When we’re kids, making friends is easy. You’re just friends with the kids geographically closest to you. I’m on the swings. You’re on the swings. We’re friends. As we get older, we become friends with classmates. Then we befriend coworkers. Before we have kids, we meet our friends for a drink after work. Maybe we even do girls’ trips to the beach or Vegas. But now we’re moms, and we need friends who understand that going to Target requires the same amount of packing and planning as our Vegas trip. We need a friend who won’t miss a beat when our kid spews strained peas all over her cardigan. So, where do we find these people?
I tried to bait some normal looking moms on social media, but no bites. Granted, my baiting was basically just letting the world know I have a baby and waiting for the playdate invites to roll in. When the moms didn’t swarm my inbox with invites, I took matters into my own hands and looked for a Mommy & Me class. I landed on yoga because, let’s face it, I could use some deep breathing.
The very first thing I noticed upon arriving to Mommy & Me yoga was that my son, Calvin, is older than all of the other babies because, like I do with pretty much everything, I procrastinated in signing up for classes. The very first thing that the instructor said to me was that I have the shortest yoga mat she’s ever seen. Then I realized that most of the moms seemed to know each other already. It turns out that they did prenatal yoga together while I was watching teen dramas and eating ice cream on the couch. Just as I was totally convinced that I didn’t belong, the first class began. We sang “Wheels on the Bus” and other sweet songs while playing with our babies. Calvin loved it. Then we did the yoga. He did not love that. We breathed and stretched and said “Namaste,” and before I knew it, class was over. This was it: my time to make a friend. I started geographically. The woman next to me had the only baby girl in the class. She was polite but was clearly uninterested in my courting attempts. I awkwardly lingered, waiting to be invited into another conversation. I felt like I was at a crowded bar at happy hour looking for a husband, and just like it was back in those days, no one seemed to notice me. Alas, this was only week one of six. I remained hopeful.
Throughout the next five weeks, there was more of the same: singing, stretching, breathing, and awkward lingering. I carefully observed each mom’s every move to narrow down who was in a walk of life similar to mine and narrow in on whom I should peruse as a mom friend. Women with multiple kids? Too intimidating. While I probably (definitely) should seek advice from the experienced, I find myself more at home amongst the clueless. The moms who live for the yoga and make all of their own organic baby food? Good for them! I aspire to be so centered and healthy, but, let’s face it, I’ve got a diaper bag full of Gerber and pulled my lunch from the freezer. The moms who laughed at Calvin’s crawling away with the instructor’s demo baby? Bingo!
Now it was back to the playground tactics. Proximity was key, but I didn’t know what to do next. Compliment their babies? Ask about their infant carriers? “Hey, Mama! Lookin’ good in that ring sling!” Was I flirting? What was I doing? I had to use some of that deep breathing we learned and try to play it cool. I was sure I was the most awkward person to ever walk into a Mommy & Me. I was sure they were all talking about me as soon as we left each week. I was sure I was going to leave this series with no more friends than I had coming in. But I was (at least partially) wrong.
After our last class, we went out for pizza. (Finally, somewhere I thrived!) Everyone seemed to relax and become “real.” Then, something truly amazing happened. Moms started asking ME to add them on social media. ME! It turns out, I wasn’t the only one friend shopping this whole time, and they liked what they saw in me and Cal.
One Facebook friendship turned into a successful zoo date, and while I don’t know if I met my new “Bestie 4 Lyfe,” I’m thankful to have a friend who “gets it.” More than that, I’m proud of myself. It’s been a LONG time since I had to put myself out there and make a new friend, and doing some Mommy & Me “friend shopping” instilled a new confidence in me. I started the series feeling insecure and left feeling empowered, knowing that, while we all “mom” differently, we’re all just doing our best, and when we see that in each other, we will find unity.
Love, Light, & Lots of Peaceful Babies,