Lonely Mommy

Gestation: 15 Weeks, Six Days

I’ve been cruising for mommy friends like a red-assed baboon during mating season.

I have a neighbor with a son Clare’s age.

Today I pushed my stroller in front of her house six times, stopping to tie my shoelaces, adjust the locking devices on my full-swivel Britax front wheels, perform a jittery Tai Chi set including:

The White Crane Spreads Its Wings and Carry The Tiger Over The Mountain.

As I began Repulse The Monkey my neighbor stuck her head out her front door. “Uh, did you want to come in?” she asked.

I tried to act casual, indicating Clare, “We’ve got a mommy-and-me Gymboree class in three hours.”

“Isn’t that the place where teachers on amphetamines flap the rainbow parachute at you and blow bubbles in your eyes as they chase you around the padded blocks screaming, ‘Who’s seen Gymbo?'”

“Uh. Yeah,” I said.

“Well, maybe another time,” she offered, about to pull her door closed.

“No, please, I think we could squeeze in a visit,” I cried, heart fluttering like a tissue bouquet in a whirlwind.

Lately, I’ve felt like Lucy Ricardo in the episode where she joins the “Friends of the Friendless.”

My old friends don’t have kids and strangely they don’t want to hang around with me and mine. And I never made mom friends because their kids wanted all their attention which I thought was annoying.

When Clare was brand new, I was inundated with company and had a write-from-home gig. So the first year went by in a blur.

But the job ended, the visitors ebbed away and my husband went back to work — where he gets to talk to adults.

And isn’t nerve-jangled by a toddler who frequently tries to kill herself by falling face-first into the toilet where she could drown.

  • Or running hell-bent-for-leather into the parking lot at Lakeshore Learning with her pregnant mother screaming behind her.
  • Or smashing fistfuls of grapes, hot dogs and popcorn (the three top choke-ables) into her mouth at the dry cleaners.

(I just want my clothes cleaned, not a three course meal).

So, I woke up yesterday and realized something about myself. I seem to have inadvertently become a stay-at-home mom with no friends aka a Lonely Mommy.

I wasn’t planning to “stay home” with any children I had.

To me, stay-at-home moms seemed soft and edgeless. Not too bright.

Was I smug? Was I judgmental? Apparently, the answer is yes.

I saw stay-at-home moms as the kind of women who:

  • Sat in the fifth pew of fill-in-the-blank church, smiling with bland acquiescence.
  • Thought Danielle Steele novels were literature.
  • Hosted Blue Birds covens, where they taught little girls to macrame the straight-jackets their future husbands would imprison them in when they got married, had babies and tried to go back to work.

When Henry and I discussed having kids before we got married, I let him know I wouldn’t be a traditional wife and mother.

I was going to pursue a screenwriting career and I’d just strap the kid to my chest and take her with me. Running my empire while she suckled at my breast in her sling.

When he suggested, in a tone reserved for patients in the third ward, that might not work, I accused him of wanting to marry his mother!

(A loving, intelligent woman who quit her job to raise four children with no help).

I decided I’d been mistaken. I’d thought Henry was a post-feminist male, but he’d obviously been ruined by a paternalistic household where his mother had forsaken her identity, her very soul, to the succubus that were her kids.

Then came Clare.
  • The elfin, curling toes.
  • Her male-pattern baldness.
  • The crossed blue eyes.

I fell to trying to anticipate her needs before she even had them.

I jumped at every sigh. Is she hungry? Lonely? Tired. Flatulent?

I repositioned her head every few minutes, so it wouldn’t cave in on one side. I put her socks on, she’s cold, off, she’s sweating, on, she’s cold. Some freakin’ empire.

Identity crisis and isolation ensued. I want my mommies!

My neighbor with the kid Clare’s age is called Penny. She belongs to the Beverly Hills Moms Club, even though we live in Rancho Park.

She thinks she can get me in. I even offered to host a play group of stay-at-home moms in my house and wonder if they’ll like my ball pool. Will it be up to snuff?

“Thanks for inviting me in,” I said to Penny, as I left her house three hours and one glass of wine (in Sweden they allow one glass of wine during pregnancy – a civilized culture) later. “Because if I had to go to mommy-and-me Gymboree one more time I was going to shove one of those bubble blowers up somebody’s underpaid ass!

8 thoughts on “Lonely Mommy”

  1. Rachel Elizabeth

    I just had my first baby and I'm sort of drowning in the lack of adult companionship. And I have to go back to work on Monday which I am not looking forward to.

  2. Shannon Bradley-Colleary

    Hi Rachel – The need for other mommies is never-ending and it gets easier to find them as your child gets older and starts pre-school. I would definitely advise you to not be shy and really reach out to other moms (through baby groups – or even other moms at your work). While our husbands or partners are great, there's really no substitute for the kind of support we women give other women. Hang in there. You're in the trenches with your newborn and the days may seem to take forever, but trust me, the years go by quick. 🙂

  3. Hey, Shannon Castro recommended your blog. I'm a SAHM to a six year old boy and 12 year old girl. Having to be home at certain times for naps can be very isolating. Just think of finding mom friends as something like dating. I mean hang out where you are most likely to meet the kind of mom you want to 'date'. You're a writer, so you probably love reading. Go to every storytime you can find–public libraries, book stores, wherever. Also, I've found 'mom cards' to be invaluable for exchanging information. You can order them on vistaprint.com for the cost of shipping. Just have your name, cell #, blog link, and email printed on them. Then, hand them out like crazy. Have fun!
    SLWscout

  4. Shannon Bradley-Colleary

    Thanks for the recommendation SLW. And thanks for visiting my site. And if you see Cherokee give her a snuggle for me.

  5. Rachel Elizabeth,
    As my dear friend Shannon said (great blog by the way Shan!) try and reach out to other mommies in your community. Pull up things on the web like, "momsclub", "new mommy social groups", "music classes", gym classes for newborns, and "where can I have coffee with new moms like me/". Any of these will list some sort of resource you can check out. And you will start meeting friends through your child's preschool too. Everyone thinks after they have a baby things will be bliss. Hate to say it, I sufffered from postaprtum, afternoons of crying with my crying baby (who is now an eight year old boy), not showering, wondering what the hell I did and what to do with this human that just arrived out of my stretched vagina! Hang in there. You will get used to having the most wonderful creature in the world. There is a saying my friend Ruthie has that I love. It goes like this…"The first 40 years of motherhood are the heardest, the rest is pretty downhill from there!"
    Be well,
    Marti O

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