Caring for Mom

Adapting to Changes in Your Social Life

Adapting to Changes in Your Social Life

Social life? What social life?

After emerging from the first few bleary-eyed months of parenthood, your social life may be one of the top things you miss — along with leisurely meals and uninterrupted bathroom breaks — from your pre-baby experiences. But just like the rest of your world, your social life looks different now that there’s a little one in the picture.

Maintaining friendships and spending time with other adults are important, however, and nothing nourishes the soul like a girls’ night out, shopping trips with your best friend or Sunday brunch with another couple. These types of outings don’t have to be a relic of your “old” life! But there’s no question that certain considerations and plans must be made to make a satisfying social life part of your new reality.

Excuses, Excuses

New parents make a lot of excuses for not making time for themselves, which can include not only relating with friends but getting out of the house for fun or recreation. These excuses are topped by:

  • My baby needs me. Sure he does, but spending time with others (such as babysitters or grandparents) helps your little one learn to be comfortable with many people, not just you.
  • I don’t have time. You may feel pulled in a hundred different directions after your baby arrives — work, chores, home maintenance — but the stress of keeping your life running begs for a break. Charge your batteries!
  • I don’t need “me time” anymore. You may genuinely want your life to revolve around your new family member, which is a perfectly normal feeling. But a balanced life includes not just caring for others, but yourself as well. An active social life is a form of self-care.

Planning Helps it Happen

After getting past any excuses for re-claiming your social life, it’s necessary to accept that doing so won’t be easy — after all, you can’t just breeze out the door any time you wish. Your social life may look a bit different than it was pre-baby, but here are ways to adapt:

  • Plan ahead. Last-minute outings will be in short supply, so get out your calendar and take a longer view. What activities do you really enjoy and don’t want to give up? Where are the holes in your schedule? Align your priorities with your free time by marking down times to go to the movies, go out for drinks or meet with your book club. Then follow through by arranging childcare for those dates.
  • Make friends with other new parents. It’s not “cheating” if your post-baby social life looks different than before, and that includes bringing new friends into the mix that are also recent moms. Doing so may actually make it easier for you to be social, since you may decide to get together with children in tow.
  • Keep a trusted babysitter on speed dial. Once you find the Holy Grail of competent babysitters — one you and your baby both love — book her early and often. A great babysitter is worth her weight in gold!