Before I had children, I had this image in my head of a group of mommy friends. We would get together on weekend afternoons in each other’s backyards or playrooms, and we would talk and laugh as our children played nearby.
I imagined that I would have children around the same time as most of my current friends, and we’d share life as parents together. I also imagined that I would make new friends at the playground, through my child’s day care or nursery school, and at community events.
In reality, I had my daughter much later than most of my friends. While most of us got married around the same time, many of my friends had their children soon after they got married. Even the ones who waited, or who struggled briefly with infertility, had children within a few years. On the other hand, my husband and I did not have a take-home baby until two years ago.
I’m still in contact with most of those older friends—and I truly believe that they love spending time with my daughter, and their children enjoy playing with her. But I really can’t commiserate with them about parenting a toddler, because they are long past the days of sippy cups, toilet training and 2-year-old tantrums.
As for new friends, well that has proven much more difficult than I thought it would be.
I confess that a lot of that is probably on me. I work full-time and my daughter goes to daycare at the JCC where I work. She’s made many friends. I, however have not. Most days I drop her off and run to my office. If I see other parents, it’s a quick hello or a smile, there’s no time for long conversations over a cup of coffee and a bagel. We haven’t really had to time to go to a “mommy and me” class at our local kid’s gym or story time at the library. I’ve tried striking up conversations with parents of toddlers at the playground by my house, but just haven’t made a connection with anyone yet.
I don’t remember making new friends being this hard. I was never the most popular person in school, but I always had a group of close friends. We moved to a new neighborhood when I was 13, and even at a time in life that can be fraught with cattiness and bullying, I was able to bond with new pals. I made new friends in college, and even when I started working.
So, I’m not quite sure why it hasn’t been easy this time around. I hope that as my daughter grows a little bit older, and starts taking place in more activities outside of day care, that I will have an opportunity to meet my mommy friends.
For now, I just hope the friends I’ve had for life don’t roll their eyes when they have to listen to one more story about my toddler.