Thursday, March 15, 2012

Socializing Parents

Once upon a time in a life far, far away, there was this thing called a social life.  A thing where you actually did things with other people, where responsibilities were forgotten and fun was had, where there were plans every weekend with friends.  Yes, friends.  You know what those are.  If you have forgotten, look at Facebook, I"m sure you have a list of your closest 500.

Friends.  That one word is used to describe the people we have been trying to surround ourselves with since the first day we found out that other people had toys we could play with if we called them friends.  My kindergartner uses the word to describe every girl that she knows.  My third grader has never met a kid she didn't call a friend.  My one-year-old doesn't know the word, but I am pretty sure that if she could articulate it's meaning, she would consider anyone that paid her any attention a friend.  Kids have friends.  They just have to be in the same orbit as other small people their age and they are happy and have best friends.

Then why is it as adults that we have such a hard time finding friends?  I'm not talking about your high school friends or college friends that you still communicate with on Facebook, but friends that you do things with.  When we were kids it all seemed so easy, but as adults the rules have changed.  Or maybe we have.  Maybe it's not that we can't find friends, but it is our lack of time and energy it takes to build a friendship in which the two (or more) families hang out on a regular basis.  I mean, I have friends.  Ones I see quite frequently.  And to be honest, they are some of my favorite people.  They are the parents of my kids' friends.  Maybe that is how we as adults (parents) meet friends.  We use our kids as wingmen to meet new people.  I have "mommy friends," and I love mommy friends.  These are the friends that understand what you are going through on a daily basis, and they are usually too tired on the weekend to even plan a get-together.  Which is fine because I'm usually too tired to go.  And on that rare occassion when you do have the energy to be social, it's nice when the kids can entertain each other.

Things change when you become parents.  Actually a lot of things change when you become a parent, but for now I'm talking about socially.  Now you are the one in the restaurant with the loud screaming kid that other people (the ones with no kids at their table) are glaring at, silently judging you for not being able to make your kid be quiet.  When people suggest going out to dinner after 6:00, you inwardly cringe because you know you will be that parent with the screaming kid at the restaurant.  You also can no longer be patrons of quiet restaurants.  You have to look for the loudest restaurant in the town because there is a chance that someone else's kid might be louder than yours so you won't receive the glares. 

There is the thought of a baby sitter.  However, I am too much of a worrier to hire one.  We had a good baby sitter in the last town we lived in, but she wouldn't move with us so now we have no baby sitter.  I also like to actually spend the weekend with my kids (I know, weird concept), so I don't like shoveling them off onto other people.  So we are back to that thing from a life far, far away called a social life.  It is not as it once was, nor do I want it to be.  I enjoy my life and the friends I have, and on the rare occassion that we are able to get together and do something, I enjoy it.  And if we can even hold a conversation over the loud roar of the kids, even better. - Friends are like therapists, only they don't charge you an hourly rate.


  1. So true. I have a few good friends... I value quality over quantity.

    It is hard to get together sometimes (especially with my mommy friends). We each have our children's schedules to work around. Usually getting together equates to a weekly yoga class with a cup of tea afterwards.

    Thank goodness for the the blogging world too! I've met so many WONDERFUL women on the internet... it's been an amazing blessing.

  2. I actually rarely had friends in Middle School/High School. Sadly I just couldn't deal with all the backstabbing drama. I was the one who had a boyfriend as the main relationship (sad, I know) and once I got married, both my husband and I are fairly anti social. Its really odd, because i DO enjoy hanging out sometimes, but I deal with some social anxiety. I just wrote about it a couple of weeks ago when I was asked out to lunch by some acquaintances from the gym and I was stressing OUT.

    And it cracks me up that people worry about my kids 'socializing' because they're homeschooled. They have more of a social life than my hubby and I did/do! Except for my one anti social child, they're all outgoing social butterflies!

    Anyway, I do have people that I consider close online (especially through livejournal where I've had a personal online journal since 2003!!)

  3. I think the key to making friends as adults is putting yourself out there to try. As kids, we didn't have that nervous feeling about it, you just said 'want to be friends?' and 99% of the time the other kid would say 'ok'.

    Frequently I tell people that it's like dating but instead of trying to find a mate you're trying to make friends. I meet people through volunteering, twitter 'tweet-ups', mommy groups, even just the playground. Yes, I'm the one asking people if they want to meet up again even after just a meeting at the playground. I put myself out there a lot but I've found that it's netted me many great new friends. It's not easy but I figure I don't have much to lose by asking and getting to know other people.

    And one thing I've discovered, friends with kids will go WITH you to a restaurant before 6pm and all your kids will scream together and then somehow those dirty looks don't seem to matter anymore :)


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