Oh how naive I was! I didn't realize the complexity of Mom friends and why it's so hard to find good ones.
|Remember when all it took to bond you as friends was having the same toothbrush?|
I discovered soon after having Madelyn that all your friendships change when you have kids. It was bad enough when we got married and it become difficult and sometimes awkward (though not totally impossible) to maneuver get-togethers with our single friends. Adding kids is a whole new dimension.
See, if you have friends who are still single, many of them feel so far removed from your world as a married parent. If you're a stay at home mom (and in Canada with our 1 year mat-leave most moms are for at least the first year) then you have even less in common with their single, spur of the moment, travel the world, stay up late kind of life-style. Most of my single friends, if they didn't at least get married within a few months of me having kids, kind of disappeared from my life (save for a few, God bless you!).
Then you have your married with no kids couples. They either want kids or don't. If they don't want kids, they often don't want to hang out with yours. You notice that the invites to come to their house or hang out pretty much stop the moment you push out your kid. If the couple does want kids but has yet to have any, then you deal with the complexities of trying to mesh their still pretty spur of the moment life with your book-the-baby-sitter-two-weeks-in-advance or plan-to-be-home-by-7:30-so-the-kids-can-get-to-bed life. They stay up until 11:00 pm every night whereas you go to bed at 9:00pm on a late night. There's also that whole, you're a stay-at-home mom and they work all day thing, so they're kind of hard to get together with except in the evenings and on the weekends when your schedule is already packed.
But surely those friends that you were best friends with in college, who got married the same summer as you, and who had kids at the same time will be a perfect fit for being mom friends, right? Well, maybe. If you're lucky.
I noticed a new layer of complexity for friendships when I had kids. There are a few more boxes to tick off when choosing friends. Besides finding someone you're comfortable with, have similar interests and sense of humor and whose life-style rhythm runs similar to your own and whom you actually like, you also have to find the same for your kids (and your spouse if you're trying to find someone with whom the whole family can hang out with!).
My girls will still play with little boys no problem, but in a few years when boys have cooties, they're not going to be so interested in those play dates. Which means I will see those moms less. Why do so many of my good mom friends have boys??
You also have to consider the parenting values of certain families. I have gotten together with some friends (even ones that I was so tight with in the past) and was squeamish the whole time because of the things they let their kids do or say. We're pretty strict with what is acceptable for our girls. We have high expectations for their behaviour and I don't like when someone's (dare I say) bratty kid teaches my girls a word, an attitude or behaviour I'd rather they not pick up (I realize they're going to be exposed to these things, but if I don't want them emulating these attributes, I'm going to have to limit their exposure). It's also no fun to play with a kid whose parents spend the whole time correcting their behaviour out in public because they haven't learned the rules at home (that's a whole rant for another day). Who wants to play with a kid who spends the whole time in time-out? I've found the friendships with these families quickly disintegrate.
So what are you left with? You have to find a family with kids in similar ages, stages and genders as your own, who have a similar parenting style and values, with whom you have at least SOMETHING in common with, and whose life schedule is similar to your own so you can actually find time to get together. Oh, and it helps if they live in the same city. Preferably on the same side of the city.
I'm also not clueless to the fact that these other moms have to like me back. I'm quirky and opinionated. Not everyone can handle a regular dose of that.
Sadly for me, the moms that fit these categories for me live in other provinces, cities or a 30-40 minute drive away. Not a single one lives down the street (I don't live in a "young" neighborhood so that doesn't help.) Sigh. That's why I have very few mom friends. And now I totally get what those moms were talking about when they said being a mom is one of the loneliest professions.
I don't mean to leave this as a downer of a post. But I have a feeling a few can relate. Did you have this struggle? Any good solutions?
(Remember, I was home schooled. I'm totally awkward in social situations. *wink*)
ps- I think I just admitted to the entire internet world that I have no friends. I'm so lame.