A survey featured by The Independent reported that new mothers usually take seven months to resume socialising with friends post children. It took me closer to the year mark before I saw mine for the evening, and even then I could have left it longer and needed to be pushed out the door. My old self would visit a bar or gig on average three times a week. Now, self-conscious and plagued by the thought that I had nothing useful to contribute, I often feel extremely self-conscious and can still struggle with this aspect of motherhood.
Let’s face facts, the days of spontaneous nights out are pretty much over, but there’s nothing wrong with a spot of planning. If you are fighting off the same demons, here are a few pointers to help you be present enough to appreciate an evening socialising with friends.
Avoid the pre-child area of your wardrobe
I’ve been there, you’re planning a night out and feeling self-conscious and dreary, your mind tells you that you aren’t working and that being with a baby all day offers zero conversation starters. Then, you try on something you used to wear, but it doesn’t fit the same, or doesn’t fit at all, and that reaffirms why you should just stay home in your comfies. Now is the time to recycle your old wardrobe. Don’t compare your figure with what used to be. Instead, wear something that fits well and embraces your new figure. Don’t worry about sizes or what used to be; embrace who you are now, and don’t spend your time looking back.
Take baby steps so you stick to a plan
Honesty is key in this situation. It’s easier for me to abort plans socialising with friends if I’m not really interested in the first place. I am now honest and if it isn’t for me, I will say so. You may not be able to pull off an all-nighter arrangement if you have a baby or haven’t been out for a while. Consider a local night out, a bite to eat with a friend, something that will get you home before midnight, if you don’t want to spend much time away from your little one. With a few of these under your belt, that girlie weekend away may begin to seem more appealing. If you don’t want to travel far, be honest with your friends and you’ll see that they don’t care about the location as long as they get to spend time with you.
Invite people over for drinks or dinner
Definitely a favourite of mine, and it kills two birds with one stone – you have the kids sleeping upstairs and good friends at the table. You’ll also be able to save some money (think of it as a cheap night out) and the kids will be happy, the music will be spot on, and you’ll be comfortable. It’s also a great option if you want to go to bed that little bit earlier than everyone else, or if you want to stay up, there is no add-on time with taxis or trains, so you’ll get the most shut eye! Good friends won’t mind if you duck off early while they carry on!
Believe that you are still a contributor
It is one of the main struggles I have faced since becoming a mother. In the early years, my boys were under two and every waking hour was theirs. I didn’t feel like socialising because I was always working out how many hours and minutes I would get of sleep (I was literally counting). Any deviation from the new norm interferes with that. When you add in the belief that you don’t have anything to say, stepping out the door becomes impossible. During this time, you need to have a chat with yourself (since you are the only one that has even toyed with this notion). Your friendships are about seeing each other, having fun, and offering support to one another. We all need that and it’s something to cherish and hold onto.
Life and career does shape us yes, just like all our experiences, but it has never defined you and nor do your children. You are still that person, so look in the mirror and shout it out loud until you hear it. Everyone around you can still see it, and now you must too. Socialising with friends post children and taking a night off from talking about the little ones is also healthy, a break means a mental break too. You’ll find that no-kid chats are extremely good for the soul when you’re with your closest pals, and you’ll love reconnecting with yourself again. Also, you’ll remember how much you have to say about anything and everything, and it will feel good!
How long did it take you to start socialising with friends post children? I’d love to hear!
Grit & Glamour Club is where you’ll find my latest posts. Think chatting to a good friend and expect to read articles on motherhood, self-care and work-life, home-life balance.