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How would you handle this with your friend?


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I have the nicest homeschool friend. I really like her. She lives almost an hour from me so we don't get together much. When we do, she wants to bring her daughter.

 

Her daughter is awesome: very mature, really sweet. But, she's 13 and I want adult time with my friend.

 

The one time I cautiously broached this w/ my friend she semi-brushed it off. I actually think she might have shared it w/ her daughter because her daughter acted funny around me after that. Her girl is an only child.

 

I don't know what to do. I want to see my friend, but I want one-on-one adult talk. Not talk that has to be kept careful because of a kid.

 

What do you think?

 

Alley

 

 

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Is it possible that she doesn't have anywhere to leave the girl? Or is it possible that she considers her mature enough to join in on adult conversations? Is she bringing her to a meeting with just you - like at a restaurant? Or is she bringing her to your house when your boys are home?

 

Could you set up a mom date somewhere that kids would not attend? Maybe ask her to meet for a glass of wine? Or at a mom's night at a painting studio?

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The mature adult side of me says to be upfront and open, and say something along the lines of how you enjoy her dd's company but you'd really like to have some adult time with her.

 

What would actually happen is probably that I would just back off of the relationship, or only talk to her on the phone.

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The mature adult side of me says to be upfront and open, and say something along the lines of how you enjoy her dd's company but you'd really like to have some adult time with her.

 

What would actually happen is probably that I would just back off of the relationship, or only talk to her on the phone.

 

Yes, that's the direction I'm heading.

 

We've met at a park and the daughter acts like she's too mature to play w/ the kids so she sits with the adults.

 

We live too far away to do the wine thing in the evening.

 

It's really frustrating.

 

Alley

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Yes, that's the direction I'm heading.

 

We've met at a park and the daughter acts like she's too mature to play w/ the kids so she sits with the adults.

 

We live too far away to do the wine thing in the evening.

 

It's really frustrating.

 

Alley

 

I think it would be hard for a 13-year-old girl with no younger brothers to have a good time playing with 10-year-old boys.  My daughter would have a tough time, but she'd bring a book or something to do and sit in another room (or at the park, separate from the adults).   I don't guess you can suggest to your friend that your daughter do that?   It would be hard to do, but a good enough friend might understand.

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How about having her bring a book or schoolwork? I think schoolwork seems so much cooler when done at a coffee shop.

 

I had a mom who had no qualms telling me when kids weren't welcome (such as when her friends wanted to talk about marital problems - none of my business). She would tell me to bring a book and go find a bench to read it on.

 

Emily

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Unless you are planning to talk about sex, divorce or war crimes, I can't think of any "adult conversation" that a 13yo needs to be sheltered from.

 

At a certain point I thought the same exact thing as you, but this isn't a "park" friend. This is a friend who I've had some really personal talks with -- on the few occasions we've been alone. We've talked about difficult parents, difficult situations with our dh, difficulties in homeschooling, in her case: difficult in-laws.

 

And, yeah, she won't talk about any of it around her daughter. And I don't blame her. I don't want to talk about it around her daughter either. No sex, divorce, or war. Just adult topics.

 

It's just different than the  moms I hang out with at the park. There we don't know each other well enough to delve into really personal topics.

 

Alley

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How about having her bring a book or schoolwork? I think schoolwork seems so much cooler when done at a coffee shop.

 

I had a mom who had no qualms telling me when kids weren't welcome (such as when her friends wanted to talk about marital problems - none of my business). She would tell me to bring a book and go find a bench to read it on.

 

Emily

 

 

This.

 

I have no trouble telling ds13 to go find something to do because we want to have adult conversation.  I dont' do it all of the time of course....and some of our topics definitely interest him so we have to be sure he isn't in the room listening.

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Unless you are planning to talk about sex, divorce or war crimes, I can't think of any "adult conversation" that a 13yo needs to be sheltered.

 

I'm not sure that is the point. Sounds like the OP wants 1:1 friend time. I would be very frustrated too. The conversations I have with my girlfriends are not privy to my children's ears, no matter if they're 3 or 13.

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This.

 

I have no trouble telling ds13 to go find something to do because we want to have adult conversation.  I dont' do it all of the time of course....and some of our topics definitely interest him so we have to be sure he isn't in the room listening.

