides with friends who had kids 5-10 years before I did, and now I have a son. Honestly things are just harder with kids, she might not have any family nearby to look after them and depending on her family dynamic might not be able to leave all weekend. It’s a 100 hour a week job, on top of whatever paid work you also do. As others have said with young kids sometimes you just do not have time for anything else in your week. Put it this way, the only way I’d be able to go and see a friend who lived two hours away would be to make it an overnight stay, because my 2 year old will not do 4 hours in the car in one day. Kids are bloody awkward!
Can you compromise and meet halfway for a day trip? I do this with some of my friends all the time. We’ll pick a National Trust property which means the kids tire themselves out running around and then have a picnic lunch.
I live on another continent now so I only ever see one friend when I’m there. For the record, I have two kids and access to car, she has three, no car, lives two hours away from my home city, and she works full time and neither of us can simply leave the kids somewhere and take off. The logistics of it are that it’s simply much easier if I come to them, even though I’ve already travelled 6 thousand miles. I don’t holt this against her one bit. It’s just how life currently is with young kids.
I get that you’re hurt and feel it’s unfair, but honestly you need to reevaluate how you look at this. If it’s not worth it to you and you are unable to wait till the kids are all older, you *can* drop the friendship.
I hardly find enough hours in the day to visit people or make time for things and I'm child free. I can't imagine how busy life would be with kids to look after. It's really as simple as that.
These posts always turn into such a mess.
Nobody is denying that children take time and effort. They're people whom you are responsible for and of course you love them and want to spend time with them. Of course they should be a priority. Until they can take care of themselves, they should be your number one priority (other than yourself).
But nobody should expect to put zero effort into a friendship and still have that friendship waiting for them in a few years. A friendship has to be give and take. It can't just be one person giving over and over while the other person puts in zero effort but still expects all the rewards.
No, people who have children did not do it to hurt their friends. But the zero care you put into maintaining that friendship or showing the other person you actually still like them, or that they're important to you in *any* way? You are choosing to do that and it hurts.
It definitely varies a lot from person to person. I don't have or want to have kids and I have always known that, especially for the first few years, my friends who did were going to be too tired to do much (especially since most of them had husbands who already did nothing to help out around the house at all). I was never a last minute party gal anyway, more of a 'hey can we plan to meet up for coffee or dinner next weekend?' person, so even though they couldn't do that, I always tried to keep up with them even if it was just the occasional text or email to find out what was new, what was going on with them, etc. I also went to countless baby showers, birthday parties, etc. However, it did definitely make it clear how the person felt about our friendship as the kids got older. Some of them were thrilled to get to hang out once the kids were a little older, and those folks had always asked about what was going on with me when we caught up, shared lots of funny stories and pictures, generally showed that they cared, cheered for my successes, etc. Then there were some that that kept saying things like 'your house is too far, can't you just come here?' (as though it was less far for me?) or 'my husband forgot to tell me he has plans tonight, so I know we were supposed to meet in an hour but I have to cancel' also only ever wanted to talk about their kids, what their kids were doing, complain about their husbands, etc. They would change the subject if I brought up anything going on with me, blew off any concerns I tried to talk to them about, and undermined any positive news I had. So my friendships with some of the mom friends I had are stronger. And some of them are over.
When they are a new parent I get it and same with really young kids. I didn't mind going out to see them as that's rough.
Little different when they have kids that can go to school, they can be left with dad. The issue though isn't always simple as that. One friend who also works, by the time you get to her 2 days off it's consumed by everything. It's not about not caring about me but literally not having the luxury to have any time to be able to catch up let alone go on a solo vacation. Me going there and her hanging out for an evening with me and me staying the weekend to chill at her home is about as realistic because that's all the time she could allot.
The thing is, it meant that we can be friends but that there's limitations. The roles change by our responsibility. I have plenty of friends I made as an adult whom are like me and these friendships are fulfilling in that we are alike and can do the things spontaneously. You might have come to a point where you need to expand to more friends whose schedules match yours and are more local so it doesn't take away your time and resources the same.
