When I was just a little girl, probably 4 years old, my dad noticed that I was struggling making friends. I had not yet learned the art of introducing myself to someone new. He pulled me aside one day and gave me a lesson on meeting new friends. It went some thing like this: repeat after me little lion cub “Hi, my name is Lion, What is your name?” I then repeated what my dad said. Next came ” Want to play with me?”. I practiced and role played these two sentences over and over with my father until it was ingrained in my head. Every time we went to a park or a new play group my dad would have me practice one more time. It worked. I quickly became a skilled conversationalist and it was hard to keep me from walking up to anyone new and becoming their new friend.
This past spring while playing in the park with my children I noticed my son, just 2.5 years old, staring at some children who were all playing together. I stood back and watched. I wanted to see what he would do. He is a very timid boy and often comes off as shy and almost rude. He takes a while to warm up to people but as soon as he does you have a best friend for life! Well that is how he reacts with adults and older children. These children were his age. These children could care less of he was there or not. As I watched him I kept thinking, “should I step in and be “that” mom?” I figured just once it would be okay. As long as I modeled to him what he should do. So I walked over and said “Buddy, lets go introduce your self to those children.” He quickly followed me and I repeated the speech that my dad taught me many years ago.
It is so heart warming watching him learn the same lessons I remember learning. it is in those moments that I am reminded I am raising an adult and not just a two year old. It is a lot of responsibility and something that I should not take lightly. As I watch him grow and make friends I am also growing and making new friends. My friends are now the parents of his little friends. The older my children get the more mature I feel I need to be. My new friends are real adults. Sometimes I find it intimidating but then remember that I am in the same stage of life as them. Maybe its because parents these days are waiting until later on in life to start having children and I did not. I have been meeting some new friends who are newly weds with out children or even some who have decided not to have children or are single. Now it is these people I am at a loss of what to say or do around.
My life is pretty simple. I have two toddlers and they consume my day from 6 am-7 pm and then they consume my mind from 7 pm-6 am. I will periodically go for runs with my other mommy friends after our children go down to bed or I will get in a date night with my hubby or a girls night with my best friends. But other than that. I do not have much filling my plate that doesn’t have to do with those little monsters with sticky fingers. So, when I get together with my friends with out children one of two things happens. I talk non stop about my children and annoying/bore them to death or I stumble through small talk and try and rack my brain for anything non kid related to talk about. by the end of the conversation my head is aching, my brain is sore, I am exhausted and only 10 minutes has passed. I mean seriously, what did I talk about before having these little monkeys? Why cant I be human again? My children are awesome but not everyone cares about how successful potty training is going or how my daughter makes the funniest facial expressions when she is trying to be angry at me. So what do I talk about with my non mommy friends?
This topic is actually something I have struggled with since entering mommy-hood. I find it very important to keep up relationships that are not only focused around play dates. God placed these people in my life for a very specific reason and I do not think that reason is to sit there and listen to my mommy stories. I know I shouldn’t pretend my children don’t exist and it is okay to share a few stories that come up on topic, but my point is I need to branch out. Having said that…..What does that mean? What should I ask? What did I do before having kids? When I sit back and think about it all I can do is remember how much free time I had. Soooooo Much free time. It never felt like I had free time, but I truly did. My priorities were so much different. I guess my problem is that I have a hard time not envying their lives and spare time. I envy how they can just go out for dinner at anytime and not have to get a baby sitter. I guess I am still in the thick of babies and I am still squinting to see the light at the end of tunnel that when someone who does not have children opens their mouths and starts to speak all I hear is “blah blah free time, blah blah long nap. blah blah blah long hot toy free shower”
I am still in the process of learning how to be a friend again to someone without children. All while maintaining a balance of telling stories about my kids and remembering the details of their lives. I know it will get easier as my children grow up and I start getting more sleep and can keep my thoughts straight. But until then I will just smile and carry on and wipe the spit up off my pants before leaving the house for a girls night. One day they may join me in the land of the mothering and we will have something more to talk about or if not, then I will meet them on the other side 🙂