My dear friend Whitney is about to have a baby. In about 2 weeks her little bundle of joy will arrive. And she has some anxiety. Some motha anxiety. She worries she’ll never go out again. Never be carefree again. Never have FUN again. She wants me to calm her fears.
Whitney’s fears aren’t the theoretical musings of a first-time motha. The child she is expecting will be her second child…in 14 months. We were together last season in Allen, Texas and THANKUNIVERSEFORTHAT because as fate would have it, I had a baby in November and had NO idea what I was doing. Whitney followed suit and had her daughter Harper in January and it turns out she ALSO was learning-as-we-go, but she was way better at faking like she knew what was going on. She wears make-up EVERY DAY you guys. And finds time to blow-dry her hair. She is an inspiration to us all.
2011: Mothas, behaving mothaly.
So as we learned together in the months that followed, having a baby is like…really hard. Time and energy and brain cells are just not plentiful enough in those newborn months, and then just when you think it’s going to get easier…they learn to crawl or get teeth or have the nerve to get sick or something. So apparently…it’s hard at the beginning…then just keeps being hard. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat.
The truth is (as Whitney well knows), once you have a baby ‘going out’ is a term that is not only rarely heard for a while, it takes on a whole new meaning. While the other women on the team in Texas were having 9pm dinners and drinks and whoknowswhat kind of fun, Whitney and I were on our respective couches in pajamas while our babies (on a good night) slept quietly chatting to each other over Skype. Don’t worry, we were drinking wine but still…not exactly like the last time Whitney and I were on the same team in Bakersfield and nights out looked more like this:
2009: Why are we feeding a freakishly realistic monkey-baby beer at a hockey game? Someone might have fed us some beer first, then things get fuzzy.
2006: Kim is now motha to twins Tyler and Dylan. STILL feels comforted by Southern Comfort.
2007: Sherry is Landon’s motha. I know for a fact she continues enjoys turning her mouth purple on a girl’s night (we both drink wine now, if you must know, we’re much classier than we were back then with our Bacardi and Diet a.k.a. Ba-Co-Lite).
2008: Of these six women, 4 are now mothas to 5 children including our own baby, Paul, Mathilda, Simonek and Matousek . They are German, Austrian and Czech by nationality, so you know they are still taking in some beer whenever possible.
2008: Jess is in a dive bar in east Germany learning moves from a Slovakian dance master (also father of two of the children mentioned in the previous picture). She now does the hokey pokey with her son McCarty.
2009: Just as proof that life goes on with kids in tow, here is Kim again AFTER her twins were born and my girl Nell is pregnant with little Henrik while dancing AND singing.
2009: Erinn was my all-time-favorite drinking buddy in college, and here we are 6 years later doing it up right. She is now motha to Jack.
2010: Kellie and Amy get frisky. Typical because blondes LOVE me. These two are now mothas to Campbell, Kenley and Sloan.
2010: Susanne is now motha to Kasper. Nothing shows your love quite like a thumb in the eye.
Shortly after this thumb-on-face action with Susanne, I got pregnant. So for a while my late nights consisted more of heartburn and less of all the other kinds of antics pictured above. Then I had a newborn. So my late nights were all about Dave changing the diapers while I mastered side-lying nursing. It was pretty exciting.
But, despite this change of pace, I was (and still am) having fun. In a different way. Sometimes I still wanted to get out, but to me that meant walking 75 feet from my apartment to Mary’s (our other motha friend in Texas) to chat with her and Whitney and drink wine out of baby food jars. Because, although I know the pictures above tell another story, I am kind of a homebody. Getting dressed up is just like…ugh. And going out of the house is like…blech. Well before I ever had a baby I preferred a good night in over a night out, but I liked to sprinkle in some public drunken revelry in for good measure. Now I just sprinkle it more lightly.
And by ‘more lightly,’ I mean thrice since the baby was born. I’ve gone out of the house more often than that, don’t call the interventionists or anything. But I haven’t attained a proper buzz with the right amount of red wine more than 3 times since the baby was born 15 months ago. The first time I ventured out and started putting them back was with Whitney. We put on heels and I added eyeliner and we left our daughters with our husbands and had some fun. But instead of ‘some’ fun we had A LOT of fun. It ended like this:
2011: A nap nanny and a vampire. And in case you want to know, about an hour later (when I should have clearly been in bed) I verbally lashed out at one of Dave’s teammates who was getting on my nerves.
From the sheer insanity of that photograph I’m sure you can tell I felt like shite the next day. Not my favorite when I had a 5 month old to care for. The next time I was properly drunk was not until so very recently when we karaoked with friends. And again when they gave us unlimited drinks for 2 hours (what!? where?! why!?) on our most recent wives’ dinner. I kept things WAY more civil though. I don’t want to be the crazy foreign woman drunk on the floor.
2012: So kawaiiiiiii and why is my hair so sweaty!? Sachiko is motha to Sara, Fuji and Sakura!
I show you all these pictures and tell you these stories, dear Whitney, to put you in a good mood before I deliver the bad news: things are going to get INSANE for a while. Like…insane in the good way of SO much love in one little house it’s hard to fathom…but also insane in the way where you aren’t sure if it’s day or night and you haven’t seen a toothbrush in days and which baby is that screaming or wait is that me screaming?!
So, all that time spent pinpointing who is screaming will mean you probably won’t want to or be able to go ‘out’ for a while. Your body will be recovering, your mind will be adjusting, your family will be changing before your very eyes. The amount of sleep you will or will not be getting will fluctuate wildly just as your hormones do the same. So the bottom line is you probably won’t be strapping on your party pants and accompanying stilettos for a while.
You may however, with the help and love of your family, have enough time to go out to dinner with just you and Bru. And you’ll eat with two hands and feel like a normal person for a minute and then it will be 9pm and you guys will both be like ‘Should we stay out for one more drink?’ but both of you will be hoping the other person says no because let’s face it, 9:30pm is a really good bedtime.
Or maybe a night ‘out’ will consist of yoga pants and a hoodie on the couch of your sister or your best friend while you drink bottles (why bother even saying ‘glasses’, you could also just get a box) of wine and let off some steam with the comfort of a cushion under your butt and the love of a lady friend to boost you up.
So these changes feel a little bit stifling at times. Even though you doubt you’d have the energy to have a full-on, balls to the wall night out anyway, it’s hard not to wish there was a world in which that seems like it would be possible. And if you want that, then someday you’ll have it. It will happen. And your kids will be so embarrassed. Until then please remember this…
YES, YOU WILL BE FUN AGAIN. Because you are fun NOW. Things are different, life’s a changin’, but you make your daughter and your husband and your friends laugh every day with your wild spirit. You venture to brave new places with only a U-Haul and your wits. You plan parties and make crafts and you will soon be not-pregnant and taste the sweet sweet nectar of the wine and margaritas…but control yourself when you start feeling frisky, we all know Bruce has no will-power!
Will you ever dance on a table again? Possibly, though it might be a coffee table and Harper will be joining you to the musical stylings of Raffi. Will you ever have a hangover so bad that the only cure is eating french fries while laying horizontally? Certainly, though it will only take 2 drinks to get you there. Will you ever be the life of the party again? If Harper could talk, she would say that you are that every day. Can having two kids in 14 months and the beautiful chaos that follows dampen your inner party animal? Not a chance my friend, not a chance.