Cast your mind back to the day you became a parent, whether it was last week, last month or a year ago. How did you feel? For me, the words emotional, anxious, worried, lacking in confidence, shitting oneself and tired (so very tired) all come to mind. Your world is rocked and life becomes your baby and your family, a little bubble that can’t be popped. Your only focus is getting to grips with your new world of nappies, feeding, sleeping and most importantly for your other half, recovering.
As the initial weeks fly by, confidence grows. In our case we built the energy and confidence to walk round the block, slowly evolving these outings to trips into town and spending a lot of time taking these trips via somewhere that sold coffee. Everything is done together, until the dreaded day that paternity comes to an end and suddenly, the bubble is popped. You make that awful first journey back to work, eye on the phone awaiting the 100th picture of the day to come through and it’s not even 9am.
Saying goodbye every morning never feels right, in fact 9 months into being a dad it still doesn’t, but work has to go on, money has to be made, that’s just life.
“We won’t see you again now you’re a dad”
You must have heard that line from at least one of your mates when you told them the news you were to be a parent, No? I need new mates then. The reality of it is, the social side of life to some extent is put on hold initially, mostly because as a new parent when it’s a toss up between getting sleep or having a beer and being hungover, you know which one wins every time. But as you morph into a swiss army mum or dad that can hold a baby in one hand, make a bottle in the other whilst toe flicking dirty boxers into the washing basket, you realise ‘I can do this’ and the thought of venturing out and getting back to a relatively normal social life becomes a little less frightening.
First night away
One of the hardest challenges is that first moment away from your baby. I remember ours well, a family friends wedding. We did a lot of umming and ahhing but we came to the conclusion that a night away would be good for us, and it was. One night away and we raced back in the morning as if nothing happened (aside from a lot of drinking, the headache was a constant reminder). As we’re well and truly into parenthood now, going and doing things socially as a family is common, ranging from coffee mornings and brunches to boozy lunches (we’re responsible, honest!), we just make sure we’re armed to the teeth with ‘stuff’ and a boot full of toys to keep Ivy Entertained.
It’s about balance and not being selfish
We’re entering into a busy part of our lives, we have a number of weddings in August including our own, which means we also have hen do’s and stag do’s to attend to over the coming months. What used to be a case of, ‘give me the date and I’ll book it’ has become, ‘let me consult the shared calendar app on my phone to check my fiancee or a close family member is around to look after my child, then I’ll triple check we don’t have something on that weekend’, it’s the same for plans at the weekend, we can no longer just arrive home on a Friday and say right I’m going out for the night with the lads/girls, the selfishness of my our twenties has had to be put aside now. And this is something that has become more and more apparent, time together as a couple to me is fundamental to a successful relationship, but what is also essential is allowing one another to have time with our friends without each other, and appreciate the fact that time away from one another and some rest from being a parent is essential. It’s about balance and not being selfish. So the next time she wants to go for wine with the girls, or he wants to go for a few beers, just let them do it, just make sure you give enough notice ;).