To all my single friends. I’m sorry. It’s not you, it’s me.
I was one of the last of my friends to have a baby. I remember seeing pictures of all the mommy play dates, feeling like I didn’t have the Gold Club Membership Card to get an invite in. I remember thinking, “Just because I don’t have kids doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the park, like their kids or have something to add to mommy chats.” I knew it wasn’t personal but I constantly felt looked at like “she doesn’t understand.” I told myself, “When I have kids, I won’t do that to my single friends, I won’t make them feel unwanted.” And even though those feelings still stand, having my son now, I GET IT. Or some of it maybe…
I’m sure there are snobby mom groups out there but that was never the moms I knew. Along with all the life joys added having a baby, I was excited to now have a new community to be a part of. And just like any first time moms, a Rolodex of new perspectives came spinning in and I GET IT. It’s not my single friends. It’s me. It was the anxiety I got having to inconvenience them… constantly. “His diaper needs changed can we stop here? Oh, hold on a second, he just spit up. Do you mind holding this while I get his bottle out? He only cries for the first couple minutes in the car. He just threw his teether, it’s by your foot. Sorry I’m listening, “don’t do that”, I’m listening, I’m listening…” With my single friends, I felt annoying with the chaos even my one little seems to bring. I felt annoying that I couldn’t give them my undivided attention. And though I know my single friends love me and my son, I feel like I’m probably not the most fun person to be around anymore. There’s something about being with other moms that releases the anxiety of inconveniencing them. Probably because they’re screaming at their kid to stop touching the dog poop while you’re yelling at yours to stop licking the park swing. And somehow between those lines you chat about a book you’re reading, a weird ingrown hair, and your husbands odd cousin twice removed who’s in town visiting.
I love my single friends. I need my single friends to pull me out of my “mom box”. And I hope my distance is never looked at like my life has moved on without them, when really I’m so rooted to them in a different way. Moms flock together (for a number of reasons) because there’s a different level of expectation (if any) of what your day looks like together. They aren’t inconvenienced by the stop and go, by the screaming and teething, by the reality that some days the plans we make, the kids just say NO to. But if you’re a single friend, don’t forget to assure your mom friends that they (and their kids) aren’t a nuisance. If you’re a mama friend, don’t let your single friends feel left in the dust. We can all do this life thing together.