header print

New Parents: The Real Reasons They Don't Go Out

From: Shelley

I love being a parent and I wouldn’t change it for the world but sometimes I have a hard time explaining to my single or non-parenting friends why I’ve become AWOL. I haven’t stopped being a sociable person. I wish they knew that I do miss their daily presence in my life, but my whole way of looking at time has changed. Most days I’m incapable of offering them a clever explanation because I’m too busy being utterly exhausted, so I decided to write an insider’s guide into why young parents go  into “friend hibernation”. 

Kids’ schedules are important

Being a parent is like being a ringmaster: we’re constantly guiding activities that ensure our young ones have eaten, been watered, walked, stimulated, have rested and gone to the toilet. And where and when these activities happen matter. If the regular schedule is abandoned, we become preoccupied with how these essential tasks we somehow orchestrate daily are going to play out in different locations or with different carers. We worry about tantrums, exhausted kids, pee or poop stained clothes (or other public surfaces) and a hundred other disastrous scenarios. While we can technically make a coffee or dinner, the consequences of altering this schedule are exhausting, and we’re simply lousy company.

We have an earlier schedule

Since the kids have a schedule, we the parents have one too. We industriously make use of all the non-kid and non-work hours. When the children nap we take care of errands or housework. Some folks might get up ridiculously early to have some time on their own to work out or enjoy a moment with their coffee. By the time we arrive at work we’re hours into our day which means our schedule recedes to an earlier orientation. By the time the kids are fed, cleaned and in dreamland we’re exhausted. Maybe at this point we can have some couple time, which might involve collapsing on the sofa. By the time 8:30-9pm rolls around we’re ready for bed, the time when non-parenting adults are rearing to go out, so don’t be disappointed if we decline. We are probably waking up the next morning at 4:30am. 

We like hanging out with the kids

While a lucky few can work from home or not work at all, most people commute to an office for work, which means we’re away from the kids for long periods of the day. At the end of the day, we want to see their kids and significant other. If we go out for dinner or an event, we lose out on kid time. And circumstances change; we actually like what might seem like boring activities – playing, singing, or eating a meal. This is because more times than not the kids are not bratty, annoying or driving us up the wall. Spending time hanging out with the family is fun. It’s laughs and smiles and other priceless moments for the most part. 

Bringing the kids along doesn't work

It’s not that we want to spend all our time at home or not see you, yet these lucky carefree friends’ invitations have to be, even the child-friendly ones. We appreciate the suggestion and think the activities you organize sound fun, but for adults. We don’t show up because if we bring the kids along, it’s not fun for us. We will spend all the time focused on making sure our brood doesn’t cause trouble, or hurt themselves or others. And while we do leave the house and organize social activities, we don’t invite our non-parent friends out of courtesy because these are not leisurely activities for non-parents. We’ll choose a playscape with padded surfaces where kids can run wild, screaming on the top of their lungs so we can sit stationary sipping a latte.

Consumed by housework

As a non-parent housework exists and you have the luxury of putting it off. The worst case scenario involves take-out food and some added elbow grease. With kids an exponential amount of clutter, laundry, dishes, and cooking happens. Parents can’t afford to delay chores because the entire household won’t cope. For this reason, much more of our time is spent on housework than any other time in our lives, and in turn this decreases the little free time we do have. 

We want the kids in bed early

A lot of the time, we can’t come out or have to leave early because we want the kids in bed on time. When the family does come out non-parents look at the little ones and think ‘they don’t look tired’. And they’re not. Yet. As parents we become incredibly intuitive of our kids impending exhaustion and want to save you and ourselves from potential meltdowns. We also want to conserve energy from dealing with exhausted kids and get to bed early ourselves.

Alone time is a precious commodity

New parents have many obligations: children, partners’ schedules, work obligations, household care. We love you, but we’re overwhelmed with the idea of committing to a social calendar. We have to get creative to fit even basic luxuries like having a haircut or going to the gym. We’re also wrecked by guilt for neglecting our own interests, so we take on hobbies that are not inherently social. Hobbies such as jogging, reading, crafts can be done at any spare moment, at either 4am or 4pm. If we do meet with an actual person that person needs to understand that we can only socialize for less than an hour and that these meetings might have to be done at the same time as other things.

We're conserving energy

Parents to young kids spend all our days consumed by activity; cleaning, teaching, reasoning, working and generally doing. We would love to have an intelligent conversation, but all we probably can muster is the energy for Candy Crush. With parenthood there is no sleeping in, little time for napping, and resting in the weekend is a thing of the past. So it’s logical that we need dedicated time for doing nothing. This is so that we can recharge both our bodies and minds.   

H/T: www.huffingtonpost.com
Sign Up Free
Did you mean:
Sign Up Free
Did you mean: