Parenthood does not mean giving up your old life and your old identity. However, if you are with your children, it does.
I've had the opportunity to hang out with my very wonderful and solid group of friends with and without my kids quite a bit lately. When I am with my friends without my kids, it's like nothing has changed. We have great conversations, meaningful interactions and have a lot of fun. When we all get together kids included... well, I have to parent. And that basically means I have to be a constant monitor of diapers, hunger levels, whereabouts and interests (like, don't play with that vase of decorative stuff my friend has on her floor). I really hardly interact with my friends at all. I often don't get through whole sentences and I never hear more than a couple lines of any conversation.
On the one hand, I am fortunate that I have a group of friends that will help me out with my kids, often plan events so that the kids can come, and will even occasionally babysit so that Eric and I can go do something else. On the other hand, I really wish we had family around so that I didn't feel like such a huge burden to my friends.
Kids are hard.
Speaking of how absolutely great my friends are with my kids, this morning I took the kids to a community easter egg hunt. Eric is off camping yesterday and today so I knew I needed help. I poked a few of my friends and we ended up with 5 adults and 3 kids (3rd was the daughter of a friend of mine, almost 1), 2 ~1 year olds and Scott at 2.5. The event was terriffic. We started with a pancake breakfast, then ran around and explored bouncy houses, bouncy slides and one of those bouncy obstacle courses. Scott did an easter egg hunt for 2-3 year olds and Jeremy sat in a kiddy pool and picked up eggs with the other 1 year old. Both kids were fascinated by the petting zoo animals, but neither wanted to touch them. Scott did eventually pet a bunny.
It was a really fantastic event and makes me like my town even better!
But for me, the event was all about the kids. I was running after one or the other. I had a good kid time, but not a really good friend time, even though I really really like the 4 people that came with me. They were all really great with the kids, taking turns watching whichever kid I wasn't watching, taking pictures, retrieving Scott out of the obstacle course, pushing Scott on the swing. It was really wonderful to have the support and made the event really fun, but I didn't really get to talk to anyone.
I'm also tired. Even though theoretically both kids can sleep through the night and have somewhat regularly lately, last night they got me out of bed 5 times. Scott twice and Jeremy 3 times. And not just out of bed, there were two diaper changes, a trip to get water, a trip to get milk, a story, lots of hugs and a kid eventually ending up in my bed. Talk about a lot of lost sleep. Pfft.
Little kids, they are hard.