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May 31, 2005

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cam c.

Hah... I don't think it's as bad as you make it out to be... we made friends with two other couples who had kids around the same time as us at pre-natal class... considering my two best buddies from university show no sign of getting married and having kids, it's also kinda nice to have people you can talk to who understand what it's like to be up all night or rush around to the doctor's office.

My one best friend actually asked me if I wanted to go out to a nightclub a couple months ago when the baby was only 2 months old... "Why don't you get a babysitter? Life doesn't end because you have a kid..." HAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA... :)

The other thing is, we're a mixed nationality couple; my wife is Japanese -- we went to a prenatal class for Japanese women living here, so we made friends with people who are also raising their kid bilingual, etc...

Anyway, you can still pick and choose the parents you hang out with; we lucked out and met some cool people...

George

My wife and I have two kids (14 and 9). I have to admit that somehow, over the years, I've found myself spending a lot of our weekends with people that we met through the kids. I'm not really sure how this happened. I blame it on the wife. She's in charge of our social arrangements. Besides, the other couples are all nice enough. But it's not like hanging out with my college buddies or childhood friends. Even though I've known some of these "new" people for 10 years now, I'm still not completely myself around them and I wouldn't really consider them true friends. They're still in that category of "parenting" friends. They probably always will be.

Jen

Yes, you can meet some pretty cool people through your kids. I was really scared when I first became a stay-at-home mom last summer. I HATE meeting new people, and in general, most people annoy the hell out of me. The idea of meeting up with other strange stay-at-home moms to play at the park was bewildering to me. Out of total luck, I was walking little girl around the neighborhood, and we ran into a neighbor that I had met 2 years previously, but had never spent more than 2 minutes talking to. Low and behold, she had two toddler sons, one just at the right age to play with little girl. We reluctantly set a time to play later that week, and now, 9 months later, we do everything together. We are two peas in a freaking pod. We could drop our kids off at each other's house so we could run errands, or to get a 15 minute break without any crying and whining.

For the longest time, we would just let the kids play during the week, while both of our husbands were traveling, and never spent time together on the weekends. One Saturday, we needed to borrow their truck to haul mulch, and our hubby's got to meet. They also hit it off quite well. Now we BBQ, hit the pool, and hang out on the weekends as well. I know that it was just total luck that we met people our same age, with same interests, and kids that get along real well, but I am sure you can find at least one or two families to hang out with as well once your little one is old enough to actually play with other kids. They are lifesavers, because if you have an emergency in the middle of the night, you can call them and they understand why you are dropping your kid off and running to the emergency room. Some of your single friends will probably not appreciate it, or they may even still be at the bars drinking.

cv

I am also an NYC parent--I used to HATE playground duty because the other parents (usually moms) were so damn hyper and mean. And competitive. Now, my daughter is at a low-key private progressive school. And it is fun to SOMETIMES hang with other parents who also have kids at the school-- and who have a kid that your kid also likes. The hard part is managing to hit the jackpot of parents YOU like with a kid that your kid likes. We found maybe one family a year, per class....

Krissy

I think it's a little of both. I think that you have to be prepared that if Peanut has a BESTEST BESTEST FRIEND you might wind up being friends with the parents simply because both families spend so much time schlepping the girls around.

But the good news is that as a parent your only obligation is to know enough about the other kid's parents to know that they aren't over at the house playing with loaded weapons. Know that they're learning to use them properly, dammit.

We're convincing our friends to have kids, and have met one couple because of Charlie who we adore. They are seriously cool and we'd hang out even if we all didn't have the world's cutest kids.

You're under no obligation, but I hope you get to make new friends and keeeep the ooooold one is silver and the other's gold.

Or you could just get an Enforced Bus Friend:

http://speckblog.blogspot.com/2005/05/ebf.html

Queen of Ass

I am proof that you don't have to make friends with you kid's friends parents. A nice, cordial "hello" is all that's necessary. And sometimes? Not even that.

Jason

Parenting friends become foxhole buddies, I'm discovering. People without kids do not - CANNOT - remotely begin to understand the joys and madness that comes along with being a parent. I say this of my best friends, guys and gals that I've known for years. Sadly, I'm drifting apart from some of our closest friends because they just don't get the basic facts of our life with kid. (I realize this is a two-way street, but we seem to end up getting the babysitter a hell of a lot more than they opt to go out to dinner at a kid friendly pizza place at 6:00, rather than a four star restaurant at 9:00.)The flip side - our new friends with kids (we met a new crop during our childbirth classes - boot camp, if you will) are a great support network AND are on roughly the same social schedule that we're on, and we've grown closer with our old friends who've had kids at about the same time we did.

