There are two things that seem like they’ll never be the same after having a baby: Your abs, and your relationships with non-mom friends.
I have been stanch in my fight against post-pregnancy flabby abs, visiting with physical therapist and personal trainer friends to create my own personal Abs of Steel routine, which I have been doing (mostly) religiously. My once-flat tummy is still nowhere close to where it used to be, but I keep doing sit-ups in hopes of someday seeing it return to its pre-baby dimensions.
I have been less committed to strengthening the bonds of friendship, however. Here’s why: Generally speaking, people who don’t have kids don’t really want to hang out with you once you have one.
It’s not that they are necessarily those kid-phobic types. They probably don’t want you putting a poopy diaper in their trashcan, or using their dishrags to clean up baby vomit, but otherwise they’re okay with the baby scenario. They like to make faces at them when they’re happy, but don’t really need to hold them, thank you very much.
Wherein the dilemma lies has not to do with whether or not your friends like your kids, but rather in that when baby arrives, so departs your ability to be the friend that you once were.
For me, the realization that I am one child removed from being “in the loop” was made stunningly clear this weekend, when a friend admitted that she had to look up my phone number.
That confession made obvious what I had been fearing all along: I am, indeed, fully mired in the all-consuming vortex of mommyhood – so much so that my friends no longer call me, betting I’ll turn down their offers of hiking, lunch, or cocktails on account of a sleepy, fussy, or sick baby.
And that is 99 percent true.
I did, after all, have to miss this aforementioned friend’s birthday party, which just so happened to fall on the evening that the Lez Zeppelin concert turned Town Park into a gala of Ladies Night Out-goers, on account of a pukey baby. This is the same friend with whom I have had a longstanding weekend date for the last four summers, in which we climb to the top of mountains that we think we know the names of and drink wine and eat cheese and chocolate.
She’s the girl who brings me cans of hard cider or bottles of pineapple wine, knowing that like her, I prefer those to beer any day.
And then I got pregnant and couldn’t sit on her porch sipping syrupy sweet wine, and then I had a baby and had to bow out of those full-day high country expeditions citing things like “breastfeeding” as my excuse.
So it’s no wonder that she forgot my phone number. It’s been nearly two years since the Lez Zeppelin-going, hard cider drinking, chocolate toting girlfriend that she used to hang out with could actually come out to play.
Well, I’m trying to change that. I realize my return to my social circle will have to happen slowly, and like my abs, will probably never boast a full recovery. But just as I continue to do sit-ups, I will continue to answer my phone – in the hopes that one day, a friend will call, and on that day, I will actually be able to say yes to her request for a non-baby outing.
Sunday emerged as that day. With snow dusting the peaks and no blue sky in sight, it wasn’t exactly the perfect morning for hiking. But Craig had already geared up for a daddy-daughter day, and I was determined to go hiking with my girlfriends – even if it meant contending with cold fingers and soggy socks.
The rainy day hike with two old friends wasn’t the most exciting our group had ever undertaken (lightning once forced us to run willy-nilly off San Miguel Peak,) nor the most spectacular (like feasting atop Uncompaghre Peak); but nevertheless, the day delivered some nourishing results. Not just from Heidi’s homemade bars or Lisa’s red wine, but also the warm-hearted feeling that blossoms when you’re surrounded by people who call you a friend.