I miss the friendship we had with one of my friends who didn't have children. It didn't occur to me that I could leave my young children with my husband? Although there were friends who did it for nights out with girls for a while, in my friend group for various reasons we didn't do it. In hindsight, their husbands were jealous, thought that girls nights out are not for women who feel good with their current partner and is a way to find the next one! But no-one openly admitted it that their husbands restricted / discouraged such outings or it went perhaps both ways, nobody trusted completely the other. We had maintained friendships mostly with people who felt like their stage in life is to go out with other families.
So as far as we want to appear as mature adults, there were aspects essential to the continuity of the relationship that were never openly discussed. I figured it out after more than a decade!
Fast forward a few years and I am the family person who needs some me time without having any thought of finding a guy. It's just a need. It happens, as the children grow, the instinctive need to make up for lost time from your working life lessens.
So if you think this is a friend for life, maybe in a few years the situation will change gradually.
In any case, maybe find a way to discuss it without anyone getting defensive.
Bam - this. The problem with the "but the kids" is that...expecting one person to carry the load of driving to you and making the sacrifices to visit with you "Because the kids" puts the burden to carry the friendship on the childless woman. Not so much an issue if it's for a short time but this often goes on ...and on...and on....for years if not decades. Then the mom complains she has no close friends (well, duh).
This is not a "having kids" problem ...it's a cultural problem that in the US people choose not to do things with their kids and there is not enough community support to help with childcare; when I say childcare I'm not meaning "babysitting and paying someone" what I mean is, parents are failing to coordinate with other parents with watching each other's kids - it's a viscous circle of "can't maintain friendships because the kids" and then "I don't have any friends to help" and then kids leave the house and parents are without a social network of quality. I'm not seeing a communal "help each other out". My friends often say that they do not trust anyone else to watch their kids - sorry not sorry but how arrogant. You're really "the best" child watcher? Hardly. Let go of the control and paranoia. The child is not the ruler of the home, top of the pyramid in the house; that's backwards, sends the wrong message to the child and prevents parents of living. People have survived for thousands of years letting others help with childcare. Build a community around you and when you help others, they will likely help you. My parents used to bring us along, and they'd share help with the neighbors. Did they LOVE the neighbors? Probably not. But from a young age, this is how it was. And we were fine. And my parents had a life \*which was a great example for us kids\*.
Btw...I do have a friend with a newborn and ... they brought the baby with them to visit last week. It can be done. It's a \*choice\* to use the "but the kids" excuse.
Totally hear you on this OP.
PS Ready for downvotes.
>in the US people choose not to do things with their kids
I'm not in the US, but my perspective is that my childless friends don't want me to show up with my kid. They want to go places that aren't kid friendly, and want to talk about adult stuff uninterrupted by my toddler. I don't blame them for wanting that, but it makes it more difficult to get together.
Also, the fact that you have one friend how visited you with a newborn doesn't mean: 'going places with any kid(s) is always manageable and enjoyable'.
Have you and your childfree friends talked about it? I'm childfree and i 'm willing to do kid friendly stuff with my friends who have kids. I don't go out to bars nearly as much as I did in my 20s and 30s
It depends on the friend! Some of them love doing stuff with me and my son and others are very vocal about not wanting to hang out with kids, like, ever. It helps that I personally love to go out without my kid from time to time, so whenever that's possible, it can be like old times. But I know that's not something all moms can/want to do.
I actually liked your comment but just want to say that I found going anywhere with a newborn 1000 times easier than taking a toddler or child. Newborns stay put and don't get bored lol Your friends might find it a lot harder as their kid gets bigger, unless your house is childproof and has fun things for kids to do. And if their kid naps ok at your place. Mine wouldn't sleep anywhere but their own cots and I didn't want to subject my childfree friends to tired toddler meltdowns!
Lol I can see and understand that. My bestie has a toddler and we all help keeping him when we're together. It's a group effort, busy little guy.
