February 17, 2009

"Why don't friends with kids have time?"

I saw this on-line and thought that all you Mom's out there would appreciate it. Though I do try very hard to have a social life outside of my children, this is a question that I have been asked at times. My personal experience has been that my friends without children are the ones who don't return calls or keep in touch as well. My friends with children have almost all been very eager to have communication; with anyone. They might not be able to hang out, but they definitly want to talk with someone. I'm curious, what's your take?

And here it is copied and pasted in case the picture is too hard to read.

Why don't friends with kids have time?
by Carolyn Hax
(The Washington Post)

Dear Carolyn: Best friend has child. Her: exhausted, busy, no time for self, no time for me, ect. Me (no kids): What'd you do today? Her: Park, play group.....
OK, I've talked to parents, I don't get it. What do stay-at-home-moms do all day? Please no lists of library, grocery store, dry cleaners ... I do all those things, too. I guess what I'm asking is: What is a typical day and why don't moms have time for a call or e-mail? I work and am away from home nine hours a day (plus a few late work events); I manage to get it all done. I'm feeling like the kid is an excuse to relax and enjoy, but if so, why won't my friend tell me the truth? Is this a contest ("my life is so much harder than yours")? What's the deal? I've got friends with and without kids and all us child-free folks have the same questions.

-Tacoma, Wash.

Dear Tacoma: Relax and enjoy. You're funny.

Or, you're lying about having friends with kids.

Or, you're taking them at their word that they actually have kids, because you haven't personally been in the same room with them.

I keep wavering between giving you a straight answer and giving my forehead some keyboard. To claim you want to understand, while in the same breath implying that the only logical conclusions are either lying or competing with you, is disingeneous indeed.

So, because it's validation you seem to want, the real answer is what you get. When you have young kids, your typical day is: constant attention, from getting them out of bed, fed, cleaned, dressed; to keeping them out of harm's way; to answering their coos, cries, questions; to having two arms and carrying one kid, one set of car keys, and supplies for even the quickest trips, including the latest-to-be-declared essential piece of molded plastic gear; to keeping them from unshelving books at the library; to enforcing rest times; to staying one step ahead of them lest they get too hungry, tired or bored, any one of which produces checkout-line screaming.

It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15.

It's constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, contstant relagation of your needs to the second tier.

It's constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family and friends. It's resisting constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense.

It's doing all this while con-currently teaching virtually everyting - language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity. Empathy. Everything.

It's also a choice, yes. And a joy. But if you spend all day, every day, with this brand of joy, and then, when you got your first ten minutes to yourself, wanted to be alone with your thoughts instead of calling a good friend, a good friend wouldn't judge you, complain about you or marvel how much more productively she uses her time. Either make a sincere effort to understand, or keep your snit to yourself.

3 comments from people we love:

Meredith said...

I'm glad that writer put the questioner in her place! That was hilarious.

I have friends, with and without kids, that will either keep in touch or not make an effort. But I find that the ones with children tend to try harder. I think it's because, for me at least, I'm constantly surrounded by the little people and want some grown conversing. I need the adult attention, too.

Chrystal said...

My feelings exactly!

Fauset Photography said...

So good...my friend just posted this on her blog as well!