Post # 1
One of my closest friends is a mom to two adorable little girls. Her oldest is almost 2 and the youngest is 3-4 months. Even before baby numero dos came along it was tough for her to find time to hang out but now with the baby, it’s almost impossible. Darling Husband and I go to their house (her husband is one of DH’s best friend) every so often but she hasn’t hung out with our group of friends in a very long time. I totally understand that she has different priorities now and it’s not like she can just drop everything to go out and do something but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bum me out at times. Meeting for a spontaneous lunch would never work for her (understandable) but even things that we plan weeks in advance, she can’t attend (before anyone lectures me on infant care, I’m aware that mom and baby are pretty much one for an extended period of time so obviously I get why she can’t participate).
I know that she wants to hang out with us and I imagine she probably feels pretty crappy when she has to turn down our offers all the time. I don’t want to exclude her from things just because she has a baby at home but I wonder if it may be the best course of action since I know it bums her out that she can’t attend. If she didn’t know that we were all getting together, she’d have no reason to feel left out. On the other hand, I’d feel super shitty planning all of these things and purposely excluding her when there may actually come a time that she can participate.
Now, before anyone suggests that we plan kid friendly outings, sometimes we do but not always. Half of our group are childfree (myself included) so a great deal of the things that we do either aren’t appropriate for children or they’re simply not welcome. For instance, we’re taking a painting class that includes wine tasting in a few weeks. That would fall under both the “not appropriate” and “not welcome” category (says so right on their website!). On the other hand, whenever we plan lunches (which are normally done weeks in advance), she’s more than welcome to bring her baby if she doesn’t want to leave her at home but my friend generally doesn’t want to do that (at least she didn’t with her oldest).
I feel like this is kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. I don’t want to exclude my friend but I also don’t want to make her feel crappy every time she can’t participate in whatever it is we’re doing. My gut reaction is just to keep inviting her since she’s an adult and can make her own decisions but at the same time, it makes me feel bad that she knows we’re out having fun and she’s at home, elbow deep in a shitty diaper.
So I ask, those of you who have found yourselves in my situation, how do you handle it? And any moms out there, would you rather be included and given the option to attend, knowing that you probably won’t be able to and then feel crappy about it or would you be better off not even knowing that some fun outing was happening so you don’t think about what you’re missing?
Post # 3
I haven’t posted in a long time, but logged in just to answer. Please do not do the ignorance is bliss thing. I’m over 7 months pregnant, and have been excluded from a LOT of things my friends assume I can’t/don’t want to go to. Yes, pregnancy is different than having two little ones at home, but it is so, so hurtful. I’ve spent many nights in tears (my husband can’t stand many of these friends now) from being excluded – particularly when they think I won’t find out. It’s as bad as being excluded in middle or high school, and is never a good feeling. I’d much rather feel badly for declining and know I’m thought of and wanted, than have my friends try to keep me in the dark. Let her make the choice to decline, but don’t make her feel worse.
Post # 4
Would it be too awkward to talk with her about this? I guess I would keep inviting her and hope that she would say something if she didn’t want to be invited anymore or start being able to attend some things once the kids were older. I know I would feel more hurt by not being invited at all than by not being able to come, personally.
Post # 5
Keep inviting her. It is always nice to be invited and whilst she may get bummed about it, it might also be kind of motivation to get back out there again. Are you sure she isn;t suffering from post natal depression?
Post # 6
Definitely don’t exclude her. I’m by myself with my elementary school-aged child 90% of the year and have almost no babysitting options, so obviously I don’t get out much except with her. It would be *wonderful* to be asked, and to know my friends still thought of me – I usually tend to hear about all the great stuff they’ve been doing at work later on, and frankly it’s often hurtful to realize they didn’t even bother to ask if I could go. Yeah, 99% of the time I wouldn’t be able to go, but in this case, for me, it’s the thought that counts.
Post # 7
I wouldn’t exclude her… I’d keep asking, each time. That way she at least knows she is remembered, and one day the kids will be over and she’ll be able to do more. If I were her, I would be extremely hurt by not being asked.
If you can, I’d just ask her nicely, “hey, do you want me to keep inviting you to things? I know how busy you are, and I really want you to come do all this stuff, but I don’t want you to feel bad if you have to say no. Does it make you feel bad to have to say no? What do you prefer?” It’s always better to talk about that elephant in the room!
