Becoming a wife and mom makes so many aspects of life different. There isn’t much alone time. You go from spending time with friends at bonfires, parties and bars to playgrounds, backyards and coffee dates. You have few friends and even less self esteem. Having kids changes your body as well as your mind. For me, I had a long time where I lost my sense of self. I didn’t know how to incorporate being Meghan while also being Mom. In my mind, I was a milk-making, not-showering, depressed shell of a person. I lost trust in most people, even those closest to me. It took a long time to get back to loving life, trusting people and taking care of myself on top of the family. I would never change anything because I love my life and have learned so much from my experiences. l adore my beautiful family. It took me a minute to realize how much I really love where I am.
Since having children, I have noticed a severe shift in not only the amount of friends I have but the quality of friends I have. I can count on one hand the number of people I speak to on a regular basis. Pre-kids, I had a ton of friends. The bar friends, the grade school friends, the work friends, the college friends. As I grew older, I realized it wasn’t so much the friendships that kept us together, it was the hobby or reminiscing about the fun we used to have or simply the ability to say we went to the same school.
A couple years after getting married, we didn’t go out to the bar much any more. We didn’t need to be at a bar to have a couple drinks and enjoy each others’ company. Honestly, we have always loved sitting around a bonfire with a couple drinks and a few close friends. Now that we have children, we stay home even more. We probably should take more time for ourselves but when you have 2 little dudes, it is hard to get out!
I find myself having a lot of coffee and playdates to keep some sanity. I am fortunate enough to live next door to one of my dearest friends. We both have kids and dogs. We like each other so much there is a gate between our back yards for easy access. She has been a Godsend to me in times of stress and trouble. Whenever one of us is having a bad day, we have coffee and let the kiddos play or cocktails after they are in bed just to complain about the day, about the kids, about whatever is bothering us. Someone like this makes life a little easier to handle.
Now, my son, L, has been in therapy and school since he was 2 years old. He has a speech delay and sensory issues that we have been working on for almost 3 years now. I like meeting parents from his class. I don’t have to explain why my almost 5 year old has such a hard time talking sometimes. I don’t have to explain why he only will eat certain things or why none of his clothes have tags. That being said, I should probably have a better screening process for picking friends! I have had a few playdates where they don’t leave! I’m not talking they overstay their welcome, I’m talking they stay at my house for 6 1/2 hours on the first playdate! There was one mom who sat and drank approximately 8 beers in an evening, her husband had at least that many, she proceeded to breastfeed her baby and then they drove their 2 children home. (Don’t worry, they brought their own COOLER when I asked them over for dinner!) Needless to say, that was the last time we had them over! I feel there is a certain amount of responsibility you have to your children to A. not breastfeed when you have ingested alcohol, especially that much and B. Maybe not be tipsy driving your family home at 12:00 am when they should be in bed! After that, J made me promise to evaluate things a bit better before asking people to dinner! As much as L liked playing with their son, I was not a good fit for us.
I like people. After I was a hair stylist for 10 years, I got really good at people. I like socializing and reaching out and especially helping others if I can. People can be crazy. People can be untrustworthy. If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that people put on a more believable mask as the years go by. They make you believe they are someone of honesty and integrity when in fact they are the opposite. I have this tendency to trust too easily. I am so eager to have friends with similar interests and beliefs that I end up trusting the wrong people. Since having my family, there is NOTHING more important than J, L, D and my dog. If, at any time, I feel something could damage my family, I am out. Why is it that making friends has to be this hard? Why is it that we have to actually have a screening process just to have our families have dinner? When did life get so complicated?
Luckily, there are the good ones. The friends you have had since birth and no matter how far away you are, and no matter how long it has been since you have talked, it’s like no time has passed. There are the friends who live right next door who you would do anything for. Don’t forget about the awesome siblings you have as well. They are the ones who would do anything for you and you, them. My friends and family are my inspiration. They are the people I strive to be like and learn from on a regular basis. So even though there may not be a plethora of people lined up to be my friend, I have the people who count!