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Lonely, with odd update

When Bun Bun was born, I was filled with an intense desire to have just one friend with a baby the same age. Someone who lived nearby, so I could walk over to her house. We’d talk about babies, and other things, and discover we were kindred spirits and it would be awesome. Over time, the yearning faded a bit, and I did eventually become babyfriends (friendship based on babies, as opposed to a natural meeting of minds) with a couple of women, and even though they don’t live nearby and aren’t all that kindred, it helped fill the void. And then I returned to work.

Well, the yearning is back. I’m so loooooonely. When I’m in charge of both babies, there’s no time for moping: I’m too busy failing to keep my temper and blaming myself for same and crying. But on the other days, there’s a bit of an empty quality to my existence. Bunlet sleeps. What do I do? There’s laundry, and errands, but not an endless supply of household tasks*. I can’t possibly work. I can manage simple tasks, but my brain simply will not support the kind of activity required to do anything intellectual. I’ve made peace with the fact that nothing whatsoever research-wise will be accomplished this semester. I could do slightly more involved but brainless things like sewing and gardening, but Bunlet doesn’t sleep ALL the time, and he’s remarkably sensitive to my attempts to do things like that, and instantly wakes up and squalls.

It’s getting cold and rainy, and the other day I had a whole fantasy about having a friend drop by. We’d sit around while our children played/lay there being inert infantile lumps. We’d chat, drink coffee, maybe bake things, maybe have a stiff drink. Super cozy and nice. We’d both feel better for having vented about all the minor yet stressful crap in our lives and we’d go home to be better mothers, partners, people… I bet she’s out there, too, having the same fantasy. Unfair, isn’t it?

Occasionally mildly interesting people even turn up in the local community baby play thing I visit. But it seems like it takes too long to connect, and just when you feel like you might be ready to ask them out, they stop showing up. And how do you speed things up without appearing creepy (Soooo, want to get together some time?) or like you’re on the autism spectrum (You seem mildly interesting. Want to be my friend?)?

Bunlet will require more maintenance soon, and will become more of a social presence. Just today we had our first truly social interaction, with smiling and cooing. I’ll go back to work. The yearning will fade again.

Odd Update: Last week a woman showed up in my weekly baby group and noted that her husband is also named Bunlet, which was a nice bonding moment, as Bunlet is an unusual name. Today we chatted again, bonding over the fact that we both moved here from Chicago. And then it turned out her husband and I were grad students at the same institution. And then it turned out that we were grad students in the same department. At the same TIME. AND I KNEW HIM! (And when I’d decided to name Bunlet Bunlet, I’d thought of him [the only other person I’ve encountered named Bunlet], and thought, well, that guy was okay, so this is a good name. So I gave her my e-mail address, and she will surely e-mail very soon, and we will hang out a lot, and become the very best of friends, and I will be happy forever.

*Yeah, it may piss you off that I’m essentially bemoaning the fact that I don’t have enough housework. I don’t mean to be an asshole. I don’t have to clean the entire house, and I don’t make dinner until Mr. Bunny comes home. If these were on my plate, doubtless I wouldn’t have time to be lonely.

36 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ana #

    Oh, yes, I know that feeling. Even with older kids, I often really long for mom-friends with kids the same age that I can share the mundane-ness of everyday life with. I’d love to have a good kindred spirit drop by on a Sunday afternoon and let our kids play together while we chat & have some wine. Its lonely, this parenting thing, even when they can talk to you…

    October 16, 2012
  2. So I’m guessing local council-organised mother’s groups aren’t a thing there? If it’s any consolation, even when they are a thing, and even when there are three other mamas from your group in the same street, and even when you mostly get along with them even though they’re babyfriends, sometimes it’s still freaking lonely.

    I would totally swing by, but crossing the international date line could be something of a buzz-kill.

    October 16, 2012
  3. Jen #

    I wish I lived closer (all presumptions included). That is all.

