It seems not a week goes by that I'm not hearing about how lonely and isolated moms feel. How hard it is to make friends. How they miss their old friends. How baby-raising has taken over their lives and they feel cut off from the rest of humanity. Gals, it doesn't have to be like this. Sure, you're probably not going to be able to go out and do all-night ragers at the local tequila bar anymore. But there's no reason you shouldn't be able to eek out a few hours a month doing something other than babbling at your baby. If you feel like the world has abandoned you, well, let me tell you, the world often feels like you've abandoned it. So let the world and you come together again. It might start off slowly if your baby is young, but better to start now than to wake up in a few years and be unable to call up any friends -- because you don't have any anymore.
Here are 6 tips for moms who want to get at least a little of their lives back.
Plan something. New moms, and even moms who've had their kids for a few years, seem to expect that everyone should come to them -- on their schedule and when they want it. Yes, maybe you've only got little windows of time when your child is napping or when there's a babysitter available, but after awhile, you should be able to figure out when those times are. And then plan something. It doesn't have to be a night out clubbing. Believe it or not, child-free people have to get up for work in the morning too, and after a certain age, most aren't interested in binge drinking during the week either. So if you know baby is down for the count by 8 p.m., ask your child-free friend over for drinks at 7:30 p.m. You might want to say something like, "Hey, I miss you. I'd love to catch up, how about margaritas at my place?" rather than, "Hey, the baby goes to sleep at 8 p.m., how about coming over so we can stare at my baby?" Trust me, that will work better.
Get out of the baby zone -- at least for a minute. I KNOW. You've just had a BAAAABY. OMIGAWD. It's hard to believe, but your friends have things going on their lives, too. They'd like you to show some interest in it. If you invite your friends over so you can talk baby, baby, baby, baby, then yeah, you're friends may (I mean WILL) start avoiding you. Dig deep and remember a time when you cared about what your friends were doing, what was in the news, what is going on in popular culture, etc. And if you don't care about any of that anymore, at least fake it for a couple of hours.
Compromise. I've seen too many new moms settle back and expect that everyone and everything should now revolve around them. Never mind that your child-free friends might work until 10 p.m., might be taking care of sick pets, siblings, parents, or spouses. In other words, they might have stuff going on, too. If you want to see your friends, try meeting them halfway at a spot between your home and theirs. If you must stay home because of the kid, offer to send a taxi or car service to pick up your pal. Offer to pay for gas. Offer to cook dinner. Something. Yes, it's tough to get a babysitter, wah wah. But people without children also find it tough to put off work, spouses, parents, stepchildren, volunteering, and other obligations that they are putting off to spend time with you. Both parties need to make sacrifices, so stop acting like it's all about you.
Stop separating your mommy friends and non-mommy friends. This one always boggles me. New moms suddenly decide they have to make all new friends. And then the non-mom friends are totally excluded. Unless you plan on talking exclusively about diaper rash, preschools, and placenta recipes, why not invite some of your non-mommy friends and your mommy friends over together? There's nothing worse than a new mom who suddenly feels like everyone's uterus and vagina had to have had the exact same experience in order for everyone to get along.
Control your kid. If you've suddenly noticed that your child-free friends want absolutely nothing to do with you, you might want to take a good look at how your little pumpkin behaves. Is precious screeching at the top of his lungs every five seconds without the hint of a reprimand from you? Is she tearing around the house like a hellion while you smile indulgently? No one likes to be around a brat, and if you let your kid become one, then chances are that most people -- whether they have children or not -- will begin to screen your calls.
Find a hangout. Figure out if a local fun spot like a bar or restaurant is cool with your kid. Especially if you go early, plenty of places that aren't Chuck E. Cheese's are fine with a kid who gets a bit loud or runs around. Then meet your non-mom friends there and indulge in a glass or two.
What do you do to make sure you have a life post-baby?
Image via Paul Simpson.org/Flickr