No social network for me and my family?


#1

DH and I are usually so busy with our brood of 4 kids all six and under that we like to just relax at home whenever we can. We used to have close friends when we lived in another city but that was 8 years ago and we really now only have acquaintances. With the oldest of my 4 kids now starting to have more playdates, some of these parents are extending invitations to us for things like bbqs / dinners. We were thrilled, especially since we can bring the kids and hang with the adults. Now these are all parents from my son’s Catholic school. But since the first invite to present, we’ve been more than uncomfortable at these gatherings and I’m wondering if we’re destined to be friendless as parents.

You see while these parents go to mass and their kids go to Catholic school, they’re more like cafeteria Catholics. Just a month ago we went to a bbq after being invited by this family after mass. There were other adults there that were not from church or the school. Anyway the couple that invited us asked us if we wanted a “real” drink after we said we’d have soda. No big deal, we like the occassional drink. But then the night progressed with the goal of all the adults getting drunk. The one son of this couple ran into the kitchen and asked his mom if he could pour the shots for the adults (he’s eight). Then later on the deck, he asked one of the other guests if the cigarette they were smoking had the kind of smoke that went to your brain. Also I saw my oldest son come up the stairs from the basement with his younger brother and sister in tow. When I asked why he wasn’t downstairs with the other kids he said it was because the other kids were playing a video game where it showed people being killed and there was blood and guts. Again, the oldest kid at this party was 8!

That’s just the most recent example. I have so many. I want so badly for our family to be around other families because isn’t socializing important? But if I’m finding that the Catholic families we know are really no different from non-Christian families then what are we to do? Just hang out with them for the company? Go it alone? Or find Protestant families to hang out with - in my experience as a child the protestants I knew were all about Jesus and morals and still we had fun whenever we visited. In the end my own parents ended these friendships because they were being pressured to be baptized in the Baptist Church and my folks were like, hey, we’re Catholic and here for the company not to change religions.

Any advice/thoughts?


#2

How long have you been going to these things? If it’s not too long, I’d say keep going to different ones until you find a family you “fit” with.


#3

It sounds like this might just be one family. Keep trying. If you have babies still also try things like La Leche or the mom’s group. Do you have an NFP teaching couple at your parish? Maybe get to know them. Knights of Columbus? Legion of Mary? There are plenty of choices. Please don’t rule out the entire parish based on the parties thrown by one or two families.


#4

It’s been about a year and we have socialized with about 3-4 families at different times. Pretty much the same results. One house I walked into this summer had some provocative hip-hop videos blaring on the TV so loud that you had to yell to see if someone was home. Again, oldest child in the home is 6 and really shouldn’t be seeing the stuff that I saw in that video.

There is one family that I think is more along our line that goes to a different parish but attends our school. But they have lots of young kids and seem just as busy as we are. Plus I’m not very good at inviting people for a get-together when we just speak at the school.

Oh the best story I have is this one family in which I thought the mom was really nice and down-to-earth. We arranged playdates and I thought we got along great. Then our kids got put into different classes and we kind of lost touch. Well I have since learned from other parents at the school that this lady and her husband are of all things, swingers. Apparently after befriending another couple they “popped the question”. Oh and I did I mention these are “Catholic” couples. Crazy stuff out there!


#5

My DH joined the Knights of Columbus but rather than spend time meeting young men/fathers, he was having to go to funerals for all the eldery Knights who were dying. He was the youngest by decades. Same with the Legion of Mary and Catholic Womens League - mostly elderly people which doesn’t matter to me but I’d still like to find some young families.


#6

If I limited my socializing to only Catholic families, I wouldn’t get out, much. Take it from someone who lives where there aren’t very many Catholics: you can find good people to hang out with who aren’t Catholic. I don’t think any of the women I know from my toddler group/play date circle would have gatherings like what you described. There may be the odd difference in opinion over what is appropriate media (pop music or TV shows) for young ears, but I don’t think anybody I know would be doing shots, smoking pot, or playing violent video games in front of their kids.


#7

I have no alternative but to consider the possibility that I am an antisocial fellow. I actually enjoy socializing very much. I like meeting new people, finding out about them, putting them at ease, drawing them out. I like small groups or large groups. I like going to theater, concerts, drinking beer on the tailgate of a pickup with country folks, talking with intellectuals. I just really like to be with people a lot; so much that I can’t stand a painting that doesn’t have people in it. My wife jokes about that. I really can’t stand one. I actually enjoy studying a person. You know, we’re supposed to see the face of Jesus in people, and lots of times I think and think, and study and study until I think maybe I can, just a little.

My wife is very social. She’s a nurse, very good with people, very sympathetic. People love her, and she befriends all sorts-instantly. She has more close friends than I do. (There’s that antisocialism of mine again.) We both like going out.

But you know, I also have a family. We have five children and ten grandchildren. We just don’t socialize outside the family very much anymore. Now and then we do, but it’s pretty rare. We spend an enormous amount of our time just being together or talking with our children, or at parties with our grandchildren, (count the birthdays…17 counting ourselves. That’s more than one a month.) or going to the country with them, or working with them and things like that. My wife likes to take our granddaughters for “girls nights out” (shopping, boutique lunches big on green things and latte…eeeaggghhh!!!) I like going to the stockyards with whoever wants to go. (Be advised, the best, cheapest steaks on earth are usually in stockyard restaurants. You can’t fool THOSE patrons with overpriced, second rate stuff.) Pretty much it’s the boys that want to go. (Possibly for the steaks.) I like taking any number of them to investigate new construction or some workplace. My wife and I often remark to each other that we arent sure what we did during the last few days or so. My wife is an excellent cook, and teaches our granddaughters (And adult daughters, still. That’s a tough art.). I can only cook fruit pies, and make them with both the girls and the boys. If you want to interest a boy in any cooking other than steaks and burgers on a grille, sugar-laden, supersweet pie brimming with with semi-carmelized fruit juice is it. Forget interesting them in anything else. Trust me.