    October 16, 2012
  4. It never occurred to me before, but that must be one of the harder things about being a working mother. Not having the time to form those relationships with the people you meet at the baby groups. My best mother-friend was somebody who I grew to know over a period of several months. Our sons are a week apart, we share similar parenting philosophies and now we both have daughters (who are seven months apart).

    We’re a match made in heaven… but it did take months for us to go from story-time at the library, to a mothers group doing exercise meet-ups, to doing weekly play-dates. I have no idea how you would speed things up–I think you have to take the risk of appearing slightly creepy. Or start up your own exercise group to have an excuse to meet with these women twice a week?

    I will say it’s totally worth it. What you say about just having somebody to chat to, vent to, discuss those Big Confounding Parental issues is as good as it sounds.

    October 16, 2012
  5. Oh, mama. I have that fantasy, too. And while philosophical closeness is good, I wish that we in blogland lived in geographical proximity to make such cozy tableaux a reality. (I like the idea of stiff drinks, particularly.)

    It’s funny…people kept telling me how we’d meet so many people through having a baby, that our friendship horizons would expand. I dunno. Maybe it’s coming? But it CAN be lonely in the meantime.

    October 17, 2012
    • I know, I thought that would happen, too. But I guess it still takes….something. And maybe when the kids are in school, there will be more stable relationships, but my guess is it still takes…something.

      October 17, 2012
  6. This is why I put up with my moms’ group even though they are what I call mommy-friends – just like baby-friends: people I would otherwise avoid like the plague, except we have children of similar ages. Also, in the 2 years since I quit my job I have met exactly one (1) person I really truly like. My conclusion is that I am a picky, bitchy misanthrope. Perhaps you are as well! I’m sure we would get along famously. 🙂

    October 17, 2012
  7. (Last week, while dropping Tatoe off at the house of this one person, I did sit down for coffee and a bitchfest, and I did indeed feel much better. I may have cried.)

    October 17, 2012
  8. I suffer mildly from SAD, and when I found out Gwen was due in Nov., I was really worried about that — I was not looking forward to dealing with darkness, gloom, despair, AND a new baby. Not to mention the fact that we moved 2 hours away when she was 18 days old, to a city where I knew four people, two older childless (one unmarried) academics, one young, single male academic my age, and a single, male Ph.D. student.

    January and February were really rough.

    I’d thought maybe I’d get to know other parents of young kids through daycare, and wouldn’t it be cool, since they’re also university employees, and so should be Our Kind of People, but in the 7 months she’s been there, I’ve learned the names of two of them. Oh well. We’re moving again in January, so any friendships that would form would be necessarily curtailed.

    October 17, 2012
    • All the cool people are in Heidelberg, so you’re just months away from tons of great friends.

      October 17, 2012
  9. Misfit Mrs. #

    Yeah. Lonely. I’ll hop in my spacecar and drop in. I do envy the house cleaning, but a solid two hours would make all my procrastinated mess go away, and then what would I have? Nothing to look forward to, that’s right.

    I will wish for some interesting person with a tattoo or five and character to breeze into town. I am hoping that once I return to work, this will also get less crushing,

    October 17, 2012
  10. Oh Bunny, I wish you lived near me. We could be those friends to one another. I am lucky in that I did make good connections while on mat leave with Adam but I wonder if the same will happen this time around? I’m old and a lot of the fertile bitches are so young … All I can do is hope that there will be some other old haggered moms out there this time around too.

    October 17, 2012
  11. Yeah…I had that with LG and ended up not really “using” my maternity leave. I’d just take her to campus (SMALL college) and hang out once she was like 6 weeks…

    October 17, 2012
  12. One of the things that surprised me about motherhood is how lonely it can be. Yes, we may have this little amazing body next to us, but it’s so good to talk to other people! Hoping you can find someone… Wish I could come over!

    October 17, 2012
  13. Google maps tells me it’s only 5 hours and 36 mintues to get to your village from mine. I’ll be there for supper.

    October 17, 2012
    • Oh, I’m coming to see you WHEN, I say WHEN you are home with your gummy. Sure, you’ll be surrounded by your own community, but they aren’t ME, are they?

