Soon after becoming a single mom, I was very depressed. Hanging out at home with my mom wasn’t making me feel any less pathetic. Before pregnancy going out was easy. It could be midnight and someone would call and 15 minutes later you’re out the door. As a responsible single mother it’s impossible to make plans with the same amount of ease.
My mother wasn’t too keen on the idea of staying home taking care of my daughter while I went out and partied. She wasn’t going out herself she just didn’t want to babysit just so I could go out and have fun. So for the first few years I only got her to babysit if it was a special occasion. She’d babysit if, for example, I had to go to someone’s birthday dinner, funeral, or if an out of town guest wanted to see the Miami nightlife. That was pretty much it.
The only reason I was able to maintain any sort of social life after I became a single mom was ironically, my ex. Back then he took our daughter for overnight stays once or twice a week. I took full advantage of this opportunity and even if it was a Monday night I was out. I’d go to the movies by myself if I had to, but I wasn’t going to waste an opportunity to get out there and not rot away home alone with my mother.
The irony. One of the reasons he and I split up is because despite having just become a father he was more prone to go out and party than stay home and parent. I was stuck at home raising our baby. Therefore, the best thing about our break up was that he became my free babysitting service two nights a week. I suppose it was easier for him to be a father part-time.
The first few months of my daughter’s life I didn’t want to go anywhere. I felt guilty. It got easier after awhile, especially after she learned to talk and ask for things and tell someone when something is wrong. But the first couple of years of single motherhood were very hard and having her away from me to be with her father was also very hard. No amount of partying could make me forget for very long.
But once a few years went by I started feeling a bit better. At least once a week I was living like I was still in my twenties, which I was. I was at bars and clubs. I was coming home at 3am or not coming home at all. I had a separate wardrobe for clothes to go out in. I was trying new things I hadn’t gotten the chance to the first time around (as in pre-baby).
Did I feel trapped sometimes? Yes. I couldn’t always go out. My friends could make plans for the next night, I had to decline. The friendships with these people waned because I couldn’t be there all the time as part of the group. I had no group anymore, I was the extra. The person you call to fill out the party, not the person you call for all the little things that make a close group of friends.
At the very least I can say I had some more fun. The party wasn’t over once I got knocked up.
Now I hardly ever go out anymore unless it’s a special occasion even though my mother will freely babysit now that my daughter is out of diapers and mostly looks after herself. At some point leaving the house became a chore. She doesn’t do overnight stays with her father anymore. I don’t know if that has made any difference to my desire to leave the house or not, but I think it must have though I’m not sure why.
My tried and true long time friends have grown with me and catching up online keep us close despite not seeing each other for months because we are all busy taking care of our families. It’s easier to hang out with friends that are also parents. It makes for more things in common and a better understanding of the others needs and limitations.
So there you have it: How I got to party despite being a single mother. Do I miss partying like I was still in college? Sometimes. But not enough to get me off the sofa. Maybe I partied too hard. Maybe I’m just getting old.