For three years my social life was ruled by other moms. Ones who also nursed, whose kids were the same age… Slowly I grew my own community and now I end up having conversations that can send our husbands running to get anther beer at parties.
Because we were moms and all going through the same things.
Now that we have friends down the street, it’s become a slightly different community for me. One with getting kids to eat their vegetables, discipline, naps and baby advice, but this time I’m experiencing these conversations with a different kind of animal.
Because I now also hang out with two stay-at-home-dads.
They have some cool toys, so we just walk down and play with theirs.
I only see them a couple of times a week- when our schedules mesh and I can send Wonder Boy running down the street gleefully ahead of me shouting his friends’ names.
He’d go every day if we could pull it off.
Both of them are a little older than me with older kids along with the young ones Wonder Boy plays with. One is back to school after getting laid off, and one is home taking care of the kids while the wife tries to transition to a better paying job.
Luckily, they’re both pretty social and many afternoons and evenings have been full of neighborhood gossip while the kids ran amuck in the street. Sometimes the wives even hang out and it makes me laugh that in this circle I know the guys better.
Since they live next to each other and see each other more, they’ve become close friends and have shared beers and cultivated a passion for seaweed snacks.
It’s fun to hear men instead of women compare notes on when is the best time to go to Costco, cleaning their lawn mower, bedtimes, snacks and talk yard work.
They also grew up in the next town over, so they tend to compare old hangout and bar stories while I just nod along- because I don’t know any of the places they mention.
Sometimes I feel that they are putting me to shame. I mean, their cars get washed weekly (I got the skinny from one of them he feels he needs to wash more to keep up with the other one), and they organize their garages while the kids are out playing,. Not to mention talk about the vegetable garden and its abundance of zucchini that just doesn’t satisfy their appetites for it. This while my own is still full of grass and weeds because I had months where I couldn’t bend over and weed it- and just gave up. (But we have some mighty good tomatoes and strawberries coming in!)
I’ve talked just about everything parenting with them- potty training, discipline- however, it took me a long time to be comfortable enough to have more private conversations with them.
One of the barriers was broken when I waddled down the street 38 weeks pregnant and yawning and one teased me about all of the gas and discomfort I was having keeping me up. (OK, I still don’t talk MY body functions with them, although that was an icebreaker for my comfort level there).
I also take home Lil’ Wonder to nurse because I was a little weirded out to do it in front of such a small male audience (besides, it’s hard to do it in a folding chair!). Luckily, in the last couple of weeks I’ve had, um, honest conversations about their wives and breastfeeding, so I know I can nurse in front of them.
If I ever remember to bring the nursing cover down with me.
I waited a long time to get to know other stay-at-home parents in the neighborhood, and I’m glad to finally have a little crew of my own I can emoji when I need to (we all have iPhones, go figure) and count on when I need it- although mostly it’s just hangtime in a driveway watching the kids play Jake and the Neverland Pirates.
And it’s great to get imput not only from a more experienced parent but also from a dad
My fellow moms- do you hang out with any stay-at-home-dads?