The Outsider Inside Her

ed: updated below

Outside/Inside

When your first child was born you were alone. Unable to talk to the other moms at the playground or the Music Together class or the YMCA. Every time you opened your mouth everything came out wrong so you stopped even trying. Everywhere you turned you found yourself faced with another mother's subscriptions to parenting philosophies you didn't understand.

You were almost part of a group once but it didn't work out. You weren't their type. You knew it the moment you pushed your son into the shade of their tree. You were "so young" they said, patting you on the head like a puppy, so cute how you always forgot to bring extra wet wipes, so sad that your son's fingernails were always too long and so dirty.

"When was the last time you cut them?"

"Um... Wait. Are you serious?"

You thought you were becoming friends until that one day happened when you all went to lunch and everyone ordered while you were in the bathroom (trying to workshop a diaper that exploded and the tantrum that followed) so your food came late and no one waited and it shouldn't have mattered but it did and then everyone left while you were still eating because "the kids were rowdy and sorry about that. Hope you have a nice lunch."

So you ate alone with your baby in your lap as everyone else walked on, pushing their matching strollers in their matching yoga pants down the boulevard as you sat by yourself at a vacated table for six, dejected and that was the end of that.

You never found your group so you stopped looking. Pulled your hood over your head and called yourself a misfit. Crossed the street whenever you saw a stroller coming in the opposite direction. Smiled first but always crossed the street.

You threw away emails from PR people trying to sell you antibacterial detergent and tupperware and khaki pants, free samples of hamburger helper, coupons for baby food. You changed the channel whenever accosted by the white-shirted "every mom" and her perfectly white walls without fingerprint stains.

Birthday parties were always interesting. You never knew whether to stand by the BBQ or watch your son on the bouncie thing. You were awkward with introductions, felt like the token little girl at the adult table because you were young and new and never attended parenting classes or lamaze or even college. So you said, hello, and sipped your tap water and checked your cell phone for missed calls you didn't have.

Sometimes it's safer that way. To be on the outside. To stand in the back of the birthday party and watch all the other parents drink beers and talk about private school and when a good time might be to fix the deck. It's safer to take your place on the outside. So instead of making small talk you try to visualize them all having sex with each other and when they ask you what's so funny you shake your head and say, "kids say the darndest things."

You always felt like a child with children. You wished you could find a group of moms who felt the same way, who were just like you in a land where everybody ate together at lunch.

Then one day you wake up to the face of your second child, your baby, and you realize you're kind of a grown-up now so maybe you should start acting like one. You're twenty-seven years old. Which sounds so much older than twenty-three when you say it aloud.

And you go about your day feeling differently about people and yourself. Less need to rebel against the stereotypes you were always afraid would swallow you whole because you've been a parent for four years, now, and you've never stopped being yourself.

"No one is going to steal your identity," you tell yourself. "You can relax"

You feel like a grown-up now. Like someone who has a husband and a family and a career. You never felt like that until now. Until the baby came. No one is going to steal your identity. You can relax. It's called growing up and you're happy to do it. You're tired of sitting at the kid's table. The chairs are too small.

You start to look closer. Pay attention. Listen. Strip away the twin jogging suits and matching strollers. Forget about the age differences and opinions and the fact that you will never remember to pack extra wipes, until everyone is just like you. Not on the outside of course. Not in experience or in parenting philosophy but in the way you always felt like you never belonged.

And the next thing you know you're at your son's friend's birthday party, talking with the other parents, and it isn't weird or awkward but totally organic and even though you don't have a deck to fix you do have an opinion about private vs public schooling. Something you never had an opinion on until recently.

You're on the inside, with no recollection of how you got there. Surrounded by other mothers. Mothers of all ages and opinions and styles and professions and you're proud to be among them. You don't want to stand by the BBQ or by the bouncie thing but with them -- you want to hear their stories and share yours. You wonder what changed. Was it them or was it you or was it the weather? Global warming is known to melt ice caps.

Everyone is just like you on the inside, you think. Outsiders who don't know who to call or where to sign or how to belong or which PPO plan is good for their families. And everywhere you look you see the women in their matching yoga pants and strollers, jogging down the sidewalks. Except you see them differently all a sudden. They no longer scare you or threaten you or cause you to turn around.

Instead you keep walking, maybe even wave because we're all in this together. Because sometimes we have to run away before we turn around and come home. And it's nice to be a part of something.

