I remember in college how close my friends and I were. We did everything together, talked about anything, and loved spending as much time together as we could. Nothing was ever going to change that.
I was the first to get married out of my closet friends and one of the only ones to have kids thus far. Life happened and while those friends and I are still close our relationships have shifted. Many of them moved away and we talk mostly via text and get the occasional lunch together when they are in town.
Those friends that still live locally?
Well those are the relationships that have really changed since Ethan came into my life. The girls (and guys) that I work with are a pretty close group and we tend to get together for dinners, potlucks, drinks etc on a routine basis. After work drinks or last minute trips to the local amusement parks are common place. We truly consider ourselves not just coworkers, but friends.
With a child not only don't I always have the time for that, sometimes I just don't have the energy for that. Trying to explain that you're not meeting up with the group to someone who is single and in their mid 20's is like trying to teach a 2 year old chemistry. They just don't get it. Its not their fault that they don't understand how difficult it can be to find a babysitter last minute, or how expensive it can get, or the fact that maybe you're little one hasn't been sleeping well and you want nothing more then to sit on the couch with a glass of wine and read a good book after they finally go to bed. Having a kid means moving past that carefree spur of the moment part of your life. Things are planned now, bags must be packed, and child care must be arranged. Whether its for 20 minutes or 5 hours.
Most people seem to accept it for what it is, your a parent now and it comes with the territory. Others tend to give you a hard time. The funny part though? Those are the same people who say " I'll never let my child take over my life". Well trust me I will be sitting back watching in a few years with a smile on my face because whether we want it to or not everyone goes through this. Your son or daughter comes first and to be honest there are days where I would much rather take Ethan out for ice cream and a trip to the bounce house then blow money on the newest, coolest restaurant because that's just how it is. I don't spend time with my kids because I have to, but because I want to. They are fun, and don't care that I don't want to go out partying, they are fine with watching movies on the couch or playing with legos in our pjs.
Sometimes the invitations to go out don't come as often because " we figured you would say no". I always remind people that you never know until you ask. And that having a child doesn't mean I don't like to spend time with my friends. I can't always say yes, but that doesn't mean I will always say no. Having a child isn't a reason to condem someone to not having a social life at all. I love being around my family, but sometimes I want to go out without them as well.
By spending less time with your single or childless friends you find yourself making new friends as a parent. You engage your child in activities and play groups and if you're lucky you find someone who you can relate to, someone who gets what it is to have a child and still want to be "fun". They know plans need made because they need the same thing and new friendships will develop. So while you may move further away from one group of people you move closer to another group.
The thing to remember is those true friends will be there thick and thin, whether you have 10 children or none. Never let yourself feel guilty for putting your child first because you may miss out on a few wild nights with friends , but you will never regret spending that precious time with your child.