Social life after becoming a parent

Friends are for life, not just prepartum

Friendships shift and change at different stages of life. We make childhood friends, then we start school and make new friends. Some friendships stick with us for years while others are discarded at the drop of a hat. Some friendships make it through the tough times and survive and they’re the unchanging constant in the equation of a turbulent timeline. That is, at least, until you have a child

Prepartum pals

See, pre-baby anything is very much based on freedom. You can go out at very short notice or grab that last-minute holiday deal – you have no slobbering, crying, shitting ball & chain that you love too much not to look after properly.

Unless you have a puppy, but don’t tell me that’s the same thing!

Friends will know you as socially reliable – you’re one of the inner-circle. You will be there at “the event”, whatever that may be, and you’re great for that. You’re not one of the flaky guys who will inevitably cancel at the last minute and give some sorry excuse.

That is, at least, until you have a child…

google search for social life after having a baby
Google knows what’s up…

It starts at pregnancy

Kate and I noticed things change when we told people we were expecting. Friends would post social media statuses about where they were and what they were doing – we would be sat at home doing that sulk you do when you’ve been excluded. This is stuff we would usually be invited to – the only difference being that we were now expecting a baby. Ouch!

Granted, Kate couldn’t drink, we were now like that irritating friend everyone’s had at some point that suddenly went teetotal or vegan. Guys – we’re still the same people – she just can’t get drunk any more, we’re still us!

One bird alone separated from flock
Me at social gatherings now

The antenatal course hopes

Being the first couple in our group of friends to become pregnant, it was hard for friends to relate to us. After the initial “Oh my god!”s and the “what names have you shortlisted?” questions, it was almost like we suffered the first-date jitters. Silence would be filled with “huh, so yeah!” and “wow…”.

This is why we were excited about the antenatal classes we had signed up for. We could meet like-minded couples who were expecting around the same time as us. I could bond with the blokes over bad jokes and anecdotes of pregnancy hormone rampages.

Oh how wrong we were!

We turned up to the first session and walked into a room full of classic stereotypes. I’ll summarise – there was:

  • The “been there before” mum. It’d been 12 years since her last pregnancy and she wanted “to recap”. She often addressed the class and gave her experience. Much like you’ll often hear Alan Sugar say “When I started off with nothing…”, she would say “When I had my first…”. This is what sighs were invented for…
  • The young couple, forced to attend by parents. She was around 17 and he was in full chav uniform. He spent the entire session with one hand down the front of his North Face pants and the other scrolling through the TheLADBible on his phone.
  • The hippy-mum-to-be. She was all for lighting candles and meditating her way through labour – I’d love to know how that worked out. I don’t think it would have worked for us.

And then there was Nick

Nick was a wanker. I knew this within the first 4 seconds as he was sat in his expensive suit with one leg crossed over the other, both arms cradled round the back of the chair either side of him. I made a mental note to check what make of car he drove. If it was a BMW I was getting beers on the way home as a prize.

Nick would snigger and confidently apologise every time the word “vagina” or “breast” was mentioned (which was a lot), and at the Q&A he asked whether he was allowed a 4-pack of fosters into the delivery suite. No, Nick, you ridiculous bell-end. This is why we call you Nick the Prick! His wife, Nic (really!), rolled her eyes as if he was a petulant child, which only seemed to encourage him.

After the class he swaggered to his car like a penguin imitating NWA. It was a BMW – nailed it! He’d also taken up two parking spaces. I reckon he slept with his secretary before his child was 10 months old.

Life after birth

Here’s me moaning about having no social life after becoming a parent, but when I do go out it’s a constant effort to not constantly babble on about Evelyn and parenthood. I hear myself doing it, I bore myself half way through a sentence but always see it through to that anticlimatic end. It’s awkward! The truth is, fatherhood really is that exciting to me, but I know from experience that few people could actually give a shit about the cute thing my kid did last week.

Bored man
He’s interested in my story, right? RIGHT?
I reconnected with an old university friend when Kathryn was pregnant (because a fortune cookie told me to, true story). Shortly after I did, he found out his wife was pregnant – perfect! I could witness this social fall from grace from a third-person perspective.

We have become very close since. I remember he called me at midnight once to discuss breastfeeding. I mean, we’ve spoke about breasts before, but this was a whole new level.

Let’s be friends, fellow father!

There have been opportunities to make fellow dad-mates since becoming a dad myself. These usually come in the form of an awkward social situation disguised as a kid’s party. The kids will run off and play and the adults will be left standing there with a dumb grin thinking “shit, socialise before it’s awkward!”.

I took the plunge and spoke to another dad at one of these parties. About Evelyn and his daughter. We did experiment with the topic of the housing market but that took us full circle to our own houses, decorating the kid’s bedroom and then – you guessed it – our kids! Oh for f**k’s sake!

My hunt for a social life continues…

6 thoughts on “Social life after becoming a parent

  1. Haha Nick the prick. We all know a Nick the prick don’t we.

    I love sussing out the characters when I walk into a room

    At our antenatal class we were told to bring a soft toy and I proudly brought this baby sized dog that my mum had bought for Dexter. I had been cuddling this toy at night for weeks and I proudly introduced it to a couple who were sat by me. I guess I was the weirdo in that particular scenario.

    Great post as always.

    1. Haha if I see his BMW taking up two disabled spots in the car park, dumped there so he can drink-drive home later on, then I’m turning round!

  2. Flipping genius, you’ve nailed it-not all friendship lasts when you have kids, I’ve blogged about this before as it was pretty heartbreaking at the time but life changes, evolves and not all mates goes the distance. Some of my friends without kids are still my closest though but not all have survived kids and that’s just life. I was the first to have a baby from my closest friends at the time so I felt rather isolated when I had my first child. I met a great friend through another mutual friend who lived close to me (not sure what I would have done without her) and a few lovely women via classes etc but being far from family made my PTSD worse. My husband was and is amazing but once he went back to work it was hard as I felt so lonely day to day. It was only when I moved back to Leeds and close to family, I started to feel better. I also felt strong enough to reach out and get therapy. Sorry, a little off an a tangent, you are a brilliantly funny and honest writer, thanks for this x

  3. Actual genuine lols reading this post. You absolutely nailed the description of the antenatal classes – literally could have been describing the first class we ever went to. And don’t even get me started on when blokes do that lean back and arms over the chairs next to them pose. What is with that?! Billy big balls!

    Friendships totally change when the kids come along and I’m happy to say we still have the odd friend who we’ve grown up with but we’ve made some great friends now the kids are at school. And dare I say it… we almost have a social life again. Hooray.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge