What were we thinking! promote confidence and reduce distress in parents with a first baby

Getting to know you. Or not.

By Alex

Getting to know you. Or not.

Who am I? I really can’t tell anymore. I used to be able to talk to anyone, about anything.  But now, it’s like I’ve had a lobotomy.  The part of my brain that had the social graces to be interested in the lives of strangers has been removed and replaced with, well nothing. 

A situation arose recently where I had a few hours to spend at a party.  Everyone was going to be there, all of my nearest and dearest friends, and I couldn’t wait to see them all.  The problem I found was that I was being introduced to new people, or being held up by distant acquaintances.  I don’t have time for new people and stories of their newly planted herb garden!  I have to see MY people, catch up on their lives, tell them about mine and discuss the progress of both of our newly planted herb gardens. 

I don’t think I’ve become rude, I have just improved my ability to excuse myself from situations to go and find my best friends to share my time off with.  They should offer workshops to new parents who want to improve their polite excuse repertoire.  When you are so time poor that you might be lucky enough to go out once every other month, you realise you want to make affective use of your party time.  It’s like a SWAT team operation, get in, say hello, try and have a real conversation with friends, get out before you turn into a pumpkin. 

I apologise to the new people who will never meet me and wish them the best of luck with their future endeavours and herb gardens.  

Expert response from What Were We Thinking! expert, Ann O'Doherty

Thanks for your post Alex. I think you have expressed what a lot of parents feel about limited adult time, especially in the first months of having a baby in your life.  

We have only got a certain amount of space in our short term memory. After a baby that space is filled with information we need to know and things we have to do to keep things running. Everything else gets bumped to the archives. It’s not that we can’t access it but it takes longer and we don’t have that immediate access or recall.

It sounds like you are just prioritising according to your needs and that of your particular herb garden.

We share experiences and have interests in common with our friends. Catching up really helps recharge our batteries and makes us feel happy and strong and supportive relationships are so important. 

When adult friends are available, happy to listen and share advice and talk things over it can be particularly helpful, especially if you share things in common. Having people around you that you can call, especially if the going gets tough, can make a huge difference in your life.

Having a baby will open up new opportunities for you with a whole new group of friends. How about your ‘new parents’ group, run through your local Maternal and Child Health Nurse or community playgroups? If you are a new parent these groups offer connections with other parents with babies of a similar age and opportunities to share experiences and normalize baby behaviour and development and can be a wonderful opportunity for support and friendships.

The Australian Parenting website called the Raising Children Network is an excellent place to access information on all things parenting. The website is easy to navigate and even has baby karaoke on it!

Posted in:  A new reality  Your needs