You’ve hit on one of those little-discussed secrets: Having a baby can be a bummer. You're in love with your new child and cherish the time you spend together. But, you still want time to party with your friends, spend the night (and next morning) in bed with your partner, hit the gym, read a good book, and everything else you used to enjoy. And, every waking second is currently occupied feeding, diapering and soothing baby. Sound about right? Here's how to start feeling better.
First, try to schedule fun activities you can do with baby. Sign up for some baby classes where you can bond with other new moms. You may be surprised to find that socializing is still fun without the Chardonnay. On the weekends, strap him or her in the baby carrier and go hiking, check out some art galleries or hit the shops. Now that baby's getting older, you’re moving away from that eat/change/nap rut. As long as you keep moving and give him or her new environments to check out, baby should be pretty content to travel.
Second, get back to having fun without baby. Schedule regular (or at least semi-semi-regular) date nights. If you’re not able to trust a babysitter just yet, leave the little one with a relative or a good friend, or maybe other new parents who you can barter babysitting duties with. (How about those ones you met in your baby classes?) If even that's too much right now, at least leave baby with your partner and head out for dinner and drinks with friends every now and then.
Tip: If you’re breastfeeding, teach baby to take a bottle as soon as you can, and give one somewhat regularly to keep baby accustomed to it. (Baby can start on a bottle as early as two weeks, as long as he or she's gotten the hang of latching onto your breast.) You’ll feel less constrained once you know baby won’t starve if you take your boobs away for a few hours.
Finally, keep in mind that it will get easier. Yes, your years of partying all night and sleeping all day are probably over. (Realistically, it's probably time.) But with every month that passes, motherhood will get more manageable, and you’ll find ways to work that pre-parenthood fun back into your routine... And just maybe find some new kinds of fun, too.