Matthew

You and I are definitely kindred spirits. I still count my elementary school friends as my closest friends. I think it has to do with these people were the ones who watched me go through puberty. I mean, if they're still my friends after I went through acne, hormonal surges, and idiotic decision-making, then they are friends for life!

It's weird, because I have an outgoing personality but I have a hard time getting close to new acquaintances. I'm actually looking forward to the parent-of-child's-friend hookup because new friends can't be all that bad, right?

Hank

Man, I knew moving every 2 years while I was growing up would come in handy. I don't even remember the names of the friends I had when I was 12.

panthergirl

Don't worry, toots. I never made any friends through my kids. I made "acquaintenances", but nothing more than that. I used to be kind of bummed that I rarely even liked any of the parents of my kids' friends, but ultimately it was ok. My very best friends are either from childhood, work, or people who were my neighbors in Brooklyn. OH, and I did make some nice friends when i was teaching childbirth classes. Some of those have remained close.

landismom

I'm with Hank--no clue where my best friends of age 12 are today. One thing that I will say, is that landisdad and I made the huge error (in retrospect) of moving across the country while I was pregnant with our first child. Consequently all of our friends who had kids in our first year as parents were 3,000 miles away. That's a helluva distance to travel for a playdate. And we didn't meet a lot of people through work (ie, folks with similar politics and interests) who had kids--mostly because (I now realize) they were all on maternity leave having kids of their own.

I've met some okay people as 'parent friends' in the last 5+ years, although most of the folks who are are our parent circle are definitely NOT people I would go away with. But you will spend a lot of time hanging out at birthday parties and the like. One nice thing that I've discovered is that it's possible to have a conversation with a person who I would normally flee from (ie, a right-wing evangelical Christian) about parenting without raising too many shackles.

On the flip side, I've been watching alot of my more recent co-workers move into the parenting vein, and they see me as a mentor (or a cautionary tale, I'm not sure). It makes me feel a little bit like Darth Sidius.

I'm not sure why it is, but your posts always make me reply in lengthy comments.

loretta

Since I am a working mom, I do not hang out at the playground with other moms. Hence I have only become acquaintances with other moms. Most of them are very absorbed parents - their whole life revolves around the kids' schedule, maybe it's people like that who end up hanging out with their child's friends' parents. I still keep in contact with many of my single friends. It is a different world but it keeps things in perspective.

Shellubra

omg i did't know my dh had a blog. skeery.

Kristie

Hmmm, I'm going about this all wrong apparently. When my kids make friends...and those friends invite my kids over to their house or to go to the movies or whatever...I don't make nice at all. I grill those parents in a way that's not much different than the way the SVU cops interview suspects. (A parent has to be sure they're not sending their kid off with a pedophile or an axe murderer, you know.)

I am not a people person. I'm not interested in "hanging out" in my free time. Perhaps this is why my family dedicates so much time to animals.

Mellissa Ann

You are too funny, MetroDad. Don't worry. Making friends with the parents of your child's friend isn't always a nightmare. Sometimes it works out well. Sometimes it doesn't. Like a few other parents have mentioned already, you don't need to be friends with your them. You just need to be assured that you're leaving your child in capable and responsible hands.

On the other hand, dealing with a whole mass of parents via school activities is a nightmare! It really does start reminding one of high-school and social cliques. We recently had a PTA meeting in our neighborhood and there was so much disagreement and animosity that I thought fisticuffs would ensue. Some people are just nuts!

David

As a parent: who has time for friends?
Less facetiously, you're lucky to still have friends from the age of 12. I hope my kids have that because it means they have roots. I left my home town at 18 with the intention of never going back to live. In fact I even left the country. It's the friends from my college years that have stuck and a few from later on, even including a few fellow parents. They are not that bad really, but we have put effort into living in a neighbourhood where we really feel at home. I just hope I manage to stay friends with the kids...

Éireann

Aww, don't worry, MetroDad. To my knowledge, my parents never made friends with a single one of my friends' parents. :)

MARK

You may not be anti-social but I definitely am. I dread going anywhere with large gatherings of parents. Somthing happens when you put them all together in one place...they turn into assholes. I've seen snooty women at the playground, obnoxious sports dads at little league, bossy Type-A jerks at school picnics, etc. I try to be polite and courteous. No more, no less. I have my close friends and that's good enough for me.

