Every phase of life comes with its own set of […]
Every phase of life comes with its own set of social pressures. School years are the prime time for girlfriends and sleepovers; married life means making couple-friends and organizing supper clubs; and motherhood automatically ups the ante to join a gaggle of mom groups and participate in some sort of exclusive stroller-pushing/breastfeeding-awareness club.
I feel like the world tells us these relationships are natural, yet cultivating a close connection with someone is anything but simple—and it seems to get harder with age. Maybe it’s just me, but I think if you’re the least bit introverted—or heck, just plain busy—it becomes a hassle to seek out and dabble in new friendships.
I know this makes me sound a little antisocial and lazy. Just for the record, I’m only a loner, like, 52 percent of the time. I have a handful of dear, lifelong friends that, regardless of where they live or what phase of life they happen to be in, I can call them up and chat for hours about my work woes or weird body issues. But many of these BFFs don’t live nearby. That means there’s always pressure to attract, court and ensnare local pals—people to relate to about whatever common, age-appropriate issues we may be facing.
Normally, I’m not very aggressive about giving in to these social expectations. Andy knows I’d prefer to sit inside and stare at him all day. Or read a book. Or walk the dog. Or sew tea cozies. Pretty much anything that doesn’t involve participating in large group activities. However, he also knows that if I don’t hang out with lady friends, he’s stuck hearing every detail about how I cleverly saved $0.83 on hand soap from Target. He pretends to care, but he doesn’t. Not even a little.
When a baby joined our duo, he knew my number of Target trips would go up. Way up. That’s why, when we decided I wasn’t going back to the office post-Bea, he suggested I step out of my comfort zone and expand my circle of parent-friends. Since he’s usually right (ugh!), I joined a couple of mom groups.
These get-togethers take up a few hours of my time during the week. I often have 10,000 excuses for why I shouldn’t go (Laundry! Unwritten articles! Germs! Stufffff!), but I’m always happier when I do.
Jumping into new social arenas isn’t easy, but in this case it was worthwhile. I have to admit that no matter how content I am hanging out at home with my little family, being around others who are in similar situations is nice. Relating to other moms’ struggles and supporting their triumphs is rewarding—after all, it’s always comforting to hear that
there’s someone else whose baby sleeps face-down in the mattress and waits four days between poops. Plus, it’s just nice to engage in adult conversation … I can’t prove it, but as this picture suggests, I think Bea even gets pretty bored of hearing me recite Itsy Bitsy Spider for days on end.
These groups offer the sort of face-to-face bond that isn’t always possible via phone or email. Even my most introverted side is happy about my new mom-ish commitments. Making close friends as a grown-up may not be simple, but Bea is the best possible excuse for me to get out and try.