Remember when your social life used to take place in pubs and bars or restaurants? Now, going out with friends is such a palaver, trying to coordinate calendars so everyone’s other halves or babysitters are available so they can go out, or knowing someone’s child will be sick so they’ll have to cancel. Not to mention the fact that everyone’s permanently shattered since they’ve had kids. I often joke that my social life is great during the day. I am lucky to have made some wonderful mum friends and am a regular on the pre-school circuit of Cardiff. It’s not so great in the evenings though, and much as we try, nights out are not as frequent as I would like. But, trying not to dwell on life’s negatives, I present to you five places my social life revolves around now I’m a parent. Can you relate to any of them?
The supermarket is the place to be, I’m telling you! Last week I popped into our local Tesco with Baby Boy I to pick up a few things. I bumped into three different friends I knew and had a good old natter with each of them in various aisles around the store (one of them while I was browsing the Prosecco…. say no more!) and ended up in there for well over an hour. None of the kids could run off mid-conversation because they were in shopping trolleys, and as every experienced mum knows, you always take snacks to the supermarket when you’re shopping with kids, so we could keep the little ones occupied while we chatted. I couldn’t have planned it better if I’d tried! See also last week’s post on ridiculous things that count as me-time now I’m a mum. The good old supermarket serves a dual purpose!
The school run
I’m lucky that being self-employed means I’m able to do the school run every day. Sure, it’s the most stressful time of my day, but once I’m actually at the school gates, I get the chance to have a good old chin wag. If I don’t have anywhere to be I’m always among the last to leave after morning drop off because I’m chatting to the other mums. Some days this turns into impromptu play dates with the younger siblings. And some afternoons I find myself deliberately getting to school early so I can chat while we wait for the kids to come out.
Like most families with young children, we go to a lot of birthday parties. When my children were younger, their friends were all chosen for them by me because they were the offspring of my friends, so all my children would be invited to the same parties. I would spend two hours chasing round after the three of them, or chasing two while breastfeeding the third, and arrive home exhausted. Now, however, my eldest two get invited to parties of their class mates on their own. I take whichever one of them it is and they are occupied for two hours by an entertainer or bouncy castle, leaving me to chat to the other mums with only the occasional interruption! (Again, see last week’s post on me-time!)
The park or soft play at the weekend
I always joke that the park and soft play are the new pub. The people I used to randomly bump into on a night out in town now all pop up in the various parks and play centres of Cardiff. Where once I’d see them at 10pm on a Saturday night, now it’s at 10am on a Saturday morning. ‘Weekends aren’t what they used to be,’ we’ll laugh, as we reminisce about lazy hungover mornings going for brunch or watching omnibus Hollyoaks in your pyjamas. Running around after little ones might mean not getting to finish a conversation these days, but it’s always so nice to see familiar faces when you’re out and about.
Community family days and fetes
You know the kind of thing I mean – you spend a fortune on fairground rides that last about 30 seconds, overpriced face painters and trying to win a plastic toy that you know will end up broken before tea time. But you can also guarantee you’ll bump into friends you’ve not seen for ages and if you’re lucky you can have a good old catch up at the beer tent while your kids and their kids become new best friends while dancing to an out of tune brass band.
Can you relate? Does your social life revolve around any of the above places now that you have children? Please tell me it’s not just me! I love to hear all your thoughts, either in the comments section below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page, or you can tweet me on @cardiffmummy