5 ways to have a social life {when you have little kids}

David and I are not naturally social butterflies. I'm a true introvert, and he's an ambivert, which means most of the time we're totally cool with staying at home, turning on Netflix or working on a house project, and just leaving the house when it's absolutely necessary.

But every once in awhile, we venture outside of my our comfort zone and hang out with friends. Most of our friends that are still in Lincoln with us don't have kids, or aren't married yet, so finding the balance between having a somewhat normal bedtime and not being complete hermits has been sort of a learning curve for us (and we're only a year in).

I thought I'd round up some of the things we do to make things easier when we do see other people, in hopes it can help someone else!

1. Free babysitting

As much as we possibly can, we beg for free babysitting from every source available to us. Luckily for us, Kate's the first grandkid/niece on both sides of the family, so we're rarely desperate to find someone besides grandparents or aunts/uncles that isn't practically begging to babysit. My parents live in the same town as us, and David's family is only an hour and a half away, so there's almost always someone available to babysit for us.

It's very awesome, and I know that not everyone is in the same situation. Other places to try and get free babysitting: high school seniors looking for service hours, a really generous older neighbor, sometimes even your local church might offer free babysitting services as part of a community outreach program.

2. Host at your house

Because I'm a stickler for Kate's routine, and she sleeps best at our house, lots of times we end up hosting our friends at our house. This doesn't have to be a big to-do -- you can always order pizza, or grill something outside that's cheap and easy, or even ask people to come over after dinner/bedtime! If we're hanging out with friends during the week, it's most often at our house. It takes a little more effort sometimes to make your house presentable but it's worth the investment for quality friendships.

3. Adjust expectations

One of the biggest adjustments we made as parents in regards to our social life was adjusting our expectations for Kate when we went out to events. When we go over to friends' houses, we bring along the pack n' play, and put her to sleep in a spare bedroom. Or we let her stay up an hour later than normal. I think this is harder for me than David, because he doesn't stress about her sleep like I do. But she's a fantastic baby and hardly fusses at all if we put her to sleep for a couple hours at someone else's house, then drive her home and put her to bed again. (I know, she's awesome.) Not all babies are like this, I know, but it's worth a try a few times, at least! Adjusting our expectations ahead of time about her sleep (or behavior in general, really) is super duper helpful.

4. Daytime activities

As often as possible, we try to go to daytime-ish social events. Nighttime events are just more of a hassle! But daytime events are great. David plays ultimate frisbee with a Catholic group here every so often, and it starts at 6:30 p.m. and is done by 8:00 -- perfect timing! On the weekends we try (not always successfully, but we try) to hang out with friends during the day, and try not to worry about missed naps too much. When Kate was littler, we'd put her to sleep in the carseat at daytime events, or in the Ergo, but now she's happy to be awake for longer and running around freely if we're somewhere else.

5. Be flexible

Our social lives have definitely changed since we had Kate, there's no getting around that. (Heck, we just kind of want to be home more now that we've had her.) But the most important thing about having a social life with kids is the idea of staying flexible. Doing things that might seem out of your comfort zone, or at least trying your hardest to do them sometimes, is the biggest advice we got...and try to follow.

Also don't stress! Eventually everything will be mostly back to normal, and you'll feel a lot more relaxed about things. And your friends will understand! Even if they don't have kids, they'll still understand.

What adjustments have you made to your social life since having kids? What am I missing on this list?
Happy friendship-ing, everyone.

P.S. Linking up with Jenna at Call Her Happy for 5Faves because 5 reasons? 'Twas meant to be.


  1. Such great tips! I've been trying to figure out how to get my social life up and running again with 3 kids and a husband that travels a lot. I love hosting because I love cooking & baking, but hate hosting because it means cleaning like a crazy person. Free babysitting is a life-saver because, seriously, who are these people who can pay $15/hour for a sitter and still have money to go out and do anything besides walk around the block?!?!

  2. Yes #2! I love hosting at our place - that way we don't have to worry about nap schedules or bedtime because we can just put everyone down when people are still here! And honestly, I like the cleaning like a crazy person - it's the only way anything ever gets cleaned!

  3. Great tips! I am so thankful for free babysitting. It's basically how I have kept sane this year! Our one year old is also the first grand baby on both sides of our family. And I totally agree--doing fun things during the day is so much easier. We have been struggling lately with getting our son down for bed so anything that doesn't interfere with that even more is great.


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