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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Change of Life

I was one of the last of my college friends to get married, but most of my Chicago friends remained single. When The Targo and I got engaged, I remember how my social life dramatically changed. I no longer went out with girlfriends on the weekends, had cocktails after work, visited out of town friends on my own (this one is because I was saving money for the wedding). I started to miss my friends, but I felt like I was moving onto a different life.

Life got crazy. I got pregnant just a few months after our wedding, we moved, and The Targo started a new job. Then we started nesting. I was tired all of the time and wanted to be at home. Besides, I left for work at 6:15 am; I was toast by 7:00 at night.

Again, most of my college friends have had children over the past two years. My closest Chicago friend has a little girl just 9 months older than Nathan. So, there are people in my life who are going through, or have just gone through, the same phase in life that I'm in. Plenty of people actually. Thank goodness. I can't tell you how many times I call Colleen and say "Nathan is doing blah-blah-blah. Is that normal??" God bless her. She's also up to the mid-day coffee date. She gets the infant "schedule."

So, what's the problem?

Things are ... different than I expected. I didn't think my in-laws would be my social life. The Targo, the sweet man he is, always offers to watch the little guy so I can go out and do things. But, again, it's about being in a different phase of life. When I get up at 4 am with a baby, and 6:00 for good, I'm too beat to go out to a wine bar at 9:00, or a movie, or a party.

We've been talking about moving to the suburbs (just the idea gives me hives). Who am I going to know out there? Besides my in-laws, I mean. Yeah, it would so rock to live in more than 750 square feet, but I am comfortable here. I love our neighborhood and its plethora of young families. I love that we're just a 10 minute drive or 45 minute walk from Colleen. I love that we live blocks away from Nathan's doctor and our vet. I love that there are people out walking at 6:00 am and 10:00 pm. But mostly, I love that my friends are here. Even though things are different for all of us, I know that we can get together without too much effort. Or using the expressway.

I'm sure this is just a minor case of the "mommy blues" and also, my despicable "grass-is-greener" attitude. But, what did you new moms do to stay connected to your friends without children? Or, if you're that friend, how did you stay connected to the new moms? Was their constant state of sleep-deprived-homebody-ness irritating, or did you understand?

*****I can't find the camera. Nathan will be three months old on Friday, so I'm certain I need to get some pictures up!


janet said...

I think it will get better when Nathan is a little older and sleeping more too. Right now you're still adjusting to infant + work and you can't be expected to be super social on top of all of that. But give it some time. Maybe in 6 or 9 months you'll have a nice routine going and can find more time with friends?

Becca said...

I agree with janet. You're still adjusting and it will get better when you are getting more sleep and feel more in control of your schedule. You'll feel more like yourself and more able to stay out late, etc. In the mean time, maybe you can schedule some daytime activities, like brunch or lunch on the weekend, with your childless friends, when you aren't so wiped out. Also, once Nathan is a little older you can take him to a park in your neighborhood which is a GREAT way to make more friends with kids, which is perhaps the best way to feel like you are normal again!

kristabella said...

I agree with the above comments. As he gets older and things get more routine, I think it will be easier. That's what I've found with friends with kids.

Once he has a different schedule and is awake more than he isn't, I think it will be easier to be out and about.

And your friends should understand that your life has been turned upside down. And they'll still be there when it calms down.

Jess said...

It will take time. More time than it has. With both of mine, the first six or eight months felt I was living in a little bubble that no one but me understood. It's very isolating to have a new baby, but it gets better. Such a cliche...but it takes nine months to make one. It also takes at least that to recover from its making, and to get back to feeling like yourself inside your brain.

Liz said...

May I break out of the box and say that it is definitely a good idea to still be with childless friends :) when I was childless (for a long time) some of my new mommy friends would stick to their other new mommy friends and I would be so lonely :)

L Sass said...

I agree with all that has been said regarding balance... don't be too hard on yourself. You'll find a way!

Lady P said...

Once I had children, I gained new friends, lost some old ones and had to revamp the ones that stayed. I learned not to talk about my kids when I went out with my "childless" friends and it worked out ok. I didn't spend as much time with them as before but we got used to it. When your baby gets a bit older then you will have get togethers for moms and tots and meet other mothers & kids that way.

It all comes with time. On moving to the 'burbs though...if you are happy where you are DO NOT GO. Loneliness is a killer! In-laws are nice to have, friends are essential. It takes a long time to establish yourself within a community and this is a time of your life you need that connection.

Ree said...

What? The cougar adventure wasn't enough??? ;-)

You'll get there honey. Everything is new right now.