It’s not really a secret that once kids come along your life changes. Plenty of people were happy to tell me how ill prepared and unaware I was that my life was about to change when I was carrying the little man, so there was no real surprise when after his arrival when I find myself with very little free time to meet and hang out with friends.
In fairness the first few months of motherhood are pretty hectic, getting to grips with your new responsibilities, finding your new daily routine, basking in the after glow of delivering such a precious bundle into the world, I don’t really have much time to worry or wonder what is happening to my social life and honestly it really hasn’t matter too much to me, I am complete awash with the love I feel for this little dude and all I want to do was make every moment count, so it really is the last thing on my mind.
Don’t get me wrong, my friends haven’t abandon me now I have shifted from free 30 something friend to the mother category, quite the opposite. I find several of them visit and hook up more often, however I am no longer the main focus; it is little man who steals all the limelight! I am also very fortunate to have some of my best friends either expand their broods or join the motherhood train at the same time as me, which has enabled us to bond on an entirely different level to the one on which our friendships had first been formed upon.
Of course I cannot expect each one of my friends to love my little man like I do, and as one of the first within my core group of friends to enter motherhood, I can completely understand the friend who just doesn’t get it, who is please and happy I am happy but who does not understand the appeal of a baby even just for visiting and who would still prefer to dress up and paint the town red as we open did without listening to me go on and on about him.
Little Man’s social life is better than mine!
At around the 6 month mark, whilst staring at my calendar and planning the week ahead, I suddenly realise that whilst I have always over committed myself to social events with rarely a moment to myself, the number of activities I had somehow crammed into the coming week verged on ridiculous and that somehow almost each one centred around the little man. He had somehow bowled in and completely taken over my social life.
And with this realisation has also come another, I actually haven’t spent any adult time with my friends now for several months. Not that I haven’t seen them, I have, however little man has always been the focus of their visits and our conversions. I still meet for coffee or hold conversation over a glass of wine, just that now the venue is generally my home and the conversation rarely gets past little mans latest adventure, after all what other exciting new activity have I had time for recently?
I have to put plans on hold, reschedule due to a grumpy little man or a much-needed doctor’s appointment. Gone are the whims of oh I have 10 minutes free lets grab coffee, it takes me half an hour and a forward party of planning and prep to leave the house now days even if its only a quick trip and a short distance. My schedule no longer bends to the pressures only of work but now has to accommodate and if I am honest, has become heavily weighted towards baby orientated events and dates; Buggy fit, Music Group, First Birthday parties, Play dates, and Grandparents visits. With all little man’s commitments penciled in I am finding it hard to fit in time to see my non-parenting friends,
How to keep existing friends and make new ones
So without time to hang out with my friends like I once did and as the first in the core group to get to this stage, I have began to adjust how I view my friendships. Not negatively, just that I now apply more thought into how to mange them, get the most from them and make sure my friends still want to see me and hang out like we once did before. This is easy said than done.
Oh that sounds so easy doesn’t! Pre little man I would complain how difficult it was to make time to fit things in, with no appreciation of just how much available me time I actually had at my disposal.
To make up for this poor error of judgment and find time to be me again and hang with friends, I have bartered a deal with daddy, that once a month, normally on a Saturday night he will have the little man for a boys night so mummy can go let her hair down with her girls. Occasionally it may take all my effort to wash my hair and not use it to sleep but it is most definitely worth the effort
Remain interested in their lives
Just because my life has changed, doesn’t mean what is important to my friends has, perhaps in some ways I am living my life through their freedom, however I am genuinely interested in their experiences, what they have spent their time doing and what is their current passion. Just as they show interest in my life even though it has changed.
Build new common interests
Perhaps a bit of an extension to the above, however recently I have begun partaking in new activities with friends that before we may not have shared. Not to say neither of us didn’t do them, but more we didn’t do them together. This has been a great way to find and share time with valuable friends and enjoy new experiences together that also works with the new boundaries of our lives.
Built new relationships with other mums
By attending various baby-orientated activities each week, I have successfully reached out and formed new relationships with other mums. Whilst I have several friends who are mothers, none really live very close by, so forming these alliances helps with sanity, provides someone relatable, a helping hand, and just some one who gets you
Make friends commit
Where as before we often left arrangements loose, with many falling through, I now make my non parent friends commit to arrangements regardless of whether it’s an event, get together or a quick catch up. It might be the baby card I am playing to tie them into times and dates (not underhand at all) and I need to keep his routine, but it 100% works in terms of making things happen.
Why is Baby’s social life an advantage to me?
Because on top of making me priorities my friends, my time with friends and my social life, it has also allowed me to reenter normal life post baby, It could have been so easy to have remained locked behind closed doors, only seeing people if they came knocking, but by ensuring my little man has a busy schedule it makes me get up, get dressed and get out of the house. Which in turn makes tackling other things a lot easier instead of putting them off.
However equally, sometimes I just can’t do something and sometimes I just don’t want to. Pre baby having to break commitments or say no was something I found difficult and I was just completely lame in the excuses I may have given. Now if I can’t or I don’t want too, then little man’s schedule or commitments are a fantastic get out clause that as yet no one has questioned or argued with.
Don’t fancy that coffee with the girl friend easy “sorry it’s baby’s music group this morning, can we make it later (when I know you will be busy)? “Sorry can’t make the dinner party, have sitter issues”. Either way baby’s social life is helpful to me whether it’s making me take part or allowing me not too, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Do you wish you still have you single social life, or are you happy with your newfound baby’s social life?