Sometimes, I worry about what having kids will do to my already nonexistent social life. I’m not whining about not being able to go out and have fun anymore. That’s just not my thing. I’m a stay-in, watch-movies, read-books, play-video-games kind-of-person. My closest friends are those who like to do the same thing. What I’m worried about is growing further apart from the friends that I do have.
A lot has already been written about how important it is to preserve one’s friendships outside of our marriage. We may have (hopefully) married our best friend, or at least one of them, but that doesn’t mean that they’re the only person we need. I can speak for that firsthand. Having to move down here as part of getting married meant I had to start over somewhere new, and because I didn’t have a traditional job, it took me a while to find friends.
Most of my closest friends are scattered all over the place anyway, so getting married didn’t really change that. Marriage also didn’t change how I interacted with those friends; I’d known most of them since I’d been dating Jonathan, so our relationship dynamics didn’t really shift. So although elements of my marriage made it a bit harder to stay in touch with some of my friends, it didn’t really affect most of my friendships overall.
Knowing that, maybe I’m just worrying. But as we contemplate having children, or really as I just begin to entertain the possibility as not terrible for the first time, it’s a consideration. We don’t have a lot of friends that live in the immediate area. Of those we have that are around our age, only one set has children.
Would having our own change our interactions with them? We know it’ll give us a lot less time to socially interact, but given that we don’t spend a lot of time doing that (aside from my multiple daily emails to one of my best friends, who lives in North Carolina), it doesn’t seem like it should change that much.
Some of our close friends do have kids already. In fact, one set has two. When we do manage to spend time with them, our interactions aren’t that different. Obviously we can’t spontaneously decide to see a movie, and staying overnight at their house doesn’t make as much sense anymore. They live two hours away, so we used to go up and stay for a night or two. Now, the added time later at night and early in the morning don’t make a difference, because they’re busy with their children at those times. We might as well just go up and see them for a long day.
When I think about that, though, I realize I’m nervous over nothing. Aside from those brief moments, which don’t really matter anyway, our interactions with these friends haven’t changed. We were never the type to go out and do a lot anyway, preferring to stay in and chat, or maybe watch a DVD. It’ll be an adjustment, but it should be easier because I’m thinking about it already. At least our favorite social activities won’t be nearly as affected by having kids, as opposed to if we were the type to go out all the time. It’ll just be another thing for which we’ll have to try to make time.
*(The above image by photostock is from freedigitalphotos.net).