Like Maria Guido, I too am an “old mom.” I had my first baby when I was 29, my second at 39. Being an “old mom” is a lot like dating and trying to find your soulmate. You have to find mothers your own age to complain about sleep routines and, also, possibly hip replacements (us being so “old” and all) and hopefully a mom who shares the same parenting style, like smoking pot after bed time.
For the first year of my son’s life, he literally had no friends. None. But he has three sisters and loved jumping off couches and his best friend was a straw. The dude didn’t need any friends. A straw kept him busy for hours. But this OLD mother (me) needs new friends. My friends are done having children and have been done for years and now spend their nights going out drinking and getting away from their husbands, so I hate most of them.
I needed a new group of mother friends my age, with babies, who understand that tequila shots are not a good idea with a newborn. In the area I live in, we don’t talk to our neighbors. I think most of the people who live in my area moved there precisely so we don’t have to talk to our neighbors. We like our privacy. So even if I saw a mother walking a stroller there’s no way we’d talk to one another. We might smile.
So I was THRILLED when I was sort of set up on a blind date, over e-mail, by a mutual friend, with another “old” mother who had a baby the same time I had mine and who lived two blocks away. Who knew? I never actually had to meet this mother in person, which is good, because it’s a pain in the ass dating and I didn’t want to shave my legs, even if the date was with another mother. It didn’t matter anyway. This mother didn’t want to meet me. However, this mother DID organize a playgroup for 10 other babies the same age as ours, over e-mail, with babies who all live in the area.
This mother is possibly one of my favorite people in the world because she was so damn organized that she wrote and sent off an e-mail with everyone’s child’s name and addresses.
There are a couple things she did not ask for, one being my own phone number. She just wanted all the nannies’ phone numbers. The playgroup moves house to house every week.
I e-mailed her asking if the playgroup was for mothers, because I wasn’t quite sure since I had never been part of a playgroup, even when I was a young mother. I thought this was a perfectly normal motherly thing to ask. So I was shocked (and also, I’ll admit, pleased) when she wrote back, “No, it’s for nannies only!” Well, okay then. Point taken. I didn’t exactly want to hang out with 10 other 1-year-olds anyway, for three hours, because I’m not running a daycare and never plan to (except when it comes to my day to host which I’m already dreading.)
So each week my son attends a three-hour playgroup in the neighborhood, at homes I’ve never been to, with children whose mothers I’ve never met or even talked to in person. I asked my nanny if at least she’s meeting new friends, because someone in my house should be.
“Yes I am,” she said. “Other nannies. But we’re so busy looking after all the children.”
I wouldn’t be opposed to going to these playdates once a week. But, really, I’m not fucking invited. In fact, I was specifically not invited. It’s kind of like not wanting to go to a party, but when you’re really not invited, you actually kind of want to go even more. So my son has made friends. My nanny has made friends with other nannies. The only person who hasn’t made any new friends, with babies, is me.
I’m actually contemplating going to the playgroup next time and pretending I’m a nanny, because I’ve never met any of the mothers anyway.
What’s most upsetting to me is that I NEED FUCKING FRIENDS MY OWN AGE WITH BABIES. So Maria, where the hell do you live? Because I have a bottle of champagne that’s waiting to be popped. And if you come on a Friday, it will be just us.