A couple of weeks ago, we (the whole fam) went to our first toddler birthday party. I was excited to actually get my first introduction to the “Mommy Club.” I was kind of excited. Like first day of school excited. Like, make sure both Nana and mommy are looking cute excited. Like, unrealistic expectations excited.
I honestly had visions of meeting other working mothers, our kids immediately taking to each other and running around our feet while we sat around and swapped work/life balance stories and our husbands slapped each other on the back and set dates to play basketball at the gym. I just knew that I would leave with a couple of play dates set up and a nice head start on my child-raising village. I envisioned a whole bunch of trendy looking moms with well dressed children, delicious and cute food items and matching etsy-inspired decorations. Basically, a housewarming party…with kids.
Obviously I watch way too much television or spend way too much time on curated mom blogs.
What actually happened was:
- The party was at the zoo – awesome – but that should have clued me in that it was not like a housewarming party…with kids.
- There was no alcohol. So yeah, not anything like a housewarming party…with kids.
- The weather that I dressed Nana and myself for and the actual weather upon arrival was drastically different. So once we got there, I had to change Nana’s cute outfit for a short-sleeved t-shirt that I keep in the car. The shirt didn’t match with her shoes, so she had on a t-shirt, leggings and ballet flats. That sounds much cuter than it actually was. Trust me on this. I also had to leave my jacket in the car which took my outfit from sassy mommy to going to the store mommy.
- But that didn’t matter since every else was dressed in shorts and regular t-shirts. So we fit right in. Sweet!
- Nana and the birthday girl seemed to have ABSOLUTELY NO interest in each other. In fact, when Nana tried to get into the mix of the kids, the party just seemed to keep passing her by. She didn’t seem to mind, but it kind of concerned me. Why won’t the other kids let her be great?
- While all the other kids were playing, Nana was going around trying to pick up leftover milk boxes and begging for food. Really, Nana? Folks tried to feed Nana multiple times and this pissed both Wood and I off. Don’t feed my kid man!
- Wood had ABSOLUTELY NO interest in the other fathers. He said hello to the father of the birthday child and made some small chitchat about his job, but that was pretty much the end of the conversation. So no backyard bar-be-ques or pick-up games of basketball.
- We missed the birthday song. We were instructed to explore the zoo but to be back 5 at five for the cake and candles. Wood was kind of nonchalant about making it back at 5 but I was like, you know these are <whisper> white folks so they are going to start on time. And what do you know, by the time we made it back by 5:04, the song was sung, candles were blown out and cupcakes distributed. I was ashamed, ya’ll. Wood shrugged it off, but I was mortified. We’ll never be invited to other parties if they think we just came for the free zoo and carousel tickets.
- Worst of all, I made ABSOLUTELY NO more mommy friends. The mothers had been going to the same daycare since their children were babies. So they all knew each other very well. The children had been playing with each other since birth. Introductions were made but I still felt boxed out. I was trying to participate in the conversation but it just felt like I couldn’t get in, kind of like how Luther’s curl wouldn’t curl all the way over. Yeah, I was riiiiight there like that.
- We gave a good gift. I feel pretty happy about that.
So all in all, my first birthday party was actually pretty fun but definitely not what I expected. And honestly, I don’t even know where this expectation came from. I thought I would be welcomed into the mommy club with open arms. I’m so starved for finding other women, like me, in my situation to hang out with. That isolation that ABM spoke about is real.
But the reality is, becoming a mom doesn’t automatically gain you any friends. Like any group situation, it takes time to develop relationships with people and that comes from multiple interactions and willingness to be open on both sides. More to come…