With a headline like that, I’m tempted to leave this post blank.
The truth is, I still cling to a few, tiny shreds of my pre-baby social life. It’s very important for me to connect with others (in addition to my husband, my parents, and my coworkers). Friends are good for belly laughs, honest advice, genuine sympathy, and good ol’ sanity.
But the time … oh, the time. I never appreciated how much time I had to socialize before Cassie came along. I took for granted all those after-work happy hours, last-minute dinners and get-togethers, weekend jaunts to see friends in other cities, even just long phone chats on a weeknight. There were girls’ nights out, movie nights in, date nights, game nights, you name it.
Immediately after Cassie was born, my social butterfly-self went back into the cocoon. All I could do was take care of her–and if I was lucky, myself. A few weeks after, when the hormones settled, I was able to call or email a few people. But go out? No way. Maybe a visitor or two, but even that felt almost like too much.
As the months passed, I returned to work and was sort of forced to emerge from my baby cocoon. But adjusting to the hectic pace of full-time work and a baby at home made socializing seem like a faraway dream. How would I ever be able to maintain friendships? How did anyone do it?
Cassie is 9 1/2 months old now, and amazingly, I have found ways to maintain some semblance of a working mom social life. How, you ask?
- Weekday lunches with friends. These take the place of after-work cocktails (though I plan to do those again someday!)
- Weekend playdates with friends who also have babies. This way, our kids can learn to socialize while we catch up.
- Phone calls on the way to or from work. Yes, I know talking while driving can be dangerous! I only do it when the drive is easy (like on the interstate when it’s not rush hour).
- Invite friends over for dinner. No babysitter required, and once we put Cassie to bed, it’s just like old times!
- Hit the mall or park. Cassie enjoys the view from the stroller while my friend and I chat it up (and/or shop).
- Phone calls and emails during nap time. Sometimes, instead of doing chores around the house, I reconnect with friends while my girl snoozes.
Finally, I make an occasional exception to my rule of spending all possible free time with the baby. I try to spend every second with her when I’m not required to be somewhere else (work). But in the interest of maintaining a social life, sometimes I give up a few hours with her to hang out with friends or have a date with my husband. When I do, I miss her like hell. But it’s keeping Mommy sane, and that’s good for Cassie, too.
How’s your social life? How do you keep up with friends while juggling work and family? Any suggestions for WMAGs like me?