Stay at home moms like me have pretty open schedules. Literally, an iPhone calendar that is completely blank, save for an OB checkup every four weeks since becoming pregnant. When my mom, sister and aunt decided to plan a trip to visit in September, I told them to pick any weekend they could all get away and it would be fine because I was so stinking excited they were coming to visit El Paso.
They booked their flights near Archer’s birthday so they could have a bit of a celebration with him, and I started making a mental list of chores and errands to prepare for their visit.
Also this month, I planned to attend the wedding of a friend from college. I hemmed and hawed over whether or not I should go, because the flights were pricey and I’d have to leave Robby alone with the kids. My husband is a phenomenal dad and would have no trouble without me around for a couple days, but my Friday departure meant both kids would have to go to school without a hitch, otherwise Robby would have to call in sick to stay home with them. We have all been sick on and off since returning from Wisconsin, so this is dicier than it sounds.
When Robby asked me two days ago when “that thing” was happening this month, I wasn’t sure if he meant my family visiting or my friend’s wedding…and then I suddenly realized my answer would be the same. It is rare for me to have one thing scheduled in a two-month span, let alone two special weekends in the same month. I think because I was unsure if attending the wedding was reasonable for our family, I never fully acknowledged that I was going despite purchasing flights and chatting with friends who would also be there. So when my mom presented me with the dates for their visit, referring to the weekend before Archer’s birthday, my brain made no effort to alert me of the overlapping occasions.
After stress-eating a loaf of bread and apologizing profusely, I decided I should keep my commitment to my friend, since I RSVPed to her before my family booked their flights. I still feel terrible, but have been assured my family can rebook without extensive penalties. The problem is now I’m much more aware of my expected attendance at the wedding.
Most of the friends I’ll see in Baltimore are people I haven’t seen since college or shortly thereafter. We’ve all had different journeys since graduation, and my personal journey kept me from visiting the girls in New York. It didn’t prohibit me from calling or emailing, I’m just an absolutely wretched friend.
I hate talking on the phone, especially to people I don’t see often, because we end up in awkward silences or talking over one another. My high school friends can attest to this, it isn’t new. And lets be honest — emailing to catch my friends up on my incurable disease that cost me my job? Nobody wants to read that correspondence. So, I limited my contact to Facebook comments and the occasional brief messenger conversation when I had something specific to say, like congratulations on the engagement or “Hey I love your super cool yoga pics!”
My friends and I are in different places in our lives, and I don’t know how much they’d want to hear about babies, boobs, and boy parts. These women moved to NYC and elsewhere to focus on their careers, and didn’t get married five minutes after graduating from college, so none of them are in the baby-making chapter of their stories at the moment. As mommies know, when you are in that chapter, the pages of your book become blinders, and it’s hard to think about anything else. If you asked me what I was up to, but to avoid mentioning anything related to motherhood, I’d draw a blank.
Occasionally, when my sister asks a question about my life and I answer unfiltered, I see her visibly recoil. In her defense, I’d have done the same before I had kids of my own, but I’m not really sure what the line is between sharing things about my life and repelling friends without kids. With my sister, for example — perhaps when she remarked that my home looked clean I shouldn’t have countered with “oh man I found pee all over the baseboards in the bathroom yesterday! It smelled in there and I couldn’t figure out why, but there was a dried up pee-puddle from the wall down to the tile.”
Maybe — just maybe — no one wants to hear stuff like that. But that’s the news in our house. I got a horrendous cold virus that included two weeks of pink eye, so I didn’t snuggle the kids or touch anyone’s food for several days and stayed indoors for fear of alarming the neighbors. I can’t eat fruit as a snack because my prenatal blood sugar is going haywire, and I’m still tired even though I’m in my second trimester when everything is supposed to be magical. I accidentally gave Robby the pink eye-cold, and I’m starting to think Jackson will need ADHD medication someday. Archie has the runs because he’s on antibiotics for a sinus infection. I have no other updates.
I suppose when I see my friends we can chat about politics, but judging from their Facebook accounts we are all pretty much in agreement on the topics of the day. We attempted a group chat about what to wear to the wedding, but I ended up complaining about the lack of maternity options — why are the only choices Sausage Overflowing it’s Casing and Vera Bradley Duffel Bag?
I’m sure we’ll find something to talk about, and if they want to hear scary stories before bed I have a book full of doozies that’ll keep them up for days, but I’m counting on the open bar to help things along. Then maybe no one will notice me napping in the corner or flipping through pictures of my kids on my phone because I miss them even when I really need a break.
Sigh. The non-moms are right: moms are so weird.