I was one of the first of my friends to get married and I was one of the first to have a baby. Being a pioneer is a tough job, treading waters that in my group of friends are relatively uncharted. Before marriage I had no one to answer to, no schedule to cross reference, no person to include, yet the transition to marriage wasn’t difficult. Clay and I have the same groups of friends so balancing our time was easy. I thought that motherhood would be similar. I knew life would change, but I thought I could still maintain a social life. Before giving birth I was able to participate in everything! Monday night Bible study with my church family, girls night on Thursdays where we would craft, chat and catch up on each other’s lives. Date nights were still a regular occurrence, as were weekends with friends. I thought, ‘Hey, this motherhood thing won’t be so bad. It won’t change too much‘. Uh… right.
However, becoming a mom was a difficult transition. It was a new stage of life, I had to learn to leave the old life behind and come into my own as a first time mom. Ezra arrived and along with it a whole new phase of life. I tried to attend bible study, but as the months went on Monday nights with Bible Study dwindled, replaced with bath time, breastfeeding, bedtime and crashing in silence on the couch. We tried continuing our date nights with baby in tow but eventually even date nights were abruptly halted when we realized Ezra was not a good date night companion to a nice restaurant. My one night of the week with the girls on Thursdays became less about my time with the ladies and more about keeping Ezra satisfied. I was balancing old with new and the attempts to maintain my old life were becoming exhausting. As we grew into ourselves as parents we started to outgrow our old life. We couldn’t hangout until the late hours of the night at the local brewery, or make plans last minute with our friends. The less time we spent with them, the less we were included with their plans. I began to feel disengaged, distant and neglected. The separation was a lot for a new mom, and I felt as though I had no escape from a world filled with baby, no adult time and many of the friends that had been my constant were no longer consistent fixtures in my life. I craved companionship from others who understood my life, from women who I could confide in and give me wisdom based on experience.
It didn’t take long after having Ezra for me to realize the brutal growing pains of motherhood. I tried so hard to cling on to the fun, carefree life I’d lived for 25 years and the fear of losing what I had crippled me from moving forward. It ate at me, causing me to feel alone, not having someone nearby to spill my guts to who understood. Then one day I met with a fellow church mom who was close in age who had a son close to Ezra’s. She lived in my apartment complex and we began meeting for morning walks. We talked about our kids, our marriages and were open with each other about our struggles. It did not take me long to realize that this was what I craved and knew my fear of change had clouded my ability to see the need for it. It was refreshing to finally have a fellow mom in my life who understood. The walks continued as did the pep talks, rants, jokes and sarcasm. I then decided that I needed more of this, more ‘mommy time’ and began meeting with a friend for weekly coffee dates after she had her son. Just having that ability to hang out with women who were moms, wives, and had schedules that coincided with mine was a breath of fresh air. Over time my fear of change dissolved in the warmth of new friendships and I was finally ready to step willingly into this new phase of life, a phase of firsts and a phase of transformation.
Coming to terms with the fact that my life was changing took a great deal of time. It was hard to let go of what my life had been, and it had caused me to feel as though I was burdened by motherhood and losing out on time with friends. My trepidation clouded my joy as a mom; but soon I was able to recognize the need for me to step into a new phase, one with mom dates, play times and early bed times. Occasionally I miss the ability to do whatever, whenever, but understanding and appreciating the stage I am in now makes motherhood so much sweeter.