I was driving home last night and feeling extremely grateful that I’ve finally found my village. Some parents can parent in isolation, but not me. I’ve got to have other moms around me. And without any family within a thousand miles, I need other women to help me raise Gus. During my drive, I breathed a sigh of relief that I’ve finally got my people. I will never have to do mommy speed dating again.
You’d think finding your village would be easy. And in a sense, it is. Once you start looking there are moms everywhere. However, the trick is finding moms you can you can tolerate. Ones that you actually like and enjoy hanging out with. Once you’ve found a pool of mothers to choose from you are left with the difficult task of deciding which particular mother you can connect with and forge a friendship with. An odd kind of dating entails as you begin to court one another.
Once you’ve met a mom, the next step is usually to set up a play date. I learned quickly that many times play dates consisted of multiple moms getting together at one time rather than one on one. It is speed dating for mothers. A single date was too intimate because you had no idea if you even had anything in common other than having children of the same age. With speed dating, you can avoid those awkward first single dates and test the waters to see if you are compatible and get rid of the awkward silences that follow if you’re not. You can just move on to the next available mother.
On my very first speed date, I had no idea what to imagine. I found myself preparing for the play date in the same manner as a typical date. I did my hair and put on make-up as if I was going out. I made sure not to be the first one to arrive at the house, driving an extra lap around the block just to make sure.
I’m not sure anything could have prepared me for what waited for me inside the house. The house was littered with women, standing, lounging, and sitting on furniture. There were all kinds of food lining a long table in the dining room as well as drinks. At first glance, it looked like an evening cocktail party except that it was the middle of the morning and women were gathered in small groups with babies either attached to their breasts or wearing them in Ergo carriers.
I sat around in a circle in the living room, filled with women with their breasts hanging out and babies latched on while everyone tried to act like it was the most natural thing on the planet. And yes, on a very primitive level, it was completely natural. Very tribal. Very feminine. But, it was weird. It felt odd. It was a circle of all of these big jugs with suckling creatures attached.
And I really wanted to make a joke about it. My pre-mom self would have. My post-mom self would have been mortified if I did so.
I just kept looking around the room at all of the women and thinking how little we had in common. We were complete strangers and never would have met otherwise. And even if we had met otherwise, most of us would never have gotten along or been friends. We were all so different, but here we sat in the most intimate of activities. These women never would have flashed their chests on Bourbon Street, but here they were baring it all without the slightest bit of embarrassment. And I was right there with them, trying to nurse Gus without getting him all tangled in the straps of my sexy tank top.
I was remembering these early days on my drive home and am so thankful I don’t ever have to do them again. Even if I have a second baby, I already have my crew. And I like my crew. It’s an odd crew. Not one that I would have picked for myself, but it works.
If you are just starting your rounds of mommy speed dating just relax. You’ll find your village too.