The ever-elusive “balance” when it comes to motherhood; does it even exist? Truthfully, I’m not sure it does, we just do the best we can and accept with grace that there will be ebbs and flows. Life isn’t meant to be static, so why should be expect any different when it comes to motherhood?
All that said, below are a few things we can implement to try to help balance a social life with motherhood. A lot of these I practice, while some are suggestions that may come in handy when there are more kids in the mix. If you have any other tips that have worked for you, please share them – we are all in this together!
Tips to Balance a Social Life with Motherhood
- When someone offers to help, take them up on it!
- Similarly, don’t be ashamed to ask for assistance. Whether it be family, friends, church members.
- Find a mom with kids around the same age as yours and offer to schedule some trades. Let’s say you really want to go to a speaker series that is on Tuesday nights and she has a workout class that she would love to go to on Thursday nights. Offer to trade off watching the kids! Key: Make sure it’s pretty even so that neither of you feels like you are being jipped since you’re not exchanging payment. Then go enjoy that time knowing you don’t have to feel guilty because you’re paying back the favor later that week!
- Join a gym that offers childcare. One of the Gold’s Gym locations here in Dallas offers it and it is just $12 A MONTH! Even if you don’t want to workout, just go sit in the locker room and listen to a podcast or read a book in silence for an hour.
- Bring your baby! Especially when they are really little, they are so easy to bring to dinners and events with your friends. Sit them in that stroller, give them a bottle. Don’t be afraid of judgement – bring your baby to the bar. Who cares? Also, in our experience, we have found that our friends LOVE when we bring Joe with us; everyone fights over who gets to hold him! In addition, I think that bringing him so many places with us since he was little has trained him to be good in those situations.
- If it’s too hard to get out with the kids, invite friends over to your place for a drink or snack once the kids are down for the night. Play cards, watch a show, or just catch up. Kids go to bed so early that there are still a good few hours to do something before it’s time for you to hit the hay so take advantage of those!
- If your child is enrolled in daycare and you get off early, don’t pick him up! Take that extra time for yourself. Run an errand, get your nails done, grab a pastry. Don’t feel guilty.
- Rather than asking for gifts for your birthday or holidays, ask for money for babysitters so that you can go out with friends for some adult time.
- Join a mom’s group. Look to Facebook, your church, Google groups in your area, ask friends if they know of any. If all those fail, make one of your own! Key: Don’t invite only people you know. Diversify by inviting only a few you know and requesting that they invite other friends of theirs you may not already know.
- Trade off with your husband. Give him two hours alone on the weekend to do whatever he wants and then switch. It gives you quality one-on-one time with your child while also allowing each of you the opportunity to do the things you enjoy that are hard or impossible to do with a baby in tow.
- FaceTime! While it can never completely replace the face-to-face connection of actually meeting up with your friends or family members, it is a great way to stay in touch that is more tangible than a text or phone call.
- Do what you gotta do. If that means breastfeeding in public – do it! It may feel uncomfortable at first but don’t let that stop you. If that means changing your baby’s diaper on the bathroom floor (on one of these changing pads of course) because the bathroom doesn’t have a changing table, do it! Don’t let fear of the unexpected keep you holed up in your house.
- Early morning workouts. Schedule it out with a friend if you need to and get up before baby. It will feel so early at first, but I promise afterwards you’ll feel so energized it will be worth it! Plus, you will have accomplished something first thing. That way, even if baby doesn’t allow you to check anything else off your to-do list that day, at least you’ve got one thing done! I found that this pre-workout helps a ton. No jitters or anything crazy, just makes me not want to quit halfway through.
- Recruit a friend to workout with you. Schedule your gym dates so you have something to look forward to. Not only does it make it harder to bail on your workout, but it’s a chance to catch up and check in with one another.
I can’t speak to this balancing act beyond the baby stage, and I do think that it will get harder, particularly once more kids are added to the mix. However, I presume a lot of these tips can be applied in all situations, so I hope they can be helpful!