One of the hardest things to do when you are a new parent is to find a balance. Suddenly, you can’t just run out for a coffee, you can’t go to a movie, you can’t slip out to grab a bite. The spontaneous life you had been living before is a thing of the past because when you have a baby, your life suddenly becomes all about planning.
Doing anything without a plan, is impossible. You have to factor in if you can survive with a baby where you are going.
”Will the place I’ll be going be too loud? Will there be somewhere I can park my stroller, or should I skip the stroller all together as wear a carrier? Are the bathrooms there ones that will have a changing table? How long will I be out? How much will my baby need while we are out?”
Exclusively breastfeeding also means I have to think about whether there is a private place to feed. I am not overly shy, but I also don’t want to be gawked at while feeding my daughter, so knowing there may be a place a little more secluded where I can take my time is always best.
Making plans isn’t easy, and it becomes even more of a task when your friends don’t consider you and your baby as a package deal.
They invite you places or to events thinking your baby is something you can just hand off for the night so you can enjoy yourself. I really wish people who weren’t parents would stop for a moment and think about how much of an ordeal it is to actually come out to something where our babies aren’t considered.
I am a considerate person. I am not going to bring my baby to your wedding, or a dinner party, or anything where I know I may disrupt or pull attention away from the main event. If we are being perfectly honest, it isn’t worth the hassle of finding a fancy nursing dress so I can attend comfortably with my baby anyhow. However, don’t expect me to come to lunch or something without my baby. I am a mom, a new mom at that, and parenting is difficult. Even if I could find someone to watch my baby for the few hours, chances are, I may not want to leave my baby home.
Leaving your baby with someone when they are so young and parenting is so new is probably something you are not completely comfortable with yet. Even putting my daughter to bed and watching her on the monitor gives me anxiety at times; and I can see and hear her.
It’s understandable. When we are young and we don’t have families of our own, we are selfish. I know I was, and I am not faulting anyone for it. It’s hard to wrap our minds around anyone not having the same freedoms we do.
That being said, I’ve realized as a new mom that some of the friendships I had before are no longer ones that work for me now that I am a mom. It’s sad, but it’s true. I can’t drop everything and meet friends wherever they want. I can’t go everywhere some of my friends want to go when I have a baby in tow, and when they don’t consider that or at least try to meet me half way, it makes me realize that our friendship may not be what I want it to be. And that’s okay.
As people we grow, and sometimes the people in out lives don’t grow with us, or grow in completely different directions. I love my friends, but I realize that in my group, I was the first to have a serious relationship, I was the first to get married, and now I am the first to have a baby. A lot of my friends aren’t even close to considering building the kind of life I am already knee deep in, and that is absolutely okay. I am not trying to be the architect of their lives, I know they all have plans and dreams that they will work towards at their own pace.
I also know, that I can’t go on weekend getaways right now, that going axe throwing or go-carting is not really something I can do either, and I realize that I am just one person in a group. It may not be fair for me to always ask them to accommodate me so that I can bring my daughter, but whether I ask them to change their plans or whether I decline going altogether, there really is no way of winning.
Either way, the dynamics of our group are changing, shifting, and it becomes more clear to me each and every day that I may not fit the way I once used to.
To anyone that has a friend who recently had a baby and you are worried about losing your friendship; my advice to you is simple. Make an effort to go to them.
You don’t have to go out for lunch or make a date. Just ask them when is a good time to go over, sit with them, spend time with them and show them that you are willing to step into their world for a few hours every now and again to maintain your friendship. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate something like this, much more than being invited out.
As sad as it is to say, becoming a new parent will open your eyes to what is important in your life, and the people that you are important to. Some of the friendships you thought would last forever, may be ones that disappear completely.