Breaking news: I got my social life back!
Before the triplets were born Chris and I loved to have people over to our house. I loved to cook meals for my friends and drink nice wine while Ava slept upstairs. It was manageable with one child.
This doesn’t mean it was without its challenges. When Ava was still a baby — perhaps 1 year old — Chris and I hosted a holiday dinner for his work team. I had spent about 8 hours cooking fancy appetizers over a hot stove, as well as as concocting special cocktails. I put baby Ava to bed in her crib and greeted our guests who were beginning to arrive. About a minute later I heard blood curdling screaming from the nursery. Hysteria. I knew that this wasn’t good and here is why: while Ava was generally non-stop and high maintenance from 5:30am until 6:30pm, once she was asleep at 6:30 I could count on her being dead to the world until she woke us up in the 1 or 2 o’clock am hour. So why then had she chosen this evening to wake up and scream bloody murder? I excused myself from the onslaught of guests and the appetizers still cooking in my oven and went upstairs to check on Ava. She was screaming so loudly that I had wished I brought ear plugs with me. She was also flailing herself around on the carpet like a wild beast. I tried to hold her but she was possessed by the devil and I couldn’t keep her in my grasp. She needed an exorcism but I was trying to host a dinner party.
After an hour of this maniacal hysteria she just stopped. I went downstairs with beads of sweat dripping from my stressed brow. I can still picture the looks on my guests’ faces as I entered the kitchen, clearly a new mom who had been defeated. Some of the guests had children. The ones who didn’t have children had looks of pure terror on their faces; this was a real eye opening experience for them. They probably still don’t have children.
Four years ago I welcomed the addition of three beautiful children and said an abrupt goodbye to my social life. We never had people over to our house because we were too tired to deal with company and all of the work that comes with dinner parties. There was also a component of not wanting to be judged by people who would see that we clearly “had our hands full.”
When Chris and I needed a break from kids we would pay a babysitter and go out to dinner. Alone. Most of the time. I felt like friends were put on hold while we tried to keep our head above water raising Ava and triplet toddlers.
On a few occasions we packed up strollers and 10 bags of gear and headed over to a friend or family’s house for dinner. We usually ended up regretting it. Instead of enjoying our friends or family we spent a lot of time accommodating every need of our small children, as we expected we should be doing. We would usually sit secluded on the ground or on chairs in a corner cutting food into bite sized pieces. Meanwhile we would observe our friends from afar who had older children and they were having a relaxing time talking in adult language to each other. We were jealous. It seemed like that scenario would never be possible for us.
And as quickly as our social life disappeared, it returned. With old friends and new friends we began again to find life outside of our family of six, as well as a social life that included our family. We regularly have people over to our house these days, and our kids enjoy it as much as we do. I am not completely overwhelmed by doing dinner, dishes and taking care of small children anymore. We can even bring our kids over to friends’ homes and have dinner.
Four years old is proving to be a huge improvement from its numerical predecessors.
Four years ago if I were wearing four pairs of rose colored glasses I still would not have been able to see our social lives come back.
We are not at a completely low maintenance phase yet. We still have to wipe butts and cut food in to small pieces when we go to friend’s houses for dinner with the kids. Yet, it is a far cry from the witching hour meltdowns of years past.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.