 

LOVE this idea, but I'm not the daughter's mom. I can't say, "Please have your daughter bring a book or school work so she's not listening to every detail of how mad I am at dh for not having cleaned up the yard!"

 

I'm kidding, but I love your idea. And I agree that school work is cooler in a restaurant. :)

 

Alley

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Honestly, it is hard on both sides.  She has a teen who is too old to 'go play' and the mom is used to her being around so she is unlikely to shoo her away.  The teen, especially an only child, is likely a bit lonely and is probably intrigued by the adult conversations.  If she had friends to spend the day with, she would likely rather be there than with the two of you, so i am guessing she doesn't have that option.

 

In my experience, you have a few options.  

1. Deal with the daughter being there and skip on personal conversations.

2. Be honest with the friend, but expect to lose her in the process because no one wants to hear their child is not welcome.

3. Meet at a place like the mall where the girl can go wander while you chat. You will have to talk to the mom ahead of time and make sure she is ok with that arrangement. 

4. Wait a few years until the mom and girl aren't joined at the hip and rekindle your friendship then. 

5. Ask the mom out for dinner and drinks/live music in a bar.  That way the 'over 21' rule sets the age dynamic, not you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Honestly, it is hard on both sides.  She has a teen who is too old to 'go play' and the mom is used to her being around so she is unlikely to shoo her away.  The teen, especially an only child, is likely a bit lonely and is probably intrigued by the adult conversations.  If she had friends to spend the day with, she would likely rather be there than with the two of you, so i am guessing she doesn't have that option.

 

In my experience, you have a few options.  

1. Deal with the daughter being there and skip on personal conversations.

2. Be honest with the friend, but expect to lose her in the process because no one wants to hear their child is not welcome.

3. Meet at a place like the mall where the girl can go wander while you chat. You will have to talk to the mom ahead of time and make sure she is ok with that arrangement. 

4. Wait a few years until the mom and girl aren't joined at the hip and rekindle your friendship then. 

5. Ask the mom out for dinner and drinks/live music in a bar.  That way the 'over 21' rule sets the age dynamic, not you.

 

I like these ideas a lot. I've tried "skipping on personal issues" but then the conversation is stilted and boring! I thought my friend might notice, but she doesn't seem to have.

 

#2 is right.

 

#3 -- Love. I'm so afraid I'll set this up and she'll still sit with us! :)

 

#4 -- Really smart.

 

#5 -- Good for the spring/summer when it's not dark at 5:30.

 

Thanks,

 

Alley

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Can you just get together in the evening when I assume Dad’s would be home to watch the kids? If I missed somewhere that one of you is a single Mom, I apologize. I meet two friends semi-regularly for coffee but we go in the evening so it’s not ever an issue to have kids along. 

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Not that I get it a lot but when we want a girl's night out we tell each other. I'd ask her, "When is a good time for just you and me to meet?" I think some adults seem to overestimate the maturity of their child. My relationship w/ my kid's friends is not the same as with my friend. I don't want to talk deep personal thoughts with a 13. Obviously not all the time we meet will be alone time but as my kids get older this is the time I'm wanting with my friends.

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I like these ideas a lot. I've tried "skipping on personal issues" but then the conversation is stilted and boring! I thought my friend might notice, but she doesn't seem to have.

 

#2 is right.

 

#3 -- Love. I'm so afraid I'll set this up and she'll still sit with us! :)

 

#4 -- Really smart.

 

#5 -- Good for the spring/summer when it's not dark at 5:30.

 

Thanks,

 

Alley

#3 maybe try to make arrangements at a mall that has a movie theater. Have her pick a movie ahead of time, and if it doesn't start for a while, buy her a ticket when you first get there so she can't back out later.  :0) 

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I'll admit this is pretty much why I don't have friends.  I can't meet with them in the evening unless they are willing to pick me up (I don't expect them to).  I have to bring my kids with me during the week.  Weekends I'm busy on Sunday.  Saturdays are a maybe, but that really is time I spend with my husband.

 

I figure, I won't always have young kids.  So someday I'll have more time for friends!

My friends and I certainly would pick each other up or rearrange schedules as needed and pick each other up or drop off. We don't do it very often so it is not that big of a deal.  

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I live an hour away from most of my friends, and I am the one who always has to drive to meet with them. My kids have to go with me, even my 14yo, because I don't feel comfortable leaving them home alone when I'm that far away. However, I would not be offended if you said to me, "I would like to speak to you privately sometimes when we get together. Do you think we could find something for your dd to do while we talk?"

