An Open Letter to My Kid-less Friends
Joe DeProspero has two sons, a wife, and is complimentary birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” He talks about the highs and unsettling lows of parenthood while always being entertaining and engaging in the process. He has written the book “The Boy in the Wrinkled Shirt” and is currently working on releasing a parenting humor book. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two sons and can be emailed at email@example.com or followed on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.
We’ve been friends for many years. You’ve known me as a careless teen and a carefree adolescent. It is due to the long, rich history which we both share that I offer you the respect of an explanation of who I am today, because I feel that my lack of presence in your life could be misinterpreted as apathy. On the contrary, I value our friendship a great deal. After all, you were technically there before my wife and children were. So, with that said, here’s how I feel about our floundering relationship, along with some practical ideas to keep it afloat.
First and foremost, don’t forget that I exist, please. I understand that my schedule has filled up faster than the men’s room at halftime of the Super Bowl since I’ve become a dad. But being a father in no way diminishes my ability or desire to be invited to bars for the liberal consumption of alcohol. In fact, it increases it. Exponentially. So, while I certainly don’t expect an invite every weekend, don’t just assume that I’m too busy or exhausted. I’ve been known to make time for people who I consider important, Jack Daniels being one of them.
I promise when we do spend time together that I won’t monopolize the conversation with talk of what you will likely perceive as my son’s minor accomplishments (his first words, his first bike, his painfully awkward school picture). But if you don’t show any interest in my chosen lifestyle of taming tantrums and mastering Fresh Beat Band lyrics, don’t expect me to be interested in hearing every excruciating detail of your weekend that included a Jersey Shore marathon, an unfettered poolside read, and a nap. I do my best not to allow the fact that I’ve procreated dominant any conversation. In fact, I’m flattered when you tell me, “I still find it hard to believe that you’re a father.” However, when you overemphasize the word “you’re,” it’s kind of insulting.
On the flip-side of that, please don’t be offended if I can’t go to your party that starts at 8:00 at night. My kids are normally in bed by 8:30. Would you be excited to go to a party that started right before you were planning to be in pajamas? I didn’t think so. Regardless, you leave me two choices. Well, three actually.
1). Going to your party and dragging my kids along, which I don’t think either of us want, especially when there are drunken dancers and ghastly house music involved.
2). Going to your party and leaving my wife to watch over the kids (which actually would be great, so I get out of the bedtime routine for a night. But the downside is I wouldn’t be able to drink and I’d be hanging out with other people who would be. If I have to say it, being sober around drunk people is my version of hell.)
3). Hiring a babysitter. I was going to hire a babysitter once. Then I watched the news. Now I trust no one.
Don’t get mad at me for being late. And please know that I will
occasionally lie about what time I plan to actually arrive at the destination where I’m meeting you. Because I have control issues, I prefer to put my kids to sleep before leaving. And when they’ll actually fall asleep is truly anyone’s guess. And naturally, at least one of my children will pick the night I made plans to develop croup, bronchitis, and an immunity to nighttime medicine. So why do I lie then? Because I know I certainly would never commit to plans with anyone who told me, “I’ll be there between 9:00 and 11:30.” I want to see you. This is why I lie to you. Think of me as the cable guy.
And please don’t tell me you need a vacation. Ever. Once you become a parent, you realize that the only ones who should be taking vacations are people who have to deal with erratic, irrational offspring day in and day out. You don’t “need” a vacation. Simply urinating without an audience would qualify as one for me.
So, in summary, I’m willing to meet in the middle. As long as you do your best to understand that I am at the mercy of the children I’m raising for the next couple of decades. In fact, let’s drink to that. I’ll meet you at the Tap House at 9:00.
Do you have friends who you feel alienated from? Has your social life take a dive since becoming a parent? I want to hear about it! Leave all comments by clicking on the comments section below!Add a Comment