Hi! My name is Sarah, mama to 20 month old Logan and wife to B, over at We Are For Each Other. I've enjoyed blogging for nearly three years now and sharing my blog with other mamas has been incredible. When I first began to write I was a newlywed with only two furbabies to speak of and a handsome husband to dote on. Nine months into our marriage we saw those two pink lines which have forever changed our lives from spontaneous, road-tripping, bar-hopping, college grads to home-body, full-time working parents.
Parenthood can be very self-consuming, as it should be. But often times our friendships fall to the wayside. The blissful state a new parent experiences is unlike anything else and maintaining friendships, especially with those who are not yet parents, can be challenging. Here is how I have succeeded in maintaining those friendships, along with the new ones I've made with fellow mamas. I hope everyone is able to empathize with one another on this journey through motherhood.
(from the big bang theory)
Five things I've learned:
Family comes first. This will never change and most of your friends will understand this. But that does not mean you ignore every phone call from your three best friends. I found it easiest to catch up with friends while I was nursing. If you're not nursing, then while the baby is happily enamored on a play mat might be a good time. Your conversations do not have to last long, maybe 20 minutes just to remind yourself and your friend that you still care about her. This time was refreshing for me. It made me feel like I was not just a mom. I was something more to someone else and that made all the difference in making sure I maintained those friendships.
Make the first move. I'm not sure of it is an unspoken rule but I found that I had to make the phone calls to my friends to keep in touch. While this sounds frustrating, I understood why. My friends never knew when I would be available between sleeping and doctor appointments, cluster-feeding and outfit changes (from spit up, of course!). I remember when I was still a single lady and my best friend had just had a baby. She called me a few weeks after she had her son and it was so nice to finally hear her voice! I was worried that I'd be waking her up or interrupting important family time or heck, a quite time alone while hubs took baby to the store with him. Those moments are priceless. After Logan arrived I made the first move and before our conversation was over I would set up the next time for us to talk. That way, we both knew that in a week or so we'd get to catch up again and honestly, I had something to look forward to. If I wasn't nursing, B respected the time I spent talking to friends by caring for Logan and it was so much appreciated!
Say YES! This is a hard one for me. Saying yes to invites from friends. It's become easier now that Logan is older and we have sitters we trust to watch him. When a girlfriend calls and invites you to come have a drink with her or catch the latest movie, DO IT! Take a shower, put on normal clothes (no sweats allowed!) and leave your hubby to care for your baby while you get some healthy, fun time alone with your girlfriends. I do not do this enough but I'm making huge efforts to ensure that it does happen.
Mama groups/play dates. Making new mama friends is not as easy as the movies make it look. There are a few resources online (like momslikeme.com) but I have had little luck with it. Recently, I have joined a MOPS (Moms of PreSchoolers) group at a local church. Infants to pre-k welcome! There is a small fee to join and twice a month you get childcare for nearly 2 hours and healthy conversations with mamas about a specific topic for that week. Usually a keynote speaker comes and opens your eyes to "OHMIGAWD I really do need to go on a date with my husband!"(SEE #5), as if you've totally forgotten how to date him (which, admittedly, I had!). There are also a few playhouses in town that are fun to meet up with other mama friends. If you have a group of fellow mama friends, make an effort to plan a nice morning somewhere, be it your home, the park, or story time at the library. I did not do this enough when Logan was younger and now that I am I am so thankful!
Hubby time. This one may seem like it goes along with #1 but it doesn't. This is all about you and your spouse. Remember before for you had a baby and you'd go out on dates, were spontaneous and took a road trip to a bed and breakfast just because you could? Now you have no money or time to do either! Or so it seems. Our finances are strapped between bills and childcare and we put any alone time on the back burner. You might be thinking, but we get alone time every night after baby goes down. This is true and B and I have some amazing chats after Logan is in bed. We've made it a priority to turn the TV off, pour ourselves something to drink (usually wine or beer) and catch up on our day. This special time together becomes more meaningful the more often we do it. I feel more connected to B and we're able to communicate plans and upcoming appointments that are important for both of us to be aware of. Before, we'd mention something in passing and only half the time were we listening. That obviously resulted in an argument of "You never told me about that..." No fun. This weekend, I have a mystery date planned for B and me. His mom is coming up to visit and will watch Logan while we're out. We've never been on a mystery date and I am so excited for it! Looking forward to spending even more alone time out of the house makes me feel like I'm being a better wife and mom. If I'm happy with my marriage and relationship with B, then I know I can be a better mom to Logan. I can tell when we're stressed out with each other and how that reflects in my tone and patience with Logan.
So there you have it. Go make plans! Go make new friends! Enjoy a night out alone with your spouse. If these relationships were important to you before you got pregnant, then they should still be important to you now. Thanks for reading and come visit me over at my blog!
This is such great advice! Thanks for the words, Sarah! It was kind of funny because the day Sarah sent this over was the day that Michael and I had planned our first "alone" date night since Ellie was born.... I was kind of a mess about leaving her, but after reading this it made it easier. We need time to ourselves. It's important. Make sure and go visit Sarah and see her adorable little dinosaur boy.