Monday, 23 May 2011

Saying 'no'

Image from here
Life is pretty full for me. With the kids, work, the family business and running a couple of times a week, there isn't much room on my dance card.

I try to keep in touch with friends but if I am truthful, I often only manage an email, a quick text message or the dreaded Facebook. An actual phone call from me is a rarity these days!

When it comes to actually seeing people, I find child-friendly ways to meet up (parks, picnics, kid's parties, BBQs, beach adventures, camping trips, weekends away together) and this at least keeps my friendships ticking over. I love to spend time with the important people in my life, but many of them have as little space in their lives as I do, so it isn't easy.

Socialising with friends (without the kids in tow) has become a casualty in my life. It isn't that I don't want to, or that I like my friends any less, it is just that I don't really have time to go.  I often say 'no' to gatherings, events, or parties these days.

Going out at night isn't just about the time that you are present at the function. It is the time it takes to travel there and back (I live a fair hike from most of my friends) and to recover from the reduced sleep and extra alcohol consumed (I have never been one to shun a good time!).

Saying 'no' is not a popular choice. It is rarely accepted without a 'valid' reason (like a sick child or illness myself). "I don't want to" doesn't seem to cut it for most people but for me saying 'no' is often the only choice.

I don't know if it is a sign of growing up or growing apart, but I would rather be fresh for my family than party into the wee hours of the morn wishing I were 10 years younger (and looking less like a Nanna in my chosen ensemble that I purchased in the 1990s).

I miss seeing my friends and having an actual conversation more regularly. Saying 'no' has been a hard lesson for me to learn (I have always liked to be 'included') but it is the one thing that really helps me stay on top of all facets of my life. When I lose my mojo (even for a day), all hell breaks loose around here.

What about you? Do you say 'no' to social events? How does it make you feel? How do you manage to maintain relationships with people outside of your family?


1000 Homes of Happiness said...

Something always has to give...and agree our social life was the first casualty. We either take the kiddies with us to dinners or BBQ's with friends but then always seem to pay the price the next day when they are tired and grumpy. Or we go out alone but often find it hard to get someone to look after them all.

I'm hoping in a few years we can regain the social life and it will have just been a little blip in our life.


Anonymous said...

I'm the same as you. I am Mrs No. I don't know when I will start to say Yes again. I figure my grown up friends should be big enough to understand that my little people need me more right now.

Julia said...

For us--saying "no" is because we need to put the girls to bed, so as not to disrupt their precious scheduled we've worked out. I stay home, and we don't have any close family, so no one other than us puts them to bed--ever!

If we do go out (which is rare), it's after the girls are in bed (7:30 bedtime), and we are able to secure a "monitor sitter" to sit in our home and listen to the hum of quiet through the monitor.

I get it---my life has changed dramamtically since becoming a parent. You know, though, I don't mind so much. In many ways it's nice to have an excuse to say "no" stay home, wear yoga pants, and dine on take out :)

Photographer Mum said...

I am finding the same thing these days. I said no to my friends birthday, celebrating in the city, because one of my kids got sick. I let her know I couldn't make it. That was in March and she hasn't spoken to me since, even though I have tried to contact her numerous times. She doesn't have kids though, so I get that she doesn't understand, but seriously, it wouldn't hurt to just say hello back. Anyway, we're about 50/50 when it comes to going out.

Mum on the Run said...

It's about priorities isn't it?
I'm still learning though!
I'm a stupid 'yes' woman who bends over backwards to fit everyone in between committees, work, running and my precious family.
We rarely get a part of a day, let alone a day, to ourselves.
My sanity may just be what gives!!

Alice Becomes said...

I understand why you are saying No. And it is important. I have just started saying Yes again...(I don't run a business and my 2 kids are still under school age) so I am finding that unlike you, I have a little bit of time available for getting out with friends again. Just a little bit. But I think it helps that we live in this small town and that it takes me just 10 mins (maximum!) to get anywhere. When we visit the family in Sydney, I end up exhausted just with all the getting to and from everywhere - it makes a big difference.

bakeoutwest said...

I feel like you read my mind. We only have a youngish bub but I feel like my life is about saying no. We also have the problem with being the first in the family with a child and feel like no-one understands our needs or our daughter's needs. Like she just needs to go to sleep and she won't cuddle you when she's tired, particularly when you don't make the effort to get to know her. My friends have become the casualty in all this. It's a shame and it breaks my heart but the time just isn't there.

Georgie said...

No is by far the easier option but... I made a pact with myself last year to say yes as much as I could. We had just moved to a new state and it was a great way to meet new friends for both us and our girls. gxo

A Farmer's Wife said...

My youngest is 4 and we are now just back to the stage where we can say yes to a few things. I have learnt though that somethings just aren't worth it with young kids. If I feel that I will spend my whole time chasing after them while everyone else has a great time I still refuse politely. If someone keeps pushing for a reason then I figure it is white lie time!

Mama of 2 boys said...

This is a great post. I can identify with what you are saying completely. Not a day goes by when I don't think about my friends, most of them actually. I feel guilty, I wonder what they're doing and if they're thinking I'm being aloof or if they're just sitting in this same boat I am.
I do get out with the girls every so often, but it's a mammoth effort, not just to arrange around everyone's schedule, but the day leading up. Organising 2 little ones to be fed, bathed and ready for bed, so their dad doesn't have to fumble around doing it... is a hard thing.
Most nights I go out, I spend precisely 3 and a half minutes getting myself ready, before flying out the door. How times have changed.
I like to think that one day... in about 10 years or so... we'll party again, maybe slightly more sedately than before ;o)

Romina Garcia said...

It's so twilight zone reading this post as I was just thinking about this very thing last night.
Most of my friends are either childless, or have one child.
I have grown apart from so many of them because of this very reason. Different life stages mean different priorities. I rarely go "out" these days, if ever.
I do enjoy a "girls night" every once in a while where I catch up with friends of mine without children, although I do always find myself pining to come home and put my pj's on.
I live in the hope that one day soon our life stages will overlap and we can all come together. Until then, I'll happily sit in my trackie dacks in the middle of the park with my little people and "catch up" with friends on line.

Posie Patchwork said...

It's not so much "No" but "Not Right Now" for me, as like you, up to my eyeballs in children, add to that a husband away & my eldest can babysit but i'd hardly leave her so i could go out at night. I'd rather have friends over to my place or like you, meet in a park, where children are at their best - in their natural habitat. They grow up so fast, i have plenty of time for catching up later!! True friends will still be there, love Posie

DancingInTheRain said...

This would imply that I get invited to lots of social events!! Most of my friends have a bunch of kidlets so catching up is always child friendly. I do miss those grown up dinner were you weren't interupted each mouthful and finished a conversation. As others have said, that time will come.

Quill and Ink Handmade said...

We're not nearly as social as we used to be, but we do have a lot of kid-friendly do's with our friends. I don't miss our busy social life as much as I used to though - and like you, I'd prefer to be fresh and well rested in the morning :)
Great post!

Maxabella said...

Like I've always said, a hangover is too big an investment!! x

Tat said...

I say 'no' all the time and the kids provide the perfect excuse. It means less friends, but better friends. The true friends will understand and will be happy to arrange something that works for everyone.

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