It’s always felt a little weird being the first person in my friend group to have a kid.
Now it feels kinda crappy.
I didn’t think I needed “mom friends”. I thought I could just hang out with my same friends, with my kid in tow or not, making it work when I had time.
But more and more I’ve been feeling very isolated in parenthood. There is no one close to me (physically) who has gone through this or is going through this. It doesn’t help that two of my good friends no longer live in Chicago.
It would be a relief to have heart to heart talks about how hard it is to be a parent and commiserate and bitch about this weird new life.
On top of this, my son is desperate for someone else to play with. He calls any new person that interacts with him “friend” and yells it at them enthusiastically. I know he doesn’t totally understand the concept of friendship, but it’s clear to me that he likes to engage with other people. I feel like I’m failing him by not having relationships with other parents.
I’ve made some effort, contacting a family I used to work as a nanny for, whose son is a year and one day older than mine, also an only child. I suggested they could even drop him off for a couple of hours to play so they could go do something like run an errand or go to the movies.
They haven’t taken me up on it.
I sent an email to an acquaintance-friend asking if she knew of any mom meet-ups and added a lame P.S. that I would love for us to get together with our kids, really meaning it, but also not wanting to put any pressure on her.
Perhaps something will come of the meet-up she kindly helped organize.
Another friend has connected me to her mom friend and I should totally email this woman, but I feel immobilized by some imaginary barrier. It’s like asking someone on a blind date knowing just because you’re both single and looking doesn’t mean this is going to work out.
I took my kid to that Japanese class and should probably keep going if I want to make connections there, but feel overwhelmed by the chaos, crowd and requirement to basically corral my kid instead of chat with other moms.
I take him to an open gym through the park district and try to be friendly to women there when I see an opening. But there’s a big leap from polite chit chat to exchanging information. Again, I don’t want to come off as some weirdo who goes to these things to pick up women. Literally.
I’m even having trouble making concrete plans with a mom I met through work who lives three blocks away because our schedules just haven’t worked out. The truth is, people are busy and kids’ schedules aren’t the easiest thing to work around. Not to mention figuring out where to meet, like whose house (please not mine because it’s messy and small and there’s nowhere comfortable to sit) or if you can find somewhere nearby that is child-friendly which means more than just having high chairs and cups with lids and straws.
I won’t assume that having siblings with kids makes things better, though maybe it would be nice to have young nephews and nieces as built-in friends.
The other day, I drove past a park and saw a group of parents and their kids picnicking and felt super jealous of the five second glimpse into their dynamic.
How do I get initiated into a rad group of women with children? Can’t I just have a standing date with a cool mom and her cool kid? Can someone create a “dating” app for lonely moms?
In general, I’ve never had trouble making friends or connections. But in this situation, I’m not sure how any of this works. For some reason it feels so much harder than being the new kid at school, which I was more than once.
And even worse when my kid is missing out on something too.