 

If she's such a good friend that you feel comfortable baring your soul to her about other things, it seems to me that she would understand this as well.

 

She may not have any good ideas for keeping her dd occupied, though, so you really & truly may need to brainstorm with her.

 

 

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Maybe her dd has become her confidant. It sounds to me like it just isn't going to be different in the near future and she thinks you are the one with the problem.    :grouphug:

 

If this is the case, you can assume she will discuss everything with the daughter, even if the daughter is not there for the discussion.  And the daughter may or may not discuss it with your sons, other friends, kids at coop, etc.

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Some friends of mine and I meet in a bookstore with a coffeeshop occasionally.  Sometimes we bring our older kids and they either hang out together or just browse on their own.  One woman's kids always keep popping back to stand by her and the conversation definitely takes a turn when that happens.  I feel for moms who can't get out without kids - of course I have been there myself, haven't we all? - and it is hard to tell someone else to shoo their kid away.   Most of us do that, but then usually the kids are only coming up to ask for coffee money or to see if we'll buy a book. 

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I can see this happening and me being like your friend.  I have a 12 year old who prefers adults.  He would likely hang around.  I can't just leave him alone for hours to go spend time alone with you.  I also won't tell him to buzz off or "go play".  So you'd have to make one on one plans with me on the weekend.  I wouldn't mind if you would tell me how you feel, but I can't change the fact my son is with me during the day and again, I won't tell him to go away.

 

Why wouldn't you tell him to bring a book, a project, or a video game so that he could occupy himself quietly and pleasantly for a couple of hours?

 

I tell my almost 12yo, who knows I don't have many opportunities to spend time with my friends, that I need my "me" time, and she understands. If we have a situation like the OP's, she brings a book and a drawing pad and spends a good chunk of time by herself.

 

I have a friend with an only DD, 10 yo, who is, admittedly very sweet and mature, who likes to sit with us and chat with us. It is clear to me that my friend doesn't want the same relationship as I do, and hence her DD is always included in conversations. I homeschool 3 kids. Not many by this board's standards, but my point is that I spend pretty much all of my time with them. Until very recently I didn't have any opportunities to even go out without my children. I do *crave* pleasant adult interactions. My friend, with a sweet and mature 10 yo, misses her daughter who spends 8+ hours a day at school + a couple of hours of extracurriculars and wants to spend more time with her. We have very different priorities right now.

 

I think if the OP's friend brings her DD, she doesn't want to have the same kind of conversations as the OP does.

 

 

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I'll admit this is pretty much why I don't have friends.  I can't meet with them in the evening unless they are willing to pick me up (I don't expect them to).  I have to bring my kids with me during the week.  Weekends I'm busy on Sunday.  Saturdays are a maybe, but that really is time I spend with my husband.

 

I figure, I won't always have young kids.  So someday I'll have more time for friends!

 

Aw...I'd certainly pick you up! I've picked up friends on numerous occasions. :grouphug:

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I have a friend with an only DD, 10 yo, who is, admittedly very sweet and mature, who likes to sit with us and chat with us. It is clear to me that my friend doesn't want the same relationship as I do, and hence her DD is always included in conversations. I homeschool 3 kids. Not many by this board's standards, but my point is that I spend pretty much all of my time with them. Until very recently I didn't have any opportunities to even go out without my children. I do *crave* pleasant adult interactions. My friend, with a sweet and mature 10 yo, misses her daughter who spends 8+ hours a day at school + a couple of hours of extracurriculars and wants to spend more time with her. We have very different priorities right now.

 

I think if the OP's friend brings her DD, she doesn't want to have the same kind of conversations as the OP does.

 

Yes and no. I think she and I have had some really great conversations that have bonded us. But I also think that because her dh travels so much that my friend and her daughter are solid team.

 

It's not just that the daughter sits with us. . . she fully expects to participate in the conversation. And, please don't get me wrong, I like the daughter very much. I'd pick her to be my daughter out of line of girls in a heartbeat.

 

You just can't talk with her there. :)

 

Alley

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At a certain point I thought the same exact thing as you, but this isn't a "park" friend. This is a friend who I've had some really personal talks with -- on the few occasions we've been alone. We've talked about difficult parents, difficult situations with our dh, difficulties in homeschooling, in her case: difficult in-laws.

