Friday, November 20, 2009

Working mom + older kids = rediscovered social life

Earlier this year, I dove back in to the Mommy Dating Pool via a playdate with my youngest daughter's best friend and her mom. It's been really good, but lately we've decided to see other people. A lot of other people. And all at the same time.

Our daughters have entered the age of birthday parties. And, ye Gods, it is busy.

Since all of the kids in her class have birthdays right around the same time, my girl has had one or two parties nearly every weekend since mid-September, and my 3-year-old son has had his fair share, too. Which means that I've been socializing with the same group of grownups on a regular basis for the first time in years. And, in spite of the present buying and the ubiquitous pizza, I've been enjoying it.

While our kids play and stuff themselves with cake, we parents have gotten a chance to advance past the potty-training and milestone-marking stories, sharing instead the ups and downs of working motherhood. (Though a few of party-circuit regulars are dads, it's mostly the moms who are ferrying the kids around on the weekends.) It's difficult to take time for ourselves, as many of my readers over at Work It, Mom! will attest, so why not take advantage of the time we spend together by default?

It was my turn to host about a month ago. Back in April, I was wondering how to handle the birthday party dilemma; I ended up inviting my daughter's entire class to her 5th birthday party. And I did it again just two weeks later, inviting my 3-year-old's entire class to a pre-trick-or-treating birthday party on Halloween.

It was chaotic, and I was stressed about cleaning the house, but oddly enough, that was the only thing I was stressed about. My children had fun, their friends had fun, and I finally felt able to reciprocate for all of the parties and play dates my kids have gone to lately. But it was also an opportunity to host my new friends and introduce them to the rest of my family.

And it was great. I finally feel like I have a social network again, and I like it.

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