Motherhood is a mix of emotions: excitement, exhaustion and, of course, endless amounts of love. But here’s the thing: Motherhood can also bring up another feeling that not a lot of people talk about. Loneliness. I am lucky to have most of my family and friends living in Chicagoland, but many of them weren’t entrenched in the world of diapers and feeding schedules like I was. I needed to build my own mama tribe, and I didn’t know where to start.
Whenever my baby and I would go to the library or park, I was like a guy on the prowl at Wrigleyville bars, looking for mommy friends. But time after time I was surrounded by nannies or moms that clearly weren’t the right fit for me. I’m not going to lie, it was rough trying to find someone who was not only a cool person who I would have chosen as a friend before kids entered the picture, but also someone who had a parenting style that matched mine.
After a few months of creepily checking out every mom I encountered and exchanging information only to have a play date or two that ended up being a total bust, I was a bit desperate. So when one of my husband’s friends mentioned that she had a friend with boys who lived in my town, I was all about meeting her. I mean, if someone else vouched for her and thought we would be a good mommy match, why not reach out?
Even better, we had the opportunity to meet in a neutral setting before I struck up the courage to “ask her out.” And like most moms at a wedding, we both took advantage of the open bar and ended up looking like hot messes on the dance floor once we were finally introduced. All I remember from our initial meeting was that she was nervous because her baby wouldn’t take a bottle from the babysitter…exactly what I went through with my little guy six months prior. Our first connection.
Cheered on by my husband, I nervously typed an email to her the next week asking if she would like to meet up at a park—my first blind date EVER. She responded immediately, and I giddily counted down the days until our date. Neither of us really remembered what the other one looked like when we initially met in a drunken stupor, but thankfully we were the only ones at the park that morning. In the light of day I realized that this person was my complete mommy match.
Fast forward almost five years, we have celebrated so much together: new babies, new homes, nights out on the town
…I don’t know what I ever would have done without meeting this wonderful friend. So my advice to you, lonely mamas, is to speak up and reach out to other moms in order to find your mommy match. You will be so glad you did.
Amanda Simkin, a lifelong Chicagoan, created her blog (queenofthelandoftwigsnberries.com) to share how she celebrates motherhood in Chicago. She offers “insider’s guides” for both well-known and off-the-beaten-path family-friendly gems. Her fans include Red Tricycle Chicago and Chicago Parent Magazine.
July 12, 2016 at 3:27 PM