      October 17, 2012
      • Nope, you’re in a class of your own, darling. Pack up the buns and we’ll have a baby fest in Pleasantville (and I’ll hold you to it 🙂

        October 18, 2012
  14. Yah, on my days “working from home” I often stare out the window wishing I had a mom friend to go to the zoo with or walk down to the park with. I try to make friends, but seriously, striking up a conversation about naptimes at the playground is just so not me (I started to say “LAME” but I’m trying really hard not to be an old snobber…) I’m sorry you’re feeling the loneliness too!

    Also, I don’t know where else to put this, but I wanted to thank you for the sweet potato pancake recipe. It’s been a huge hit with the girls. I’ve even used whole wheat flour and added a bit of flax seed meal or chia seeds and they chow down. Thanks! 🙂

    October 17, 2012
    • Wait, what?! Now you’ve gone and gotten yourself a friend and I’m still staring out the window wishing for a play date? Not. fair. Man, I’m totally taking the girls down to the playground this afternoon and striking up a conversation about naptimes with another mom. Even though I hate that shit. *SIGH*

      October 17, 2012
  15. What a great update! LG is actually friends with a kid whose parents met at my undergraduate institution, in another state (though we were not there at the same time).

    I am a Chicago native (well, the suburbs, and I know if you’re a city girl that distinction matters, but if you live way far away in a hick town as I did for my first job, not so much). Any hoo…

    October 17, 2012
  16. Freaky. I expect great things and hope that you don’t get stood up. Unless she’s all, damn that bitch named her baby after my husband and she’s a crazy stalker mofo and now there’s two freaking bunlets in school and my uniquely named bunlet will be bunlet number 2.

    The one friend would be awesome. Livin the dream, man. Livin the dream.

    October 18, 2012
    • Before we discovered that I knew her Bunlet she mentioned that she’d been holding out for Bunlet Jr., but he refused, so it might very well have come to pass!

      October 18, 2012
  17. Preschool. I think my social life began with preschool.

    October 18, 2012
  18. I’m the creepy woman at the grocery store who reverts to the overly social side of myself and approaches strangers with babies looking the same age as Bee and introduces (okay only if they in turn don’t look creepy). Lately my social anxiety about getting a ripping stomach flu before giving birth has helped me to tone it down a bit. I do this because it gets so lonely. And at this point there are two ladies that have little girls Bee’s age. We do a play date here and there and one of them has helped me out when I have OB appointments. But kindred spirits we are not. Nor would we have a thing to talk about otherwise I’m afraid. I’ll take the company though. I get it.

    However, I think it’s hard to try and find someone from a group to approach. Mostly because I haven’t found anyone that I would. Maybe because too much of their personalities show in the group where as in the grocery store it’s purely snap shot judgmental.

    I am holding out for preschool with high hopes!

    Also, I’m wondering when you’ll be serving the stiff drinks because I’ll be over. With two noisy babies!!

    October 19, 2012
  19. I want friends like that too. I want to sit around and prattle about kid stuff, But I’m finding it hard enough to keep up with the friends I already have who don’t particularly want to hear all that prattle.

    I hope you and Ms. Bunlet hit it off famously!

    October 24, 2012
  20. This stuff is hard. I think it’s totally okay to strike up conversations with other folks at the library or the playground or wherever you end up and to see where things go from there. I tend to believe that other folks may be feeling just as lonely and may be glad to be approached so I might “ask them out” sooner than I would in a normal social situation. It’s scary, but I try to do it anyway. That said, Roo is braver than I am about these things. She once “picked up” a family at the play area at the mall (!), who have become relatively good friends.

    October 24, 2012
  21. One other thought: are there MeetUp groups or MOMS groups where you live? That kind of thing can be a good place to meet other folks who are looking for friends, even if they don’t all turn out to be kindred spirits.

    October 24, 2012
    • There IS a meetup group…but it’s for fundamentalist christians. I suppose I could start one. But then there’s the whole going back to work in January thing.

      October 24, 2012
  22. I am imagining we will drink hot totties…is that what they are called? It just sounds like something you drink while watching your kids roll around on the floor. Let’s do it!

