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So we're a pack of long time friends (15 years+) and we hang out with each other many times. The meeting place (if we don't go out to town) is one of our houses, and we rotate it (so no one is forced to clean after us 4 times a month :) ).

One of our friends has a kid (1,5 years old) and since it happened he became reluctant to go anywhere (either town or our houses). While we perfectly understand why (kid, especially small is a lot of work), we tried to explain to him that surely he can ask either grandparents (his or his wife) to take care of the baby for one night once in a while (or hire a nanny) and we can go have fun.

However, he insists we meet at his place and for a time we did (after the baby was a little grown). But we think a bunch of "alcoholized" guys and gals is not the perfect company for a kid; also, when we go there, he and his wife aren't even with us most of the time (you know, baby is crying, change diaper, feed), we can't do any loud things, the kid wakes up every 2 hours and they bring him to us to play "with uncles and aunts". The house also is, to lightly say it, a mess. If you can find a spot that the kid hasn't vomited on/smeared some chocolate or something it's a lucky day.

We're happy for them, but for us this is whatever limited time of week we have to relax and when we meet at his place it's anything but relaxing. Playing with a kid for 30 min can be fun, 6 hours is not. Constant interruptions as well.

However when we suggest that we meet at any other place they state they can't come, and then are annoyed that we don't want to hang out with them ("you can come to us").

What we're looking for is basically a way of saying "Look, we're friends with you, not your kid. We're happy for you, but you can't force those interactions on us, we want to have fun not play grandparents".

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    Kids dominate your entire life. You either have to drop them as friends because they have kids, or accept that the kids are going to be an unavoidable fact in that friendship. – PhillS Aug 13 at 18:22
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    What do other friends think about that? If you take any action, all of you should think/say the basically same to make clear it appears to be a problem for the whole group and not for only one individual person who would be the bad guy to your friends with the child. – puck Aug 14 at 4:40
  • @puck We (as in me and friends other than friend in question) agree on that matter, we just trying not to exclude him from our social life while also trying not to be brash. – Yuropoor Aug 19 at 8:58
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Assuming all this socializing is somehow being done in a covid-free way...

You just have to be firm. Yes, of course he's welcome to hangout with you all at Jim's house this week. It's time for someone else to host. Of course you all understand how draining it is to be hosting people week after week, with a little one to care for. If he can't make it, well, that's too bad, another time then. He knows babysitters are a thing, it's really not your place to suggest that he spend money to hang out with you.

The truth is, and I say this as a parent...being a parent means that you have to give up some social stuff, especially in the first several months. It absolutely does not mean that he gets to demand that everyone's social life revolves around what's easiest for him.

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That's not how children works, nor how parents work, especially for a first child.

It may just be a season that they probably cannot hang out as much. It is a fact that is extremely common among many of my friends that have children.

Personally, I'm good with children, and I deliberately spend more time with them. Yes, they are a handful, but if they are a handful for 6 hours, what do you think it is like 24/7 after 3 years? 10 years?

My personal goal is to spend enough time with the child so that both the parents and the child will be comfortable with me, then offer a day off for the parents. Many of my friends jumped at the opportunity and was glad they got a "day-off".

This isn't for everybody, but don't think being a parent can be offloaded so easily. In this trying period with your friends, I recommend empathy and really do try your best to support them, because it really does take a village to raise children.

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  • This is a nice way to spend time with them besides the usual hanging out with drinks and so on. Why not make more clear that this is a way to keep the relation to the parent friends and perhaps make them more open to meet at other places for the hanging-out-style events? ... or simply not be part of every hanging out, as you have ways to meet and talk in another situation. – puck Aug 14 at 4:48
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    -1 because this isn't actually advising OP on how to achieve their goal, but trying to change it. Not everyone wants to spend their weekends off with other peoples kids (and it seems it's not just once it a while, but OPs friends expect it each time the group hangs out and are upset if they meet somewhere else). I think it's valid to want some (or all) child-free weekends, and imho an answer here should focus on how to communicate that in a friendly manner (with an aside on how OP might support their friend and try to find a middle ground). – tim Aug 15 at 19:22
  • I think Tim basically worded my question better than me :) It's like "Yes, you can bring your kid to Jim's place, but if out of the whole evening with us you spend 30 min with us and the rest with kid, then honestly, don't force it on yourself and especially on the kid, we understand you have kid so you can maybe organize a free day once in a month, not every weekend, we don't mind and understand." – Yuropoor Aug 19 at 8:57
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First the answer to your question: Talk with your friend about the problems you have with the place and the child. If you are real friends for this long time, you have a base for such a talk. Be friendly, show the friend, that it is you, not him, who have a problem. You have no possibility to do this "kind", when "kind" means be less honest to calm your own bad feelings.

Second, my assumtion to the whole situation: Your friends life has developed. So your friendship need to develope too. If he is the first of your group who gets a child, it is your part as group to find a way to be friends furthermore. Because there probably will be more and more parents in your group as time goes by.

As parent I could tell you from experience, that this point is critical for the future. Some friends manage the new circumstances, some do not. Some friendships do pause until the friends have children too (and understand now the big change in my life).

As you describe it, I see a lots of possibilities to be real friends to your "daddy-friend". You seem only to discribe what you like to have: The relaxing and drinking like before, in a clean and undisturbed environment. I (as parent) see in this situation a group of friends, comming to my home, feeling disturbed by my child (who is at home here too) and need me to clean all in advance. What friends I wish for in this situation would be: helping me with the new circumstances in daily life, helping me to find solutions for all the new stuff and to help me if I need a break.

An example: you say the house is dirty. Yes, I assume you are right. My house was dirty in the first time too. Because there are a lot of things more important than cleaning. But this do not mean, that I was happy with a dirty house. It drive me nuts, every day I looked it near. I needed to learn in this time, that I could say "Yes" with thanks, when someone offers me help. Without feeling not enough, with not feeling criticised. I would suggest you, to offer help and help your friend learn this too, than to claim anything.

Other suggestions:

  • help to get a babysitter the parents could trust (for example someone of the outer circle of friends, who like to be with children)
  • an evening for the new parents to relax
  • ask when you shop daily products, if your friend need something
  • ask the partner of your friend, if she could give the friend an evening "freetime" to go out with you, ask for what help is needed in exchange, or offer her a free evening too the next time
  • bring in the meal for the next time at your friends house, think about it like a picnic (with plates and so on) so the parents do not have any cleaning tasks
  • choose a children friendly time and place for your meetings, like a playground/picnic area/recreation park/walk with the child in a buggy

If you find now a solution and a new way to stay in contact with your friend, then your friendship will last the next 15 years. And in this time it will become more and more like it was before the child. As the child grows, the possibilities for the parents grow too, and the options for your relaxing evenings. If you are real friends you will find the patience to wait for this.

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