When my little dude was just over two months old we moved. And not just to a bigger house – because it certainly wasn’t – but to a bigger place. We moved almost cross country with a tiny baby. How you ask? With a hell of a lot of help. Why? Because we might be crazy.
I spent most of those first two months without my partner as he was working in a different city, but I had my village. I lived a 15 minute walk from my parents, my sister was closer still, and I have an amazing group of friends in the vicinity, all eager to spend time with a newborn and help in any way they could. I swapped all that for a bigger city, where I know very few people but we are now living together, the three of us, as a family.
But this not knowing anyone thing was causing a problem. I like to be busy, to be active. And trying to fill my days with a tiny baby isn’t difficult, but I felt I could do with some adult conversation. And a change of scenery. There are plenty of mum groups in the area but I’ve never been great at joining things like that. I prefer small groups, more casual. So, after a few days of humming and hawing I wrote a post in one of the mom Facebook groups I joined in my new locale. I explained my situation and how I was just looking for someone to chat with over coffee. Well dear readers, it worked. I arranged a first date. And then a second, and a third. Quite a few other mums replied to me, in similar situations, or inviting me to join their girl gang (on Wednesdays we wear pink). Honestly, I was very cautious about writing the post. I wrote and edited and rewrote and revised over the course of an hour, talking myself in to doing it. And for a while I was so glad I did.
The first date went smoothly, we got on well, our kids were only a couple of months apart and the conversation flowed well. We talked about ‘next time’ and we even texted a few times after. But it fizzled out. Bear in mind this was Summer 2019, well before the new normal.
Date number two was similar. She came solo, choosing to leave baby with dad so she could have a couple of free hours. We talked for a long time, got to know each other a bit and there was even a vague dinner invitation for ‘next time’. We parted ways and that was the last time we spoke.
Date number three was a group invite. She and I had texted for hours over the course of a couple of days – constant texting is harder to maintain with a baby or toddler attached to you – and she invited me to her Thursday Morning club. A bunch of moms with babies roughly the same age who had all met through a baby massage class were still meeting up each week for coffee or a walk and a chat. Lovely I thought. A small group, sounds perfect. And they were perfectly lovely. Added me to their group WhatsApp chat, we met and had coffee and gushed over the kids. All of theirs were 5 months older than my guy, give or take. Which if it was about me and a new friend would make no difference whatsoever, but the difference between 4 months and 9 months old is huge, and I felt I couldn’t contribute to the comparing notes section of the conversation. And they as a group had a shared history.
Funnily enough, after that coffee chat, the group chat went silent. Call me paranoid but I couldn’t help wonder had another chat been set up without me? A bit of effort on their part, but lack of sleep and lack of adult company makes a new mom a bit paranoid. There were one or two texts here and there but mostly radio silence. I wonder how they kept up their Thursday mornings without using it?
So that was my last Mom Date. I started back to work , we moved – again, but within the same city this time – and then the world started to crash and burn. But because of the crash and burn I actually may have found some people. We won’t get carried away and say I’ve found Mom Friends just yet, but the new estate we’re in is full of young families, and lockdown has given people the opportunity to slow down, so we actually got to meet some of the neighbours. There has even been socially distant drinks in a front garden some of the warmer evenings, and people wave or stop and have a chat while trying to wrangle toddlers and new babies between car and house.
While I try to be optimistic, making friends as an adult is never easy, and the pandemic (was doing so good at not naming it. Almost got there!) is making it difficult. As the weather got a bit chillier our garden drinks became kitchen table drinks, but they can no longer happen with the current guidelines. And trying to find time for playdates with people heading back to work and the restrictions on who you can and can’t have in your home getting tougher is almost impossible. But I am silently hopeful. Hopeful that the craziness is actually bringing us together. Hopeful that the new world that rises from the ashes will be kinder, friendlier. Hopeful that I might actually make some grown up friends. And if we happen to find friends for himself along the way, even better.