As I’ve mentioned, I have two babies – a 22 month old and a 9 month old. I also still work part-time in Marketing. As many moms can attest, the part-time work situation is usually satisfactory since it allows for the majority of your time to be with your family, but also provides the ability to flex some of those cranial muscles that start to slacken after 4 days of conversing with small humans whose favorite words are ‘fart’ and ‘Elmo.’ Oh, I’m talking about the kids, not G…And, bottom line, it brings in some cash to pay for the extras, like clothes and that obviously-early-admission-to-Harvard college fund.
But there is a problem to part-time careers as a full-time mom (beyond the 1am packing of babysitter bags and arriving to work with Cheerios stuck to your arse). It’s that feeling of hovering betwixt two worlds, having one foot on the shore while the other is still on the boat. I might be a resident of Momville, but I constantly feel like INS is going to revoke my papers. During the infant stage, I neglected bonding with other mothers and forging friendships for my kids because it wasn’t necessary; They were happy to watch me make Jim Carrey faces all day long. As D got older, I put him in one of those Little Gym classes where they make you feel like you’re molding Olympic gymnasts every time they do a somersault. But I never met any kindred mom souls – it’s hard to connect to other moms in 45 minutes when your son spends the first half wailing like you’ve shipped him off to ‘Nam and the second half saying, “Mama, bagels?” So, like my son, my interest in carbohydrates outweighed my desire to find future play dates.
Seemed harmless at the time, but now I’m seeing that D seems reluctant to play with other kids at that popularity contest parading as a table train set at Barnes & Noble. Thus, I have been complaining to G about finding other women with children for weeks. It’s been met with the kind of enthusiasm and support one would expect from a piece of dryer lint.
G: “He has a sister. That’s the point of siblings. They play with each other.”
E: “His sister is 9 months old and barely mobile. The only thing they have in common is a fondness for applesauce. And there’s only so much of that they can eat in a day.”
G grew up in a family of 7 children so the idea of ‘organized play’ or activities that you ‘pay for’ makes him look at me as if I’m from some yet-to-be discovered planet in the universe. Needless to say, Little Gym, swim classes, Mommy & Me, music classes, ballet, and Baby Yoga weren’t on the agenda. And for the record, I get that! Kids are over-scheduled these days, but when one can only come up with a single invitation to another toddler for a birthday party, it’s time to branch out.
So I joined Meetup.com in hopes of finding the perfect posse of O.G.’s to roll with my peeps. It was exhilarating to receive invitations to play groups within moments, like being picked Class President without having to campaign! But then I paid closer attention to the fine print about age restrictions on siblings and the fact that 90% of them were slated for the days I work. Sharing this frustration with G proved fruitless as he immediately began questioning why I can’t just meet other moms organically at the playground – oh, right, why didn’t I think of that??? I don’t really expect G, or any man for that matter, to understand the considerations behind forming friendships with other moms. It’s a little more complex than both being ‘skins’ on the b-ball court and agreeing that Derek Jeter has bigger cohones than A-Rod.
After reading aloud one invite to a play group, which admittedly sounded like I was being sold Amway products, G stopped me halfway through and said, “This is stupid. You need to just put up a poster at the Little Gym.”
I can’t even describe the look that I gave him. I, myself, don’t even know the portrait of this look as there was no mirror. I can only say with certainty that my face actually hurt and I considered voluntarily blacking out. And now I will forever think that my husband believes I should solve any problem by posting my name, address, and phone number on a public POSTER. How ’bout a headshot? And my cup size?
I’m pretty sure there’s a place for declaring your freaky pleas to find others. It’s called Craig’s List. Not The Little Gym.
[Note to self: add new category...'advice'.]