That's awesome, it makes it so much easier to visit friends if they pitch in on looking after the little ones!
This is so much easier said than done, especially during a pandemic.
Maybe husband isn't reliable to leave the kids with but she doesn't want to put him down to her friends.
Tragic how many women are willing to settle for husbands who can't be trusted to watch their own children.
Having a baby impacts the relationship. Some behaviors of the partner might not be apparent until the baby arrives. People have to deal with their new roles as parents, and you either grow together or don't.
I know. I’m reading this like wtf? Women get screwed.
Yup. I will say though that I bet their husbands are more willing and capable than many mom's think or will admit to themselves; seems some woman like to elevate themselves to unrealistic proportions of "importance" and talk themselves into believing that things won't run without them. Reality is that, if they died, there'd be an emotional grief but life would go on and the kids will survive just fine.
This is so true
Have you talked to your friends about this? If they say something about not being able to leave their kids, well, then let the relationship cool off for a while. Either they will make the effort to reach out to you, they will wait a couple of months to get in touch, or they will just not call for a long time. Whatever they do, you know where you stand in their priorities. You either matter a lot, matter a bit, or don't matter at all in their lives.
Wow your friends that have had kids still talk to you?
Most of my friends quit talking to me right after they got married.
The few that lasted after the wedding left after kids were born. So I'd say you're lucky!
I’m in that spot right now. I do not, in any shape or form, expect anyone to drive long distances to come and visit me. I can do dinner dates, and sometimes lunch dates, depending on my work schedules. My husband works anywhere from 45-60 hours a week, and our 4 year old is … a lot (she’s amazing, just so much energy. I’d love to have 10% of it). And she wants her mom for many things. She’s totally fine with her dad, even prefers him a lot of the time, but when she has night terrors, and my husband, who works a very physically demanding job and is already exhausted, goes to comfort her, she’s not having it. I’ve left for a weekend before, and came home to very unhappy people. I also don’t really want to go anywhere after a week of working and doing mom duty, which I acknowledge is a bit selfish- but it is what it is. I’m tired. (I’m also disabled and don’t drive, so I’d need to arrange Uber or something, and damn, that sounds extra awful). Wine at home sounds like the best thing ever. Bless the friends who show up in pjs and chill with me. I love you forever. I’m anxious when I’m gone, and that has nothing to do with my friends, and I just figure in a few years all this will work itself out, so … i do make sure to check in with my friends though, and make sure that I’m not just talking about my kid. Yeah, a few friends checked out. I get it. That’s fine. I chose to have the kid, not them. No hard feelings there. But I’m old enough to where most of my friends have kids, or have been around kids via nieces and nephews and stuff, so they are pretty understanding.
Plan a camping trip at a half way Point? Camping is a great family activity and is low pressure for all.
Totally agree. I don't have kids either and I'm not sure I will. Is my time less valuable for this choice?
Sadly, in our culture and to folks with kids, I think this is the way it goes. My husband and I make the sacrifice to travel to the few people we know with kids and care to keep ties with (mostly his family), but actually, all our best friends are still kid-free like us.
Your time is not less valuable, but you have more control over it.
I can sympathize with the fact that it seems one-sided to you, because if you take everything else out of the equation, you are doing far more to make the friendship work. However, as someone who has been a non-parent before and am now a parent of a 7 and 5 year old, I can tell you that doing anything pre-kids was about 20 times easier than it was when they were babies/toddlers, and about 10 times easier than it is with young school aged kids. That’s not an exaggeration—the logistics in planning and the inability to completely separate mentally and emotionally from your kids is a real thing. So while it is an imposition for you to travel, it is a colossal imposition for your friend and when you put everything back into the equation, your friend would be doing about 20 times as much as you to come see you. That’s why she doesn’t. It was her choice to have kids and you didn’t ask for her to make that choice, so if you feel it’s too one-sided, you can let the friendship go, which is probably best at this point because if you can’t understand why it’s become more one-sided, you are not able to support where she is in her life currently, either. That’s ok, just recognize that the incompatibility is two-sided.
