It’s no secret that a lot changes when you have a baby – starting with your body, your sleep schedule, your priorities, and the way you spend your time. Your days now revolve around feedings and tummy time and, again, sleep (or the lack thereof). And while parents become occupied with their little humans, their relationships with adults shift.
It can be hard to maintain friendships — especially with people who are at a different stage of their life — and one mom on the Reddit “Am I The A—hole” page seems to still be grappling with that five years after having her first child. The 27-year-old is a single mom with kids ages 5, 3, and 2. Her ex-husband left soon after their youngest was born and is now in a different state; luckily, she has family nearby. She is close with her 32-year-old brother and has “tried to get close to” his 26-year-old wife.
“She is very sweet and fun, and I genuinely enjoy her company,” this mom wrote. “I obviously don’t get to hang out with her a lot because I have my hands full. My family helps out occasionally with childcare but they are all busy too so I don’t get a lot of time with my friends.”
Her sister-in-law has apparently tried to remedy that by inviting the original poster (OP) to hang out with her own friend group frequently. It’s such a kind offer from the SIL, who has been so understanding when OP can’t make it. Everything could have been fine and dandy, but OP went ahead and killed the vibe.
Not A Good Fit
OP shared that her SIL and her friends are “very outdoorsy” and “like to have a good time.”
“The thing is I have to decline [99 percent of the] time because the activities they plan are not child friendly,” OP wrote. “They plan day-long hikes, [go to] wineries, and do kayaking trips down large rivers; you get the idea.”
She then said that her SIL doesn’t seem that interested in kids and never helps or offers to keep an eye on them at family gatherings. It’s a bit off-topic, but has clearly struck a nerve.
A couple weeks ago, OP’s SIL asked if she would like to join her and her friend when they go to a “very fancy” art museum out of town.
“I said I would have to see,” OP said. “…Then I mentioned it would be great if she and her friends did stuff the kids could do once in a while.”
Then things got awkward.
“My brother told me that it was an a-hole move to make a suggestion like that because she was trying to include me in her friend group and I don’t have a right to change their vibe,” OP said. “I feel guilty now, but it’s just really difficult to get out with three young kids.”
You’re In Charge
We feel you, OP. It is hard to go out when you have kids, especially as a single parent. That said, it’s clear to Reddit that OP is the a-hole for a few reasons.
First of all, if she wants to do kid-friendly activities, she needs to be the one to plan them. Her SIL and her friends don’t have kids, so they don’t have a firm grasp on what activities would be appropriate. If this group is “very outdoorsy,” OP could plan a picnic. The girls can enjoy a charcuterie board while OP’s kids run around.
“Maybe [the SIL] would be okay with going along with a kid-friendly plan but doesn’t want to put the energy into making plans specifically around the kids/doesn’t know what would work for them,” one Redditor wrote. “I notice OP doesn’t mention ever having made plans and inviting SIL along. She’s putting all the effort in, and OP’s asking her to put in even more.”
“Why don’t you offer to invite HER to do something with you … bring the fam to the beach or something,” another suggested.
Time For A New Group
The bigger problem that OP needs to recognize — hard as it may be — is that this group shouldn’t have to (and may not want to!) do kid-friendly things. Redditors said OP is being “egocentric” by expecting the group to do things that work for her, and said she needs to remember that they want to hang out with her, not her kids.
“You are a mom, they aren’t, and while it sucks, no one wants to hang around kids when they don’t have them,” one person wrote. “Heck, I’m a mom and I don’t want to hang around other people’s kids. You’d be better off looking for friends with kids and make peace with the fact that your SIL and her friends won’t want to do kid-centric stuff until they have kids, if they ever do.”
Another person agreed “reluctantly” that OP is the AH.
“I’ve seen this happen and it can be isolating to not have friends because being a mom changes everything,” they wrote.
And so it really is time for OP to find some mom friends. We know that may sound easier said than done, but there are a lot of ways she can go about this. She can join a local parenting group, offer to carpool, sign up for parenting-related classes (maybe there’s “mommy and me” yoga nearby!), volunteer at their school, and more.
She can even consider joining Peanut, which is basically a dating app for finding mom friends. Genius, we know!
However she remedies the situation, we feel for her, because it’s a very valid problem — but asking child-free friends to do kid-friendly things is not the answer.
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