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Friends After Kids

I just got back from a fun and restful three-day vacation in Las Vegas with my husband, my best friend Jamie and her husband Marc -- it was our first time away together since having Preston nearly nine months ago. We've both taken trips sans Preston before, independently -- Jay to Vegas a couple of weeks ago (no, he doesn't have a gambling problem, these trips just happened coincidentally in consecutive order); and me to Austin for a work conference in March. We talked about taking this trip for about a month, but we didn't nail down the plans till a couple of weeks ago, and thankfully my parents were able to take care of Preston for the weekend -- and, I'm happy to report, they did a phenomenal job, and so did he. Any fears I had about leaving him with them for four straight nights disappeared the minute they told me he slept for 11-1/2 hours the first night (it didn't hurt that I was sipping my first strawberry daiquiri poolside when I checked in).

We're big fans of Vegas, my husband and I -- in fact, it's where we took our babymoon when I was five months pregnant last May (after our originally planned trip to Aruba fell through due to an intrusive tropical storm). This was a great weekend, made even better by sharing it with my best friend, whom I've been to Vegas with nine times (it was our go-to spot in our single days) -- our husbands have become good friends, too, which is what any pair of best girl friends could hope for. They golfed while we sat by the pool -- it was perfect.

But it got me thinking about friendships, especially those that have fallen by the wayside since marriage and kids happened. I used to have a large group of friends with whom I spent most of my time, running around town to charity events and parties and bar openings. But these weren't just social friends -- I spent quiet nights in with a lot of these people, too. And now I'm lucky if I see some of them once every couple of months.

Though I'm a bit older for a new mom (I just turned 36), I still have a decent amount of single friends -- and, even though we don't see each other as often as I would like anymore, I still consider them some of my closest friends. We may not even talk on the phone much either -- weeks can go by without actual phone conversations; with some it can be months. Between work and being a mom and a wife, and making time to see my family on weekends, there is very little time left for much else. Jay and I see some of our mutual married friends on weekends for brunch, or sometimes dinner when the couple is willing to come over to our house so we can put Preston to bed on time, but it's rare that we'll get a babysitter and go out -- we usually reserve those nights for special occasions.

It's easier to see those friends of ours who have kids, since they're on similar schedules -- one such couple we've started having semi-regular Saturday breakfasts with, at 8 a.m. We'll get Preston up and feed him before heading to the restaurant, and by the time breakfast is over he's ready to go down for his morning nap -- we're back home by 9:30 a.m. But I obviously don't expect any of my single friends to meet us for breakfast at that hour, when many of them are probably out late the night before. Which is what I would be doing, too, if I didn't have a kid...

It took a bit of adjusting on everyone's part -- considering pre-baby, I was the resident party planner in my group of friends, since I used to write a nightlife column for a prominent city magazine. So by default, I always knew about the events and parties and openings...but when I got married, and quickly became pregnant three months later, my social life practically changed overnight. I was at a point in my life where I was ready to settle down, not just in terms of getting married but also socially; I was ready for a different kind of fun, one that included watching Preston clap his hands for the first time (a milestone he hit this weekend). But with my slower paced life came slower paced friends -- and unfortunately, some of those older but no less important friendships have suffered as a result.

I don't think anyone's to blame for it -- it's just a matter of people being in different phases of life at different times. Now that Jay and I have a very good routine down, I'm starting to go out a little more. Jay's happy staying in on weekends, so he doesn't mind if I go out ocassionally -- but the truth is, I don't want to go out every weekend, because I still have to wake up early to take care of Preston. (I'm preaching to the choir, I know.)

Did your social life start to suffer when you had kids? How do you manage your friendships, between work, kids, nap schedules, family, and marriage?

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