Thursday, February 28, 2008

Uptight friend

We had a playdate today with a friend of mine who lives nearby. We met her at the Y - we had several sessions of mommy and me swim class together; her older daughter is D's age and she now has a 13 month old as well. Anyway, we saw each other enough at the Y that we became friendly and at some point started getting together at each other's houses. D plays really, really well with her daughter and I mostly enjoy getting together with her as well. She's nice and it's fun to have another mommy with kids the same age as mine to chat with.

She is, however, incredibly uptight - that and she's super opinionated about a lot of things and that makes for quite the combination. I should have known when the first time we got together we started taking about what we did before kids, and being stay-home moms. She seriously went off on how she thinks, in the absence of financial need, women should always stay home with their kids and women who choose work over their children are selfish and materialistic. Granted, I love staying home and it's important to me to do so; but I'm not going to get up on some high horse and declare that all should do as I do.

In any case, we were talking today about preschool. We're sending D to preschool in the fall. We found this great school at a local church that we really like and we're all excited about it. So I asked her if she was thinking of doing preschool for her daughter. Boy did I open a can of worms! She started by saying she's really undecided about the whole thing, but doesn't think E will be ready for preschool this coming year and she's considering home schooling anyway. That's cool, I don't have any problem with homeschooling. But then I had to listen to her litany of reasons that she has issues with public schools and how she wants her daughter to be free to learn at her own pace and not be pidgeonholed into working from workbooks and doing canned activities with 30 other kids (and so on and so forth).

Every time I've had a conversation like this with her, I can't help but feel simultaneously exsasperated and like a huge slacker. Yeah, sorry, I'll take the pidgeonholing and workbooks because I'm too lazy to consider homeschooling. I don't think she's thinking that of me, nor does anything she says imply that she does. But whenever I'm around a more "crunchy" mom, I can't help but feel a little inadequate. Maybe inadequate isn't the right word, but I feel like any reason I give for not growing my own organic vegetables, baking my own whole grain, non-processed bread, and sending my kids to school outside the home where I (God forbid) won't have complete control over every aspect of their learning, any reason would amount to, "my kids aren't important enough for that," at least in their eyes.

I don't have a ton of mom friends, at least that I get together with regularly. Our good friends live next door, and L is a great friend of mine, but there's a weird dynamic between the two of us that prevents her from being my go-to mom friend, if that makes any sense. I have a couple of other girlfriends with kids, but I don't see them real often, mostly because of geographical distance. And talk about geographical distance - my online mom friends are great, but they aren't around for playdates and afternoon chats about preschool. (oh would that they were).

Today I find myself longing for a few mom friends who are close by and a little more like me. I think I'm a pretty laid back chick and it would be great to commiserate with someone else who holds similar views. Someone who isn't balking at the idea of sending their kid to school, who's ok with letting go a little bit and letting their kids be uncomfortable once in a while, even when that's hard. Someone who buys their food at a regular grocery store, in the regular food section and doesn't mind if sometimes dinner is leftover Papa John's pizza. Someone who won't think I'm terrible for letting my kids cry sometimes when sleep is a problem (boy, I'd never, ever discuss sleep issues with her!), or think I'm stifling my child's spirit by counting to three and then giving a time out if he's not listening. Someone I can have a conversation with that includes less nodding and smiling on my part, and more sharing of ideas, feelings and experiences.

I like having this person as a friend, if a little bit of a distant one. I don't mind that she thinks so differently than I do about things and our kids really have fun together. I'm just wishing for someone nearby who I could be a little more relaxed around and just have some plain old fun.


Jessica (Squawky) said...

I wish I lived near you- I think we'd get a long GREAT! I'm in the same boat you are.

akhoosier said...

I was just going to say the same thing! Boy, we'd be GREAT Friends if we lived close to each other! Dinner tonight - Micky D's because the kids need to play and run! Tonights activities - Scooby Doo and computer games.

Tomorrow, much more of the same.

And homeschooling, don't even get me started!!

~STEISE~ said...

I can't tell you how much I agree with you. And, I homeschool!!!

Seriously, people need to lighten up and realize that not everything works for everybody.