Your friends decided to have babies. You now see them less. You figure it’s just because they’re super busy with the littles and you may chalk it up to the fact that people with kids do less fun stuff, but there’s a bit more to it than that. It’s a fine line between being busy and we’ll call it “coordinating”. Sure, carting around one kid to a restaurant is more doable than with 2, 3 or 4 kids, but a lot more goes on behind the scenes to even get to that restaurant in the first place…no matter how many kids are involved.
Here’s a few REAL reasons why your friends may not make it to every function anymore:
1. Loading everyone in the car
Have you ever tried loading your car with 3 wild animals and then strapping them down in said car?
Once you stop dripping with sweat after fighting these crazy animals and maybe throwing in a couple judo chops to their stomachs, you then realize that you need to bring along bottles of milk, 3 sippy cups of water, snacks, diapers, wipes and 12 other outfits as you know they’ll probably end up wet, sandy or covered in god knows what. Oh, and don’t mess up which sippy cup gets packed because that’s a whole other issue.
Now, you did all that and finally got into the drivers seat when one of them says they “have to use the potty”. You then have a quick conversation (with what feels like a wall) asking if they can hold it until you reach your destination, but know full well that this isn’t an option and that you have to now unstrap this caged animal and take them back into the house to go to the washroom. You also may or may not have to take out the other two depending on the temperature outside or how long this usually takes, which means you’re now starting over and better start practicing your second round of judo chops because it ain’t going to be pretty this time around.
When you arrive at your destination, you unload everyone from the car and quickly realize you don’t have enough hands for all the gear you’ve packed. While dripping with sweat (again), you start to wonder why you’re doing this and then begin loading your back and arms with babies, car seats, a couple bags full of entertainment and food for the kids and maybe a large “baby jail” style pen to put them all in and the only thought going through your head at this point is “that beer better be worth it”.
2. Naps and Bedtime
In the past, my husband and I have been known to put our kids down in friends’ closets, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc and then cab home with our child at the end of the night… but this all changed drastically once we had 3 kids. First off, I don’t even think we can all fit in one taxi anymore and even if we did, we’d have to have them all on our laps because no one is going to go to a friend’s place and cruise in with 3 toddler car seats and the 19 other bags of shit you have to bring along for the kids.
Yes, we have brought our kids along and put them down at my parents house while us adults continued the party… and then when we were ready to leave, we will wake the kids, get them into the car seats and head home (one of us would be the designated driver). This works well but the amount of effort that unfolds once we arrive back home is enough to make us not want to do it on the regular (it was much more do-able with the one kid). You’re now starting the bedtime jig all over again in a way. Feeding bottles, calming them down from the fired up scream dancing the toddler was doing in the car ride home, and then back into the crib only to have them still rise at their regular early hours, even with the later than usual bedtime.
As for daytime hangs, we’d love to meet for lunch or a walk or whatever it may be, but this usually can’t be too last minute and needs to be somewhere in the realm of 11am and 2pm, otherwise, we can’t make it due to nap jail. I never thought I’d say that – Wow. We definitely do push the naps off and aren’t the most scheduled (especially on the second nap of the day with the twins) but generally like to keep it within the same couple hours of hitting the crib. I also look very forward to those naps these days and my own quiet time seems to trump all other plans.
So yes, there are certain times that we can hang out and others where we admit defeat.
3. Babysitters aren’t that easy to find
Would you want to look after 3 kids under 3? I own 3 of them and don’t even want to most of the time, so I’m assuming you also said no. This is the same response when we ask anyone other than family to watch the 3 kids. We either need to hire two babysitters (sub 25-year olds) or hope for a miracle that someone would actually want to take them and do the bedtime thing with all of them… while also dealing with the screams and sass from the toddler and then taking the dog out for a pee.
Most of the time, we want to be there at that party or birthday or adults only dinner, but sometimes the effort outweighs the fun and other times, the kids work as a great excuse to not attend. I kid I kid… or do I? You’ll never know.
I’d say we’ve been pretty good at maintaining our regular social lives since having kids but there is definitely a part of us (my husband more than me) who enjoys being home more and more.
Your priorities tend to shift, that’s for sure. I remember my husband turned down a boys golf trip a couple summers ago because he thought going away with his daughter was way more important. Not going to lie, even I was shocked due to the fact that I love a fun girl’s trip. But when he explained it to me, it made a lot of sense. Why would he want to use his small amount of vacation days (summer is his busy season) to party for a few days when he could have a longer family vacation and hang out with his kids and his exceptionally beautiful, amazing, spectacular wife. This probably sounds insane to some of you (the passing up a boys trip, not how amazing his wife is) but it’s pretty darn true. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good party and all the fun but if you put that up against a family trip or weekend away, I’m choosing the family and have no regrets about it. Sorry bro.
Here’s a few tips to solidify those plans with your friends with kids. It’s really not rocket science but definitely helps for us!
This is the most important thing to note when making plans with your parent friends: MAKE. THE. PLAN.
If you’re texting us at 5pm to come hang out at 6pm, there’s a solid 94% chance that we aren’t coming (insert Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber “So you’re telling me there’s a chance). BUT, if you text us a day or two before and make a plan, this decreases drastically to a rough 40% chance and only gets lower and lower with the more time we have. If these plans require a babysitter, we’re probably going to need a full week at a minimum to find a crazy person who wants 3 kids for the night. If it’s just a casual beer or two at the local pub or park, we probably only need a day (if that). It really all depends on what this activity entails but the guaranteed way to see your pals with kids is to pre-plan and set a date!
See next point for an alternative if you aren’t a big “planner” and don’t like to set plans in advance.
2. Being ok to just see one of us sometimes
Lately, my husband and I have taken shifts. I’ll go see the girls one night and he’ll go golfing another night. This may be before the kids go to bed or after. It totally depends but also doesn’t matter as we both get to do the things we want and see the people we want, while the other handles the bedtime and kid part… or as we call it, babysits…. their own kids.
Basically, this is a very easy way to see at least 50% of your friends with kids, you just have to be ok to see one spouse without the other. Easy peasy! Also, hot tip for those of you who always do the bedtime routine…I highly suggest you share these duties with your partner so that either one of you can do it alone and without the other parent if needed. I swear this has been a huge part in my sanity as I can leave and not worry about bedtime ever being an issue for my husband. Mom sees her gal pals, dad puts kids to bed, mom comes home to kids sleeping… WINS ALL AROUND.
3. Being ok with kids coming along or switching the location to our house
At least for the beginning part of having babies. The younger they are, the easier to transport. I would say for us right now, we do still go out and bring the kids wherever, but it tends to be easier if you come here… depending on timing. If we’re doing earlier hang outs (somewhere between 3pm onward), it’s super easy to go anywhere with the tribe. If you’re wanting us to meet you at 6:00pm, we’ll probably suggest you come to our house or else ask how many cribs/rooms you have so that we can put the bambinos down at yours. Most likely though, if it’s just a casual hang, we’ll say to come over to ours. This tends to be similar with other parents who have young kids.
If you really want to make it easy, my suggestion would be to plan something in the late afternoon (3pm onward) if you want to see your friends and their kids. Or, aim for the post-bedtime timeframe of ~7pm onward if you want things to get really wild and be childfree!
As a parent, most of us still like seeing our friends and going to restaurants or out for a casual hangout, but it just takes a bit more planning than before. Just because we have kids doesn’t mean we don’t want to leave our house (Covid not included). If anything, it means we probably want to see our pals more because we’re tired of talking to a baby every day and need some serious adult interaction with a side of non-child related conversations…and wine.