The Struggle to Find “Girl Time”


Caring for a baby is lonely, and yet incredibly heart-warming at the same time. This is a time in a woman’s life when she needs community, needs friends enduring the same life cycle, needs encouragement and laughter and mutual tears. But, for me, it’s hard to get out of the house to find and engage that community.

It’s desired, very much so, but in my home is my last baby. My last little. My last son. During feedings, this last baby stops and locks his eyes with mine and carries on conversations of “coos” and “ooohs” and “ahhs,” complete with smiles and giggles and spit bubbles. Sometimes he’ll pause from eating just to smile at me for few fleeting seconds.

sleeping-baby-snuggleEarly one morning, this precious last bundle was sleepy-eating, so I roamed through apps on my phone. On Facebook, I saw pictures of friends who had enjoyed a girls’ shopping weekend, and in the various moms’ groups I’m part of, ladies had posted about plans for a girls’ night out, a this-type party, and a that-type party.

My heart broke a little, as it does every time I see these posts, because I am not enjoying the same things. I am not rallying a group of friends to join me outside of my home to take part in needed, and desired, girl time.

On this certain morning, though, I had done all the scrolling my eyes could handle, so I turned back toward my baby. There he was, asleep, snuggled so close, so peaceful, so beautiful. It was a moment of pure grace.

He is my third child, separated in age from his brothers more than my older two are, so I feel I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to really embrace the baby stage – to breathe him in, to marvel at his baby nature, and to find joy in meeting his daily needs. My older boys are – almost – at independent ages, and they often kiss baby brother and scatter to play Legos together or ride bikes or draw and color.

Before our third baby came, I was surprised at the ease we were finding in doing things. We no longer had to pack half the house to take an out of town trip. We could decide to go somewhere for entertainment in a moment’s notice, and it was much easier for my husband or I to go to an activity independently or arrange for a caregiver so we could share in a rare date night.

Now, however, things have changed, and it’s quite a challenge to get anywhere or to entertain the older two, especially without the help of the spouse. And alone time is almost non-existent. Even if I’m invited to do something with a friend, and I long to do just that, it’s a balance struggle between having “me” time and leaving my husband with “all three.” It’s a struggle between having “me” time and losing those moments with our baby.

I often hope that the same moms’ groups will continue to plan events a year from now, and I’ll join in late in the game. And I often hope those friends I love dearly will keep asking for me to tag along to a movie or out to dinner. One day, it will get easier – again – to walk out the door and find some respite in time with other moms.

Until then, I have a beautiful baby boy – and bouncing big brothers – to watch change and grow right before my eyes. I get to see my baby’s eyes sparkle when he sees me walk into the room, and frankly, I get to spend time with him in the quiet stillness that can only be found in the middle of the night in our home.

It can be lonely, and though I recognize the necessity of nurturing friendships, the time spent caring for this baby, for all my babies, is passing quickly. Sometimes I’m too exhausted to see that, but the ages and milestones my children meet readily remind me.

Time just seems to go faster with each passing year.