I have a good number of great acquaintances here in Austin, but the number of people I would call close friends has been dwindling lately. C-Man has no friends here, so he’s no help in broadening our social circle. I could take more initiative in developing some of the local friendships I have into something deeper, I admit that. It’s just that all the people I know in town live so damn far away. I’m still not happy that my house is located such that every trip away from home involves getting in a car, and I’m still not that comfortable driving at night, so the thought of putting energy into seeing people more often who live half an hour away is somewhat tiring no matter how fabulous they are (which they are).
The obvious suggestion for the mother of a two year old is “make some mom friends in your neighborhood.” This is often phrased as “join a Mom group!”
It’s not that I don’t want to HAVE mom friends. I already have some friends who happen to be moms, and they are perfectly nice people. I just don’t want to MAKE mom friends.
Making “mom friends,” you see, always starts with talking about the kids. Of course that makes total sense, it’s a subject you have in common. But often, these conversations are not actually conversations. The people involved are not listening to each other. They’re just waiting for their turn to tell the parallel anecdote or fact about their own child.
“When did he start walking?”
“She walked at ten months.”
“When did she start sleeping through the night?”
Or maybe I’m just a bad conversationalist.
Even when it’s non-competitive, this is a kind of small talk that I can’t STAND. I talk about my kid all day with his grandmother and then again when his dad gets home. Talking to other adults is supposed to be my escape! I don’t mind having Boy Detective come up occasionally in a larger conversation, but the parade of “what the kid is like” and “what my pregnancy was like” is getting old. Yet I do it, even when I don’t want to, because it’s safe and convenient and makes me fit in. At the park, I almost feel like it would be considered bad manners to do anything else. It really seems to be a community norm.
(Honestly, a while back when we ran into our neighbors down the street and spent most of the conversation talking about their foundation repair, EVEN THOUGH WE BOTH HAVE KIDS, I was ecstatic. That’s how much I miss talking to adults about non-kid things.)
So what’s a girl to do? How does one meet new people without boring oneself (and them) to tears if those other people happen to also have children?