Friends and children
In her poll this morning, sparklielizard
asked if having children fundamentally changes who you are. On the Guardian talkboards, there was heated debate about whether you lose your friends as they have children. The parents in the poll mostly thought that they were still fundamentally the same, with the non-parents thinking that having children changed people's core identity. It got me thinking about people's perceptions of me, and how I relate to my friends.
I haven't seen as much of my friends as I used to, and that's one of the things that I miss most about life before Kit. But the main reason I have for not socialising much isn't that I have changed, but that the socialising pattern of a lot of people I know is one that I just can't fit into my life at the moment. The people who I used to meet at parties and in the pub are the people who I haven't seen for months. People who are happy to do daytime socialising with a baby tagging along are the ones I keep in closest contact with, and in some cases I've actually grown a lot closer to.
One of the side effects of finding it ard to go out and meet up with my pre-baby friends is that I've started hanging along alot more with other parents,and this is starting to change my idenity a little bit. I used to spend a lot of time going out with goths, which meant that I ended up with a goth-friendly wardrobe, which I guess did affect the way that people saw me. Now that most of my social life involves meeting parents of small babies, I've started dressing like a mummy, and even bought a pastel pink cardigan. It's a gorgeous cashmere cardigan, which makes me feel a bit like Nigella Lawson, but it's definitely a mummy cardigan. It was available in black, and I still chose the pale pink. So a lot of the time I look like a respectable mummy, and go to parent and baby groups where people know my views on baby-related issues, but would probably be fairly surprised by lots of non-parenting areas of my life, like the witchcraft.
I really enjoyed going to ayrton_nix
's house last weekend, not only for the lovely food and fabulous company, but also because I'd had a fairly intensely baby-filled month, and it was lovely to be able to have conversations that weren't about babies but where I didn't feel that I had to not mention the baby, and where everyone spent a bit of time saying hello to Kit before getting on with adult stuff. It sometimes feels as though the world is divided into people who have children and people who don't want kids around, so it's wonderful to have a happy medium social event where I can be properly me, ie a person with a mind of my own who is very focused on looking after a baby.