Recently, I’ve noticed an uptick of parenting blog posts centered on phrases that seem to offend new moms and dads. They range from “Savor every moment” to “Kids grow up way too fast” and are often conveyed by those who have yet to enter the parenting realm themselves, or are so far removed from having young kids that it seems like the right thing to say.
In that spirit, I’d like to share one of my least favorite phrases I’ve heard as a parent, and unlike many of the others I’ve heard, this one comes mainly from parents themselves. I’ll preface this with saying that my husband and I were one of the first of our circle of friends to have a child. Some have followed suit since then, and many have yet to have kids (and maybe some never will).
One of my biggest concerns when I was pregnant was connecting with other women, and families that had kids. (A perfectly reasonable concern.) If I was entering new territory, I wanted to be sure there were others I could consult with as a navigated through, especially in my first few years. When I expressed this to others I constantly heard “Don’t worry. You’ll make lots of friends when your child starts daycare (or school).” or “The playground is a great place to make friends.”
My personal reality is that these have been some of the most frustrating phrases along my journey. I’ll start with the first one. My daughter attends a small child care center. Full of working parents. Many have older siblings and have settled into their social circles already. We are a 2 parent working household which means our social time is relatively limited to the weekends. Trying to schedule time together with another parent or family in the same situation? Yesterday sums up the perfect example. I finally got together with a mom I met from a group I participated for a playdate with our daughters. It was been 2 years since we joined that group, and that is precisely how long it took for us to actually get our kids together when they were both awake and everyone was illness free. Sure, we texted some in between or occasionally ran into each other at the store, but this was the first intentional time that fit into both of our lives and it’s largely because she is now home on maternity leave for her second child.
As for wait until they are in school? I’m supposed to wait 5 years to connect with other women and families? Although I suppose if I’m already waiting 2 years just to have a playdate maybe this isn’t as crazy as I once thought….
Onto the second phrase. Has anyone who uttered that phrase actually tried to have a conversation with another adult while supervising a toddler at a playground? I’ll just leave it at that.
I’m not utterly friendless. Yes, we have connected with select other families along our parenthood journey, many of whom I really enjoy spending time with. However, my point is, it’s not easy. In a world where many of us work increasingly long hours, are juggling multiple other responsibitlies and schedules, it’s a challenge. I attribute part of my frustration to expectations. If someone had said to me when I was pregnant “Making friends with new parents is hard. Don’t expect instant success,” perhaps I would have been able to better manage my expectations for this journey.
Book of the Week:
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive The Bus by Mo Willems
Our family is a fan of multiple Mo Willems books, but this was an early and continued favorite. In fact, it’s one of the first non-board books that my daughter liked to read. The simple drawings are a big draw (no pun intended) and we have fun recognizing the pigeon in other Willems books too. The story line makes this an interactive read that is fun for the whole family.