Ask Scary Mommy is Scary Mommy’s new advice column, where our team of “experts” answers all the questions you have about life, love, body image, friends, parenting, and anything else that’s confusing you.
This week… What do you do when your childless BFF constantly guilt trips you for not going out at night with her? Need some advice? Email email@example.com
Dear Scary Mommy,
I have two kids under the age of four. My best friend, who doesn’t have any kids (and likely never will — totally her choice, which I support) is constantly nagging me to go out with her. At night. Every week. Weekends, weeknights, doesn’t matter. She keeps telling me that my husband should be able to “handle the kids” and that I shouldn’t think twice about doing things for myself. The thing is, most of the time, I don’t WANT to go out. I’m tired, we’ve got a great routine going, and my husband is extremely capable and involved so that’s not an issue at all. Sure, my kids are little and prefer to have me there for bedtime but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I wasn’t there. Though my youngest is only 1, and still nursing at night. She just…doesn’t get it. How do I handle this? I love her dearly, but she’s stressing me out.
Friends with small children need support, period. I’m sorry she’s adding stress to your life and your friendship when I’m sure you’re already tapped out in that area due to motherhood and, well, *gestures widely at everything on fire.* I’m glad you recognize that your guilt doesn’t stem from going out in general, but from your friend constantly harping on you to go to happy hour.
The broader picture here is that childless people won’t ever understand what it’s like to have children. That’s not a judgment of their character or ability to empathize — it’s a fact based on lived experience. I’m sure she loves you, loves your kids, loves your whole family very much. But she won’t ever “get it” fully. And that’s okay. What’s not okay is that she’s pushing boundaries by pushing you about your social life.
Explain to your BFF that you love her and you love hanging out with her, and sometimes a night out is just what you both need. But she needs to know that often, at the end of a very long day of parenting, the last thing you feel like doing is putting on a real bra, real pants, makeup, and leaving your couch. And for nursing moms, going out longer than a couple of hours can feel even more difficult.
Find a happy medium. Make semi-regular plans that include her coming over and hanging out with you — on the couch with Netflix queued up or sitting on your front porch with a glass of wine. Go to her house too — no need for makeup or bras there, either. Tell her that if she wants to hang out with you while you’ve got two small kiddos, making it easier for you to accomplish that is what you need right now. And you need your friend, too. We all do.
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