There is one thing that I have gained since becoming a mother that I did not at all anticipate. It is something that most new mothers probably do not have, or if they do then it was already well established. (Or maybe they are just cooler than me?) It is also something that it has always been a struggle for me to maintain/find/enjoy for most of my life.
It is the ever-elusive "social life".
It would seem (or at least I assumed) that once you have a little person dependent on you for food, shelter, and most other things necessary for survival, a social life would go right out the window. Kind of like free time and sleeping in (oh, goodness, how I miss sleeping in...). But in the past few months I have found the opposite to be true.
I attribute this to a number of things. First, and most importantly, I have an amazing and supportive husband. He is so wonderful with our little girl and is willing, even happy, to be home with her in the evenings while I work (and now play some, too!) with hardly a complaint. I am also much more comfortable being away at night now that Laine has a set bedtime routine. Every night by 7:30 I can be fairly certain that she is asleep and will stay that way for approximately 12 hours (am I a lucky woman or what, y'all?). Also, I have entered into situations that are conducive to forming adult friendships, the first being a group of new mothers that meets weekly at Full Bloom, which has become the foundation for Mother's Night Out festivities, weekly playdates, etc. The second is the production of Carousel that I recently auditioned for and was cast in. Being surrounded by such passionate, clever, talented, and fun-loving people has been rejuvenating for me in so many ways and has really filled a hole in my life that I wasn't even really aware existed.
All this is to say that I am happy and fulfilled beyond measure at this time in my life. My daughter is precious and healthy and happy and brings me joy daily (hourly, even). My husband is an anchor and compass for our family and for me, and has proven his love for me by allowing me and encouraging to do things that I may otherwise have let pass by. And my new-found friends and freedom have reminded me how much fun it can be to define myself in terms other than "mother" and "wife" and "teacher". Things like "performer" and "friend" and "adult". And the more complete a person I am, the more ways I find to define myself, the better I become at those first, most important, three.