 

And, yeah, she won't talk about any of it around her daughter. And I don't blame her. I don't want to talk about it around her daughter either. No sex, divorce, or war. Just adult topics.

 

It's just different than the  moms I hang out with at the park. There we don't know each other well enough to delve into really personal topics.

 

Alley

 

My guess is she doesn't want to talk about this anymore. :grouphug:  If she wanted to, she would've organized her DD's activity in your house--a book, knitting, drawing, ipad, school work--possibilities are endless. It is not like a 13 yo can't spend an hour or two happily occupied with something else.

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Yes and no. I think she and I have had some really great conversations that have bonded us. But I also think that because her dh travels so much that my friend and her daughter are solid team.

 

It's not just that the daughter sits with us. . . she fully expects to participate in the conversation. And, please don't get me wrong, I like the daughter very much. I'd pick her to be my daughter out of line of girls in a heartbeat.

 

You just can't talk with her there. :)

 

Alley

 

I get it, I do. :grouphug: It is hard.

 

You don't have to answer here, but is it possible that you said something that could have been perceived like oversharing on your part? Could it be that your friend felt uncomfortable and doesn't want to go "there" anymore? This is just a guess based on my own experiences--I think I have a tendency to overshare, which is exacerbated by the lack of adult company (I do watch myself, though.)

 

 

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I would be like your friend, not because my teen prefers to hang out with adults but because I would be uncomfortable leaving them home alone while I was an hour away.  They would bring something to keep them occupied so I could focus on my conversation/visit but I would not leave them home, just the driving 2 and from leaves a 13 year old alone for 2 hours, then add a few more for visiting.  It's too long for my comfort zone, I do leave mine for multiple hours but not if I am going to be more than 20 minutes away so I can get home quickly if there is some sort of emergency.  Maybe your friend feels the same way.

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 I wouldn't mind if you would tell me how you feel, but I can't change the fact my son is with me during the day and again, I won't tell him to go away.

 

I mean this ever so respectfully, but I'm trying to understand this perspective, so I hope you don't mind me asking--why?

Why wouldn't you ask him to occupy himself so you could visit with a friend for a while? I guess I've always looked at it as teaching my kids to be respectful of other people's needs and looking beyond our own momentary desires, but maybe I've missed something?

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I mean this ever so respectfully, but I'm trying to understand this perspective, so I hope you don't mind me asking--why?

Why wouldn't you ask him to occupy himself so you could visit with a friend for a while? I guess I've always looked at is as teaching my kids to be respectful of other people's needs and looking beyond our own momentary desires, but maybe I've missed something?

 

I'm not offended at all, Julie! Your question is great. I might have overshared, but it felt very mutual. If anyone did, I think it might have been from her, but to this day it felt very mutual and supportive. Nothing felt off or weird about it at all.

 

But I guess something is happening.

 

The funny thing is that she emails me to get together -- much more than I email her. So. . . I'm not sure what to think.

 

Alley

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Unless you are planning to talk about sex, divorce or war crimes, I can't think of any "adult conversation" that a 13yo needs to be sheltered from.

It is not about sheltering. The dynamics are completely different when a child is present. Or when anyone who is not a close friend is present, for example. It would be the same of OP's friend brought her uncle with her.The level of intimacy and the way people relate to each other is different. 

 

 

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Maybe you could meet at her house when her dd has some extracurricular activity. Even if her dd is around, she's much more likely to go off by herself than at your house! Even if she had a book or something, she may be uncomfortable being by herself in someone else's house. I thought the mall with a movie theater was a great idea! If you don't think she would be offended, suggest that the dd bring a friend and they can shop/go to a movie, while you guys chat in the food court or something. Otherwise, if you think of something specific you'd like to do, you could call her and say "hey, let's have a mom's night out and go to....."

 

On the subject of picking up friends- I almost always carpool with a friend when we go somewhere.....if you don't, you're missing a lot of talk time in the car!!! I wouldn't mind if I was always the one that drove. When a friend drives several times in a row, I offer to pay for gas. Unfortunately, it's hard to carpool when you are with your kids because no one has enough seats and there is always carseats to juggle!

