Before I had Margaret, I knew I was going back to work full time. I felt like I wouldn’t be a good candidate for being a stay-at-home mom. I’m impatient and like things to run on schedule. I don’t do well with clutter or bodily fluids. Writing this, I’m not even sure why I thought it would be a good idea to have children. Too late for second guessing now!
When Margaret arrived, my world shifted. I wanted to spend all my time with her demanding, crying, shit spewing, time sucking self. Yet when she was 14 weeks, Henning and I dropped her off at her first day of “school,” and I cried the entire drive back to my work-from-home office. For over 2 years, Margaret went to school full time and I worked full time. When I was breast feeding it was hard to be away from her all day, being hooked up to a pump like a dairy cow. I was afraid I would miss milestones. There were times when I felt like I didn’t matter to her as much as her teachers did. However, when I would see how much she was learning, I knew I was making the right choice. If her development were left up to me, I’m not sure Margaret would be able to string two words together right now.
Then something changed again. I felt overwhelmed by work. It was eating into time with family. I started to resent its time-sucking power, when my biological time sucker was growing up so fast. I decided to cutback my hours at work to 75% time and worked just 6 hours a day, leaving more time in the mornings and afternoons to be with Margaret and her toddler demands.
When we moved to Washington State in April, I decided to cutback my hours even more. I’m now working just 50% time, which leaves entire days open to be with Margaret. Let me tell you. My initial thoughts of why I’m not a good stay-at-home mom were not wrong. I’m impatient. The toys all. over. the. place. drive me nuts. We’re potty training and there has been a poop-smeared-toilet-seat incident. But I realized it’s not only that spending an entire day with a toddler should make a person eligible for a major award, it’s also that I don’t have any in-real-life mom friends here. I have friends in my computer. I have my mom and sister, but they’re in Virginia. But I don’t have someone who I can call and say, “I’m going to have a breakdown. It’s 8:30am. Can we come over for a few hours?” That’s what happens between mom friends, right?!
I was talking online with a blogging friend several months ago and she clued me in to MOMS Club. And I thought, “Oh! That’s how moms make friends! Of course there are mom groups, dummy!” MOMS Club, in case you don’t know (which you probably do because I’m the last to figure this out), is a support group for moms, where you can get together with other stay-at-home moms in your area and, you know, become friends and have playdates and not lose your mind. (I should also note that this post is in no way sponsored by MOMS Club. If it was, I just did a terrible job describing its mission and would be asked not to breath its name on this blog again.)
After dragging my feet, lamenting how being alone with a toddler all day (occasionally) is making me take the fast track to crazytown, and realizing that the baby in my belly will need to come out eventually, I realized that I need MOM FRIENDS, like RIGHT NOW. But I’m socially awkward and not good at small talk. I’m capable of having a perfectly normal and pleasant conversation with someone I’ve just met approximately 30 minutes after the encounter ends. In the moment, I’m like, “<nervous laugh> <slightly innappropriate statement> <awkward silence> <blah, blah, blah about some shit no one cares about> <listening and realizing I have no idea how I’m supposed to keep this conversation going>.” There are sweaty palms and pits…and back sweat…and boob sweat. And if it’s a really important encounter, I will probably get the nervous poops beforehand. It’s a train wreck, people. I should not be allowed out in public. Online I’m witty and have time to craft the perfect response, but I need in-real-life mom friends. So, today, I’m putting on my compression hose and big girl pants and meeting up with a small group of local moms at a nearby park. Wish me luck! Between Margaret being in big girl undies for less than 2 weeks and my inability to act like a normal person in public, I need all the luck I can get. I will be making friends, dammit, even if I have to outright say, “I don’t know how to do this, so I’m just going to put it to you bluntly: I like you. Will you be my friend?”