Flickr photo by MissTurnerI remember the days, well, nights I spent as a carefree social butterfly. No sitters to book, no kids to call home to check on, heck, no cell phone to call home to check on them with.
But after having just one kid, even when my husband worked a fairly typical schedule, my social calendar crashed and burned.
It was a combination of things -- a challenging baby who never took a bottle and only wanted me, living in a tiny Mississippi town with nowhere worth going, and a bunch of friends who all had kids and had also set fire to their own social lives.
Every now and then, we'd book a sitter and do what everyone always tells you to do so you can breathe life into your marriage and your own spit-up covered soul and go out alone, but those date nights were few and far between.
So when I became a sometimes single mom, living in a new city with no IRL (in real life) friends within 1,000 miles, you can probably guess what happened to my social life.
I'm pretty sure I erased the word "social" from my vocabulary.
It was tough getting over the fact that there were no more simple moms' nights out or weekend pedicures with friends -- booking a babysitter to go to a friend's house and play oddly fun dice games or get my feet scrubbed by a complete stranger probably talking about how terrible my feet looked in another language was exorbitant.
Based on what we have to pay a sitter for three children, I'm definitely on the wrong side of this parenting business.
No board game with friends or awesome toenail paint job was worth that money.
But worse was trying to explain to people why I wasn't going to all the parties or gatherings.
Most folks don't offer the "maybe" RSVP option, so after saying "no" to about 15 invitations in a row, I found myself just deleting them as they came in or asking to be taken off the list.
And then I just looked rude. That rude friend-slash-neighbor who doesn't even RSVP.
My mom would be so ashamed.
Not only did I feel bad for having to give them some long-winded story about why I might be able to make it if the planets are aligned and my husband doesn't get called on a trip, I started to feel sad and a little bit guilty that I couldn't go. There's just not enough space on those Evite comments to explain that your husband is on call, which means that he might be home or he might not be home so I really can't tell you for sure so I'm just going to have to let you know the day of the event, if that's okay with you.
I couldn't even take the whining myself, let alone have to subject the poor party host to that sob story.
As time has passed, I've gotten used to missing out on things. But I've also become better about explaining my situation to those awesome party hosts so they know what to expect when they invite me, as well as not being embarrassed to call at the last minute or plan a little quick outing the night before.
And I'm learning that I might just have to splurge on a sitter for a silly little bunco party every now and then just to preserve my sanity. There's just no way to put a price on that.