Tuesday, October 9, 2007

you don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows

I wish I would have known that being the most popular girl at Camp Otterbein would have meant nothing twenty years into future. That being said, the same goes for class clown, undercover slut, and biggest bullshitter during formative high school years. It was tough work and for nothing really. Fast forward to motherhood and I am without the minions flocking wildly to be with me. I am at times alone and a bit deflated by the reality of my idealistic interpretation of family social life a few years back. I imagined a baby on my hip and toddler in tow at fabulous dinner parties. I saw three nights a week out and wine tasting with my girlfriends once a month. I hoped for impromptu holidays, whirlwind shopping days, and Saturday coffee klatch. Not happening. I am a happy woman. I have a wonderful life. My husband of eight years and my two boys are the solidity of my life. I am a productive member of society and I matter. Yet, my once strong social self has withered into a woman who rarely goes to the movies. A woman who after leaving the workforce just recently does not really brush her hair much. And when I do go out for drinks with the gals, I am the one sent home in a taxi at 11 pm because I have once again tried to recapture the 90’s in a bar.

I miss my girlfriends. It is not the same anymore and I know why. Relationships are in a state of flux at all times as everything is relative to where you stand in your life. Every friendship has to be able to weather the shit life gives. It seems that each of my girlfriends have been going through major life issues such as birth, death, love, hate, and other big ones at radically different times. I'm sure it is truly shitty to have to sit and watch your BFF unwrap onesies and Gdiapers days after miscarrying a child or being in wedding party weeks after your partner leaves you for yr neighbor. I feel like we are all silently pretending to understand and empathize properly. I mourn my old life where we were all on basically the same playing field and we could relate. I always thought I was different from the masses because I had neatly created the perfect friendship circle that nothing could break nor change. I did not want new friends and I clung to the idea that nothing would change. Ever. I was not bending to that whole relativity notion.

After having children I felt trapped between the camps. The “mommies” and the “having funners”. Sometimes I don’t feel like I belong to either. I find it incredibly dull to simply talk about motherhood with other mothers; I‘d rather be mothering. I also feel a dichotomy surrounding my parenting. I tried to breastfeed and was pretty unsuccessful after much effort- so I am not always welcome by judgmental mothers who cannot look past the Similac can in my diaper bag. I also had two C-Sections and apparently that means I am not in the true mama club to some. I am however, pretty crunchy when it comes to most baby raising. I sling and attach the shit out of my boys and I feed em locally grown food that I grind with mama sweat. But then I did try the cloth diaper thing and I really do prefer to use the disposable ones-I am not a menace! I also feed my baby from plastic bottles. Yikes! Yet, I don’t really groove with mainstream mothering at times either. I like natural products for their skin, but I buy Spiderman toothpaste. I don’t want my kids to eat McDonald’s or watch much TV. I detest plastic toys, but my kids have many littering my floor. I am the mother I am and I am learning to accept this about myself. I wanna hang with the mommies, but I want to talk about us and our goals and distractions, not our kids 24/7.

I wanna run with the “having funners” and dance the night away and plan trips to the Greek Isles. But, the “having funners” are too speedy for me right now. Like girls on uppers they fly around on caffeine and put together outfits and work and go straight to happy hour and out on the town so quickly their beautiful faces blur. They know pop culture and what is in and how to behave in the social scene. They are getting degrees and contracts and deals and I feel dizzy. I can’t go anywhere from point A to point B quickly anymore. I lack spontaneity. I try and keep up, but someone always needs a diaper change, a boo boo kissed, or a meal. I actually schedule cleaning and sex at this point. I try and talk to them about my life, the real one I am living right now, but they are bored with my ramblings of what my son can do and how sweet babies smell. I can see it in their eyes that glaze over ever so slightly. I try and talk about what I am going to do soon with my life and I can see how I must look to them, speaking of going back to school as a baby vomits on me and a toddler pulls at my shirt. I wanna be the old me and the new me at the same time and it is impossible.

Just because I miss my old life of debauchery and adoration by several dozen, does not mean that I have not carved out a new type of social scene. I have kept my old friends, just like Girl Scouts taught me so many years ago. (Even though some of them are more brass than gold anymore…I love them still). I now realize that I have different relationships with my old friends presently. I am unable to do all that I did before in terms of the social animal that I was because I choose not to be that person right now. My priorities are different; God when did I grow up? But, I have begun to seek out a new community. It started when I moved to a new neighborhood right before having my first son. I met Kate and she was also pregnant with first child. She and her partner were much more indie and earthy than me and my man. They talked co-ops and tofu, and had incredible grilled cheese parties. It happened naturally though, we became new mothers together and although I did not know it then, I needed a new friend. I think we taught each other things and learned along the way to not judge each other and to just “mother”. I also started a writing group that allowed me to spend some time on myself once a week and mix with other folks. I began to blog and found that there was (as there always is) a million other mothers like me out there feeling the same way. I wasn’t the only one a bit sad and mournful over my old life while simultaneously adoring my new one. I found a whole new community online that allowed me time to stretch out my thoughts and intertwined them with others and learn more about myself as an adult woman and a mother. I joined a co-op playgroup and met families that became not only my son’s playmates, but my friends. It has been slowly working out; the redefinition of me.

I feel more secure about my community nowadays as it is bigger and stronger than I thought possible. It is full of ancient tales of dancing on the bar and new ones of staying up late with babies. It is one that welcomes me from all sides and does not mind if I am away for large stretches of time. I t is one that forgives. It is one that accepts. It is a community that took me a while to sew together, but it is rich with the necessities. I am fortunate enough to once in a while put on my social butterfly costume and run with the “having funners”, but I can also lean into the coziness of the “mommies”. I can finally be me and that is a mix of old and new. I am not losing anything by reaching out more. I am still bad ass and cool. I am still the most popular girl at my house.


katekatenegotiate said...


SharonEKim said...

If I've learned anything through these past couple months it's been the importance of my community, of which you are squarely part of. The people you choose to have in your life are a reflection of who you are, and I must say your life is beautiful, just like you Ms. Amy! xo

Anonymous said...

You have captured it beautifully well, and I as an "older" mommy can say- I still feel this way on an almost daily basis- for a few minutes at least!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Embrace the dichotomy. We all have it- all interesting people anyway. I felt it myself last night at the bad religion show.

Anonymous said...

I feel a bit sad, but relieved....we are all the same page and just don't know it I feel. Miss you. KP

Anonymous said...

This is awesome. It's not the same. And sadly, with 4 boys, I am seeing even less and less of my friends than I did with two. But I love my family. I was just thinking about all of this -- it's like my entire social life, and my desire to have a social life is just disappearing.


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