Community Part 1
I love the town I live in and being part of this community. When we go to different things in town I think about what traditions I want for a child – what annual events we will attend and what activities we’ll do as a family. Because we do not yet have a child I like to think that we’ll have one of those well behaved fun kids that manage well at adult focused events and we can live a life that does not only exist of play dates and eating pizza at the really bad pizza place that has a play room. I want our family to be seen. I want people in town to know our child and I want to be able to merge my current life with my future life. I have a bit of social anxiety and don’t really love large crowds. I recently told Pot I thought we should throw a Christmas party but then remembered I don’t like parties. Or other people. This is something that I hope I can hide from my child. I hope they can learn to be comfortable in any environment and be free and not know there is panic under my skin.
We are lucky to live in an extremely liberal town. This has it’s benefits and drawbacks. The benefit is that our child will not stand out with two moms and will be usually treated like any other child and we will be treated like any other parents. I’ve complained since we moved here that there is no lesbian specific (or gay specific for that matter) place in town. We’re from the midwest. We like our lesbian bars kind of sketchy with no windows. There is no lesbian bar here and it is often hard to find places where lesbians gather. Luckily, there is a lesbian mom group in town. We have friends who are part of it and we’ll go hang out with them when baby comes. I think the highest number of lesbians we have had together at one time since moving here is 6. It’s been four years. It’s nice to know that by having a child we can reconnect with that aspect of our community more.
The downfall to living in a extremely liberal town is that I sometimes feel things are contest of who is the biggest hippie. This is worse with parents. I’ve seen it happen with parents I know that I now struggle to connect with. While in the midwest we would have been considered “crunchy” for planning to have a home birth, make our own baby food, and cloth diaper here we are mainstream. I fear judgement for the things we don’t plan to do that are considered very normal in parenting circles here – for example we don’t want to co-sleep and we plan to occasionally tell our child “No”.
I’ve watched the divide develop between us as non-parents and our friends as parents in recent years. I’ve watched the different relationships between our parenting friends here and our parenting friends in the midwest. Our midwest friends do a lot of things I may not do as a parent but I don’t feel as if they have fundamentally changed. Our relationships with them have changed as most do over time but I do not feel our connection is different because they are parents and we are not. I’ve watched friends here become parents and seen things changed. I’ve heard them tell me that I couldn’t understand how it feels to hear your child cry because I am not a parent. I have seen our relationship change and felt no longer welcome as part of their lives because I do not have a child.
We have friends with children and without. We have friends who want children and who don’t. I’m eager to embrace parts of our community that are for parents and children even though I worry we will be regarded as too mainstream. I have a lot of hope in the lesbian mom group to be a safe space – I’ve always found that the common ground of lesbianism trumps all differences – at least for a short while until the drama starts. But I worry about alienating my non parent friends. I want to keep my community and while I want it to evolve, I dread it not staying the same.