I am still living in the same city I studied in. Most of my university friends are not. I wondered how on earth this “making new friends in the city I live in” thing might work for someone working from home, whose only outing often is a short trip to the supermarket. Things shifted a lot when I became a mother.
Not only did I notice much more other pregnant women and young families walking about, I suddenly found myself in new surroundings, meeting new people, too. At prenatal classes. In the hospital. Post-natal gym. At the toddler group. Looking back, I see certain situations that taught me small lessons about this thing I call friendship, and my part in it.
I remember my mid-wife talking about the upcoming prenatal class, telling me that you usually click with at least one other woman attending, and that these friendships can be truly special bonds. However, after our first class meeting, I wasn’t so sure about that. The other pregnant women seemed nice, yes, but did I just meet my new best friend? Nope. I had honestly forgotten that you don’t just meet new friends, but make new friends.
I remember waiting at the hospital for a pre-registration of sorts, and the couple sitting opposite to me were talking about the color repeat of the shades, and some friend who was studying architecture. Now they seemed like people I could imagine being friends with. We talked a bit and wished each other luck. By coincidence, I met them again in the hospital a few days after we had both received our babies - more small talk, and we mentioned we might even meet again when it’s time for kindergarten or school. What I didn’t do is ask for their name. Or e-mail address. Boo.
Back to the prenatal class. Things changed when I was told Max had, again!, turned in my belly, and that it might end in a C-section. Which I was not expecting. I dug out the number of one of the girls I knew was facing a C-section, too, and called her. She didn’t answer her phone, but we bumped into each other the next day - and met for an introduction of our babes a few weeks later, then went to post-natal gymnastics together, met for breakfast, met for tea, went shopping for baby clothes (without our babies, nonetheless!) and now I see my new friend once a week at toddler group. So this is how it works. Talking. Connecting. Meeting. Inviting. Sharing bits of life.
Oh, and I asked my extremely cool hairdresser (who is self-employed and a mother of two boys) if she wants to meet up at the playground sometime, too. She said yes :)
Apart from “mom friends”, I have found that attending local meetings of my professional organization (Alliance of German Designers) is a great way to meet other designers who are in a similar work/life situation. Although both parents working self-employed seems to be a rare combination. I’d definitely love to get to talk with more families facing (and overcoming) the same everyday challenges!
Inspired by Elise’s article and call for comments. Thanks, Elise!