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I can see this happening and me being like your friend. I have a 12 year old who prefers adults. He would likely hang around. I can't just leave him alone for hours to go spend time alone with you. I also won't tell him to buzz off or "go play". So you'd have to make one on one plans with me on the weekend. I wouldn't mind if you would tell me how you feel, but I can't change the fact my son is with me during the day and again, I won't tell him to go away.

Same here. I won't tell my ds to go away, and if it came down to a choice between meeting a casual friend and spending time with my ds, my ds would win every time.

 

And FWIW, I wouldn't bother driving an hour each way to meet with a friend for a few hours unless she was an incredibly good friend. I have neither the time, the energy, nor the interest to do that. I might do it if I had other things to do in the area on the same day, but in that case, my ds would almost certainly be with me.

 

Alicia, I'm not sure how to phrase this gently, but maybe you aren't important enough to your friend to make her want to give up spending the time with her dd and meeting with you alone. I can understand your frustration, but it sounds like you're not a priority for her unless you're willing to always do things her way.

 

Personally, I would back off on the in-person meetings if they aren't fun for you, and plan on being a "phone friend" for a while.

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My assumption would be that she is just oblivious. Also, many people these days don't have/ want very deep friendships so perhaps don't see the big deal. I don't understand not just asking to meet up privately. What is there to lose? If she says no she cannot but seems interested you can brainstorm solutions, if not you will have to decide how much time you want to spend on a relationship at the level that she wants.

 

eta

I'd not want to do that with everyone I meet obviously and I bet the OP doesn't either. There was mutual sharing, the friend has initiated contact and visits multiple times. I personally only have a few really close friends, 1 bff. I don't want one on one time w/ all my friends but I sure do w/ close friends and it is mutual. 

 

I spend ALL my time w/ my kids, 3 hrs a month w/out them is sure nice though.

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I guess she isn't seeing the situation as a problem. 

 

Very likely my son would go off and do something without me saying anything, but I have been in situations where there wasn't much for him to do.  I'm not going to tell him to go away or "go play" if there is nothing for him to do.  So maybe one idea is to find something very attractive to a 13 year old.  Kiddy playgrounds are probably not going to do it.

 

That's why I like the idea of meeting at the mall -- right next to Sephora! :lol:

 

Just for the record, my friend was actually hoping to find friends for her girl at that particular playground.  I hadn't been pushing to visit there. The daughter has friends (she's very likable), but not in her immediate neighborhood.

 

Alley

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I think part of the dynamic may be that she’s an only child. I’m an only child and I got really really used to being around adults and expected it to be ok in most situations and my parents were used to having me there. It may be other things mentioned or it may just be that from her perspective it’s completely normal to have her daughter there. As an only child you don’t get used to going off and playing with a sibling, it’s always just you and your parents so when it’s your Mom and another adult it seems natural to stay and hang out with them. 

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I like the idea of scheduling get togethers where kids are not possible. A day trip to an expensive day spa. A meet up for drinks at a bar. Anything that is pretty expensive and adults only . . . Of course, that gets expensive. Lol.

 

If you are phone chat friends, then I'd just suggest talking about difficult topics on the phone unless you happen into a good in person chat.

 

If you have a serious crisis you wish to discuss privately, then I think it is fine to say, "hey, friend, can we get together just us two this weekend for a couple hours so I can talk to you about this problem I am having with dh . . ." But, personally, I would only do that during a once-in-a-decade kind of crisis, the kind that would have me in tears and/or would involve something very private.

 

This phase shall pass. Your friend may already be dreading the day her dd leaves the nest, and she might be wanting to savor the time together right now. But, her dd will soon enough have her own plans that preclude hanging with boring old people. Blink, and she'll be in college.

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That's why I like the idea of meeting at the mall -- right next to Sephora! :lol:

 

Just for the record, my friend was actually hoping to find friends for her girl at that particular playground. I hadn't been pushing to visit there. The daughter has friends (she's very likable), but not in her immediate neighborhood.

 

Alley

Many moms wouldn't allow their 13yo dds to roam all alone around a shopping mall, so meeting at the mall might end up being the three of you wandering from store to store together.

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I'm trying to imagine this.  How does a 13 year old find friends at a playground during school hours?  The only people I see are preschoolers. 

 

It's hard to discuss this sort of thing I guess without giving tons of minutiae. There is a homeschool group that plays on a particular day at the park. Older siblings come along just to get out of the house. . . I guess.

