Parental Time Zone

Us parents, at least with young kids, seem to live in a different time zone or parallel timeline to our non-parent friends. We can meet up with other parent friends that we haven’t seen in three… five… years and it’s like we haven’t seen each other in only weeks. There is an acceptance that time moves different once you have kids. Literally years can zip by where you don’t keep up with some friends and it’s not because you don’t like them or don’t want to keep up with them. It’s just not practical, or rather our priorities are different.

With my single friends though, a year is an age. Meeting up with single or non-parent folk after not seeing or talking them in a year or two, they can be seemingly different people! I don’t mean this to say that parents are “better” than non-parents (or vice-versa), please don’t take it that way. I’m not jealous either, we made our choice and I love my kids.

But just sometimes I find that the time deferential generates a gap between myself and others and that it remains even after they have kids. Which saddens me sometimes.

I don’t think non-parents get what it’s like being a parent. Certainly I didn’t. You can watch all the movies you like, you won’t know. There are some books that can prepare you a bit, but still, everything changes when you have kids. Apparent our male brains change too once we become fathers too (certainly I’ve become incredible sensitive to hearing kids cry or more specifically my kids cry, I can hear them across the playground or the other side of a field).

It certainly makes it harder to adapt to things outside of the parental sphere. It’s quite difficult to start something new unless you have all the support in place as you often have to trade against family time or the few other things that currently keep you sane and you don’t know if it’ll be worth it ahead of time. The “cost” (being away from the kids or leaving your partner to handle the thick of it) can feel like too much. The stereotype of the father who buys exercise equipment but never uses them or buys “useless” gadgets has some truth in it. (I bought my Wii in the full knowledge that I wouldn’t use it as much as I could… I haven’t even finished Zelda yet and it’s three years old). It’s easier to maintain hobbies that you started before becoming a parent, or at least that’s what I’ve found. (And I’m glad to have some old friends that I can still meet up/game with it).

I’m curious if other parents feel/think the same and what is the non-parent perspective? Are us parents just a bunch of lazy showers or is it appreciated that were simply moving more slowly? :)

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