Baby? Check. New life? Definitely. Now all you need is a mom friend – companion, confessor, support, safety-valve – to share it with.
1. At pediatrician’s office, find yourself sitting beside interesting-looking mom you remember from prenatal yoga class. Strike up conversation and discover your babies were born on same day. But her kid is fussy, she’s frazzled, and when your more-spirited child accidentally brushes against hers, she snatches up her baby and huffs to the other side of the room. So much for that potential friend.
2. Have coffee with other moms in your neighborhood, all of whom have children older than yours. Their advice on kindergarten teachers and tae kwan do classes seems a bit premature when your baby still considers drooling a challenge.
3. Join a playgroup and attempt to penetrate knot of moms with kids the same age as yours. They draw closer together, shooting you icy looks. Wait, did you somehow time-travel back to high school?
4. Invite only other available-looking mom over for coffee. Clean house, put on clean shirt, change baby, even buy flowers, and bake a cake.
5. Spend entire visit hearing how often her baby poops, how much she hates her husband, and how exhausting, boring, and depressing she finds motherhood.
6. In attempt to avoid Mom Number One, switch to afternoon playgroup, where you meet a more upbeat-looking prospect and invite her over. Mom Number Two sticks her baby in the corner and wants to spend the whole time talking about sex and diets, wondering whether you have the ingredients to mix her a Cosmo. Fun, maybe, but if this was what you were after you’d call your old single friends.
7. Expectations lowered, forgo the cake and flowers when you ask over the mom and child you met in the playground. Heck, forget the cleaning and don’t bother changing your shirt either – though you do put a fresh diaper on the baby.
8. Mom Number Three shows up. She’s smart, funny, engaging. You think you’re in love.
9. And then her kid bites your kid.
10. This is grim. This is so grim it reminds you of some dark chapter from your past. What is it? What is it? Oh right: dating.
11. Maybe the answer is to make it more like dating and ask people if they know any nice women who might want to be friends with you. Start with husband.
12. Husband invites home hockey buddy, wife, and baby born around the same time yours was. The guy is great, you and your husband agree. You also agree that you hate the wife.
13. Deciding to try the organic route, strike up conversation with mom you meet in the organic baby food section of local grocery store. Find as you stroll the aisles that you’re totally in synch about your experiences of motherhood and children.
14. But in the parking lot, as you’re on the brink of asking for her number, notice her car sports bumper stickers with political views that are alarmingly different from yours. “Remember” urgent root canal appointment and scurry away.
15. Enough! Maybe someday, when your child starts school, you’ll meet another mom you can be friends with. But right now, you’re going to stop trying. Your child doesn’t care and when you’re lonely you can call your old friends or talk to your husband.
16. Then, one day, when you’re fumbling with your envelopes while your kid has a meltdown, your eyes meet across the crowded post office. She looks familiar. That’s it: You did prenatal yoga together and you met that one time in the doctor’s office. Apologizing for being so miserable that day – it turns out her child had a bad ear infection – you start talking, your kids begin playing, you end up going out for coffee, and suddenly, you have a mom friend. And you can’t imagine how you ever lived without her.
Pamela Redmond Satran is a New York Times bestselling humor writer and novelist as well as the coauthor with Linda Rosenkrantz of eight books about names. She is the creator of several websites, including Nameberry, and a columnist for Glamour.