I’m new to Baton Rouge, and my youngest daughter is new to…well, the world (almost 5 months old). So, I guess you could say we’ve been going through our fair share of transitions.
When we moved, I was about 4 months pregnant, and my little girl was almost 2. We knew no one.
It’s probably important to add I don’t “glow” during pregnancy. No, I just barf. I barf, and I cry. I’m not one of those lovely ladies who looks like a regular yoga instructor with a basketball in her shirt when pregnant. Instead, my back looks pregnant…my arms…my ears. You get the idea.
My pregnant arms and I were faced with a tough challenge upon moving. I felt extreme pressure to:
- Entertain sweet, high-maintenance toddler
- Socialize said toddler (who is also very sensitive and, at the time, scared of most humans)
- Get to know the city
- Find a church
- Make the house feel like a home (with an unfortunate budget)
- Offer dinner option other than frozen pizza at least twice a week
- Keep husband from leaving me or admitting me to a psychiatric hospital
- Make mom friends
It was a lot. It is a lot. 9 months later, and I’m still working on the same list.
When I was pregnant, we did ALL the toddler things. We did the Gymboree classes, regularly visited Lil Bambinos, Operation Imagination, the art and science museum, the children’s museum, the mall, the zoo, the parks, etc. You Google “toddler entertainment in Baton Rouge,” and I’ve been there.
Local mom groups on Facebook? I’m a member.
Peanut app for meeting other local moms? Downloaded it. Yes, I downloaded an app that operates just like a dating app, but it focuses on moms desperate to connect with other moms. Get your mind out of the gutter, friend. The only dirty talk new moms are doing is the literal kind about blowouts and episiotomies.
It actually shows users other profiles in their neighborhood with similar-aged children and creates matches based on shared interests. You can chat and arrange meet-ups. It sounds like the miracle worker we’ve all been waiting for, yet it still leaves me feeling a little uneasy.
Recently, I’ve started to wonder why making mom friends is such a common struggle. I know I’m not the only one having a hard time. So, what’s the deal? Here’s what I’m thinking…
We want mom friends, but we need to have more in common than offspring.
It’s not just about having kids. We sacrifice so much for our babies…sleep, regular showers, boobs and several other body parts. The opportunity to have a real conversation we deem interesting — about something other than motherhood — shouldn’t be something we lose.
Sure, there may be 10 other moms in my toddler’s gymnastics class, but the fact that we both signed our child up for the same time-killing, energy-sucking activity doesn’t mean we’re going to be best friends. I’m still working on the whole “self-care” thing, but I know that allowing myself to be picky when it comes to who I let into my inner circle isn’t a crime. It’s healthy to connect with others, to vent and socialize. Yes, but it’s also okay that it takes time.
Well, I am. Hey, I’m confident that I have a couple of really cute kids. But I’m not necessarily proud of the way I parent 24/7.
For example, you’re making homemade bread and teaching your toddler Spanish today in your Instagram stories. I’m reheating chicken nuggets and yelling “GO PLAAAAAY” with spit up running down my leg. You’re sharing a picture of the roses your husband sent you, conveniently sitting beside the charcuterie board you’re going to devour together before slipping into something more comfortable. I bought my husband a pack of Oreos and some deodorant for Valentine’s Day and was in bed by 9:30.
Social media may help connect us, but it’s also a constant reminder that we could have done X, Y, or Z better. Insecurity doesn’t help when it comes to making new friends!
I love the idea of meeting girlfriends for a margarita. I love the idea of dinner with friends. I love these plans *especially* when I wake up in the morning, sipping on my coffee, ready to conquer a new day.
At the end of the day? I’d rather…not. I’d rather pour a glass of wine, sit on the couch, pour another glass of wine, and get in bed.
Unfortunately, I often handle adult social outings the same way I handle exercise lately. I make HUGE plans in my head, but I often find an excuse to skip it “this time.”
Just like exercise, when I DO make myself step out of my comfort zone, I almost never regret it. I’m always glad I did it, but it sure takes a lot of effort getting there!
So, I’m clearly to blame for a little bit of the struggle. I admit it. I make it harder than it probably has to be.
Still…a good mom friend is hard to find.