I met some good friends’ new baby on Friday and had lots of lovely cuddles. She is beautiful, and they liked the crochet bunny I had made. So far these friends have shared very little about their little girl on Facebook and I understand their preferences for privacy. They were also sympathetic when I described how fed up I get sometimes, when my main Facebook feed is overflowing with updates about everybody’s babies and children. While I am happy for each individual, the combination which comes from having so many friends with young children can be quite exasperating. There are times when I just don’t want to know the minutiae of each child’s day. I know it’s to do with my time of life – that I’m the odd one out to be single and gallivanting across Europe and going to concerts and theatre performances.
Then I start feeling like maybe I’m the insensitive one, and maybe I shouldn’t be going on about all the baby-free fun I’m having. I’m aware that my updates about travel and fun nights out, though they feel like novelties to me and worth sharing, could be inducing a corresponding jealousy and fed-up-ness in my friends. Since I got all my marking finished I have had an amazingly enjoyable month, and I want to share the joy I am experiencing. My travel to Finland and Estonia was something of a revelation, remembering how much I love to travel and meet new people and really wanting to make the most of the opportunities I have.
I’ve also had some lovely evenings this week at a Martyn Joseph gig (see earlier blogpost) and seeing David Tennant and Catherine Tate perform in Much Ado About Nothing at Wyndham’s Theatre in London. The theatre tickets were a real blessing – my friend and I joined the lottery for tickets (10am each morning for 20 top price seats for only £10). My number was drawn mid way through the 20, but my friend seemed to have missed out and was waiting patiently in the queue for returns. Then suddenly they found they had one more ticket for the evening performance, and drew another number. That person had gone, and so they drew another, belonging to someone else who had given up. Finally they drew my friend’s ticket, and so she was also able to buy a top price (£61) ticket for just £10. Maybe that makes you sick with envy, but maybe you can share our joy. The show was fantastic with some very funny and creative scenes as well as great chemistry between the leads.
When I’m feeling more understanding of my baby bragging friends I can see how perhaps their lives are so full of babies and children that they really don’t have much else to talk about. I know that the internet can be a lifeline for mums or dads at home who are desperate for some adult contact. I guess ideally I would hope that there could be other topics of conversation as well as what the children are doing. Indeed, some of my friends manage this well. But I also need to try and somehow share their joy about the baby moments too. Some of the photos and videos are very cute and sometimes the honesty of a parent’s struggle with a child is easy to relate to, even as a non-parent.
Being encouraging means sharing in joys and sorrows, and accepting someone wherever they are – even if they are more than knee deep in baby stuff. Being a parent is an awesome responsibility and one I think that is best shared with other family and friends within a supportive community. I have really enjoyed times of being welcomed into others’ families and spending time with them and their children. Offering to babysit can also give parents a chance to get out and have an enjoyable night of their own. They might go to the cinema or the theatre, and it might even give them something different to talk/ blog/ write a status update about… 😉