While I was late to start a family (later than most my age), I still had a handful of girlfriends who had also not yet taken the plunge. Over martinis or whatever our beverage of choice was, we would talk about friends we used to have - you know, until they had kids. We couldn't understand why all of a sudden, when a woman had her first child, she dropped off the radar. No more happy hours, no more retail therapy...any hint at socialization automatically included the newest family member, and was limited to very small windows of time, to accommodate lil' ones' schedule.
Ugh - how could she let that happen? Was she ever really a good friend to begin with? Clearly she no longer valued our friendship; I mean, if she did, then she wouldn't have changed. Instead, she got hooked, lined, and sinkered into Mommy-dom, never to be seen or heard from again. We assured each other that when we became moms, we would never become "that" kind of mother! Personally, I could not imagine a time when I would not crave the salty rim of my freshly shaken (not stirred) margaritas. Surely a girl's still gotta have her girl-time, right??
Wrong. Wrong for me, anyways. I had absolutely no way - none whatsoever - of knowing what kind of impact motherhood would have on me. Heck, from the moment the stick I peed on showed 2 lines, the smell of beer nauseated me - how could this be?!? As the days became weeks and months after my little bundle was born, I could not fathom ever being away from her by choice. The idea alone, of going back to work, turned my stomach upside down.
When our littles are still very new, there seems to be a fair amount of understanding from our non-mommy friends, about needing time and space to adjust to the new "mommy" thing. But as time goes on, and the newness fades, non-mommy friends will begin to wonder... hellooooo, are you still there? What happened to you? Don't you want that girl's night out that we always talked about - you know, before the baby came???
For some mamas this is true - some mamas yearn for those pre-mommy days, and can't wait to jump back in the saddle as soon as the opportunity arises - and that's fine, if it works for you. But for this mama, I just can't imagine (other than date-nights with the hubs) ever purposefully wanting to hand off my kid so I can have a breather. It's just not in me. What (or should I say, who) I have found myself more drawn to are other mommy-friends. Because guess what - they do still exist and they do still socialize, but in a more collective, family-centered way. Socializing with other mommy-friends is a fantastic way to enjoy the best of both worlds - moms/parents get to socialize and have grown-up time, while the littles get to play! We are all still "together", but no one is being excluded for the sake of having a get-together.
Do I miss my non-mommy friends? Of course I do. I would never consider them as "used-to-be" friends. But the fact remains that children change your life. I am no longer a single entity; I am a mother, and we are a family. Where I go, they go. It baffles me that I was incapable of getting my head around that fact until I had a child of my own. It just goes to show how much parenthood can change you, and how we really do no good to anyone by judging, until we've walked a mile in a pair of mommy shoes.