My point here is that, while I do consider myself a sociable person (vanity, vanity) and enjoy the company of all sorts of varied people, (vanity cubed) I just don’t value it all that highly, I guess. Yes, I know I’m blessed with family, and I know not every one is. I can’t explain it except perhaps to say that when we started having a family, our “circle” started closing. Not totally, and not right away, but bit by bit by bit. Our children and grandchildren have their own friends, but in some ways we’re our “own circle”, and my wife and I don’t seem to have much time (or interest) to go outside of it. We do socialize a little with our Church friends and professional friends-usually organizational things. But the kids and the grandkids and each other are who we prefer to be with. I still like partying, but I’ll take a night with my wife alone over any party now. Maybe I’m just getting old.

I don’t know if any of this is helpful to anyone. I can’t exactly bring it to a point. But I think sometimes we ask too much of our social lives. We often have more expectations of others than they are really able to “bring to the table”, and we expect ourselves to deliver to others more than we can really deliver in a social sense. Sometimes I think we overestimate our actual desire to socialize. I sometimes get the feeling that I only have so much time to hear or say anything that could really matter to anyone, and that, given all the people on the earth, I need to be sure it gets said to the people dearest to me, or that they are the ones to whom I most listen. I guess that’s maybe at the root of it, when I think about it.

I don’t know. I have not, for many years, lived in a large city in which nobody knows anybody else (I guess). It might be very, very lonely at times. I’m not putting anybody down here, or questioning their possible needs. But when I see someone who worries that “something might be wrong with them” because they don’t do a lot of socializing, I feel like reassuring them that there’s nothing at all wrong with them. Nobody’s “real” circle can be all that big, and sometimes that’s just the family. And sometimes that’s enough.


#8

Thank you so much for this, Ridge. I’ll have to bookmark this thread for future reminders in my own situation.


#9

Truly:

Thank you for saying what you did. Please give that little hatchling a big kiss for me. Will you?


#10

Done! :thumbsup:


#11

T1CATHOLIC,
I know how you feel. I had my children in Catholic School and was really shocked by some of the things my children were bringing home. At any rate, I took some of the stuff to the School Board, thinking that they also wouldl be concerned. Oh what a fool I was. I was pretty much shoved out of the School, the Priest didn’t even back me. I was shocked! I soon found out not many of the people who were sitting in the pews with us really cared about the true teachings of the faith. They were more concerned in having a private school and keeping up appearances. I don’t have very many people to visit with or to help out when I need it. My parents are far away and emergencies are very difficult. My kids don’t get to have sleep overs and they rarely get to go to anyones house to play. It is sad, but I am thankful for the time I get to spend with them. If you come up with any answers, let me know.


#12

You really need to make this a priority–to build a social network.

When things are going well, you don’t really need others (though, they may need you)–but in rough times, you will need help.

For example, imagine you have a chronically sick child or need bedrest during a pregnancy–you’ll need friends to give you practical help, pray for you, and offer emotional support.

I met most of my friends first through a program called** Familia**. It’s a Regnum Christi program that promotes spiritual growth by studying documents written by JPII. I was able to start a group at our parish. Actually, Regnum Christi is a awesome group that is very pro-family and pro-Church. You could look for a group.

regnumchristi.org/english/index.phtml

My circle expanded when we started homeschooling. If you are interested in hsing, it’s a really nice community to be involved with–though, of course, you won’t “click” with everyone.

I also met several wonderful women through a rosary group I used to go to that met with children. If there’s not one in your area, you could start one.

For the past year, we’ve banded together with several families in a small home-based community. We meet 2X a month and pray and play. We also share a “rule” that is very liberal since there are several large families in our community. We’ve done this through Presentation Ministries of Cincinnati

presentationministries.com/community/community.asp

another option might be the Apostolate for Family Consecration.

familyland.org/Home.asp

We don’t do this, but we know families that built a strong network with other members. the camp is supposed to be a lot of fun.


#13

3 to 4 families still isn’t very many. I am sorry to hear the the Knights and the Legion in your area are mostly older people, because that means that in a few years they may die out completely! I see you’ve gotten some other good reccomendations for groups to join. Perhaps a nearby parish has a more orthodox congregation. Also, as others have said, consider your actual neighbors, work friends, etc. Just because they aren’t Catholic doesn’t mean you couldn’t become very good friends.

One thing I will caution you about separately is sleepovers. They are not all they are cracked up to be. I have heard too many stories of inappropriate hings happening to make me comfortable with them. Especially in situations where there are several friends at the same sleepover. Thankfully, my children were never drawn to them even though they’ve been invited. Other than cousins my kids have never been to or hosted a sleepover and I am perfectly content (as are they!)


#14

Reading this thread has me shaking my head, and convinces me of one thing:

Real, true friends who not only share your values but are actually fun to be with are like gold, and should be treasured as such.


#15

Thank you and everyone for your suggestions. I live in a small community so I’d probably have to start a group like the ones you listed. I’ll give starting some group some thought.


#16

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