About a few days after I discovered that I was going to be a dad, I did what most guys who find themselves at a crossroad in life often do: I headed to a bar.
I should probably explain: When I told my best buddies the news, I think that they were about as shocked as I was. They then decided the best thing for me to do was to talk about it over a few beers. As we sat there, each with a Corona in hand discussing what the hell I was going to do next, one of them half-joking said something along the lines of, "Whelp, enjoy that beer, since that'll be the last one you'll have for a while".
I kind of just shrugged in agreement, because that's basically what my, -and I imagine most people’s-, perception of fatherhood is: Trendy clothes are traded in for loose-fitting, puke and drool stained khakis. Weekends that used to consist of random, impromptu trips to wherever, will be replaced by daily feeding and sleep schedules. After all, everyone knows that once you become a dad, you can kiss your social life goodbye... right?
|The epitome of cool|
- The more time we spent figuring out how to be parents, not only were we too preoccupied to consider going out for drinks much; we were often flat out too tired to even think about doing anything but sleep whenever we were able to find a sliver of free time (which wasn't often).
2. As a parent, you'll appreciate the need for structure for you and your family. So, when you get a last minute text at 9pm telling you that everyone is getting together at the bar in 30 minutes, more than likely, you won’t be able to make it. That also goes for spontaneous dates with your lady as well. Even random visits from your friends that never bothered you in the past will be unwelcome; especially if that visit causes the baby to wake up. This can result in friction and feelings of neglect from your friend's point of view.
Technically, I guess you dont have to kiss your social life "goodbye"; you’re just going to have to hold it by the hand and let it know that they just aren’t the priority anymore. Make sure you tell it that it’s you, not them that’s the problem.
Please know however, that while you will definitely have to make some life adjustments, you don't have to completely give up your social life. With a little hard work and open communication, you can still be an awesome dad, all while maintaining friendships and enjoying something resembling a social life. I've listed some steps below that I've learned that worked for me:
One of the simplest and most useful tools that I use to keep my social life on track is a calendar. It’s pretty straight forward: by putting the effort to map out future events, it will make it easier to be there for your friends’ special occasions and you have that special alone time with your significant other. For best results, try to stay ahead of the curve by doing your planning as early as possible.
- Be Open Minded
This may be hard to accept, but the inevitable lifestyle change is too difficult for some friends to endure and as a result, you’ll probably lose a few. That’s okay because you are also going to make new ones. With that being said however, a good friendship is still a two-way street and effort on your end is still required in order for it to stay strong, baby or not.
- Be available
Every once in a while your lady may get invited to a girl’s night out. Unfortunately, this may occur on the same day you had that really crazy day at work and all you wanted to do was come home and take some time to yourself. Despite this, it will be in your best interest to be as supportive as possible and allow her to have a guilt free night out.
- Be quiet
This part is more difficult than it sounds. When you do make it out with your friends, of course you’re expected to talk a little bit about your baby, however don’t overdo it- as interesting as it is to you, most people won’t be as enthralled with the story of how your child’s poop changed multiple colors today. Actually, it’s kind of a buzz kill. As they say on Jersey Shore, you don’t want to be “that guy”.
Question: Do you find it a challenge to balance your family and social life? If so, what ways do you manage them?
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