A Dwindling Contact List

22 Oct

I was flicking through my phone contacts recently and noticed that in recent times quite a few of them have been conspicuous by their absence. I am about to attempt to suggest that this is a trend that new parents experience rather than the far more crushing reality that my own friends are simply disowning me. When was the last time you saw that colleague that you used to meet for post work drinks on a Friday, or that couple that you would have lunch with every now and then. The brutal truth is that they’ve ditched you. They tried to be pleased for you and show an interest in your parental prattle but it became too much for them and they decided to sever all ties. They did this of course in a very discrete way and if you bumped into them in the street they would probably do their best to show an interest in little Jonny and perhaps even suggest “catching up soon”. If someone suggests “catching up soon” this in fact means that they are gently telling you to keep your stories about burping, sleeping, teething, tantruming, toilet training, and certainly breast feeding to yourself.

Accepting that offer of a drink or brunch in your new life as a unpaid butler parent is not easy and comes with a host of baby barriers that make it all too easy to say no. Peeling yourself from the loving embrace of the sofa, putting on your glad rags and your party face after a day of being sicked on and screamed at has its challenges. Combining a day of parenting with a thirty something hangover is not an appealing option. Holding down your end of a decent conversation after spending your day talking ga-ga and reading Spot the Dog books is an uphill struggle. Two hours in a dark cinema after several sleepless nights is an invitation to expose your snoring habit to a room full of popcorn munching strangers. So after declining a few offers that would normally be snapped up the peripheral friend takes his/her business elsewhere and you can’t really blame them, don’t worry peripheral friends this is an observation rather than a bitter rant. 

The peripheral friend role is happily snapped up by peripheral parent friends, eager to have someone to bore relate to with tales of burping, sleeping, teething, tantruming, toilet training and breast feeding. These friends know they can engage in parental prattle without fear of reprisal; there is an unspoken etiquette that both parties can bore one another relentlessly and that no one party can dominate proceedings. As much as I tried to convince myself that I wouldn’t become ‘one of those parents’ that only talked about their children, it seems to have crept up on me and I hold my hands up and admit to being ‘one of them’.  It is after all what I know about, it’s what I do day in day out, I don’t know about the latest poncy cocktail bar (do you realise how many nappies I could buy for the cost of an Old Fashioned!) or hip eatery; I know babies and all that they encompass and I’m okay with that.

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18 Responses to “A Dwindling Contact List”

  1. Salz October 22, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    It happens like that even with your partner. You find your self on a date night with them and all you seem to talk about are the kids. Happened to me and hubby after watching a comedy show in Sydney on saturday. Conversation just always goes back to the kids.

  2. Lydia C. Lee October 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    It picks up again if you make it. Start organising non kid things. Or things with non kid people. At the house, if needs be but it only stops because one side (the baby side) stops sending out the invites…

  3. iSophie October 22, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    It’s hard to tear your mind away from all the vomit, poo and snot incidents of the day to have any kind of normal? (lol) conversations with anyone.

  4. Mumabulous October 22, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Its a bit like those folk who talk about nothing but work. They’ve got no other conversational fodder. Fear not. Eventually your social conversations with fellow parents and non-parents alike will start to move on to other topics. As the saying goes “It wont happen over night but it will happen”.

  5. Sim October 22, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    I have actually had very fond thoughts of going to a movie for an undisturbed “nap”. We have definitely got a LOT of friends who have become almost invisible on our contact lists seeing as we no longer have the time or money to just drop everything and spend long Saturday afternoons in the beer garden. But I do love my parent friends who don’t mind if I need to get up mid-conversation to change a nappy, feed a baby or to break up a wrestling match.

  6. Me N my Monkeys October 22, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    Fantastic post!
    Isn’t that the truth. I was only, just the other night have this very same discussion with my partner. We both use to be quite the social butterfly, but since having children we seem to have been ditched by alot of our ‘single or no children yet, friends.

  7. alicia October 22, 2012 at 11:14 pm #

    It’s hard to to answer the “what have you been up to?” question too, without mentioning the daily parent grind. I get the feeling, that’s not what they want to hear.

  8. Rebecca Thompson (@TakeChargeBecc) October 22, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

    Oh yes, you are not alone. Considering I was a bit of a party girl, I guess it was to be expected but it still comes as a shock.
    Most stuck through my “sickness” for over 10 years and accepted that I wouldn’t always be able to make events, but now it’s more about never managing to get that time because the kids have take over their lives, our life and forget it if those friends do not have a child.

  9. Questing Jess October 23, 2012 at 2:45 am #

    Yes, sometimes it’s hard to stay relevant to your friends who haven’t had kids yet. When you’re tired and the entire day is consumed by looking after little ones it really is a challenge to talk about other things!

  10. Tracey @ Bliss Amongst Chaos October 23, 2012 at 3:45 am #

    I’m hearing you. I have a few of those childless friends who I do still see occasionally, but I much prefer the company of my parent friends. I’m more relaxed, as I don’t have to worry about whether I AM talking about my kids too much. I’m so conscious of it, that it makes it hard for me to talk naturally, as talking about my kids is what comes naturally! And I’m fine with that too. 🙂

  11. Vicki October 23, 2012 at 5:58 am #

    As a mother of two teenage daughters my contact list has shrunk quite a bit as I no longer network like I used to when the girls were in primary school. Your contact list will grow when school starts for play dates etc.

  12. always josefa (@always_josefa) October 23, 2012 at 6:14 am #

    don’t worry – those friends will have children of their own one day and they will be right there in the same boat you are in now!!
    really liked reading a ‘dads’ perspective of this
    xx

  13. jess@diaryofasahm October 23, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    All the time I catch myself rabbiting on about my kids, even though I really don’t want to. I think it’s just part and parcel of talking about what you do!

  14. melissa4444 October 23, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    I think it sneaks up on all of us. Best intentions aside, the restraint needed NOT to mention how amazing your child is can be just all too much. I’m always worried that I’m talking too much about the boys, but the fact is – they are a large part of what my day-to-day life is.

  15. mogletho October 23, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    i think its just another adjustment of parenthood! But on the plus side I have made some amazing friends that i have met because of my kids and we go out both with and without the kids. You are certainly able to get some social life back as the kids get bigger, only it is usually even more enjoyable as you are far more grateful for a night out!

  16. Melbourne Mum October 23, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    Loved this post DdU – you are spot on, though. I found a similar thing, but you do end up making friends who are going through the same thing as you (so they’ll probably be parents) and, heaven forbid, you’ll even start to talk about things that aren’t related to your kids. You may EVEN get to go out for an old-fashioned and not talk about your kids. Well, at least for a few minutes. By the way, how many nappies CAN you buy for the same price as an old fashioned? Kx

  17. evilgeniusmum October 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Yep, having kids definitely changes your ‘contact list’. But there are two categories that I am SURE you have had to consider, especially with your parenting style: 1/ The friends that can’t handle you talking about your kids because you are so AWESOME and they are jealous of you having the perfect life (yes, these guys do exist); and 2/ The friends you suddenly gain because you are so AWESOME that they need regularly fixes on the parenting stories you have. Oh wait, that’s what blogging is for. Sweet.

  18. Danya Banya October 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    It is sad when you think of the friendships that are slipping. However, I notice that the childless friends that I have are going out less too. So maybe it’s just a part of ageing?

    But I also think it is a sign of our culture. We often (like a few times a month) go out, kids in tow, to friend’s events. We don’t stay long, and we cause chaos, but we go so we can keep in contact. And we often hear people judging us. Australians like to keep parenting isolated.

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