When I was pregnant I had visions of our little one growing up with lots of friends, play dates, coffee dates with other moms of littles, the works. My husband and I were the first of our friends to get married and have children so I knew I was going to have to cast a bigger net to make some mama friends.
We took a birthing class with 6 or 7 other couples. But we all live in different places, have busy schedules and nap times to adhere to. We tried to get together a few times after all our babies were born but after a few nonstarters we all just stopped trying.
V started crawling and we started talking about trying to get her to meet other kids. Life got busy again and then she was walking. Now we really wanted to get her involved with other children. We took a music class which was great but limited free interaction and with children of varying ages, on either side of V, we didn’t connect with anyone outside of class.
Here we are at 17 months and she has never had a play date. I’ve never had a mommy date. Sure we’ve visited my niece and nephew, but they’re both at way different stages than V. She occasionally got to spend the day at grandma’s with her cousin who is 6 months older, but that was once or twice a month at most.
Some moms in a Facebook group I’m in decided to form a playgroup. Such a great idea! We “know” each other and are like-minded in our approach to parenting! Except… they’re all SAHMs who want to do things during the weekday.
And I’m at work all day.
I don’t have any ill will toward those moms, or SAHMs in general. It’s just hard. And I find it so odd that in this age of feminism when moms are encouraged to have it all, here is yet another glaring reality that it just isn’t possible.
My husband, bless him, volunteered to take her to play groups and events during the day while he’s home with her. But we’re a one-car family so that limits the offerings a bit. And what mom’s group wants a dad hanging around. You can’t really talk about how different your relationship with your spouse is with kids, a lump you found, or discuss how great looking such and such celebrity is. Beyond that, there’s a bonding quality to motherhood that doesn’t translate across genders. He’s taken her to story time at our local library but that’s about as far as he’s gotten. It’s hard.
I’ve been trying to make friends with other families at the new parish we go to. But we go to the morning Mass and it seems the families all go at 11 a.m. There are usually three or four other families with children under 5 at our Mass, but I’ve only actually spoken to one. Even the nods of solidarity in the narthex while bouncing a crying child never turn into anything more.
A couple of weeks ago a family attended Mass that I actually recognized. I had met the wife during a Familia program a few years ago. I wasn’t yet pregnant with my first then and she had since welcomed two little ones. I told my husband I was going to try to talk with them after Mass. He smiled his sweet smile at me. I even booked it out of Mass after the closing hymn finished so I could grab them before they left.
But alas, they left even faster and all I saw was the back of their feet as the door closed behind them. I looked at my husband, “Now I can’t ask them to be my friend.” His sad smile was so sweet and supportive.
All this is to say – in this world where it seems like being a SAHM is frowned upon, I have found the opposite to be true. Being a working mom makes it impossible to make friends with other families. Maybe this will change as our children get older or as we get settled further into our new parish. But when all you can manage are weekend play dates, the takers seem far and few.
Anyone want to be my mom friend?