02.02.12 The moms group I was searching for wasn't at the playground—it was in the cubicle next to mine.
I’ve never been one for group activities. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-social. I like a good gab session at work or dinner with friends as much as the next gal. But, for the most part, I don’t require a “plus one.” I’m a writer and editor, so I spend most of my day by myself in front of a computer. I have never, ever gone clothes shopping with a girlfriend, and I will only take exercise classes that absolutely do not require you to “partner up!” in any way.
But when my son was born, I suddenly wanted nothing more than to be a part of a group. More specifically, a mommies group. I imagined myself with a gaggle of like-minded women with babies around the same age as my son. We would have impromptu playdates, share advice (and gripes!) and watch each other’s kids reach their first milestones. (Look, Magnolia is crawling!) Sigh. But, here’s the rub: As a working mom, time is not on my side. Here’s a look at a typical mommy-and-me class offering: Tiny Tykes gym class, Tuesday at 12:45 p.m.; parent-and-child art class, Wednesday at 10 a.m.; multicultural music class, Friday at 1:30 p.m.. OK, so a weekday class wouldn’t fit into my 9-to-5 schedule. They must offer weekend classes, right? Wrong. The same places that are bustling with moms and babies during the week are typically closed Saturdays and Sundays for private parties. In my mind, the hosts of said parties were women who had loads of mom friends—made, I imagined, while attending a mommy-and-me class. Double whammy.
I thought I had hit pay dirt when I discovered a working moms group through a local children’s shop. The group members were all working moms (my peeps!), classes were determined by the age of your baby (babes the same age as my son!) and classes were every other Saturday at 10 a.m. (I don’t work on Saturday mornings!). It seemed like a perfect fit. But, even with our shared employed status and kids born within months of each other, I never clicked with any of the moms in my class. I partly blame my sleep-deprived state that made me even less social that usual. But, I also realized that just because a woman worked and had a baby, it didn’t mean we would become fast friends.
I eventually found a mommy-and-me music class on Saturday mornings (thank you Ladybug Music for introducing my son to the wonderful sound of drums!) but the “group” I was looking for ultimately ended up being at the very same place I spend most of my days—the office. I work with six moms who have older kids, which meant I could reap the benefits of their been-there-done-that advice. I also happen to work alongside women who don’t have kids, but who would ask, ”How’s the baby?” and then actually listen to me ramble on for 22 minutes about which bottle I thought might help curtail my son’s constant spitting up. And, after a night of getting up every two hours to nurse a crying baby, I could walk down the hall and complain to my co-worker who had been through the same thing (and survived!) just a few years before. While it may not have been the mommy group I had imagined, my co-workers got what I was going through—and helped me get through it, too.
How have your co-workers helped you transition to being a working mom?