I don’t know why you feel the need to connect. They clearly have a full plate and if you wanted to be a part of their life and time then you make the effort. If they aren’t making the effort then I don’t understand why you feel like you have to force it. You aren’t entitled to their time and they aren’t entitled to your time. It is reciprocal. If they come to visit you then it is going to cost them a baby sitter and if they aren’t working then their budget is stretch thin with 3 mouths to feed on their partner budget. Are you feeding three people or more? If you aren’t conscious of their life then I don’t think you can expect them to understand why you are doing all the work. You have to put yourself in their shoes and it is not fair you feel like they have to do more than what they are already doing (lack of sleep, managing home, expenses, 24/7 care for their babies, etc). If you come from their perspective and feel blessed/grateful they make time for you even when they are stretch thin then maybe you won’t feel so entitled. The early years of childhood development is hard. People separate because of this and then they come back together later in life. You are building up resentment when in reality they have a lot to handle. Maybe even overwhelmed due to responsibility and lack of social connection and fun. Can you imagine the guilt your friend feels if she went out to have fun with you and her kids are hurt because she wasn’t there or the baby sitter wasn’t careful? You aren’t priority and you don’t need her as much as her kids do. I wouldn’t hold it against my friend and if it works then I can visit but I am not going out of my way to make time and feel resentful. She also lives over 2 hours away with an autistic kid and has to go to therapy sessions and manage everything as a single mom. She has her family help but I wouldn’t expect my poor friend to travel to visit me and leave her autistic 4 year old at home with family/sitter who aren’t really train. Friendship to me is compassion and love.
Being away from the husband or the kids will build so much anxiety for most mums, they'll probably not enjoy the time away. So, makes sense asking you to come over.
Respectfully, I don’t get this at all. Moms are still people, and an occasional dinner with friends or a weekend trip while kids are safe with partner seems like it supports being a whole person separate and apart from your role as a mom.
From this perspective, I can see why it would be hard to keep friendships. If stepping outside of your mom role for one night causes “so much anxiety,” then you likely support no outside interests outside of kids, and that gets un relatable to childless and childfree friends real fast.
Now if moms are anxious bc kids aren’t actually safe with partner, that’s a different conversation.
I've seen situations where mothers can't even leave the kid or kids with their husband to get their hair done. Its sad
Wtf. Then why is Dad in home?
Not sure, I'm single and childfree. The salon I go to is mostly adults. There are occasionally kids who get haircuts with their moms. But sometimes the mother just brings them there because they father can't be bothered to take care of their own kids.
Most of the moms are pretty good about making sure the kids behave in the salon. But a few let the kids run wild.
I'm curious if they knew going into it that their partners weren't going to help much.
My dad did a lot of child care things, especially for a guy in the 1960s/1970s. He'd encourage my mom to go out on weekend days with her friends or to go shopping for herself or get her hair done. He'd also cook and clean.
It was nice to have time with my dad as well. He was very good at home repair. I'm nowhere near what his level was, but I can do some of the basics and I still have to tools and toolbox he gave me when I moved into my own apartment.
Thanks for sharing. I appreciate it; it helps me learn. I don’t know claim to know the answer or even claim there is a universal “one fits all” solution. What I do know is historically, data-driven, anecdotal, etc. all data shows women overall bear the brunt of it all. And we all feel the effects of such, whether acutely or down the road when the woman/man/partners/children show the long-term effects of undue burden and responsibility. To counter, you see the positive effects of a more balanced dynamic. Your father proves can be done better and I’m glad that you have that experience.
We all pay.
I'm in my 50s. Those marriages where they were staying together for the kids (not a good idea, but people do it) are starting to fall apart. So after sacrificing friendships and career opportunities to be a Stay at Home Parent (happens to some men too, but mostly women), the stay at home parent has to start at square one personally and professionally. Some of them are completely devastated by it.