Post # 8
Please invite her. As someone who is about to become a mom, I would much rather be invited and have to say no than not invited at all. I wouldn’t want to feel left out and even if I had to say no and felt terrible about it at least I would know that my friends were still thinking of me and included me.
Post # 9
I think it’s best to keep inviting her even if she can’t always make it. As long as you keep inviting her, it lets her know you still want to be close with her, which I’m sure she’d appreciate. I’m not a parent, but I’m a graduate student, so I do how bad it feels to lose friends or not get invited out because I’m usually not available to participate.
Post # 10
I would definitely keep inviting her because one of these times, she will be able to go and then she will hear about it through the grapevine and be upset that she wasn’t invited. I also don’t think a friend should be written off once they have a family, it’s hard to be the first in a group to bring babies in to the mix.
Picture all your friends having kids and you not having any yet, would you want them to not invite you to things simply because you are the “odd man out” when it comes to your family dynamic?
It’s great that you’re spending this much time thinking about it though, instead of immediately writing it off.
Post # 11
Well, I cast one of the lonely votes for not inviting her every single time. Just for the record, I don’t think you should hide your outings or outright act like she’s not invited. Let her know you will keep planning things and she should let you know as soon as she feels up for joining you guys in anything. Since many of you seem to be more flexible then she is, that might be more fair to her.
The reason I think that might be the better option is because I have friends I used to spend lots of time with and can’t any more. They want to go out super late and go places that are 45 min away from where I live, while Fiance and I have to get up at 6:30 in the morning for long days at school and in class. Turning them down doesn’t bum me out any more because I don’t think these differences will ever go away, so I wouldn’t mind if they stopped asking. When I want to see them, I come up with a plan that works for me. Relationships change as life circumstances change. I’m not saying your friendship is over, but I don’t think you can keep doing things the same way any more.
Post # 12
Thanks for the replies. I feel the same way, and always planned to keep asking her but I wasn’t sure if it would have been better to not even bother. I’ll keep extending the invite and hope that sometime soon she actually takes us up on the offer.
@j_jaye: I don’t think she’s depressed but I see her so seldomly that I wouldn’t even really know it if she was. I kind of doubt it though. I think she’s just busy and crazy stressed with 2 under 2. Money may also be a factor for her since they live on one income but a lot of the things that we do are purposely inexpensive to help our friends with kids.
Post # 13
I voted to invite her but I also liked your third option of ” other awesome suggestions!”.
Post # 14
I have a two year old and I’m the “mom friend” in my group. I am invited to a lot of things and with enough notice I can leave Dirty Delete at home with FH to go out, but honestly I only do that for things that will be really fun or are a special event (birthday, bachelorette). That might sound crappy, but being at home with Dirty Delete and FH is more fun than going to the same bar with the same people and talking about the same things. So if I’m leaving Dirty Delete with FH, then I don’t find it fun to go to things like couples game night alone, and couples game night usually isn’t fun enough to pay $60 for a sitter so I’m totally okay sitting that out.
I really appreciate the invitations, though – I have a couple of friends who have stopped inviting me to things and now we’re really just acquaintances who see each other at weddings and birthday parties. They’re the same people who used to text me “Emily’s tonight! BYOB” at 8pm on a friday and then get mad when I wouldn’t come out.
I think that as a good friend, it’s still worth it to invite your mom friend so she knows hat you still consider a friend. And personally, I hate it when people invite me to things that start at like 10pm and tell me I can bring Dirty Delete…I appreciate the gesture, but I’m not bringing a toddler to some guy’s downtown apartment at 10pm 🙂
Post # 15
Just keep inviting her, and whenever possile try to give her as much notice s possible. I know I would rather turn down offers repeatedly then never hve one to turn down.
Post # 16
@UpstateCait: Maybe she’s uncomfortable with bringing her kids out? I have a friend who has a very whiny toddler, so she refuses to bring him with her when she’s out with friends in public. I think I would offer her to a more relaxed, less of a group outing. How about offer to bring over dinner for her and her older kid one night for her when her husband is out? Or even invite her to your place for a lunch date.
I think I would just try to take the pressure off of her to attend group outings, even if you do invite her kids along.