Friday, November 15, 2013

You Can Have a Social Life After Baby

Dan and I were married for 8 years before taking the plunge into parenting. We were married young and thought we had all the time in the world. Wiser, older couples always told us that we had plenty of time to be parents and not to rush, so we didn't. Then we got the opportunity to live in France. The one thing I wanted to do before starting a family was live abroad. (CHECK!) However, we returned to the states as new homeowners, with busy careers and we didn't feel ready. Then Dan started touring and our finances were... questionable. But now that I'm 2 years into parenting, I can honestly say that you're never ready until you have to be...and then you just ARE. We could have become parents five or 10 years ago and loved it just the same. I was speaking with some other not-yet-moms at the PNW Blogger Meet-Up. When to start a family seems to be a popular topic for the late-20s-and-married crowd. The main concern: losing their social life. While I'm not as social as I'd like to be, I haven't lost all my friends since becoming a mom. That's because we've been conscientious about how to stay connected. Here are some tips:

Invite your friends over to your place.  If you dont yet have children you're probably meeting your friends for happy hour or coffee. Once baby comes that's just not going to be feasible. (If you have friends with kids then you already know this.) When we knew we were going to be parents we started to have more "parties" so that our friends would be comfortable hanging out at our house. We'd serve chips or drinks and just sit around and talk, occasionally we'd put on a movie. 2 years later, our friends know that BB goes to bed at 7 and they are totally comfortable coming over to watch a movie and relax at our place instead of going out.

Get a babysitter without breaking the bank.  For some reason babysitting has tripled in value since I was in the biz. An average babysitter is $10/hour. I dont need to tell you that that's expensive. That's, like, the cost of 20 diapers for an hour out of the house. So, are you a photographer? painter? hair stylist? artist? Find someone who can benefit from your skills and trade for babysitting hours. If you friends have kids, you can easily trade babysitting with them. We even have a few single friends who like the peace and quiet at our house and will work or watch TV so that Dan and I can get out of the house for a date while BB sleeps.

Find other families to hang out with.  A lot of our friends with kids are out and about on the weekends, trying to show our littles a good time. Why not hook up with them? We don't get the chance to see them during the week since we all work and the kids have strict schedules. On the weekends you can go to the zoo or meet at a park so that the kids can play and you can have an adult conversation (that probably revolves around the kids because... C'mon. We're obsessed.)

Dont give up on your single or child-less friends.  Think that starting a family will distance you from your single or married-without-kids friends? Wrong. These are the people that still  have time to hang out! There may be some younger folks who are weirded about your new baby and that's fine. They'll come around when the time is right. To be honest, most of our single friends have been very supportive of our new lifestyle. They seem to love BB and they seem to love watching TV at our house instead of theirs.

Becoming a parent is a huge life-changing thing. Make sure your friends - those with kids, those without kids, and those who never want kids - can be a part of it!

Top photo by 2 Sis Photos, edit by me.

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