|photo from vanhoutte.com|
I can usually tell when my girlfriends have a moderate to severe case of the baby itch when they start asking me questions about how babies and motherhood fit into life as they know it. Depending on the friend, sometimes it's "what is childbirth like?", or "is it hard to go back to work?" or even "what's really going to happen to my boobs?". The one question that always comes up is "what's the biggest thing that changes?".
For me and my husband, the answer is our social lives, but probably not for the reasons you may suspect. We still go to bars (for happy hour), we still go out to eat (although preferably on nights when we can get a babysitter) and we still see our same cherished friends from the pre-duckling years (more often now for brunch than for a late night dinner). The single biggest change since becoming parents is that my husband and I have started picking people up.
Like with most categories, a "pick up" is different now than it used to be. Now we pick up parents. You know our friends John, Meghan & Hadley? My husband picked up John in a coffee shop. Sweet Weeb, the duckling's best friend? I picked up Weeb's mom Jess on our hospital tour when we were both pregnant after learning we had a mutual friend. Kids and babies, I have learned, are the ultimate ice breaker. Whereas I used to actually be accused of being shy upon meeting new people (okay, maybe that's a stretch, but I do have my moments), now I have no problem chatting for 45 minutes about music class, preschools, swaddling blankets or finger foods with a total stranger and fellow mom on the subway or at the coffee shop.
It's not that you replace your old friends (why would you, your old friends are awesome), you just add new ones, just like when you meet someone new who went to your same tiny college or studied abroad in the same remote German village - you speak the same language, especially when the language is "I'm sorry I have to cancel dinner, but I've been cleaning up spit up all day and my baby just pooped in the bathtub." If you've ever fished a turd out of lukewarm bath water, you know it's a hard to bounce back from.
Long story short, the biggest change for us in becoming parents is that we are growing our "family" in more ways than one. It's not just adding a baby, but adding new "aunts" and "uncles" and "cousins" and friends who, one day, the duckling will say, "Oh, Weeb? I've known him my whole life", and that's definitely the kind of family & "pick up" I want.
|Wednesday night on the stoop with our "family"|