I remember when Bijou was about 18 months old, I was chatting to a new father that I had just met (7 months old baby) and asking how he was going with it all. “its great but i have no mates – haven’t seen my friends for 7 months” he laughed with a sense of sadness in the voice maybe. I told him comfortingly that is get easier and he will see his friends again. But does it? I think a lot of new fathers are in the same boat. All of a sudden we are thrown into family life after being relatively free to hang out with mates whenever we want (apart from the Quality Time with our partner of course). I am lucky to have a great bunch of mates who understand this fatherhood thing, in fact we met up once a month during those first few years to have some QT time together. We called it MUF – or men understanding fatherhood. It really helped.
I myself work 6am – 6pm monday to friday and my time during the weekend is dedicated to my family. My friend time (usually a surf or coffee) consists of a morning on a saturday or sunday once a fortnight (cue violin). Apart from this I usually have the kids and hang out with mates then, quite often at a house with lots of distracting toys! This as you can see doesn’t leave much time to meet new people or even hang out with all my mates – cos i have load you know (on Facebook anyway).
The other thing that happens when you have kids is that the mates that you did hang out with- well the relationship with them changes. What i mean is that the single guy that you used to hang out with and go to the pub is now… a perimeter friend. It has to change. No getting invited to a family camping trip for them – not sure they’d really want to go anyway. Then there is the other issues of age gap between kids, do the kids get along, what if your mates kid is a biter!! the list goes on..
We recently started Bijou at pre school. A mind field of friend interaction. The first day I was looking not only at the interaction between the kids playing with my daughter but simultaneously sizing up the kids parents! not in a swinging way of course but more for their compatibility with us should the kids get along. You see we recently had our first post Bijou birth ‘couple’ night time date. It was a great success and we scored 7 out of 10 (rated on food and entertainment). The couple said that they would come back again if we served canapes next time which i will take as a compliment (check out “how i met your mother – the sexless innkeeper episode” and you will know exactly what i am talking about).
Anyway the notion of friends basically becomes a whole lot more complicated once you have kids..
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