I finally ventured out on my first solo outing with my son when he was eight weeks old. We went to a playdate at our local library for parents of newborns and toddlers. I went and made small talk, but I didn’t exactly make any new mom friends. I didn’t expect it to be so hard.
First, I had the youngest child there. The only other kid around my son’s age was a girl who was a week older. Everyone else had babies that were crawling around and playing with the toys and musical instruments the library had provided. Some of the kids were playing with each other while the moms sat and chatted, occasionally having to rein a kid in and make sure they didn’t toddle right out of the room. My son just sat in my lap and took his mid-morning nap as usual.
Secondly, even in my mid-30s, I was surprised that I was one of the youngest moms there. I didn’t have anything in common with the ladies who were talking about their interior decorators and nanny sharing. I don’t even know what nanny sharing is. A younger woman was sitting next to me, but it turns out that she was actually a nanny herself, not a new mom. Or, sorry, maybe she called herself an au pair. I don’t even know what the difference between a nanny and an au pair is.
I know they say you’re not supposed to judge and compare moms, but I found myself doing just that.
The mom with the nine-week old had spread out a blanket and had her daughter working quietly and happily on tummy time. I was embarrassed because I didn’t come prepared to do anything like that. And if I did, I don’t think my son would have handled it as calmly as that baby, because he wasn’t so crazy about tummy time in the early days.
Another mom announced that it was bottle time and she just started feeding her kid right there on the spot. I had already planned to make it out of there and head for home before my son’s next meal so that I could avoid having to go through the whole bottle-making process, but this mom wasn’t fazed by it.
Still another mom had her baby sling draped over her and somehow managed to hold her baby, tie her sling on, wriggle into it, and secure the baby – all with only two hands. I watched her enviously. My kid wasn’t a big fan of the Baby Bjorn when my husband and I attempted to put him in it, so, as much as I would love to wear my baby around, I haven’t tried putting him in it again.
So, yeah, I’ll admit. I was totally looking around and judging the other moms. I was comparing myself to them and ended up feeling really inadequate and unsure of myself.
Everybody else seemed like they had other kids already. And they all sounded like they knew what they were doing. They chatted about getting their kids started on sippy cups and solids. They discussed pre-school waiting lists and teething symptoms while I just sat there trying to figure out what, if anything, I had in common with these ladies.
When I finally decided to make my exit, I ran into the mom with the nine week old girl. We greeted each other awkwardly, and she asked if it was my first trip out with my son. I don’t know how she guessed, but I told her that it was. She said she’d made her first trip out without her husband just the week before.
We giggled about finally braving the outside world with our newborns in tow and how we couldn’t wait to go home, put our pajamas back on, and cuddle with our babies. It was nice to know that someone felt the same way I did. It sounded like she and I probably had a lot in common, as far as feeling unsure of ourselves as moms. I just wish I would’ve thought to get her name… but I also couldn’t wait to get back to the safety and comfort of the couch!