I love my friends. It’s that simple; I love them. Most I have known since childhood and they are my people. But as things go, we’ve grown older, got married, had babies, and lost the majority of our free time and spontaneity.
Only an hour away, I see my close circle of friends less than a handful of times a year when we get together for scheduled events like Norwex parties, birthdays, or barbecues. If it’s a mom’s/adult night out, it feels like Christmas. But given everyone’s schedules and ability to find a sitter, most get-togethers have become “kid friendly.”
Don’t get me wrong, I love getting to see my friends’ kids and having them play together, passing down the friendly bond through our lineage. But it is a different atmosphere when our friendly gatherings are prefaced with “family.”
This was the case for this past weekend’s event. First of all, bless my friend for deciding to open her home and host a dozen of adults and their spawn for a potluck. With two small kids of her own, cleaning and getting your house presentable for company is a chore in and of itself.
This had been in the works for months, with everyone going back and forth on Facebook to find a date that works for them. Settling on last Saturday, everyone got excited and started sharing what they were going to bring for the potluck.
Enter my situation. In another life, I would have put some effort into cooking up something tasty. Yet to master the Pinterest Mom life with an almost two-year old, I immediately began strategizing what I could quickly grab from the store and navigate the shortest route to the checkout before my toddler had a complete meltdown.
You see, my husband started a new job about a month ago, returning to retail after a few years in a corporate office setting. Not his thing. So he made the difficult decision to jump back into the crazy world of retail, which of course entails working weekends.
My weekends have turned into toddler-and-me time, which is exhausting. I’m so happy to spend such quality one-on-one time with my son, but doing it alone on the weekends that had previously been devoted to family time has been a major adjustment on my part. Going places requires a little more planning and attention, which makes me tired just thinking about it.
So, when this party popped up on my calendar, I was excited, yet not as much as I should have been. I knew I was the one who would be schlepping him in and out of the house to get a plate of food, cutting it up, changing his poopy diaper, keeping an eye on him so he doesn’t leap head first off the swing set — all while trying to enjoy myself with my friends and maybe snag a hot dog before it turns cold (this did not happen).
And trying to actually have a conversation with my friends? Ha! We could not even finish a full sentence before someone’s kid was having a meltdown calling for “mommy” or another ran by and a distinct smell caught our attention. By the time we left, I could not really tell you what was going on in my friends’ lives besides them being busy and tired, and work was fine.
One of my good friends was actually apologizing to me on the way out that we didn’t really get a chance to talk because of “you know, the kids.” I feel like this is such an accurate representation of where we are in our lives. And it made me a little sad.
Maybe it’s not this way for all parents. Maybe those super parents exist and they roll into parties like this and just seem to handle it like it’s nothing. I know someday when the kids are a little older and more self-sufficient, we can kick back around a fire and enjoy a beer.
For now, we will keep trying to piece together sentences while managing our lives with small children.