Hax: Juggling kids, social obligations

Carolyn Hax:

April 14, 2014 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: My wife and I have a 2-year-old, and a baby on the way soon. So we're talking about a very uncomfortable and tired mother/mother-to-be.

When trying to organize plans, some of our extended family don't want to compromise or accommodate our restrictions (like being home for bedtime routine).

They don't have kids. Are they just ignorant? Do they have compromise fatigue? Or are they just being jerks?

KID FATIGUE?

Whatever it is, they have their stuff and you have yours, and you're all better off if you resist the temptation to take each other's stuff personally. If they won't accommodate? "Bummer, we can't go/will have to leave midway through - but we'll catch you next time!" Do what you need and make sure your fallout umbrella is in good repair. And, hey, well done, having your wife's back on this. So much more important than the other noise.

Re: Kid fatigue: As a person without kids, it can be very annoying to have to be the one to accommodate kiddos every time. I love love love the friends who go out of their way to get a baby-sitter and come visit us once in a while. The friends who expect us to come to them all the time because they just can't leave the little one with anybody else, well, we don't see them as often. So, parents, you can't complain if you want everything your way all the time.

ANONYMOUS

True, and I completely agree on the people who "just can't leave the little one with anybody else." However, it's also wonderful to recognize that reciprocation is over the long haul. The original post, for example, was about a toddler (tough age) and a mom wiped out with pregnancy fatigue. That is not the time for them to get a sitter and rally just to make a point. So, it's OK to see these friends as preoccupied, giving them some time, no hard feelings. The reciprocation there is that they harbor no hard feelings toward you for not always coming to them.

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