Saturday, June 21, 2014

I've seen quite a few posts pop up in my Facebook feed about how as parents we don't have time for our friends. This link in particular was shared quite a few times and it got me to thinking.  While I agree with a lot of what the author says, I feel like it's a cop out to use your kids as a reason to stop hanging out with people. Most people my age either have kids, have friends with kids, nieces/nephews, or used to babysit as a teenager. Everyone understands, kids take up a lot of time, they have schedules, and they can be bossy little shits.

First concert out of the womb, The Freak Brothers.

Brooke and Harrison went out for their first lunch date at a week and a half old. They slept through the entire thing. At a couple months old, they would come with me to dinner or to an outdoor concert. I would spend the entire evening with one baby or another attached to my chest, but they were content and I got to visit with friends. By 4 months old we had to move up their bedtime and all of our outings had to be finished by 6pm. My friends were willing to adjust times so they could get to see the kids and I. 

B's best Carlos impression on a fro-yo date.

Now either I have the only amazing friends out there, my ladies are really great, or people aren't giving their friends the opportunity to show how accommodating they'll be in order to spend time with you. And I'm pretty sure they want to spend time with your kids too. I've found most friends will even help with your kids if you need it. I wouldn't go asking your friends to change diapers, but I bet they'd gladly help give a bottle or try to entertain your kid for a few minutes.

H napping during an outdoor concert.

Now don't get me wrong, my kids aren't angels. Yes they like being out in public, but there have definitely been times we've had to leave early because someone threw a fit, or even cancel plans altogether because someone's having a bad day. A certain incident at Baskin Robins where Brooke flipped out and wouldn't stop crying no matter what, comes to mind. But friends understand.

Lunch date with their Godmother to visit our favorite server.

I guess the whole point of this post is to say, don't let your kids take your social life away from you. Make the time to see your friends, even if that just means your friends come over and catch up during nap time. My friends help keep me sane, especially since Rob works so many late nights. Even something as simple as catching up on a good TV show with a friend gives me something to look forward to and keep my head on straight. It's so easy to get lost in baby land. Yes our kids are our whole lives, but we can't let them be the only thing in our lives.

B strolling in the Beco with Auntie L.

My Tips for a Successful Outing with Kids

  • Pick kid friendly locations. While martinis and fine dining are probably out of the question, a You Pick Two and iced tea from Panera make for perfect lunch or dinner fare with a friend and your kids. It's also a safe bet that your friend is probably willing to join you for a walk to the park or a trip to the zoo.
  • Outdoor events are your friend. Outdoor concerts, farmers markets, and summer festivals are all great places to meet up with friends when you have the kids along. All of the action makes for the perfect distraction, both for you and your kid(s). 
  • Snacks are your friend. Bring snacks, lots of them. When H and B were younger I always made sure I had a pouch for each of them and a bag or two of yogurt drops in my purse at all times. 
  • When eating out, be one step ahead of your server. I would often order food for the kids when I ordered my drink. Then I would ask for a box and the check as soon as our food came out. Being a step ahead meant we rarely had to wait for the server to come back around, because he/she had already brought us what we needed. Also see "Snacks are your friend." You never know if your kid is going to like restaurant food that day, so be prepared.
  • Books. Books are the perfect quiet entertainment. Bring a few of their favorites. 
  • Get out early. I started taking the kids places when they were really young. They are used to being in public and having to sit still at a table while we eat. While they need a lot more redirection now that they're in toddlerhood, they still behave well in public. I'm convinced it's because they're so used to being out and about.
  • Try and relax. Kids can sense our anxiety. What's the worst that can happen? Someone throws a fit? Has a diaper blowout all over them and you? Makes a scene in a quiet restaurant? All three at the same time? You'll live, and so will your kids and anyone else involved. 
  • Carryout. If all else fails have a friend pick up Jimmy John's or Chipotle on the way over. Sharing great company can be done at home too. We host almost weekly get togethers to make sure we get to see our friends. Sometime I cook, sometimes we do a carry in, and other times delivery pizza is on the menu. Friends don't care if you prepare a 4 course meal or request they bring a dish.

Hanging with an Auntie C during TWD night.

Thank you to my friends who are amazing, and who make sure the kids and I get to see them on the regular.

Bathtime with their BFF before they headed off to bed, and we played Cards Against Humanity.

1 comment:

  1. First time I met you was at Casa and you had both babes in tow! That was the night you grilled me about my favorite music selections....good times!