I've been following your blog for about a year now, and LOVE IT! About a year ago I decided to live a child free lifestyle and always turn to your blog for support, because unfortunately everyone else in my life from all angles has decided to become a parent, and right now the baby talk is in full force, and I can't seem to escape it. I was going to e mail you but couldn't find you address - haha it may be too early in the morning. But any way I was wondering if this type of situation may have happened with any of your other readers - yesterday I asked my friend who is a new mom to run a 5k with me in July. She automatically e mails me back very smugly saying that she doesn't think it would be appropriate to take her baby in 100 degree weather all day on a run. haha first, who said anything about the baby? the dad can watch him. also, who said all day? 5k only takes an hour! Anyway, I get the feeling that from now on I can only suggest child friendly activities when it comes to hanging out with her for a while, or until she finally comes to her senses and needs an escape. I guess I just really felt the gap between our lifelong friendship grow yesterday, and it was not a fun feeling. Any advice or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for all that you do, and all of your support!________________________________________________________________
Most certainly, your friend was wrong to assume that you were including her child in the invitation to run a 5K race. It's interesting - and quite surprising - that she made that assumption, since no reasonable person would assume that such an invitation would include a baby. Your friend's response speaks to the unreasonable sense of entitlement and self-absorption that many people (especially women) fall into once they have kids. Because a mom's entire existence revolves around her child, she automatically assumes that everyone else's lives should too and sadly, our culture reinforces this idea at every turn.
In this situation, the appropriate response to your friend could be, "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to imply that you should bring the baby. Of course a baby should not go on a 5K race. I was assuming your husband could watch her, or you could get a sitter. Would that be possible? I'd really love to do this event with you." And see how she responds.
If your friend continues to insist that every outing with you must include the baby, you may have to speak up in a gentle way. One way to approach the issue is to say, "I really love spending time with you and the baby and so look forward to our times together. Would it also be possible for some of our outings to be just the two of us, so we can really catch up and have some adult time together?" See how she responds. Hopefully, she will not be offended and will realize that your request comes from a place of cherishing your friendship and wanting to maintain the level of closeness you always had.
If, despite your requests, she isn't willing to keep your friendship a priority and find time to spend with you one-on-one, you have two options.
Bite the Bullet: Accept the fact that all of your time with your friend will include her child and realize that this will be the case for at least a few years, until the child is old enough that it does not need to be with her all the time.
Take a Break: Create more space in the relationship and give yourself something of a breather from your friend, until she gets out of the phase of being attached at the hip to her child. Stay in touch, but perhaps not as frequently, and focus more of your energy to developing and nurturing friendships that will provide more one-one-one engagement for you. Seek out other childfree people to form friendships with.
I'd love to hear from my readers on this issue. How have you navigated this type of situation with your parent friends? Please post a comment!