 

I've noticed teen girls and teen boys -- so it's a meet-up for everyone not just the kids.

 

Thanks for everyone's help!

 

Alley

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I'm trying to imagine this. How does a 13 year old find friends at a playground during school hours? The only people I see are preschoolers.

Yeah. Realistically, how does a 13yo find friends at a playground at any time, unless it's part of some sort of organized activity?

 

My ds wouldn't even think about hanging around at a playground.

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I think part of the dynamic may be that she’s an only child. I’m an only child and I got really really used to being around adults and expected it to be ok in most situations and my parents were used to having me there. It may be other things mentioned or it may just be that from her perspective it’s completely normal to have her daughter there. As an only child you don’t get used to going off and playing with a sibling, it’s always just you and your parents so when it’s your Mom and another adult it seems natural to stay and hang out with them.

:iagree:

 

I'll bet the hourlong drive has a lot to do with not being able to meet the mom without the dd. If Alicia and her friend lived closer to each other, it would be easy to call each other at the last minute and arrange to meet for coffee for an hour or so, but many people simply don't have the time to drive for an hour, meet for a few hours, and then drive another hour to get back home. If there was a convenient meeting place at the halfway point, it would cut back on the amount of time wasted driving, and might make it easier to arrange a quick lunch when the friend's dh is home with the dd.

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I wonder if your friend doesn't feel good about some of your past talks. Sometimes women feel close when they 'share' a lot, but in our hearts, a lot of us know that it isn't really good to talk about our husbands, in-laws, bosses etc in a negative or overly revealing way. Any time I say too much, I feel badly after.

 

Maybe your friend is ok with her daughter being there because it insulates her from the temptation to talk in ways that her husband (or others) would be upset about, or to listen to you talk about things she doesn't feel good about hearing.

 

I think for a while, I might just try to change thle tone of the friendship. Instead of always getting together to 'chat,' how about planing an activity to do together so you do more, talk less. Suggest a cooking class, a hike, a lecture, a book signing etc. Then you do something fun, enjoy each other's company, and have more interesting things to chat about someday when you are old ladies.

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I'm a single parent, and even when I was married (to a soldier on a regular deployment rotation) it was usually just me and the kids. My 13 year old has always been more than just a kid, but never quite an adult. Part of that is his natural "old soul" and part of that was the environment at home. He gravitates towards adults and adult conversations; and he's a delight and interesting part of those.

 

But there are times when his presence isn't welcome - and that's perfectly okay. And he gets that because when his friends are over there are times when he'd rather I not be right up in the conversation. LOL And it's not because there are topics inappropriate for my old, virgin ears ;) it's just one or more kids prefer a different dynamic. I'm not offended or put out when he asks me for space, nor is he when I or a friend ask for the same. It's not personal, it's not a slight, it's not a chink to his delicate armor of esteem. It's a simple, easily honorable request. One I'm happy to oblige when the tables are turned.

 

OP, I'd find some middle ground. Learn to accept that there are times the girl will come, and hopefully your friend will be open to times when it's just the two of you. It may be that you need to cool things off a bit in the interim, if you're at different places regarding the friendship and your respective needs. That's okay, too. I hope you work it out.

 

 

 

 

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That's a very good way to explain it.  I didn't think of that aspect.  Thing is though, in the scenario of my kid having a friend over, he isn't bringing me somewhere to go stare off into space and then asking me to buzz off.  That's essentially what can happen if I bring my son somewhere and he isn't into whatever is going on.  KWIM?

 

But yeah...it's true...my son might not want me hanging out with him and his friends.

 

Yeah, that would be terrible for a kid.  Even for an adult, right?    That's why if I have to take my kids somewhere that's likely to be boring for them, I have them bring entertainment.   We used to have to go a lot of "church lunches" (for lack of a better term) at the homes of older people and they were always boring for the kids.  The hosts didn't have stuff to entertain kids with (or they would underestimate the kids' ages and bring out the duplos they kept for the grandkids for my 10 year old to play with), but they never minded if we brought our own, and they would give the kids a place to go separate from the adults.   It made it less difficult for the kids and much easier for the adults as well.  

 

That's why the OP's scenario seems off to me - not that she's misrepresenting it, but that the friend must want the girl to be part of the socializing.

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