The Silent Fights Between Parents And Non-Parents
Parents and non-parents have tremendously different priorities. If your friends all start having children and you don’t, the friendship changes. It just does. It won’t change forever, and it will change to varying degrees depending on how old the children are—sometimes, everything will feel the same—but you will notice differences that you have to navigate. I’m not blind to the fact that, sometimes, those with kids and those without kids can become frustrated with each other. As someone who does not have children, I am guilty of feeling frustrated with accommodating the schedules and needs of my parent friends. On the flipside, I’m sure they are sometimes disappointed in me for not investing more in literally the most important people to them—their children! And I do adore their kids. But as someone who doesn’t have children, I’ll probably just never completely get on board with the lifestyle changes. Here are the silent fights that go on between parents and non-parents.
Non-parents: Why is this brunch at 10am?
As non-parents, we receive that invitation for our mom or dad-friend’s birthday brunch. It’s at 10am. What?! Why?! That means we have to get up at 8:30 on a Saturday just to get dressed and make it to this thing on time. Who wants to drink mimosas that early even? Why are they making us get up at weekday hours on a weekend? (Hint: they have kids so they’ve been up since 5:30am. 10am is practically 2pm for them).
Parents: Why is this dinner at 8pm??
On the flipside, I’m sure it’s hard for parents when their non-parent friends host dinner parties that start at 8pm. They know 8pm will still just be appetizers and proper dinner won’t even come out until 9pm. As parents who’ve been up since 5:30 am, they typically go to bed at 9pm. They have dinner at 5pm. Why do their non-parent friends want to make them starve until 8pm and stay up so late?
Non-parents: Can’t they just get a babysitter?
Once our friends have kids, we can usually only get one representative from a parent couple at social events. The other stays home with the kids. But, of course, we want the whole crew back together the way it used to be. So we ask why don’t they just get a babysitter so they can both come?
Parents: How can they ask us to leave our babies?
The truth is that everybody expects parents to “just get a babysitter” for their event. If they did that every time, they’d be in debt paying for all of these babysitters. They also don’t necessarily want to leave their children—their Saturday nights are sometimes the only time they have all week to be with them. And they may not trust babysitters. (But, they should understand that their non-parent friends feel robbed of the old group dynamic).
Non-parents: The kid-friendly restaurants aren’t good
The parent friends always pitch places with kids menus, coloring books, and perhaps a bounce house or arcade games. But non-parents want to go somewhere with a more upscale menu, craft cocktails, and no sounds of screaming kids.
Parents: They always choose non-kid-friendly places
Parents can also feel their non-parent friends are being insensitive when they choose places with $15 martinis, “industrial” furniture that is sharp and so-not-child-friendly, and no booster seats. But we just aren’t used to considering kids in our restaurant choices. We go out to experience a meal we couldn’t experience at home, and that tends to be a bit more upscale.
Non-parents: So now I have to buy gifts for the baby
Here come the invitations to spend money. The baby showers. The gender reveal party. The first birthday party. Suddenly, we’re spending more money because our friends multiplied without consulting us.
Parents: It’s not that expensive
Parents, of course, may feel that kids’ things aren’t that expensive. Baby rompers and children’s toys really aren’t that pricey. Their non-parent friends will drop hundreds on cocktails one night but complain of buying $20 footsy pajamas for their beloved children?
Non-parents: And now we have to attend kids’ birthdays
We are also now attending kids’ birthday parties. We signed up to dedicate a certain amount of time to our friends’ birthday parties each year, but now they’ve tripled and quadrupled, and so too have the birthday party invitations.
Parents: Don’t they want to celebrate my offspring?!
I can only image that as a parent, it’s hurtful when it feels like your good friends aren’t as excited as you are about this precious child you created—truly the most important person to you. But, try not to take it personally, parents. Try to remember when you didn’t yet have kids and weren’t thrilled to spend your Sunday at a three-year-old’s birthday party. It didn’t mean you didn’t’ love that child’s parents.
Non-parents: I have to learn a new set of rules
What is appropriate to bring to a kid’s event? Can we bring tequila? Can we smoke there? What about presents? Do we get something for the kid, or the parents? Or both? When a kids’ birthday starts at 12pm is that 12pm sharp or is it general party rules and you can show up at 1 or 2pm? Now we have to learn all of these new rules, all because our friends made kids.
Parents: They’re adults. They should know this
Parents are probably thinking that at some point, their non-parent friends were going to have to learn the etiquette around kids’ events. And, they’re right. But, us non-parents just really didn’t want to.
Non-parents: So I can’t get drunk or swear
So let me get this straight: I am to go to a party, and I can’t get drunk. There will be beer but, realistically, I’m not supposed to get drunk the way I would at an adult’s party. So that beer feels like a trap. And I shouldn’t smoke. And I shouldn’t swear. If I’m going to spend my afternoon at your kids’ party, shouldn’t I at least get to have fun?!
Parents: It’s just for a few hours
On the parents’ side, they must be thinking it’s just a few hours. You can’t put a cap on your drinking and swearing from just 1pm to 3:30pm? (And, they’re right—us non-parents are kind of being big babies about it).
Non-parents: It’s the principal of the matter
Look, I know us non-parents can be finicky about all of this stuff—picking kid-friendly restaurants and buying baby gifts. We know it’s not that difficult. On our end, it’s just tough to adjust to the changes, overall. We signed up for a friendship with these young individuals who had no cares in the world, and then these little mini-versions of them took over all of their attention and schedules. Excuse us if we just selfishly want those friends all to ourselves.