We recently passed the one-year mark of living in Bloomington. As I take stock of the last 365 days, I am filled with gratitude for the welcome we’ve received here. Having spent practically my entire life in the city I grew up in I was pretty worried about moving. The only year I had spent away from my hometown didn’t go so well. Post-grad school burnout, unresolved depression, disastrous long-distance boyfriend; few good choices were made that year.
I was most worried about making friends because I honestly didn’t remember how. Growing up and even in college, there were ample opportunities and expectations to meet new people. As an adult, it seemed a lot harder.
Making mom friends is harder than it looks sometimes.
But making friends as a “cray-at-home” mom is different from making friends as a child, especially in a new town. Circumstances end up having a lot of sway over how well friendships stick.
- Does she live relatively close by? Because I really have to like someone to drive more than fifteen minutes with my toddler to see her.
- Do our kids’ nap and meal schedules mesh? Because there is almost no one that I like enough that I will sacrifice my kid’s sanity-saving afternoon nap in order to hang out. #sorrynotsorry
- Do the littles enjoy similar activities? Or will my kid climbing into a public fountain freak yours out? Because even from a young age, temperament traits like adaptability, sensitivity, and fondness for climbing things they shouldn’t can influence the kind of activities you can handle without tearing your hair out.
Not only do you have to coordinate way more logistics just to meet new people at all, but you’re walking into someone’s life in progress. You don’t know how they met their partner and sometimes you don’t even meet the partner until much later. You don’t know about how they grew up, where they went to school, or who they were before they were a mom. All the backstory that you live through with friendships made in your formative years gets pushed aside in favor of playdates and diaper blowouts.
Friendships with depth and vulnerability are still possible
But somehow, amidst all the butt-wiping and Cheerio-shooting (and yes, fountain climbing), mom friends still manage to mine the depths of vulnerability. At the park or play place, we discuss financial difficulties, strained marriages, challenging pregnancies, and devastating miscarriages. We chat on social media about housekeeping hacks and our resentment at being “mommy maids.” We swap recipes and bemoan picky eaters together, form book clubs and meal trains, and take each other out for dessert or drinks.
We support each other throughout the joys and challenges of motherhood, mundane and profound alike. And in those precious, awkward, mom friendships, we model the power of relationships and give our children the gift of a village.
Here’s to you, B’town mom friends. Thanks for a great year!