Dear Father Hood: is it natural to be jealous of your single friends?


Jealous? Of your single friends? Why would you be envious of their Saturday lie-ins, their spontaneous social lives, their vomit-free car journeys, their sofa sessions, their regular gym routines, their off the beaten track holidays, their stain-free clothes, their ability to get their haircut when it needs to be cut, their knowledge of the latest fashion, restaurant and entertainment trends, their clean finger nails, their dinners that haven’t been planned a week in advance, their laptops without teeth marks on the keypad… I could go on, but you get the picture. Of course it’s natural for a new parent to be jealous of their single friends.

But here’s the weird thing. Whenever I tell one of my single friends that I covet their life, they look at me as if I am about to be carted off by a group of muscular health professionals sporting white coats. “You’re jealous of me?” they laugh. “That’s ridiculous. Why on earth would you be jealous of me?”

The explanation

So I tell them all of the above, plus some stuff about how I haven’t slept properly for over a year, am constantly worried about cash, have endless conversations about Dulux paint colours, spend at least five minutes a day picking wet wipes off the floor and get drunk after two beers so have no idea what I am going to do on my best mate’s upcoming stag do. “That’s why I am jealous of you,” I state in the triumphant manner of someone who has just categorically proved that their life stinks in comparison with everyone else’s. And do you know what happens next? Laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. And then they hit me.

The flip reverse

Not with their fists, silly. With a list of their own that says stuff like: my incredible wife, my wonderful son, the fact that they’re still renting a single bedroom, the fear they may never find someone and/or have kids, the self-loathing you feel when you wake up hungover next to a half-eaten pizza, the number of time wasters on Tinder and Happn, the pressure from their parents, the late nights at work, the text games, the nightclub queues, the need to always look pristine, the rejection, the meals for one etc. etc. etc. And that’s when the lightbulb comes on.

Not in the hall, silly. In my head. It shines brightly and reveals all the positive parts of parenting life that we tend to ignore in favour of moaning about nappies. And colds. And coughs. And vomit. And urine. And tantrums. Like? Like the developments, the smiles, the breakthroughs, the interactions, the family hugs, the sing songs, the attempts to communicate, the dimply cheeks, the laughing fits, the team work, the naps on your shoulder, the nursery rhymes, the new friends… I could go on, but hopefully you get the picture.

When push comes to shove, being a new parent is awesome. So even though there are occasions when I get really jealous of my single friends, I wouldn’t want to swap my life with any of them. Got that? Good, because my wife’s due home in five minutes and I’ve still not finished the tasks I said I’d do this morning. Wish me luck…


  1. This is one of the most accurate things I’ve ever read. Any man who claims they haven’t had a fleeting yearn for a single, child free life is a liar. When my kids wake me up at 6 am on a Sunday demanding to be entertained there’s definitely times I’ve wanted to tell them to f**k off and leave me alone!
    But the second part is also true, I have a wonderful life and two wonderful children. Though the idea of having a lie in or even 24 hours dedicated entirely to me is certainly a tempting prospect, I wouldn’t trade them for the world!

  2. I think there is always a greener pasture somewhere, I still remember prior to children feeling how boring and routine life was getting. Now it seems like my priorities are just having 5 seconds to eat a damn meal in peace (i.e. not wolfing it down while its still burning hot, or returning to it later cold) and lamenting how with the 1 hour I get to myself per day whether I spend it watching TV shows the toddler shouldn’t see or interacting on WordPress.

    • It’s weird. I had a line in about humans being programmed to view the grass as always greener elsewhere, but took it out because I couldn’t quite shoehorn it in. I do believe that, though. That we are in some way conditioned to focus on the stuff other people have that we don’t rather than the stuff in our lives that other people would love to have.

      • It’s a tricky one – after all our brains are wired for survival and in many respects being satisfied with where you are at isn’t very good survival wise, whereas striving towards something and keeping up with the Jones’ so-to-speak is. There is probably thematic material for an epic novel between our natural instincts and living well in the modern world but for now it will just have to live epically in our comments

  3. I’m actually never jealous of my single friends. (Well, I don’t have a ton of single friends anymore, but I’m rarely jealous of any single people.) I remember very well how terrified I was that I’d never meet someone to marry, never have kids, always be alone, etc. I was terrified of that up until the moment I met my husband. Nights out and Saturday morning sleep-ins? Well, yes, those are nights. I still get to do that occasionally. But I wouldn’t trade my life for the world.

    • Yeah, I think overall I get the differences and have no interest in going back. But when the tears (or worse) are flying what I would not give for a long lunch or couple of hours of watching sport on the sofa.

      • You’ll get that again. I’m sounding like one of those old ladies who thinks she’s full of sage wisdom now, but it really does get easier. Your baby is 1? I have 4 kids, my oldest is 9, my youngest just turned 2. I have plenty of afternoons when the baby takes a long nap, then the big kids get home from school, I get the baby up, and the 4 of them play in the back yard together for another hour without bothering me. You’ll get there too. You just need the baby to get a little bigger. And maybe a sibling for him to play with. 😜

  4. Ha! 🙂 good read. We don’t have kids yet and reading this article I’m thinking that life without kids maybe it’s a bit more organized and quiet but even if sounds odd I can’t wait to wake up at 6AM in the morning by my kids 🙊 and become unorganized and always tired :)) lol

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