Before I got pregnant, an aspiring film-maker friend of mine (don’t we all have one of those?) told me she wanted to make a documentary about "mommy-dating.”
”About what?” I said.
”Mommy dating,” she said.
Yeah. I had no clue. But it’s a real phenomenon. How many blog posts have been dedicated to this topic? Unless you are a part of a very select group that happens to be on the same trajectory and everyone pops out their babies within six months of each other, you are likely to find yourself with a major friend overhaul happening once you come up for air after the 4th trimester.
In LA I belonged to a really nice group of women connected with the birth center. We met weekly for a “Mommy Group” and I always felt supported, comforted, and included. I never felt awkward, left out or not good enough. Except of course, when the topics turned to the crunchier side regarding things such as vaccines, amber necklaces or placenta encapsulation (thanks Lorna for pointing this out!). But, in conjunction with this group and the few friends I had that were also having kids, I had a pretty good social group/support network.
Now that we’ve moved, I’ve joined Meetup. Apparently Meetup is a mecca for new moms looking to find their other mommy-half. You can find a Meetup group for anything. And they get quite specific. Mommies in North County San Diego. Mommies in Coastal North County San Diego. Mommies in Coastal North County San Diego whose Babies Were Born in Late 2013. Mommies in North County San Diego who Want Their Babies to Learn Spanish. Mommies Who Like Eating Italian Food and Drinking Wine and Have Babies Learning to Crawl. Seriously. All real groups I’ve joined. Well, ok, except the last one. But I’m sure people would join that.
So, today I went to a Meet and Greet for one of those groups. It was supposed to be a “good first meeting” where you could “meet other mommies” (are you sick of the word mommies too?) and “introduce yourself and your baby.” Now, I’m not really that good at these types of situations. I mean, I am good at making conversation and I’m pretty extroverted, but I hate those awkward First Meetings where you have to make polite chitchat. I’m not good at “polite chitchat.” I’d prefer to skip that and get to interesting subjects like – “So does anyone really enjoy postpartum sex??”
I got ready for my mommy date in the typical way. I brushed my hair I didn’t have time to wash today and tried to make it look cute-ish with some sad little bobby pins. I put on make up (!!). I got dressed in my new LuluLemon clothes that are way too expensive for someone who doesn’t exercise but still the perfect SAHM clothes. And I went.
Instantly I felt out of place. I had the wrong blanket (too small). My baby was the wrong age (too young). And I was “too hippy” (Ring Sling instead of Stroller, breastfeeding instead of bottle). Also, everyone seemed to know each other. So there I was, instantly transported back to high school. The odd girl out, feeling awkward. But I decided I was going to make this work. I am interesting and fun. And…if that’s not true, at least I have an adorable baby who instantly impressed everyone with his “sitting-up-at-5-months” skills.
But my adorable baby is teething. And not-crawling. And really pissed at his not-crawling-state. Especially when surrounded by crawling and walking babies. Also, I began to feel very “not fun and not interesting” as I realized how pretty and together these other women are. I mean, I’m not sure what the difference is. It seemed half of them were also wearing the privileged, SAHM uniform of LuluLemon head to toe. But, they didn’t seem to struggle with clothes clinging weirdly to love handles, or fear that their butt looks too big, or wondering if they shaved their legs today because the cute yoga pants also happen to be cropped pants. I mean, don’t get me wrong, these women were all complaining about “not having time to do their hair or makeup anymore” whilst I looked at their pedicured toe nails. One mom even said she “never washes her hair anymore” while I looked longingly at her cute messy curls.
And so I sat with my fussy baby, trying to act like I fit in, trying to smile, and hoping that I would meet A Friend and wondering why this is so hard?
The truth is, my view of today is filtered through a sleep-deprived state and directly related to the fussiness of my teething baby. On a better day, I may have noticed that the moms were being nice and trying to include me in conversation, even though their babies were at totally different stages. Or I may have not fixated on the 120-lb blonde girls with cute clothes and noticed the normal looking, slightly overweight moms. Or maybe I would have gotten past myself enough to actually make some friends.
But, I didn’t. I gave in to Owen’s fussiness and left early.
I know I’ll go back. Some of them were really nice. And this was only one outing. I’ve gone to others where I’ve met friends and crossed the line to the “Exchange Numbers” stage and the “Individual Playdate” stage. So really, it’s not that bad. Everything is fine. I suppose this is just a post to all of us to say – Hey, I get it. It’s hard being a woman no matter how old you are.