Friendship – for new moms

When I was in second grade, making  a new friend was sometimes as simple as giving away my juicebox, or sharing a seat on the bus ride home.  “Wanna be my friend?” my new pal would chime.  “Sure!” I would say back with a smile.  “Hey, I have that same Garfield sticker!”  Friendship begun.  Check.

Now, juggling a business, a two-year-old, a marriage, and the everyday anxieties of a full adult life, making new friends seems anything but simple.

Today I made a friend.  Here are the elements that came together that made it work:

  1. Proximity.  She lives in my neighborhood.   Let’s face it, leaving the house with a small child is kinda like going on a camping trip.  Sometimes the prep outweighs the pleasure.
  2. Invitation.  She approached me (many times) to go for a walk.  The day of: she texted, emailed and called.  I appreciate (and need) a little persistence.
  3. Affinity.  Both she and I, as well as our two-year-olds, liked being together.  That’s huge.

So, we walked.

Nothing heroic.  We walked around the neighborhood lakes, over to my son’s favorite dirt biking hills (we walk on them, not bike on them), threw rocks in the lake, threw rocks at a fence, threw rocks at the dirt, shared snacks, shared some laughs, shared some time.

I can’t say how good it felt to come home after our time together.  Okay, it wasn’t as intimate and focused as a tea from my twenties might have been, but there were definitely shared moments, amidst the lost conversation threads, and watching that neither of our children fell off a dirt embankment.

I have to say a new friend makes me feel like a second grader, in more than one way.  I love the rush of realizing you have something in common!  (Her daughter is named Scotia, and my son is named Phoenix, both after towns that one parent grew up in).  And it felt so good just being seen… and liked for who you are.  There is nothing greater than that.   But mixed in there is the insecurity, ‘how much do I share? what if she thinks I’m weird/ too much/ wearing the wrong shoes?”  Feeling suddenly like the awkward girl in the lunchroom, hoping to find a place to sit.

As I watched our children tentatively hold hands, I felt we were doing the same, sharing a vulnerable moment of motherhood.  Sharing our insecurities, sharing our triumphs (Phoenix used the potty TWICE on our walk, just to make me glow as a mother!), and sharing the complete insanity of this isolated mother existence.  It’s hard to believe we are all doing this wild thing, inside our four walls, and someone just down the street from us, is living the same craziness…

And if we can just leave our homes for a moment, and go for a walk, we have contact.

Friendship.  Sunshine.  Mud.  Rocks.

So, mamas, don’t be afraid to take a risk.  Be seen in your less-than-perfect new mama state.  Don’t wait till you ‘have it all together again’ to go out and make friends.  You are not alone.  Make a phone call, make the effort, wear the wrong shoes, and find a new friend.  There may be a mama right around the corner, just waiting for an invitation.   And I’m pretty sure that ‘having it all together again’ is not really part of being a new mom.

Today, I want to say Thank you to the woman who asked “Wanna be my friend?”

The answer is yes.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. moonsprig
    Apr 04, 2012 @ 15:55:14

    What a sweet story. This is exactly how I felt too!
    Love your writing, always makes me smile!

    Reply

  2. Katie
    Apr 16, 2012 @ 14:52:20

    Thank you so much!

    Reply

  3. joevalley
    Jul 09, 2013 @ 17:01:16

    this is sweet

    Reply

  4. Cindy Zoet
    Jul 09, 2013 @ 20:57:16

    Super sweet and vulnerable, I love it! thanks for being so honest and such a great writer

    Reply

  5. wendykerr
    Jul 12, 2013 @ 12:05:53

    Loved this. And in fact just sent it to my “new friend” to invite her for a walk. 🙂 She lives right around the corner, has a kid the same age as mine, such a grounded peaceful person (even with 3 kids, including one infant), and I just feel so lucky to have discovered her. Your article really makes me feel like I’m not the only mom in the world with a dearth of meaningful mom friends. Phew!

    Reply

    • Katie
      Aug 31, 2013 @ 08:41:49

      I think it’s so much harder to make the time to have real friends when you have little ones! not impossible, by any stretch, but takes some effort (and some convenience). Good luck with your new friend! Keep it a priority!

      Reply

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