Friday, May 20, 2011

Friends with benefits.

I just glanced at the calendar and noticed that tomorrow we have not one, but two birthday parties, AND dinner with friends. While that's not totally unusual for us, it's still kind of amusing to think that most of our weekend is comprised of plans we made on account of our five year old.

The birthday parties are for kids of adults that we friended first, but the dinner is with friends we met because of Liam. This has been happening more and more lately. As he goes out into the world and starts movin' and shakin', his social life is inevitably becoming our social life. Which - so far, knock on wood! - has been really great.

But I can't help but wonder if (or, more likely, when) my kids will start to feel like I remember feeling. I swear, for most of my awkward years I thought, "OMG! My parents are so lame. They wouldn't even have a social life if wasn't for me." Charming, wasn't I? If I could time travel bitch-slap myself I'd be like, "Well, duh, little lady. Do you have any idea how much damn time you consume?!?"


But of course I didn't. No kid does. That's why it's the parents' job to be super smart and selective when it comes to choosing neighborhoods and schools and extra-curriculars. That way when you wake up one day and realize you maybe wouldn't have a social life if it wasn't for your kids, at least you'll be enjoying the ride. We may not be able to choose our kids' friends but we can certainly help guide them to make better choices.

Location, location, location!

I mean, who has the time to parent effectively and have a killer social life (and, like, make a living or whatever)? If we want to have friends and fun and raise our kids, we have to double up whenever possible.

For example, at pre-school drop off and pick up, I can almost always snag myself an adult conversation with a parent I really like and have something in common with. This was not exactly the case at Liam's last school (I hardly ever saw the other parents) and I can tell you, it's a major benefit (and a total sanity saver on those particularly bleary-eyed mornings...).

And all of our social commitments this weekend? Even though we'll be busy-busy-busier than I typically like, I'm actually really looking forward to it. I know we'll all have fun, because we'll all have friends!

Since Liam has been so great about only making friends with kids who have cool parents for us to hang out with (that was his plan, right?), I do my best to return the favor. Unless I'm forgetting someone rotten, I can honestly say that ALL of my friends are in it for me and my kids. Which is not only incredible, it's essential.

I mean, imagine if my friends were like, "Um, kids are kinda...sticky. And they talk ALL THE TIME. Can't you just leave them at home?" I'd probably have to break up with them! Not because that isn't true - it so is - but because, unless they want to spring for a sitter, chances are pretty good that they're gonna see my kids. You know what, even if they did get a sitter...love me, love my kids!

With me as always...

Luckily for us, most of our friends like Liam and Finn so much they went ahead and had kids of their own for them to play with. (Score!) But our friends without kids? Just as awesome. I mean, who needs a playmate when there's a library of Dr. Seuss books in the guest room and a chalkboard the size of the kitchen in the kitchen? In the past week alone, Liam has received an e-mail, his very own Gyrobowl (it's like an as seen on TV dream come true!), and an invitation for an after school dance party. And he told me if he ever has trouble with a bully, he knows exactly who he's going to call.

That's what I call friends with benefits.

But sometimes, even though I know my kids are welcome just about everywhere I go (or if not welcome, at least expected...), I do something wild and crazy and call a babysitter. Because holding a cocktail and a cake pop AND a baby sounds like way too much work for a Friday night.

Ditto margaritas, skates and glow sticks on a Wednesday night...

Cheers to babysitters and busy weekends!

Full disclosure: This post was mostly written (but never finished) more than two weeks ago (so forgive me if it's a little jumpy!). This weekend is shaping up to be blissfully boring. DOUBLE cheers to that!

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