When the reality that I was going to begin staying at home with my children actually hit me, I was suddenly nervous. Who would we have play dates (and MOMMY dates) with? I have several friends, along with my sister, who live in the area. I also have a lot of friends who left the cold weather for warmer locations throughout the United States, and I can’t blame them.
Most of my friends also have young children and are at home a few days during the week. However, once I started talking with them, I realized they still have a lot of commitments and are typically not open for play dates left and right. Many have part-time jobs, or they have older children in preschool, dance classes, swim lessons, and other activities that take up daytime hours, making play dates a little more challenging. This is unlike my totally open schedule and a job that allows me to work anytime I would like, as long as children are nestled snugly in their cribs.
So I realized I needed to come up with activities to help keep us busy. I had only myself to rely on, especially knowing the winter months were upon us and days at the park, long walks, and wagon rides would be limited. I wanted to make sure Max and Halle and I had fun and didn’t sit around the house all the time.
As frequently as possible, we began going to our neighborhood park, the local library, friends’ homes (when they’re free), and our local Chick-fil-A to play. It gave me some adult interaction, too. When you start talking to the toaster, you know you need more adult time.
Immediately, I noticed a lot of moms don’t seem to be taking applications for new friends. They’re friendly but not overly excited to be best buds. I understand. New relationships are a lot of work. Heck, maintaining some of my
current relationships is a lot of work with everyone at such busy stages in their lives.
Anyway, about a month ago, on a Saturday morning, our family of four decided to have breakfast at Chick-fil-A. After filling up on chicken biscuits and coffee (water for Max and milk for Halle), we made our way to the play land. Another couple were already in there with their son who was just a few months younger than Max. I can’t remember who struck up the conversation, but we hit it off. The four of us laughed and chatted like we were old pals. Oh yeah, and Max and their son kind of played together, too.
When it came time to leave, we had shared our names (let’s call them Bill and Jill), where we are from, how hard it is to meet other parents, the challenges of parenting, and several other details big and small about our lives. We eventually said good-bye to Bill and Jill and went to refill our drinks, and my husband said, “Honey, you can get along with anyone!” My inner self thought, “Yes, I can!” I really liked Jill. She was kind, funny, and easy to talk with, and she was patient with her son and showed a true interest in Max and myself.
The other couple had the same idea and refilled their drinks. Once again, we did an awkward “Bye” and “Take care” exchange. I decided to just go for it and ask Jill for her number. Visions of future play dates danced in my head. I pulled out a napkin and jotted down my number and said “Listen, I know this is weird and if you don’t want to call me, it’s okay. But here is my number.” She laughed nervously and said that she and Bill were hoping we felt the same way about wanting to get together in the future. Jill and I left with each other’s numbers and the hope of a new friendship for not only us, but also our children.
Several weeks went by and she never called. Last week, I decided there were plenty of other mommies in the sea and that I’d find another good stay-at-home mommy friend. You’ll never believe this. I checked my voice mail this morning and had a message from Jill! We are getting together this week. Maybe putting myself back on the mommy-friend market isn’t so daunting after all.