Arwen

I heard a lot of "your un-married, childfree friends will drift away and you'll make friends with other parents". It panicked me because I really didn't want to trade in the fabulous, deep relationships that took lots of years to create.
Perhaps I have superlative friends, but they're all at least *somewhat* interested in our parenting. Many of them plan to have kids, and we're sort of the test balloon. It's true we see them less: but that was happening anyway as we all got paired off and were no longer up to going out every night the way we'd been in our early 20s.
As for new friends? I don't have time for the family and friends I'd give a kidney to. And I don't like other people just because they're also parents. Still, our next door neighbour is a stay at home mom and I really like her. Perhaps in 20 years she'll be a best friend too: friends, like jeans, really only become mine as they age.

Angela

You're so lucky to still have friends from childhood. I don't know whether you can appreciate how rare and special that is. We moved around a lot when I was a kid so I never really formed close relationships with anyone in junior high or high school. As for college, I went to school on the West Coast. Right afterwards, I met my DH and we moved back East. It became hard for me to keep in touch with people so far away. Then, at work, it was hard to form close friendships with people because I wanted to keep that whole work/play thing separate. So I kind of reconciled myself to not having very many friends. When I was pregnant, nobody even threw me a baby shower. But then, as my daughter got older, I was forced to start meeting new groups of people. And now? My closest friend is a woman I met through my daughter five years ago. I'm so grateful for having her. It's the first time I've had a best friend in about 25 years. Far too long.

Jim

Glad you stopped by and checked out the story of my new "friendship"
http://fatherknowsnothing.blogspot.com/2005/05/here-now.html
The romance is coming along swimmingly!

As a single dad, I rarely have time for friends except through the internet. Most of the fellow parents (through my oldest daughter's school) I meet are yuppiefied suburban drones and there's no common ground. As a military brat, my childhood chums are spread across the globe and basically only accessible through the internet.

But as you read, the internet has served me well.

Stacy

Here's the thing, Metrodad... you have to understand something that BossLady probably did years ago -- there are categories to friendships. Your good friends are probably always going to stay your good friends, but you will end up with "parenting friends" that you can be sociable with. You may never get to the same level that you are with your childhood friends, but you'll find a level of compatibility and, like someone posted above, the "foxhole" mentality that you won't have with your childless friends.

Abby

I'm another NYC parent, and I can count on 1 finger the # of good friends that I have made b/c of my kid. ONE. That's all. No more.

There are parents of her classmates, etc, that I think that I could be friends with, but we're so busy spening time w/our old friends that we don't have time to get together w/anyone else. It does afford a measure of comfort at school, dance class, etc-there are always parents that I know and like and can hang out with.

Hosnestly, if we're going to get together w/another family we go to our best friends in NJ, who have 3 kids, the middle one being 5 months younger than my daughter. We sopend many weekends and every New Years eve with them. My husband has known the male half of that couple since 7th grade, and I've known both of them since 10th grade. His wife is the latecomer-he didn't meet her until college. She's now one of the bast friends that I've ever had. She would happily lend me $1,000 at 4 in the morning in Vegas.

Luper

As an old friend of MetroDad's, allow me to speak for all of us when I say: TAKE HIM, PLEASE! Seriously, he's all yours. We've greatly enjoyed the increases in air time during his early parenting absence - to say nothing of the surplus of libations and other pleasurables we find lying around in his stead. There's no time for nostalgia, Metro - go forth and get ye some new, stinky, cranky, cash-strapped, paranoid-condescending, no leisure time-having, acid-wash armor-wearing, baby food leftover-eating, reading a four month-old IN STYLE magazine they stole from the pediatrician's office, two full shopping carts at the grocery store-pulling, baby-blogging, same-haircut-on-both-partners-having Breeder Pals! Begone, MetroDad, you has-been of splendid superficiality, and leave us to revel in the sunlight of boundless freedom! Let the war between the Breeders and the Libertines begin!!!!!!!!!

oj

i never did thank you for driving me down the interstate that time....

Tony

As a 25 year old new dad, let me tell you, I can feel your pain. I've had the same friends since I was 12 but there's absolutely no common ground anymore. One of my best friends is dating a stripper while another recently drove his girlfriend over to the local Planned Parenthood to deal with their family possibility. How can I explain to them the frustration of staying up all night with a teething baby or the joy of watching her learn to clap her hands?

To make it even worse, the world has turned and every new parent we meet is in their mid to late 30's. It's not a very big age gap, but as someone who does not care for light beer, The Rolling Stones, or Curb Your Enthusiasm, I find it difficult to get beyond sharing new parent anecdotes.

Maybe I should move to Utah. I hear those people still have babies before their hair turns grey.

malty

we need a trip to vegas. you can pay me back that $1,000... (and it was 10 in the morning).

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