I know it sounds ridiculous, but it's true! I'm deeply shy (yes, I'm SHY) and so I'm intimidated by the prospect of speaking to a total stranger when it's just me and her and our two toddlers. I feel compelled to say something, anything: ask her her kid's age, joke conspiratorially about dirty diapers and lack of sleep, or to become fast friends like *that*.
Obviously I'm putting WAY too much pressure on myself and thus sucking any mom-to-mom pleasure out of my encounters. I go to three or four different parks regularly during the week and I'm still waiting for that special Mom Friend to come up and lick my hands and wag her tail. Isn't that how it works? Oh!!! How I wish!!
What really happens is I take Hollis to the park and follow him around and make sure he doesn't split his head open. Other parents with similarly-aged kids are doing the same. We just follow the little maniacs around, make sure they don't eat or throw pebbles, fall off the big kid jungle gym, or wander off following a "buhhd".
Last week I went down to Zilker (one of our regular parks) and also rode the Zephyr. In the seats ahead of me was a group of moms all with little ones about Hollis' age. I'd noticed them on the playground and had thought, "Hmm, I wonder if they're in a mom's group." Sure enough I was right. I could overhear some of their conversation and it was all "getting to know you" kind of stuff. They were doing what I want to do! Hanging with other moms!
I felt like the kid in the back of the bus watching all the cheerleaders talk about the party they went to last weekend that I missed out on (I know, I know - I was one of those cheerleaders, but you get my drift). These women had found a little tribe of their own and I was glaringly alone.
I wondered if the group was for a specific age group of kids since it couldn't have been just coincidence that they all had only one around 12-18 mos. Could I have fit in? I was so close to asking them about it, but I didn't let the thought really settle in my mind long enough to even reject it. I didn't want to feel like a weenie for being scared of a handful of women (who, by the way, looked incredibly friendly).
I don't know what my deal is other than to say I'm a little odd. I can charm the pants off anyone so long as there's nothing at stake , but I can't introduce myself to someone who has something in common with me like staying at home with a baby.
I keep telling myself to join a mom's group, but my shyness acts like super glue keeping me stuck to my current pattern. I tell myself something might give just by putting myself out there in the path of other moms, but so far, it hasn't even come close to happening. Today, for instance, Hollis and a little fuzzy-headed girl named Noelle, were gently touching fingers and handing each other rocks. Her mom talked to Hollis, I talked to Noelle. I made an effort to connect with Brielle's mom when I noted the sparkles in Noelle's jeans and how you just don't get the sparkle effect when you dress a boy. She chuckled and moved on following her baby around the play yard. *sigh* So much for that.
Generally, that's how it goes. I say something, make tentative eye contact, help someone's little one out and I get a big fat NOTHIN' in return.
Sometimes I feel so alone doing this job. It's rewarding, beautiful, wonderful, fulfilling, blah blah blah, but it would be nice to have somewhere else to go besides my mom's house for grown-up talk and a little shared child care. I have one friend who lives about 45 minutes away that I see about every 3 or 4 months. I have so much fun when I visit because I love chatting with her while our kids run around. She and I share parenting values, are both educated, put careers on hold, are happily married, and have extended family nearby. It'd be so nice to have friends closer just like that.
But alas, unless I hide mommy treats in my pocket next time I'm at the park, I don't think it's gonna happen until I put down my security blanket of shyness.