"You got kicked out of a mom's group?! How do you get kicked out of a mom's group?!" my cousin asked me recently at a family gathering. Yes indeed, what kind of a loser gets herself kicked out of a mom's group... Apparently, the kind who, like me, managed to let a summer slip by without fulfilling her quarterly requirements to "host" an event. I hadn't meant to shirk my responsibilities, the time had just gotten away from me. Realizing that it had been awhile, I started thinking about planning a fall outing to a local farm. Before I'd gotten too far though, I got an email in my inbox telling me that I hadn't fulfilled my duties and I was out. Frankly, I was stunned that a group designed to help support and offer friendship to moms would give someone the boot without so much as a probationary period or warning. I decided to forget the group and move on -- I had several great mom friends who were willing to let an occasional bout of flakiness slide.
Then, within in a month, two of those friends packed up and left town after both of their husbands were transferred out-of-state. Suddenly, I was left feeling pretty lonely. Before they "abandoned" me, my two friends had a lot to do with making my time home with young kids not just survivable, but downright fun. We all lived on the same block and it just felt downright idyllic to have wound up in a neighborhood where the kids got along and the moms were cool. Their husbands, like mine, regularly worked late, and we often had dinner together, just the ladies and the kids. Young toddlers may be cute but they aren't great dinner table conversationalists and it was a treat having another adult to eat with once in awhile. One of the gals had become a particularly close friend -- the kind I could chat about anything with. She was also my wing-girl. If I was in a pinch, I knew I could call on her. Last fall, when my mom wound up in the ER, I knew I could call on her and she'd be there for me. She watched my kids while I was with my mom in the hospital. My kids knew her so well and felt so comfortable around her, that they were delighted to go there and play with her kids, whom they adored. For them, it was as comfortable as being at home. In turn, I was happy when she'd ask me to watch her kids when she needed. Our friendship was not only fun but supportive in a way that's simply essential to motherhood.
Their departures really hit me. I knew how much I enjoyed these women (and their kids) and how much I counted on them, so it wasn't a surprise to me how hard it was when they left. After they were gone, I realized that all of my pre-kid friends were scattered across the greater Seattle area -- often a 40 minute drive. Plus, most of them were working and not available to get together for a Tuesday morning playdate, which is when I really needed a friend. I found myself without a momtourage, and that's not a good place for a mom to be. So, here I find myself in search of a new momtourage.
My daughter's starting preschool next month and I elected to do a co-op, which means that I'll be working in the classroom several times a month with the other parents. We also will have monthly meetings and other get-togethers. I'm hopeful I'll meet some cool gals there and start to build up a new momtourage for myself. Last week, I went to a birthday party and met several local moms, who all seemed really nice. Turns out, they're all members of the moms' group that booted me last year. After talking to them, I've decided to give the group another try (if they'll have me). Now that I've met a few more people in the group, I'm hopeful it will be a more fun experience. Additionally, I've taken to cruising the grocery store and post office, picking up new friends and have started getting friendly with a nice group of gals in the area. So, fingers crossed, I'll keep working to build up the momtourage I need -- for my sake as well as for my kids. Because, let's face it, a happy mom is a better mom.