I didn’t stop being friends with you over how your kid behaved. I stopped being friends with you over how YOU behaved when he misbehaved

Dear friend,

So the other day when I ran into you at Target, you said you miss hanging out with me. That we should go out for dinner or drinks sometime. I know we never really talked about what happened between us, the way our relationship just kind of fizzled out.

Because here’s the thing. It didn’t fizzle out. I put it out. On purpose.  

When the kids were little, we used to have play dates all the time. But then something happened. Your kid started to misbehave. Don’t get me wrong, I know kids misbehave all the time. Totally normal. Some of them have high energy. Some of them have special needs. And some of them are just pushing the boundaries to see what they can get away with. They’re kids. That’s what they do. But it got to the point that your kid was constantly doing bad shit in front of my kid, and sometimes to my kid. And you never did a thing. 

You and I would have these lovely, fun, awesome conversations, but that was the problem. You kept having lovely, fun, awesome conversations while your kid was chucking hard toys across the room, or peeing in the corner, or pulling every book off the bookshelf, or swinging that baseball bat at the height of everyone’s heads.

And even though it might have seemed like I was enjoying our conversations, really, I was watching your kid out of the corner of my eye the whole time, scared of what he might do next. And I couldn’t say something because his very own parent was sitting right there. Doing nothing. 

At first, it seemed okay as long as I was there to keep an eye on it. But as time went by and the kids got older, the baby gates came down and they could move around the house more freely. And I couldn’t see what was going on in the next room or upstairs. And I had to jump up every time there was a loud bang, or crash, or scream.

And now I feel bad. I think you might think we stopped being friends because your kid was a little rambunctious. But that’s not why. 

I DIDN’T stop being friends with you over how your kid behaved. I stopped being friends with you over how YOU behaved when your kid acted like that.

Our breakup wasn’t about what your kid did. It was about what you DIDN’T do.

Should I have told you what was wrong back then? Probably. But it’s hard to tell another parent how to parent. Especially when you’re floundering as a young parent yourself. And sometimes slowly stepping away is just easier. So that’s what I did. 

I’m sorry. I wish I could have done more, and I wish you would have done more. Maybe now that our kids are older, we can leave them at home and go out to have one of those lovely, fun, awesome conversations without them. 

XOXO,

A mom who feels bad even though I had good reasons

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There are 8 comments for this article
  1. Kelly at 7:35 pm

    Ooh, I feel this one! There are so many moms that I love as people, but I don’t like as parents. So we don’t hang out. You’re not alone!

  2. Jaimie at 7:46 pm

    As a parent and an early childhood educator, I agree with every thing you wrote. You have to look out for your kids and if the other parent isn’t willing to ensure your kids are safe, then you shouldn’t have the kids hang out. I totally get it and you shouldn’t feel bad for looking out for your kids. Parenting is a touchy subject and if a parent is asking for advice, they probably don’t think they need it and will likely be offended if it’s offered.

  3. Renee at 8:01 pm

    Talking about your kids’ personal stories have been a blast to read, but this is the stuff some of us really need your perspective to navigate our own journeys. You might have begun by talking about your little a-holes, but little ones turn to big ones and we all have to deal with those, too. More of this, please.

  4. Bessie at 6:27 pm

    And sometimes parents of “rambunctious” kids do in fact do the right thing in trying to control and intervene. Sadly that’s not good enough for some parents who simply don’t understand the struggle, or choose to turn their backs period. Their choice and time for the rejected parent and child to move on to meet new friends. Leaving so called friendships is sometimes a good thing.

  5. V at 9:13 pm

    I’m the parent who steps in even if it’s not my kid doing the misbehaving. Especially if it’s at my house, even if that other child’s parent is sitting there smiling. If that costs me a friendship, then so be it.

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