Thursday, September 23, 2010

the great divide

Fed Ex came to deliver a package today, but in the midst of Costello's excitiment pointing to the big truck and me tucking the sisters away after nursing D I unknowingly went to the door...

1.  wearing only my bra

2.  embarrassed the delivery man to the point where he looked away and asked if he could "return at a better time."

A week prior, I had made plans to meet a friend at my favorite coffee shop.  I should probably note that this friend is single and about as far from child bearing as your overies will allow.  I hadn't seen her since Dashen was born and was looking forward to our catch up.  I tossed up my hair, whipped on some makeup, retired my Old Navy maternity streachy pants, which pretty much have been worn everyday for the last two years, and grabbed my new must have accessorry...the double stroller.

I guess I just assumed she would have figured that meeting up over lunch includes a bit of baby. That I'd bring the boys.  But the look on her face, you know that sort of smile which quivers at the corners and reads "ugh really", convinced me that maybe I should have been a bit more clear on the phone.  That we'd be a party of three accepting her invite.

"Hi" she said as she watched me struggle my big ass double stroller through the petit cafe's doors.  "I didn't realize you'd have the kids."

"Surprise" I said.  "Don't worry I have snacks"

The next few minutes were full of small talk, coffee orders, and selective table searching.  Looking for a place to sit that's close to the door and accessible without having to ask too many women, who's ovaries were also backpacking across Europe, to move.  She continued to fill me in about her plans, the men in her life, dislikes of new fall trends, work stuff.  And, honestly, I was trying to be a good friend with an occasional nod and a reaffirming "oh, i see".  But to be honest, to say i had retained much more then a "how's your coffee" while anxiously trying to distract my kids with gold fishies and Cheerios would be an overstatement.

"Mommy" Costello interrupted, as he pointed to me with a half devoured gluten free cracker on his finger.  "Yum, thank you honey." Sure a napkin may have come in handy, or even the edge of my plate, but my mouth was my first instinct, and those gluten free crackers are expensive and not half bad.

To me, this act of mommyhood did not seem odd.  We see it all, right?  What's wrong with eating a half eaten cracker?  But clearly, judging by the look of disgust on my coffee partner's face, I had just crossed a line.  A line which I'm guessing divides woman into two groups, those with children, and those without.  A line that finds me chasing naked bums around the house, combing dried bananas out of my hair, and excepting Fed Ex packages in my bra.

I doubt she'll be asking me to coffee again anytime soon.  In the meantime, the great divide continues.  Much like an elementary game of dodge ball where the half the class lines up on one side of the gym and the other on the opposite.  I'll happily join my new team of friends with double strollers and latte's in tow.

until next time - ABCD


Amber@Nater Tot said...

This is perfect. It captures so many truths. Thank you for sharing...and LOL re: the bra/Fed Ex guy!!!

Jooles said...

Honestly Alissa- This is a brilliantly written post. It sums up one side of the so called fence on how those with kids feel- but I do have to explain the other side as a person w/o kids.

I (we) so desperately want to regain the relationship(s) we had with our girlfriend(s) before family, you know the days of sharing our thoughts on anything, be it politics, fashion, career, fitness or men- focused on each other to help each other through tough times or to just talk.

I miss those days of carefree-ness and maybe some think its selfish of me to think that way, but I also miss it for my ladies. I know family changes everything, and by and large its a wonderful change but we do need to be more aware of what each other needs to maintain a deep and meaningful relationship with our friends. I love all my buddies with kids and most days I am so excited to see both them and their babes, but sometimes, I just want them to myself, w/o distraction so they can focus on me and I can focus on them. If only for a moment.

I guess as girlfriends we now need to be aware enough of each other to ask "is this a with or w/o kids moment"? and be okay with the answer either way.

and btw- you probably made the FedEx guy's day.

Beth said...


Sonya said...

wow, couldn't have explained it better myself. :)

Circus Daily said...

@ jooles Thanks so much for your comments. This is exactly why I started this blog. As a place where I can share my experiences and learn from others. Your "flip of the coin" so to speak, makes total sense. Often as a mom with young children, (and i speak for myself but likely represent a larger group here), we are consumed with our children's needs. It can be hard to revert out of this mindset to the need's or others.

I know I wouldn't be the mom I am today with the influence of all my girlfriends, so thanks for reminding me of this. Next time, I'll splurge on a babysitter.

@ Sonya... Great finding you on this. Brought me right back to NorthWest French class.

And to the FedEx guy...I don't think I made his day, wasn't my best moment if ya know what i mean.

bdogmama said...

I have a friend I love, whose ovaries are currently painting somewhere in a yurt in forest of the Pacific Northwest. Her reaction to my second pregnancy "I'm concerned for your wellbeing"...

So it's a struggle. Most of the time these days, I fall on the side of, I'm going to be authentic, which TOTALLY includes doing what you did with the half eaten cracker. If this is not okay with some of my friends, well ... either I now know the limits of our friendship, or maybe we move on. (Although I think there is something to be said for keeping those friends too).

On the other hand, the best kinds of friends are the ones who laugh right with you when you do this stuff.

And I *promise* you made that FedEx guys day!

--V said...

Not all childless women are like your friend. I don't have children and probably never will, but I have no problem with other people's kids. Unless they say they're getting a sitter or I know the kids are in daycare, I assume they're coming too.

Some of us single women put ourselves in the role of auntie. I'll entertain (read: distract) little ones so that Mom can get a few mouthfuls of coffee while it's still hot. I take kids to the bathroom (if they're old enough to do that alone) or hang with the one who doesn't need a diaper change while Mom tends to the other one.

The whole half-eaten cracker thing didn't bother me when I read it. You know what did? The stroller. Why didn't she help you with that? She could see you were struggling.

Circus Daily said...

Thanks V for your know again another nice flip side of the coin to consider. As for my friend...she's not that bad, just not use to kids. In hindsight, I'm sure she would have helped if she wasn't half way through the long line at the cash register.

My boys have a great "pseudo" auntie. They are the best. Always bringing toys and first to offer to babysit.

Big Momma said...

Great Post!

Brandy said...

amazing! Love that you went to the door in your bra.

And I totally concur about single friends. Everytime I hang with people who don't have kids, I always text my hubby or whisper to him as soon as we leave, how I don't ever want to hang with childless folk again. They don't understand and it's so draining to try and converse.

Mom friends know, we talk over the cry s, and wipe each others kids noses. :)

Pearl said...

i just read your first 10 or so posts and i just wanted to say i love your writing style. and, i see a lot i can relate to here!

thanks for stopping by my blog too... glad i could find you this way if that makes sense?

Cathy said...

Great post Lis. I remember when the great divide happened for us as well. We were the first of our friends to have kids and all of the sudden we could never seem to make it to the bar or the parties with them and after a while, the invites stopped altogether. Conversations seems difficult as our world was consumed by little no-neck monsters and theirs were consumed with stories of who did what the last time they went out and had too much to drink. Eventually, they all had kids as well and with some of them, we've been able to re-connect on a new level: a parenting level. But as you know, its difficult to keep up with friendships and conversation and return phone calls when there are 3 people at home demanding much of our time. Even more so for the working mom. We do what we can and the true friends understand and are still there in 2 months when you finally return the call. And if its a really good friendship, you can pick up where you last left off like no time had passed.

Liz said...

Another fantastic post! This one rings so true. Love the pictures, both are so sweet! And LOL about teh fedex guy!

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