Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Red Bull (not the drink)

I’m at a loss. We’ve been in Philadelphia about 3 weeks now, including the week of no furniture. I’ve been working pretty hard to find activities to do with Sam, and it’s not working out the way I thought it would. Before moving here I envisioned finding play groups at recreation centers, talking to people at story times at various bookstores, and meeting other mommies at the park in our complex and at the pool. But instead, I am being thwarted. Seriously.

I’ve been working for weeks on this and just nothing is working out. The rec centers are literally not at the address that is listed and no one answers the phone, no bookstore within 30 minutes of us hosts a story time and the libraries are taking a break for summer reading, and the parks! The parks are devoid of mommies. Forget about the one in our complex; it’s lead poisoning/swing-crash-down-if-any-weight-is-put-on-it waiting to happen. I can see why it’s totally empty all the time. The pool is beautiful but totally freezing and therefore, also empty. Not to mention the fact that my visions of other moms walking around with their strollers in our little gated community disintegrated when I realized that 80% of the residents here are above the age of 70. And so we drive to other parks, beautiful parks…where we are the only living souls in sight. Are there no young mommies left in this city?

I sort of feel like the Last Unicorn, which was my all time favorite childhood movie. In the beginning the unicorn asks herself why she has not seen any other unicorns for so long, and so she goes on a quest to find them, learning along the way that the Red Bull rounded them all up and drove them into the ocean where they stay for the greedy and pathetic King Haggard to watch them. Anyway…where is this ocean? I just don’t know where the mommies are. Every day Sam and I set forth on our quest (cue music a la America here) to find other mommies and babies and come up with nada. I feel like they are all hiding somewhere around here whispering about me and laughing as I walk right by, oblivious and perplexed. And here my own self-conciousness comes into play.

It’s scary to make new friends. It was difficult in school where everyone else was looking for friends. As an adult it is much harder because so many people are already set: they’ve got their playdates, their mommy groups, the pals who were pregnant at the same time they were. They’re booked and not interested in meeting the new kid. I don’t know – is that true? Or is it just my new kid syndrome coming back to haunt me? It doesn’t even matter because I can’t find anyone to shun me anyway. How does one find potential friends? I did it when first moved to Chicago, but I was going to work. Now I do my work at home and with Sam; I’m a SAHM with Sam, hardy har.

And the problem is two-fold. Yes, I have no friends and that makes me very sad and discouraged. But Sam and I are bored to tears! I am not nearly as creative in the fun and leisure activities as I’d expected. What do you do with a 13 month old all day? And bear in mind we are broke, and often do not have the car at our disposal.

I’m just at a loss here. And I joke and draw stretched analogies between myself and a fantastical creature, but I really am sad. And lonely. I miss at least having the option of seeing a friend occasionally, or even talking to a stranger at the playground wondering if we’ll run into each other again. What do mommies do? And where do they go? If you were a Philadelphia mommy, where would you be hiding? Would you be happy to meet a new kid, or is your dance card full?


Blogger Nikkie said...

I'm so sorry for you! I always had a hard time making friends too, and when I first moved to my little town, I felt just like you do. If it helps any, my dance card is never full! I wished I lived closer!

10:06 PM  
Anonymous jaybee4000 said...

You might try looking for churches near you in the yellow pages and see if they offer anything for Moms and kids. Sorry you are so doen.

10:40 PM  
Blogger Kelli in the Mirror said...

...and the red bull followed along behind them, and washed away their footsteps...

I loved that movie too!

I'm so sorry things are tough. I kind of feel that way about blogging sometimes, wondering if people will like me or want to comment or mind if I comment on them...

I haven't been to Philadelphia in a long time, but isn't the Franklin Institute there? It might be far from you and not have toddler activities, not sure, but I remember going there with my brownie troop and thinking it was awesome.

I hope things get better soon.

11:41 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

I feel so bad for you. It takes me a while to get to the pint of having friends that are REALLY friends. But I know that you would just like another mommy just to talk to. I wish I had answers. Have you not met anyone at church? That is where we always hook up with other parents. I'm sorry I can't help more. Keep looking. Don't give up. Something/Someone will show up. Keep your spirits up!!:)

12:37 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Your post makes my heart hurt. I hate lonely, it is the WORST feeling in the world.

I have to say amen to what a lot of the other mommies are saying. I have met most of my friends at church.

