It’s pretty easy to have a mixed group of friends, sex, race, parents, couples and singles if everyone is just considerate of each other. That means not looking down at someone because they don’t have kids and that means 15 minutes on game night talking about their kids recent game is fine. I don’t understand the concerns here, but I do know relationships/friendships take work and effort, and if parents drop all other relationships, all other efforts, because they have kids there should be no surprise those go away and it’s not because of a deficit of everyone else. Hell I have some parents in my movie going group and sometimes I ask the parents if they want to see the movie with us or their kids and there is no judgment with their answer; it’s simply an offer to see a movie with a group of friends they can take or leave.
“All things in moderation.” You wanna talk about your kids, fine. Maybe talk about other stuff sometimes, too.
Talk about your kids all you want. But if you post a picture of their blown out diaper or “look at the size of the poop Breyndain took” I will hunt you down and kill you.
My son had the flu so bad late last year that at one point he jumped up, ran to the garbage can and really let go. REALLY let go, to the point where I joked and said, “At least it’s only coming out of one end!” to which he turned to me, sweat just pouring off his forehead, and gasps, “Wrong.”
So if you thought you were done cleaning up your kids poopy accidents just because they turned 18, you’d be incorrect.
And THAT is the kind of parenting story you could be missing out on!
The talk about parenting and friends is actually really helpful to me to read.
I love being a parent, but it really takes over your life. I acknowledge that every parent is unique and that every parenting situation is unique, but I also acknowledge that at a surface level, every parenting situation is kind of the same. Oh, you’re getting less sleep? Oh, your baby’s saying words? Oh, your baby is crawling? To a non-parent, there’s nothing exciting or unique about any of that. But right now, that’s my entire life.
So in an attempt to be respectful to my friends, I’ve essentially excised all baby discussion from my conversations unless they ask about it, and even then, I stick to one-line descriptions – she’s really getting around, she’s been sick lately, etc. But because I can’t really contribute much else to conversations (due to the aforementioned life-taking-over), I feel like I might as well not be participating, which is a crappy feeling. It feels bad to look forward to what might be your only adult social interaction in a week and then be basically sidelined for the entirety of that social interaction.
Because what I really want to do is talk about how scared I am about taking my baby on a plane and then being judged by the other passengers if she isn’t an angel. I want to talk about how I read my daughter one of the books my mom read to me when I was little, and I couldn’t make it to the end because I was overcome with emotion and became a blubbering mess. I want to talk about playing games with my niece and how I revise my gameplay on-the-fly to be respectful of young eyes and ears. I want to talk about the funny stuff my baby does and all the unintended effects of parenthood (like waking up one day and just… being more motivated).
But currently, the people I really want to talk about that stuff with aren’t particularly interested in hearing it, and it feels isolating. I know it comes with the territory, and I accept that, but it is occasionally difficult to reckon with.
Honestly that’s the entire discussion here. I’m similar to @ChristienMurawski in that I could listen to about any subject, I like talking to people. But the key is that nobody wants to talk to a person with poor conversation skills. We all know the type: monotone delivery, not much emotion in what they are talking about, not very descriptive, and one-sided delivery (not listening back or interrupting when you speak.) Like listening to Ben Stein playing the teacher in Ferris Beuller.
Also what @Balasarius said. Mix it up some.
The elder child (5) is now begging me to play Symphony of the Night on PS4 because she likes watching “the vampire game.” So there!
We talk about this kind of thing during our game night, especially when the couple of smokers take their break. There about oh a half-dozen or so games parents have purchased to play the game at home, and we hear about those experience and sometimes make suggestions to make it easier for the younger kids.
I am really happy when someone plays one of my game and then they tell me they bought it for themselves and their family. The idea of young people playing games is great. My sister told me about Spot It and my 4 year old nephew’s experience with, a game I recommended, that he apparently loves. It was bout 10-20 minute conversation.If she were in my game group, it would be fine there too. I have one friend that might whop out of her phone during that conversation but everyone there knows her and it’s what she does, with most situations not just just parents.
It’s really about this:
And also just knowing your group, your audience. My group was heavy in one industry for awhile, still kind of is, so it’s natural for work talk to come up. Since we’ve added some non-industry people as well as some spouses to the mix, I try to steer them away from it, and I can read them, the non-industry group. It’s easy to tell when they’ve had enough because I’m looking for it.
Now there’s a wholly different thing. And that’s something people of all walks of life fall into. They need to unload, they themselves lack the capacity for empathy a that moment to see their part of the conversation is not hitting home and they keep going.