    October 25, 2012
    • I think that’s something made of tater tots, but I’ll add some vodka, and we’ll be good.

      October 25, 2012
  23. Joy #

    We are Ohio mommies! Due to the distance we could just blog and drink alone while our kids play seperately. Oh wait… we do that now. Oh well. Maybe things will work out with the wife of your collegue.

    October 25, 2012
  24. I don’t know how I missed this post.

    I was so crazy lonely when the bean was very small — in spite of having plenty of housework that didn’t make me feel at all un-lonely and which I mostly ignored in favor of being FD — that I went and joined a new moms group in a nearby, richer neighborhood.

    I hated it so.much. I just had nothing in common with those moms, who mostly worked in finance or were principally devoted to being married to men in finance. Our babies were too little to be entertaining, so after we’d compared and competed over birth stories and sleep (and I pretty much lost those conversations, I’m sure you can imagine), all there was left to discuss was diapers. Shoot me. (mind you, lots of them had things to talk to one another about — places they’d worked in common, neighborhood goings-on, preschools, and cetera.)

    I asked an online posse for advice, and was told to stick with it, that I’d apprecitate knowing them when our kids got to school (not really all that relevant in our big city). When my response to that advice was two days of weeping (see also: FD), I decided to scrap the whole venture in favor of just going on long walks and going to places where I might see people without kids, like the grocery store and the community garden. It was much, much better. And since there weren’t a host of other babies, mine won every time.

    Here’s hoping you can find a similar solution.

    October 25, 2012
  25. Bunny, I dont have a baby, so cant make the exact same connection that you do with these feelings but I can tell you that you burst my bubble. I thought once I had a baby I would be opened up to this awesome world of New Friends. But I see what you mean, it still takes something. Why cant we adults be like children under 7yrs old? EVERYONE is your best frined when you’re that age, even the person who you met 5 minutes ago.
    I would love to gatecrash on yours and Augusta’s meet up, my travelling time is slightly longer but still, I wanna be there.

    October 27, 2012
  26. Rhianna #

    I remember being very lonely in beginning with Arlo. I remember baking lots of bread. And was then lonely because I had no one to share it with, except for my elderly neighbors. And then I joined a meet-up group, and all the moms had babies within a month of Arlo’s age. It was a small, but cozy group. One of them even went through 8394 rounds of IVF, and another lost her baby’s twin. I thought of them as kindred spirits (of sorts), and then about 5 months later we moved to Super Conservative Town, aka Rush Limbaugh’s Hometown Where I Wouldn’t Wear My Obama Campaign Tshirt Out of the House. I joined a meet-up group there, and it sucked massively. Massively. Before we moved to St. Louis I looked at the available meet-up groups, and I found one that specifically said it was for progressive/liberal parents. It specifically said, “If you not share the values of X, Y, and Z, this probably isn’t the group for you.” AND THE ANGELS FUCKING SANG. I met a group of moms through that meet-up group with babies around Arlo’s age, and we’ve kind of splintered off from the main group, doing our own stuff throughout the week, hosting playdates and dinners, the husbands getting together to brew beer, etc. I have one particularly extroverted mom in this current group to thank for pulling me in. That “something” you mentioned in response to Adele’s comment is “something” I do not possess–but this mom has it, and I owe her a lot of thanks. This social support experience has been critical to my happiness and comfort in STL. This is the first time in my life when all of my friends are not work friends. It’s interesting.

    All that to say I’ve been a member of a few different meet-up groups, and they are not created equally. It is HARD. I wish we lived closer, Bunny. I would totally bake you bread and share coffee with you and let Arlo aggressively hug Bun Bun to the floor and crocodile roll her like he does all of his friends. (I fear for the new baby.)

    Hope the new mama acquaintance appreciates what a badass friend she’d have in you. 😉

    October 30, 2012
  27. Rhianna #

    COMPLETELY OFF TOPIC, but I saw this costume this afternoon and thought of your robot harness.

    October 31, 2012

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