Monday, March 17, 2008

Frienemies

Do guys have frienemies?

I’m beginning to think that one of Cowboy’s close friends might qualify.

To preface, since pre-Ms. Planner, Cowboy has maintained a close group of friends from college. Many of them live nearby. I’ll come home to find one of them in the garage or drinking a beer in our kitchen after a round of golf. I like this about Cowboy and his posse.

All have wives and children. As such, we congregate every so often for birthdays; summer holidays at someone’s cabin or lake house. We are the youngest and last couple to add children to the mix. Some of their children are old enough to babysit ours.

I would not have chosen to be friends with most of these folks were it not for Cowboy. We get along. They make me laugh (mostly). But we don’t have much in common save for our love for Cowboy. That being said, I respect his bond with his friends and don’t want to do anything to jeopardize it.

HOWEVER…

He has one particular friend – a stay-at-home dad – who is starting to drive me insane with his negative comments about child rearing. Here I am, trying - after a long time of sadness – to be genuinely happy. And he seems intent on imparting on a steady stream of "let’s get a rise out of Cowboy and bring down the pregnant lady" with his sage stories about raising his only child, a girl, now 7.

Let’s see. There are endless stories of baby excrement. Especially related to changing the diapers of little girls. The story – told on several occasions - of when his daughter puked and it got in his mouth. Don’t ask. Stories about leaky swim diapers. Scoffing when Cowboy and I bring up the concept of maybe using cloth diapers. Badgering me as to when are we getting a playpen for the boat. Although he knows Cowboy absolutely doesn’t want a playpen in the boat (I know you had a playpen in your boat but I prefer to hold my baby in our boat – thankyouverymuch). Generally how our lives will suck after having a kid.

Our theories and desires (and, admittedly at this point, they are just theories) are met with the proverbial: ha-ha-ha-oh-you-new-clueless-parents-just-you-wait attitude. Yesterday, his unrelenting spew took me to a point I hate in myself: I let loose a snotty and indignant comment, something to the effect of, "yes, I believe I’ve heard that story from you ten times," which brought the conversation in a large group of people to a complete halt. Nice one.

I don’t want to surround myself with people like him. I prefer positive-thinking these days. I need positive thinking. There is so much stacked against a new mom what with the hormones, the questioning of one’s self confidence, the inevitable sleep deprivation, the changing body, etc., that I need those who will build us up not bring us down.

Stay away from this guy is the easy answer. Except that he and Cowboy go water skiing once a week. Water skiing season is just around the corner. I watch his daughter while the guys go out on the river after work for a ski session. No one can figure out why his wife can’t leave work at 5 pm just one night a week so the guys can have guy time. So I watch the child for Cowboy’s sake because he is annoyed to no end by her behavior on the boat. Sigh.

Any ideas on how I can stem the tide of negativity without impacting my husband’s long standing friendship?

You know, writing about this seems very self-indulgent when there many out there close to me who are suffering in ways that are so much more poignant and real than this. I guess with all the sadness afloat, I am just feeling a tad more sensitive these days.

7 comments:

Waiting Amy said...

This isn't self-indulgent! Its just the things that niggle at us day to day. And they are important too!

Could you maybe bow out of a couple sessions? Maybe suggest the dad get a sitter and leave daughter at home? Maybe you have a "class" or "baby shopping" to do?

It is hard. Most of "our" friends are also through my DH and many would not be my choice. Yet somehow they remain part of your life, huh?

JJ said...

Mook has a friend that I consider my frienemie...hes not the best influence, and I one of these days Im going to give him a piece of my mind.

I dont really have any solid advice for you, other than the kind that Amy gave you--and just sort of make a sly effort to avoid him, if possible=)

Lori said...

I don't believe this is your problem exclusively.

Does Cowboy know how you feel? Could he ask Frenemy privately to tone it down? If that doesn't work, I think he could publicly (yet gently) say, "Fren -- this isn't cool right now."

Not a small thing. I think Fren is jealous of you because you're closest to Cowboy, and he picks in spots where he thinks you're vulnerable.

christina(apronstrings) said...

blech. my assivice is that cowboy should deal with it. maybe he could tell him that you guys are freaked out enough and want to discover parenting on your own, and that everychild is different.
what an idiot. i am sorry. were i a meaner person i would wish that he'd sprain his ankle and not being able to ski. maybe i am since the thought of that made me chuckle.
bad infertile. no cookie.

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stockingup99 said...

I'm reluctant to post a link, right after a spammer, but I'm going to do it anyways. Sounds like you'll be needing it.

http://www.mothering.com/discussions/forumdisplay.php?f=25

I've found lots of great advice in this forum and others on the mothering site. Is a playpen on a boat even safe?

Prefering to hold your baby is a great start.

Sorry, no help on the frienemy, but maybe there's a forum on mothering with the answers.

Coffeegrl said...

ugh. I'm so sorry that you're having to deal with this dolt...I have no advice to offer - just sympathy. He sucks.