Before my son was born, I was spontaneous, adventurous, and energetic (I’d like to think I still am all of these to some degree), but when I became a new parent my perspective on things completely changed. And, well, it’s just something that can be hard to see eye-to-eye with my non-parent friends.
Of course, I’ll always feel bonded to my kidless gal pals when it comes to our hobbies, humor, and past experiences together — but when you become a parent, your world is shaken up in every way possible and your outlook and list of priorities is far different than it was before.
Here’s what I want my non-parent friends to know.
I’m tired. Yes, still.
Anyone who’s been through the newborn stage knows it leaves you in a fog. I am comforted to know those long, sleepless nights are behind me (you know, until kid #2 comes along), but I’m still—yes, still—very tired. Juggling the sleep regressions, teething episodes, after-bedtime house chores that I never got around to, all while working full-time, leaves little to no time for much else. If I have the choice between sleeping or making plans…. where’s my bed?
I have a new boss; it’s my kid.
My toddler makes the rules now and my daily schedule is largely based around his naps, meals, early bedtime, and overall needs. That means if we’re meeting up, it may be at odd times or most often, with my child. Would I love to hang out at 7pm and leave my little guy home for a double date or girl time? Sure! But it won’t always happen, especially if we don’t plan a week or more out.
My priorities have shifted.
I used to be an avid yogi and quite the social butterfly, but since having a baby I’m no longer able to run out the door to catch a 7 am class or meet my girlfriends after work for drinks. I’ve got a little one to feed, get dressed, and out the door before 8. After work, it’s all about dinner prep, bath time, and winding down. Lately, workouts require me to stare at screens alone on my yoga mat, and drinks are had on the couch with my husband on a tired Friday evening before we both crash at 9.
Motherhood can feel isolating.
Even when you have everything you’ve ever wanted and life with a baby can be just so extra sweet, motherhood’s heavy moments of sleep deprivation, worrying, and multitasking can be utterly overwhelming. This can often lead to a feeling of isolation, despair, and burnout. While not every mother experiences this, do know it’s completely normal and can last weeks, and even months. So friends, if I seem to be lacking my normal enthusiasm, just know my cup’s nearing empty and I’m in need of a refill.
I have a new bedtime and it’s before 10pm.
You know the meme “Text me at 9pm, I’ll respond at 6am”? That’s me. So long are the days of staying out late. When you have a mini-me up at the crack of dawn, you learn quickly that catching much-needed zzz’s is more crucial than any cool meal or cocktail from a hip bar. Truth be told, the desire to even be out that late starts to fade fast when you become a parent.
Finding a sitter isn’t always easy.
The reality is—I’m my son’s full-time sitter. (A parent, if you will.) Sometimes my husband and I are lucky to have family watch him so we can meet up with friends. Other times, we’re out of options. So when I say, “I can’t. We don’t have a sitter tonight,” that’s really all it means. It’s our reality now.
Nice and unexpected gestures go so far for busy moms. I had one friend randomly bring me a coffee one day and another text me saying, “Just thinking of you. I hope it’s been a good day.” Both generous actions made me feel seen and loved. It wasn’t much (to them), but it meant they were really there for me.
I care about you.
Sometimes, days and weeks go by and I realize I haven’t touched base with a good friend. I want you to know that you’re always top of mind but my family’s schedule doesn’t always allow me the time to immediately text/call back, make concrete plans or react as timely as I used to. I’ll always be your friend, but I’m someone’s mom now too.
I just need “me time.”
Even when my calendar is completely open and I can make exciting plans, I might just need some downtime. There’s no perfect explanation for this. Sometimes it just feels nice to lay in bed with tea and a book to recharge before another hectic week ahead.
What do you wish your non-parent friends knew?