Thursday, May 5, 2011

Desperately Seeking Mommy Friends

I always knew my life would change after giving birth to my daughter. I was totally prepared to lose sleep, money and any sense of privacy, but I had no idea that I would lose most of my friends too. Unfortunately, the birth of my baby has also meant the death of my once thriving social life.

As a carefree single girl, my phone rang constantly with invitations to happy hours and bottomless brunches. I was happily unfamiliar with the funniest sketches on Saturday Night Live because I was always out somewhere, well into my second round. But since I’ve joined the mommy club, most of my drunken companions have kicked me to the curb. A couple of my tried and true pals have remained faithful, occasionally passing through my apartment on their way to something more exciting. However, most aren’t interested in talking about dirty diapers or breastfeeding, and they wouldn’t be caught dead walking down the street with a stroller – even if someone else was pushing it.

But rather than dwell on what I’d lost, I decided to find a group of mommy friends to fill the void left by my single gal pals. I thought it would be easy to do in Brooklyn, the place where hip city girls go to die. Mommy and Me everything is abundant in my neighborhood. So I eagerly signed up for yoga classes, hoping to engage in some adult conversation and allow my daughter to spend time with other kids her age.

I was disappointed to find that I didn’t fit in with the stay at home mom crowd any better than I did on the single scene. My daughter was oblivious to how uncomfortable I felt during her play dates, when the conversation turned to summer homes, nanny shares or some other topic that caused me to nod and force a dim-witted smile until someone changed the subject. These moms were housewives by choice, eagerly accepting the responsibility of keeping spotless homes and warm cookies on the table as if it were their birthright. I was awkwardly forced into my role due to downsizing and could barely afford the weekly bus trips to the yoga studio. I needed to find a place where I could talk about my sore nipples or the hair that was suddenly appearing in strange places.

Though I haven’t yet found a group of fabulous new mommy friends, I refuse to give up hope. I keep an eye out at the bookstore, the playground and even the pediatrician’s office for someone who can talk about their favorite Real Housewives cast and the best preschools in the neighborhood. Hopefully we’ll be able to enjoy ourselves on the playground and at $4 margarita night at the local watering hole. Being a mom means learning to be flexible. Besides, Saturday Night Live is really funny!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mom's Musings

We celebrated my daughter’s first birthday this weekend, so I have to take a moment to pat us both on the back for getting through the first year of her life relatively unscathed. It’s hard to believe that the 5 lb., 9 oz. little nugget I was afraid to break now explores every inch of our house without fear, pushing past the baby gates and into forbidden territory whenever she thinks no one is looking. But I’m always looking at her – watching closely as she grows up right before our eyes. Soon, she’ll be telling me she’s at a French Club meeting when she’s really off smoking cigarettes with a boy who dropped out of school to fix cars and/or work on his music career (wait, that was me).

I finally understand why people told me to enjoy every parenting minute - because each day, your kids take a step towards independence. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it can be difficult to deal with someone needing my full attention every minute of the day, but at least I know where she is. Inevitably, my funny faces will not be enough to keep her entertained at the dinner table. I’ll soon be begging her to eat with me without her cell phone.

I know it’s been happening for hundreds of years, but I honestly believe that watching my little girl’s first steps was the most exciting thing I’ve seen in my entire life. But will I still get a kick out of things like watching her sleep after she’s been mouthing off to me?

I’d love to freeze her in time when she’s still small enough to curl up in my lap and read a bedtime story (and use the bathroom on her own, of course!). But I take comfort in the fact that after ruining my high school social life with her rules and curfews, my mother has proven to be a sensible person and one of my best friends.

The road was hard. Along with the challenges I knew I would have to face, like weight gain and lack of sleep, there were a few surprises that I could never have expected (who knew you could get tendonitis in your wrists from poor breastfeeding posture?). But I would definitely do it all over again, and look forward to watching my little nugget become a little lady.