Thursday, February 26, 2009

Making Friends In The Baby Aisle

I was perusing down the baby aisle of my grocery store the other day trying to figure out if I could justify spending $20 on a baby toy when there are two perfectly good cat tails for Jacob to pull at home. Why the heck do baby toys cost so much anyway? Is it because parents will easily drop a a fortune on baby products that offer immunity from the student-mom guilt? And you know, if your baby (who just as easily would prefer to chew on your hair than an expensive rattle) doesn't get the latest and greatest in scientifically proven baby products, he may, not develop to his potential! And WHO would risk that!!! At least this is the justification I use whenever I cave into baby-related consumption practices.

Anyway... (venting complete)...

In the middle of my internal moral dilemna, another young mom had pulled her cart up alongside mine. Glancing at Jacob's JJCole BundleMe, she commented on how much she loved the product. I looked up at her and smiled. We instantly began chatting. In ten minutes I learned about her online accounting classes, her husband's job, her family, her love for the beach, her love for yoga pants and her two sons. She has a three year old and a four month old. We chatted up a storm about our shared addiction to Desperate Housewives and how the heck could Susan divorce Mike after all these years? He's like the hottest guy on the show and she waited by his side for months for him to come out of a coma. Sorry but if a guy freaking comes out of a coma for you- you just don't go throwing away that kind of love!

As it was getting late, we both realized we had to go. But the funny thing is neither of us wanted to say goodbye. Our conversation had been so smooth and refreshing, like we were old friends catching up. I think we were also both starved for young mom comraderie. Let's face it, as good as your old friends are, when you become a mom there is a part of you that craves the friendship of people who know what it is like to sacrifice sleep for a pooping machine. A part of you needs to be able to talk about the little daily milestones your baby accomplishes without getting funny looks. Part of you craves interaction with someone who understands exactly what you are going through each day. Because being a mom, much like surviving law school, causes you to forge an unbreakable bond with others over shared trials and joys. (The people who I suffered through 1L year with continue to be my closest friends at law school despite not having any 2L or 3L classes with them).

After several failed attempts to just end our chat, it became clear that we were both needing and craving more from each other than just one time passing conversation. We were both hoping this chance meeting could turn into much needed friendship. But we were both too shy and coy to be direct about it. So we stood there in the baby aisle, as ten minutes turned into twenty, waiting for the other person to suggest something while we each stalled for more time.

Then I did something totally unlike me. I reached deep into my stock pile of social courage and flat out begged her for a play date! For those of you who easily make new friends it might seem weird that it was such a big deal for me to befriend someone I just met. But it felt good to be bold and it feels even better knowing that tomorrow I have a play date with another maternal/baby unit!

If only I could be that bold when it comes to my inner baby toy impulse buyer.


Shelley said...

Good for you! It sounds like the beginning of a beautiful friendship. :) (Plus, future accountant!)

Googie Baba said...

What a sweet story. I love my old friends, and the people I met at law school, but I also need the friendship of people who know what it's like to be a parent.

gudnuff said...

And it speaks loudly to the isolation young parents experience, and the importance of timing and luck. And, hey, c'mon...we both have to give a shout out to indecision here, since that is what caused you to pause long enough to become a stationary candidate for chatting cart-to-cart.

LEO said...

Everyone warned me when I was pregnant (along with "everything is going to change") that my entire group of friends would shift from the friends I had to people I met because I had kids, or through my kids' activities. I was annoyed then, but now I know it's partly true.

Good job putting yourself out there. It gets easier, especially when you meet good people because of it!

Anonymous said...

Congrats! That's a great step.

For baby toys, I've had great luck at consignment/resale shops, especially when I'm looking for a specific toy (e.g. the Winkle).