Baby friends

I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that I’ve struggled with the loneliness that comes with becoming a parent. Going back to work and adult conversations has helped this but I still feel at a loss for community.

I’m an opinionated introvert. By that I mean I’m not super good at making connections or shutting up. I get awkward around people and often say something dumb. One time, years ago, we had Lesley’s aunts and uncles over for dinner. During a lull in conversation I went on and on about the sex worker recently found murdered in the park across the street from our house. They left shortly after that.

Normally I am fine with this. I don’t really like many people so it works well. Lesley also doesn’t like many people so is fine with the fact that I constantly alienate people. But then there’s Gus.

I grew up the youngest of four and had my many many cousins always around. Gus has himself and four cousins 3000 miles away. I want him to feel what I felt from a big family without having more kids or moving back to the Midwest.

So I do what we gays do- I look to build my own family. It’s hard! There’s a gay parents group here and I had high hopes there but I feel like an outsider. Maybe because most of the kids are older or the other parents are all friends or because I’m shy to talk to new people – I don’t know. I’m not sure if we’ll keep going to their meet ups.

Then there’s option 2. We are taking this infant parenting class and there are nine other families. Some of them seem okay and some do not. None of them seem like people we’d be friends with without kids. But the major barriers are broken down- we all have kids around the same age and no one knows each other outside of the group. But then I’ve got to figure out how to go from acquaintances to friends- something I don’t excel at.

Option 3 is moms groups. I belong to a few different mom/kiddo activity groups on facebook but often events are during the week while I work. I can try weekend events but then I worry that I’ll feel the way I do with option – that there are preexisting relationships and I don’t quite fit in.

Option 4 I like the best. Hang with Gus and Lealey and the few other folks I like. That suits me well- I’m good at it. But this sweet boy and the life I want for him. This sweet boy is the reason I’ll always smile and be nice and long for the day that his relationships and mine don’t have to be connected.

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Posted on January 15, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I would have stayed and talked about the sex worker lol. It’s hard especially right now because the babies aren’t really interacting with each other much, so these meet ups are more support for the parents. I love my mom’s group, but I quickly run out of things to say. Other than having 6 month olds and living in the same county we don’t have a lot in common. My spouse wants nothing to do with the LGBT parents meet up, but I’d like to check it out when he’s a little older. It’s hard for us introverts!

  2. Yeah, we have this problem too. We have sort of become friends with the families i babysit for, but it still feels forced to me.

  3. That sounds difficult. Socializing is one of my worries about parenthood.

    • Yeah, i thought we’d be good because we have friends with kids but things are more segregated by age than i imagined. Luckily we’ve got twomamasonebaby and a few other folks but it’s just hard to build a network of folks.

  4. I bet in a year or so when August is mobile and interested in playing with other kids, it wont be as segregated by age. I love it when we hang out with my friend who has a 9 and 11 year old, they entertain and keep track of ali and i get to actually *gasp* finish a conversation or eat a hot meal!

  5. I could have written this post, sex worker and all. It’s one of the many things I struggle with as a parent: socialization.

    I have few friends. I have even fewer friends with children. I was really worried about how this would translate both into being at home full-time and getting the kids involved and engaged with people who aren’t…me.

    Our truth so far has been me worrying about this much more than my actual children who don’t seem to have a problem making friends if they want them or playing alone when they don’t. The park. Speech therapy. The Queen’s work. Different kid places around town. They run off and play, have a great time, and make a new friend at a new place next time. They have a few “friends” they see on occasion but they really don’t seem to crave the familiarity. They are happy to see them and forget about them when they leave. Could be the age. Could be a house of introverts. šŸ™‚

    My point is, stepping outside your comfort zone to do these groups is already more than I could do and you should be proud of yourself. I applaud you wholeheartedly. I probably couldn’t do it. You may find that August will make his own friends in his own way and you won’t necessarily have to facilitate it. That’s been our experience so far. šŸ™‚

  6. I am an introvert too and I struggle with being in big groups and making friends too. I went to a new mom group at the hospital after Alice was born. I was hoping to make friends but after going for a couple months with nothing I decided to start making an announcement that I was going to get frozen yogurt afterwards and anybody was willing to join. The first week one woman joined. The next week 3 other women joined. The next week 5 joined and so on and so on. We started a facebook group and started making play dates and saying things like “I’m going to the botanical garden for a walk today, anybody want to meet up.” So we formed our own little community out of the group. All our kids are about the same age, give or take a couple months. The groups was pretty big, so I group of 9 of us broke out and they have become my core “mom friends.” 3 of them have moved out of state, but the remaining 6 still get together at least once a month. We are having a mom dinner tonight (without kids) and we are going to trivia next month. We have birthday parties with the kids and Halloween get-togethers. I look back and I am so so so glad I was the one to propose frozen yogurt because if I didn’t I wouldn’t have made these great friends. Maybe try it with your parenting group. Start a facebook group and ask them to join. You can ask questions to each other and get to know one another in a way that feels safe.

    • I did create a facebook group for our parenting class and advocated for some chances to the local gay parents group (it was a secret group so not searchable. That’s changed now which is already bringing in families with younger kids). Hopefully over time these small steps help to build connections. I think it just takes work and i’m not super good at that.

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