It's sad to watch. I hear a lot of people say, "I'd just be paying my salary to day care". But they don't factor in non monetary things like staying current in the field, having to start all over an entry level, employer contributions to retirement funds, etc. I think once the kids are back in school, at least a part time job is a good idea.
So not necessarily the same, but I spent a lot of years with no kids, and I was always the one to go back to see my family after I moved out of state. It just made sense - it’s much cheaper for 1 or 2 adults to pay for airfare than for 5 or 6 people. It’s a lot easier to find a spare room for one person or one couple than for you to find multiple rooms for a family of five or six.
And then there’s the equipment. An adult traveling can get away with one suitcase or sometimes even just a back pay. Young children…forget it. Stroller, car seat, high chair, play pen, bottle sanitizer, special cups, bottles, special utensils, toys…the amount of equipment can be daunting to pay for on a plane.
And even if you’re talking about a road trip, most doctors recommend young children don’t spend a long period of time in a car seat so that it doesn’t put pressure on their airways. And even when old enough to drive for a distance, you need to generally have a parent in the back seat until they’re out of the toddler phase to keep them occupied. Plus somehow bring 300 lbs of equipment.
When had my baby, the roles reversed a bit and my parents and family with older children were making the trip to see me. Now that the baby is past their first birthday, we’re back to being able to make short trips out of town which still require a bunch of equipment but less than when he was an infant.
It’s not unreasonable to take into account that one person has a much easier time traveling than another when making plans. But you aren’t required to stay friends with anyone so if you don’t want to wait until the children are older for the travel arrangements to even out, then you do you.
It's not even about the husband staying with the kids, because he is perfectly capable, but the mom guilt is so strong sometimes that even when I had the chance to get away someplace for a day or two, I'd choose to stay. Now that they are older, it's not so bad.
A person who obsesses over fairness is generally pretty unhappy, in my opinion. Do you want a friend that you have to occasionally travel to see, or do you want to not have that friend at all? Those are your choices here, and neither one of them is the wrong choice, but to expect something else is to create a self-fulfilling prophecy wherein you're guaranteed to be unhappy.
Men are socially conditioned to be provider/occasional babysitter while women are socially conditioned to be the child rearing parent who does all the planning and emotional labor of kids. Most parents I've met, no matter how egalitarian they started out, devolve into this dynamic. It's not even a conscious thing, but when society is structured to make that dynamic the most feasible, that's what happens.
100% of my parent friends are people I've met online. My meatspace friends are all neurodivergent, queer, childfree or party mix of the three. Parent friends are just easier to maintain online. When the kids start growing past the infant/toddler stage, your friends are going to have some more breathing room.
The Second Shift is happening
I honestly don't travel to see friends with kids, but I barely have any friends with kids. After a certain point in life, it takes an incredibly strong friendship to do something like this, and it should be reciprocated on some level even if it's very rare on their side because their situation is tougher.
IDK though, the only person I travel to see their kids is my sibling. Can't really imagine doing it for friends.
I don't. I have several friends with kids and jobs. All are capable to do so. As soon as the baby wasn't breastfed anymore (and it's not common to do so for very long), they went out alone now and then. They also go to the gym alone. Some even travelled alone for a long weekend.
I don't wrap my live around theirs. I agree that they need some support and more tolerance. But it has an end. Yes, it's exhausting but so is my live. You can be overwhelmed and stressed with or without kids and still maintain friendships aside from your status of being a parent or exhausted. It's a choice. If you can't, I'll stick with those who can.
No, sometimes you can't leave the kids with your husband for a night. My husband is a deep sleeper and works long hours. When my kids cry during the night, he wouldn't wake up. And I didn't WANT him to wake up - he needed to be refreshed for work the next day.
Plus, my responsibility is to my family. I can't imagine just leaving them all behind to hang out with a friend. Maybe if it was for something really serious, like you were deathly ill and I was the only one who could help you, I'd go. But just to hang out? I couldn't do it without feeling all kinds of guilt and I would just be worrying about my family and missing them the whole time!