I’m the first person in my group of friends and colleagues to have a baby. This has been challenging in its own ways; I don’t have any other mom friends I can gab about babies to when my other friends have heard all they can stand, I don’t have anyone to give me tips or tricks they’ve discovered (Ivy is the first baby Matt and I have ever taken care of so we’ve had a lot to learn!) and most interesting to me is that I’ve found that some friends feel awkward when talking to me now, because they feel like I’m so much more “grown up” than them because I have a husband and child.
That last one has been particularly confusing and sort of hurtful. It makes me feel awkward and wrong when a longtime friend starts talking to me less and less, saying, “I just feel like you wouldn’t even care about hearing my stories now that you have a baby.” It feels really unfair because I’ve tried my best to keep up with my friends on their lives and not just talk endlessly about my daughter. I’d like to think that I’ve kept a good balance of hobbies and baby talk in my conversational skills and that I haven’t stopped being a good friend just because I spawned.
Granted my response times in texts has dropped significantly. There are times when someone shoots me a casual, “Hey, what’s up?” And I am just so bogged down with Ivy or laundry or cleaning or napping that I don’t get back to them until 8+ hours later. That sucks. I know I hate it when it feels like I’m being ignored. It’s just hard right now and I’m working on figuring out the balance of my time.
It doesn’t help that there are still dozens of things I want to do with my time and spend my attention on. There’s a new Pokémon game coming out in November that I want to play, I just found that there is a tabletop RPG set in the Dragon Age setting that I want to get, Skyrim is getting remastered and rereleased in October, I already own a bunch of video games that I miss playing, I want to get back into making my own knitting patterns, I have been trying to draw comics again… Even pre-Ivy I would have struggled to have the time to indulge in all those hobbies but now post-Ivy? Haaaaaa.
I remember watching a Penny Arcade video in which Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins were talking about being dads and Mike Krahulik said something to the effect of, “You don’t realize how much time you had to fuck around with until you have a kid.” (Totally paraphrasing here, watch their excellent show to get the actual quote and because it’s fucking awesome.)
I definitely agree with them, though I do find that as time goes on I’m getting better at doing more of the things I like while still primarily taking care of Ivy. Obviously I’m still a total n00b at this whole parenting thing and I don’t mean to present myself as some grizzled veteran who has seen it all. There is still a lot I’m figuring out and as the paragraphs at the beginning of this very post have shown, I am still struggling to find a balance between being a mom and doing the things I still want to do outside of the motherhood sphere.
It’s not a challenge I regret though because parenting is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time now. Being able to find a way to balance my hobbies with my most favorite person is worth all the effort because the reward will combine my most favorite things together in (hopefully) harmony. We’ll see how well it ends up working out for me.