Postcards From Mommywood: Moms Need Playdates, Too!
I love hanging out with my new BFFs – other mothers.
Before I became a mother, I really didn’t know many people in my community except to say ‘hello’ or nod in recognition as I went about my errands. In the suburban communities I’ve lived in since moving out of Manhattan, it’s always seemed to me that you were pretty much invisible if you were childless. My work as a freelance writer whose office is in my home is a pretty solitary business. Most of my good friends and business acquaintances live in New York City, where I do the lion’s share of my socializing when I get the chance to get out and see people.
That’s why my world was thrown for a loop four years ago: I made the decision to dramatically dial back my career when we first came home from China with Madeline. And I quickly learned that being with a 9-month-old by myself every day, in a town where I had almost no local friends, was pretty isolating.
So when Madeline was still a baby, I tried the ‘Mommy & Me’ music classes and gym classes, and while I met some nice women, nothing other than pleasant conversation during these outings ever came of it. I admit, looking back, in the early days I was pretty focused on my daughter and there was little time or thought given to much else.
I noticed things began to change when my daughter went to preschool. I was seeing the same group of women every day during pickup and dropoff. For many of us this was our first experience with separating from our children, so that made for fast friendships. But I still rarely socialized with anyone new because there just never seemed to be any time to do it.
I should add that at this time I had begun to attempt, naively, to go back to working at the same level of intensity that I’d done pre-motherhood. I was failing miserably, in my eyes at least, at the work-motherhood juggling act. My misadventures with ‘nannies’ (you’ll be hearing much more about that in future posts) was doing more than enough to prevent me from gaining any real momentum with work and left me frustrated and exhausted. On the rare occasion something great did come my way and I had cobbled together some semblance of child care for the moment, my pangs of guilt and longing to be with Madeline would pretty much make the job a less than satisfying experience.