You are in my prayers.

12:55 AM  
Blogger Eli's Mom said...

I agree it's hard...I totally understand! I had to search out BIG TIME when Eli was born cuz I only have one friend with kids...the rest are kid-less and have jobs during the day.
Try La Leche...just to meet people if nothing else.
Try a hospital - they often have 'mommy & me connection' groups.
Try your library (a la my recent blog).
Try a "Little Gym" - we're looking into that this week.
Lastly - try a church (or synogoge..or whatever your affiliation is).
Good luck!!

7:50 AM  
Anonymous mopsy said...

I am so sorry you are struggling with loneliness. I've been the new mommy in town, and it wasn't easy.

Joining a MOPS group helped a lot. Joining *anything* helps. Unfortunately a lot of groups take the summer off...

Take care. It takes time.

9:24 AM  
Blogger Sugarmama said...

Isn't this the very beginning of summer? It is here, and I find that it takes a couple of weeks after school gets out for people to start getting out. If you have school-age kids, like myself, then you need a little time relaxing at home before the kids are driving you nuts and you head out to the museums and the parks and all that.

So, my advice would be to relax and don't worry. Other mamas are out there and you'll find them very soon. If it were me in a new city, I'd be going to different parks--on bus lines if you don't have a car that day--and to libraries at various times of day. Museums are good, especially if they have playgrounds. Local bookstores, maybe? Also, if there are any bulletin boards around that appear to be in family-oriented businesses, you could try putting up a flyer to start a playgroup of your own. I did that once in a new town and found mamas pretty readily. Good luck!

11:09 AM  
Blogger Adventures In Babywearing said...

Sometimes you have to just be prepared to meet up and relate to someone where ever you go- I met someone at the grocery store once and took the plunge- we swapped phone numbers! It was exhilarating! I think other moms secretly WANT to talk to you in the store or at the park or in the mall but have trouble taking down the "wall" of insecurity. Sometimes you have to make the first move! Libraries, stores, LLL meetings, your neighborhood, anywhere kids are, you'll find more lonely moms like you usually!

1:05 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Your blog made me so sad for you! Your humour made it funny to read, but at the end I just felt how lonely you are!! I have always lived right here where I am, so I don't really have any tips about making friends in new places. Churches I think are a great place, as long as you find the right one. Some churches can be more depressing & stuck up than positive for you. Just keep trying. Once you hook up with one good friend, that will probably get the ball rolling. I wish I had more great tips that I knew would help. Hang in there!!

12:29 AM  
Blogger Cmommy said...

I was also going to suggest finding a MOPS group (mothersofpreschoolers). Try to locate one near you. Many groups will plan summer activities to keep the members in touch with one another!

I have your "book" on my reading list!! let me know what you think of it!

Things will get better...have you found a church/synogogue/YMCA/etc with a "mom's day out" program? They may also have a mom's group. The director at J's preschool held monthly coffees for moms! We're here for you, but I know that hearing a live voice is important for maintaining sanity, lol! {hugs}C

12:45 AM  
Anonymous katie said...

Oh! I am so scared to move! Do you breastfeed? I belong to Laleche and plan on going to the local group when we get down to Victoria (Jack just weaned, but it doesn't matter, it's just a place to support eachother!) I just looked on their site, here's a link to it:
Also are there community gardens or a foodshare you could check out? I met a lot of great mums last summer at the ones here, babies are always welcome to play while you volunteer! Good luck, even though I am not posting for a bit I am still checking in with everyone. I hope things start looking up soon :)

12:53 AM  
Blogger ABC Momma said...

I agree with Sugarmama--if you can't find a group to join, make one for others to join. I think a lot of moms wish that "someone" would get a group together. Why not you? Make it exactly what you want it to be.

I've also met several of my friends at church. The women at my church get together for playgroups, sewing groups, lunch groups, whatever.

1:33 AM  
Blogger beth said...

Wow! Thank you all so much for your comments and support. It helps so much to have you guys "around" and really reading what you have to say has lifted my spirits greatly. I'll write a proper thank you post later today and give an update on my search for mommies. I've found some promising possibilities...

8:18 AM  
Blogger Mama D said...

This is what I love about blogging. Although none of us live close to you (and isn't that strange?) we are far away but close. We care and we are here to listen. It's so awesome.

11:42 PM  

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