Suburban Snapshots

As It Turns Out, I'm Not
a Total Pariah

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Back when Anna was pretty tiny I attempted to, failed at, and wrote about my efforts at making friends with other moms. Lots of you guys related to that post and a follow-up I wrote a bit later.

Since then I've made some friends, the kind who trust me with the secret location of their spare house key and the safekeeping of their children — fine, their goldfish, but still. I've made friends with moms who drink and curse and struggle with guilt and unruly nether regions. Suddenly, I know people in my own neighborhood and they're fun and down to earth, and they're the parents of the kids my kid's going to grow up with.

I'm writing this to give hope to those people who are struggling, because I tried to make friends and it wasn't working. You know that one friend of yours, the only single one left in your circle who's always trying to find a relationship? And all you want to do is sit him down and say, "Stop trying so hard." It's the same with finding mom friends.

The women I met just kind of showed up — one in response to something I'd posted online for sale who happened to live four doors down with a kid Anna's age, and another whose house I wandered into volunteering for a block party. You can feel almost immediatly how things will go; you know by the way you relate whether or not you'll be carpooling to Target and rummaging through each other's refrigerators, wondering why neither of you have eggs or milk but are fully stocked on stuffed olives.

It definitely helps having a kid who can talk and being past the point where your life is consumed by changing diapers and washing breast pumps. You can send your kids into another room to play dress up, then talk about grown up things like the brand new meat shop or the sexy tomato guy at the Saturday farmers' market.

It was a dry few years and I missed the easy familiarity of the friends I'd left when we moved. It was hard working from home, not being able to grab lunch with a co-worker or talk about shows on the cable channels I don't have.

Organized meet-ups didn't work out for me. If they're not working out for you, or if you don't relate to the moms at your playground or music classes, don't sweat it. You'll find your next real friend when her mail is accidentally delivered to your house, or when your kid runs off with her kid's beach toy, or when you're both standing around nonchalantly checking out that hot new tomato guy at the Saturday farmers' market.

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