Over the weekend Matt and I went to St. Louis to visit close friends who just had their first baby. A baby who, and I might be biased, could perhaps be one of the cutest in the world. (Once upon a time someone told me that I couldn’t be a baby person because, and I quote, “you don’t like dogs.” Um, what?? They are actually different species of being, FYI.)
So anyway, I was telling this mom-friend of mine that I’m intrigued by what happens to friend-making when you have kids, because I’ve gotten mixed reports. I’ve heard from a number of readers that as soon as you have kids, the friendship floodgates open. Suddenly there are other moms, with similarly aged kids, just waiting to hang out. You can set up playdates and watch your kids fight over who gets to bite the eyeball off the Elmo doll while you catch up over coffee.
Then there are the moms who, when I’ve complained about how hard it is to find a gal to talk Desperate Housewives with (because apparently I’m the only one still watching it), will say, “Believe me, it only gets worse when you have kids.” These moms tell me that when life becomes a blur of children, work, spouse, errands, and—if you are so lucky—sleep, friend-making is the first to go. These women also admit that there seems to be a mommy clique to which they haven’t been given the golden key.
The conclusion I’ve come to, and this is based on purely anecdotal, self-reported evidence, is that the difference comes down to working in the home versus out of the home. The mothers who have made new friends are largely stay-at-home moms. They take their kids to music class, then swim class, then gymboree. It’s at these classes where they meet other mothers with whom they subsequently form playgroups of their own. The other faction—the mothers who say it’s even harder now to make friends–seems to largely work outside the house. They’re away from the kids all day, and when they come home they hang with their brood, have dinner, read a story, go to sleep and repeat it all the next day. With that schedule, it’s harder to meet your new BFF.
I’m not trying to launch a mommy war. I’m not even a mother, so my theory could be totally off-base (and please do tell me below if it is). But this is what I’ve observed, and it definitely makes me wonder what my motherhood experience will be like. If all goes according to plan (ha!), I plan to still work from home when I have kids. So I would be a hybrid: Staying at home, but still tied to a computer for much of the day. I’d have a more flexible schedule than a traditional 9-to-5er, but less time for classes or groups than a traditional stay-at-home mom. It’s curious.
To those of you who are mothers, what say you? Does my theory have any merit? What’s your experience been? And where will I fall, one day?
MWF Seeking BFF is out next week! If you are in the holiday, friendshipy spirit, you can: