I was having one of those mother-daughter conversations where I think out loud about my life and she offers sage advice. But this time, for some reason, the support wasn't feeling supportive.
"I wish I could help," my mother kept saying. "What would help?"
My mind was blank, as is often the case when someone asks what would help. When the answer occurred to me in a moment of cartoon-lightbulb insight, I felt suddenly apologetic. "Well...I wish I had a friend."
I feel like such an asshole saying I don't have any friends, because it's not true. I have a generous handful of lovely friends. They're fantastic people...who live very far away and don't have babies. Which is not to say they can't be supportive. But I guess much as I'm embarrassed to admit it, I really want a "mom friend."
I keep having these fantasies about meeting another late-twenties mother of a late-twos kid for (gluten-free, vegan) lunch. We compare notes on potty-training and thrift-store fashion while our pre-preschoolers play with Brio and manage not to throw trains at each other. We go on "dates" to used book stores and together develop a really badass recipe for raw vegan cheesecake.
Of course I know that my perfect "match" will probably always remain a fantasy. But when I scan the parks and play spaces for potential pals, I start feeling like an old maid in the world of mom friendships. If I were going to find someone, I reason, I would've found her by now.
For some reason, I find making friends all but impossible. I had to move 3,000 miles away from home - alone - and live in the high-stress fishbowl of college housing in order to make friends. (Shared coping is the friendship equivalent of an aphrodisiac.) Furthermore, the phenomenon I observed over a year ago - Seattle-area moms travel in tightly-knit sororities - is still going strong. And I'm the single girl wondering why all the good ones are taken.
On a recent gloomy day, I took Westley to an indoor play area to burn off some energy. I ushered him into the little toy "corral" and found myself an empty chair. Just as I was about to take a seat, a woman blocked me.
"I'm actually meeting a friend...if it's not a problem..." She indicated the chair, as though I was crazy for not having read the invisible RESERVED sign.
"Oh, sure," I said, hauling my bag of kid-crap to the other side of the play space, chip firmly on shoulder. Thinking, Actually, it's a huge problem.
* * *
Do you have "mom (or dad) friends"? How did you meet them? Are they your platonic soul mates or just people you put up with so that you don't have to go on this parenthood journey alone, all alone? Is it just me? (I'm unfriendable, aren't I?) I am this close to putting an ad on Craigslist, even though it seems intensely creepy. Are there online not-exactly-dating services for stay-at-home parents?