Let me preface this post by saying this: I am not really a people person. I mean, I’m friendly enough, but if I have the choice between staying at home and going out into the world where there are actual people, I’d choose staying at home just about any day of the week. I’m not very social.
I don’t really know why, though. In college, I was always making friends and going to parties and trying to do as much, see as much, meet as many new people as possible. I’m not quite sure what changed. I know it wasn’t motherhood, because my anxiety about going out into the real world started to set in well before that, but maybe becoming a mom solidified the feeling for me.
I vaguely remember having a conversation with my boyfriend a couple of years ago about maturity, and he claimed that I’d sort of left him in the dust in that department; while he was still keen on going out to parties, spending as much time with friends as possible, making silly jokes, and just finding joy in the little things, I no longer had a desire to do that. I preferred solitude, or just hanging out at home with him, and at some point, I had become a bit more serious than in years past. Was that what I had to look forward to as I got older? Losing my sense of humor and becoming a hermit, only emerging into the world when I ran out of groceries or was forced to do so? That didn’t seem like much fun at all.
Despite the fact that I practically had to be dragged out of my apartment by my boyfriend, with my arms and legs flailing the whole way, I almost always ended up having a good time anyway. And I still had friends. I had a lot of friends, actually. We hung out, we went to the bar, we texted each other, I had people to confide in and let loose with.
Then I got pregnant.
For some reason, when you get pregnant, something weird happens with most of your friendships. They start to dwindle away. It’s this magical process that a lot of moms I talk to tend to complain about. “I got pregnant and my friends stopped talking to me.” Maybe it’s not quite as dramatic as it sounds, but it does sting a little when you watch your friendships disappear because of a baby on the way. It’s usually because you’re in different places in your lives; while some people still want to be able to go out and party and have the ability to make plans at a moment’s notice, you’re waiting something that’s going to change your life forever.
Once that baby is born, everything changes. No more late-night trips to the grocery store for no reason in particular. No more evenings at the bar, complaining about your day with a group of friends you work with, awaiting next morning’s hangover. No more doing anything on your own. Every decision you make impacts this little person that you created. Parenthood is both a blessing and a curse in this regard.
Since I had a baby, I’m pretty sure I’ve hung out with friends less than a dozen times. It always takes a while to get myself out, but once I’m out, I’m usually thankful for the push. I got to catch up with a good friend today, who also got to meet my daughter for the first time, and it was a nice little way to end my afternoon. It makes me wish I had more friends – specifically, I wish I had more “mommy” friends. I just don’t seem to have many around here, and being a stay-at-home mom, it would be nice to have a little adult interaction from time to time. It would also be nice for my daughter to have play dates and meet children her own age. Maybe in time, I’ll come to meet more moms. Maybe when my old friends start having children of their own, I’ll have a few more people to connect with.
I just wish that someone had warned me that this would be something I’d have to worry about once I had kids. Maybe it’s a good thing that I’m not very social.