I met a really nice mom at the museum a few weeks ago.
My 2-year-old was playing in a photo booth on the dinosaur floor, trying to cajole me into letting him take one more $5 picture. (We’d already taken two.) And her son, who was just two months younger, joined him in the booth. Suddenly, they were pushing the lit-up, oversized buttons and trying to swipe their museum tickets in the credit-card slot.
We started talking about our boys and about how we hadn’t been to the museum since it had gotten above the freezing level in New York City. The winter had been brutal, and we had both basically camped out there because it was warm and because we felt justified in going again and again because it was educational. (Perfect mom reasoning, in our books.) We had been traumatized by the winter, but it was raining today, so here we were.
She was so nice. So normal.
I thought that we could be friends, so I started thinking about how I would maybe ask if she wanted to get together for a play date with the boys. How should I ask? When should I ask? I didn’t want to come across as weird or too forward. I had to find the right time. Maybe in a few minutes as we eventually wrenched our boys away from the photo booth and rounded the corner into the pterosaur section.
Good God, this was just as bad as asking someone out on a date.
But things didn’t go as planned…because we have 2-year-olds. Big shocker. Her son made a break for it, and we said a hurried goodbye, great talking to you, I’m sure I’ll see you again in a few minutes. Unfortunately, we never did.
It’s tough to find good friends, let alone good mom friends who have a kid who’s your kid’s age. I know that we’ve all been there: Sometimes someone is perfectly nice, but for whatever reason, you’re just not clicking and there isn’t that added sparkle. Sometimes you have vastly different personalities and interests. Sometimes people are a-holes. (And you know how much I love those people.)
I think I’m extra sensitive about this right now because two of my very best mommy friends—two of the reasons I was inspired to create Momsanity—are moving out of the city and into the ’burbs at the end of the month. The third is staying in the city…which is keeping my impending nervous breakdown at bay for the moment.
I know we’ll always be good friends, and I know we’ll see one another and make it a priority. But it’s different when your mom friends are right there. In a few short weeks, gone will be the days of texting them to ask: “What are you doing in 30 minutes? Want to meet at the park with the kids?”
And that makes me sad. Really sad. Because our kids are closer than close, and so are we. While the kids are playing, we talk about everything that matters and everything else in that in-the-trenches, conspiratorial sort of way because we’re all going through the same insanity—the same momsanity—at the same time.
The good news is that I have made some wonderful new mommy friends recently—moms I’ve met at my son’s preschool and various kiddie classes. Some of us are still in the new-friends stage, some of us are a little further along, but it all seems to be going well so far. The casual dating seems to be moving into a more serious relationship, if we’re sticking with that weird metaphor. Regardless, I am lucky, and I know it.
But next time I meet a cool fellow mom, I am going to do my best to not be as shy about seeing if we can build a friendship. Because as moms, we’re all in the same boat, we all feel weird about extending that olive branch of friendship for fear that we’ll be rejected, and as we all know, everyone could use a little mommy support and friendship. Well, everyone normal, anyway.
So, to that mom whose missed connection means that we may have lost out on becoming fast friends and making all sorts of wonderful memories together: I really hope that I run into you again someday!