For many years, I was the only one of my friends immersed in Mommy Madness. For those unfamiliar with the concept, let me explain.
Contrary to my younger years, the only “action” the backseat of my car now sees is the hanky-panky of young children and their spilled Cheerios.
Rather than a family room furnished with exquisite furniture and fine Oriental rugs, ours boasts a plethora of riding toys and dress-up gear.
Sleep deprivation, my new state of consciousness, had led me to discover objects in unusual places, such as finding a steaming hot mug of coffee in the freezer or a bag of frozen peas in the bathroom. Having small children has necessitated the need to relinquish my cute, designer purse in place a of a diaper bag, swollen with an assortment of baby essentials. And I can’t remember the last time we were able to attend a wedding, graduation, or anniversary party, due to baby sleep schedules or a lack of eligible babysitters.
This immersion in Mommy Madness, while gratifying (in an insane way), often left me feeling detached from my childless friends.
While I was home cleaning “accidents” off the bathroom floor or scraping squash off the ceiling, my friends were taking lavish vacations to tropical islands or hopping in the car for a romantic weekend getaway. When they called, they’d ask how things were going.
“Emily had three poopie diapers this morning and I just finished up my fourth batch of homemade baby food,” I replied.
Silence on the other end.
In my Mommy Madness, I’d forgotten how to have an adult conversation.
“How are you?” I’d ask, trying to find my footing again.
“Fabulous!” the friend would respond. “We’re headed to Greece next month, and we just refurnished the living room.”
While I wouldn’t have changed the gift of motherhood bestowed upon me, I couldn’t help but wish I had time for impromptu excursions or at the very least, time for my own “play dates” again.
Years passed, and my children, while not completely independent from me, have gotten older. We’re finally down to only one child in diapers and have two full-time school-agers. And while the extravagant vacation (sans kids) is still but a distant hope, we’ve become more portable, as we no longer need to travel with an arsenal of baby gear.
And now, the tables have turned. My friends, who have spent the last decade enjoying alone time with their spouses, are now having children of their own. Their lives, now devoid of spontaneous trips, are filled instead with diaper blow outs, baby talk, and Facebook posts of “baby’s firsts.”
Now, when friends call to check in, there is a palpable shift in conversation. Gone are the discussions about travel destinations and fabulous dinner parties. These days, when friends call, it’s for my advice:
“How did you get your kids to sleep through the night?”
“What’s the best remedy for colic?”
“Is it too early to introduce meats?”
“When can the baby sleep with a pillow?”
My friends, always dear to my heart, now are even dearer. As young comrades, our times together—days at the beach, evenings at the bar or swanky restaurants-- brought us closer. But now, with the baby shoe on the other foot, and my friends in full disclosure of what parenthood is all about, our paths have wound closer together once again. However, being the one with the older children, my path is happily edging a little closer to the one all parents aspire to.
The one called: Kids All Moved Out and Mom and Dad Get a Life Again.
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