I have been talked at a lot by my wife about her work and it worries me. I want to be talked with. Being talked at makes you feel glossed over, like a thing, not a person. I myself used to talk at people a lot when I was a kid about my “special interest” (aviation) to have learned not to do that. Not about what sort of shit is coming out of the baby this week, not about the awesome sim I’m flying.
Thank you @ArmandoPenblade for bringing that term into this discussion, because I think we have found a way with that to reconcile the overwhelming need of parents, especially those of (first!) babies to talk about their experience. Because it is overwhelming. It is everything to them, a bit like aviation was to young slightly autistic me.
Our plan to avoid first-time-parents isolation was for 5 of the 6 couples of my closest social group to have kids the same year.
It obviously wasn’t planned, but it’s working out pretty well.
Our twice a year weekend together is now 13 adults and 9 kids. Most are little now, but it’s going to be really fun in 2-3 years.
that sounds fucking awesome. We have one couple-with-kids friends and they have been a lifebuoy at times (and we for them).
Oh shit, you too? I have had that a couple of times. It really weirded my son out because I had told him when dad cries it sounds like a string of curses and invective… and that time I cried without cursing so what the hell was that all about? He did very sweetly try to console me. How did yours react?
It is awesome. Only 2 couples of the 6 had kids (but they were of a similar age), but now all of us do, so there’s little concern over your kid bothering others, since everybody is or has gone through it and is understanding with the difficulties, so you can just relax.
With so many kids together, once they grow up a little they’ll have plenty of play by themselves, leaving the adults to the wine, as it should be.
Can confirm. My girlfriend and I just got back a couple of weeks ago from a cabin trip to the mountains with 4 other couples with kids. (I was actually the only adult who was kid-less: mine being with their mom.) The kids did a great job running around like hooligans, making forts, playing in the snow, etc while the adults spent most waking hours expertly maintaining our buzzes.
She’s not even a year old yet, and it was her bedtime story, so she was asleep before I even got to that point. At first I was relieved, then I was struck by the silliness of feeling like I had to save face in front of my infant child who wouldn’t remember the incident anyway.
I just want to pop in and say that I’ve really enjoyed reading the most recent turn of the thread, and it’s been really helpful. I’ve got an eight week old, and my wife and I are just getting to the point where we might be able to socialize with people who aren’t there specifically to help out with the baby. (Regular Gloomhaven starts back up this weekend! Yay!) We both tend to relax more with friends than family, so the shift has been enormously isolating at a time that has already had enough other challenges.
Now just to find the energy…
I wanted to quote this and read and re-read it because I 100% resonate with everything you said. This was me in graduate school, when I had my son. Even now, I pick and choose what I mention, and choose only the one-liners that are either most interesting or most relatable, because my now-ten-year-old is somehow more human now that he’s older. “What did you do this weekend?” can be answered with “I played SimCity 2000 with my kid,” which is easier for folks to digest than “I sobbed on the floor of the bathroom after my kid’s fifth meltdown of the weekend.”
Man, there is some truth to it. Non parents can still appreciate (and in my circle of friends, be jealous over) things when you say that you spent your evenings all week putting together a 900 piece Lego set with your 5 year old. They all get why that is a fun and enjoyable evening. But when you answer ‘how was your weekend’ with ‘I spend the night holding back tears in the bathroom because my 2 year old was up all night puking, and was curled up in a ball on your lap shaking’ it’s the kind of thing a non parent may have a hard time understanding that literally nothing else from the weekend even registers. Or when you are potty training said toddler how your life is now structured around their biological imperatives.
All things that were true for me in the last week as well.
Which is a long way of saying more kids stories all!
Here’s a quick one that makes me very happy.
I have a lot of driving to do to get my kid to school and back. Today was really weird. There were all these tiny little birds in the air flying at my car. Then I realized they were bugs. And I thought I was hallucinating.
After I picked up my kid I was all, “What are all these bugs?”
And he said, “Oh. They’re butterflies. They’re migrating. Our P.E. teacher looked it up when we asked about it. It’s because we’ve had so much rain.”
When we got home they were all flying over the house in the same direction. It was really strangely exciting.
So there is a weird butterfly migration confluence happening and my kid educated me on it.
As @fire says above, as they get older they become somehow more human. I love the way she puts that. It reminds me of Lost in Translation when Bill Murray’s character says, “Your life, as you know it… is gone, never to return. But they learn how to walk, and they learn how to talk and you wanna be with them. And they turn out to be the most delightful people you will ever meet in your life.”
That’s lovely. In the Midwest this spring, the 17 year cicadas will be emerging. Not nearly as adorable.