You don't always have to be on the outside of things to be yourself...


How has motherhood made you a misfit? Have you found that parenthood has made it easier or more difficult to make friends? Do you rebel against the cliches of modern motherhood or embrace them? How have you changed?

I'll pick one commenter at random to win a brand new Micralite Toro stroller (pictured above and below), care of my fab friends at Micralite and Scandinavian Child.

Winner will be picked at random by noon PST Wednesday. Good luck!

GGC

....

Update: Thank you so much for your stories and support and ever honesty. For reminding me daily that I'm not alone. For reminding each other. You are my people, my mom's group, my best friends. I love you all and wish I could pick all of you at random to receive presents.

Congrats to Sarah at Becoming Sarah for being comment #110 (random.org) and sharing your story. Enjoy your new Toro stroller and congrats on your pregnancy!

And to all you local-to-L.A. moms -- I'd love to organize a "judgment free" meet-up so we can love on each other, make friends, lend support, compliment each other's shoes. Please email me if you're interested!

380 comments:

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Ali | 12:39 AM

Let me just start by saying you pretty much summed me up already in what you wrote. Only I've just turned 24 and I have 3 children (ages 5, nearly 3 and 8 months) I always felt like the outsider, everyone my age was out partying and working and everyone married with children like me was aroun 10 years older than me.
Now I find it strange that in a group of young mothers, even though I'm often one of the youngest, I'm the one with the experience and the advice. I can relate to people more now that we have things in common, like teething, introducing solids, nappy changing, cute baby stuff.
I think being a parent has definitely made me grow up fast, but I feel more accepted as a person than ever before.

Fiona | 12:55 AM

I don't know ... I think motherhood was who I always wanted to be? I loved the early days of playdates and treking all over with my babies. I've made most of my best friends through my kids. I miss the baby stages but am also having fun with the older stages. I'm good with it all, I think.

april g | 1:02 AM

Whoa... freaky moment... I seriously just posted a thread on a mothering forum I frequent about feeling like a social misfit and wondering if there's a magical age where I suddenly become an equal with my peers... I'm a once divorced, now remarried, almost 33 year old mother of a 5 year old boy, and am still in that awkward phase of standing next to the bouncy thing and pretending I'm checking messages on my cell phone cause I don't fit in.

It's encouraging to know that I might eventually fit somewhere.

Adventures In Babywearing | 1:06 AM

This is a terrific post. I think it might depend where you live because here in these parts all of my friends with kids are so real and would never let you eat alone. We commiserate how our kids' fingernails are dirty and all that we just can't get right- how no one is perfect. But we're a bit older than you and maybe more confident now, I remember that new feeling out the other moms thing and it's the worst. But when you do find that right group of friends that you enjoy hanging out with inside and outside of the playdate, that is awesome.

Steph

Stacy | 1:20 AM

Great post!

Motherhood has made me much more confident. I created a PERSON! Hello! That means I can do pretty much anything.

I know that sounds silly, but that thought has seriously sustained me through so many new, difficult situations. I'm so much more outgoing. I don't care so much what people think. My two-year-old son thinks I'm the most amazing human being on the planet...what do I care if the gals at Gymboree don't agree? I find it easier to make friends because with another mom, you can always talk about your kids if nothing else. It's a great way to break the ice.

Motherhood has definitely made me a better person (cliche though that may be). I'm more disciplined. More motivated. More opinionated. I can get by on a lot less sleep and I've learned that believe it or not, I don't know everything. And more importantly, that it's okay...I don't have to. :o)

Sarah | 1:52 AM

I can't tell you how much I loved this post. It really spoke to me. It wasn't quite my experience (I felt like the woman who was too old to fit into my parents group, rather than too young), but I really think you articulated the way that women (an in particular mothers) relate to each other. We're all weird and eccentric and neurotic and loving and bitchy and beautiful.

You know what I love about motherhood? I get to meet and hang out with women who are the living poster children for diversity (in terms of age, education, ethnicity, background, income and levels of panic). But I still freaking hate talking about poop and it really bugs me that people freeze when you try to discuss anything outside being a mum (and I'm talking about fairly innocuous topics such as music, books, art, etc.)

Btw, Don't pick me, I live in Sydney Australia.

WaltzInExile | 2:18 AM

I'm still waiting to live somewhere long enough to find out if I'm a motherhood misfit, or if it's just the neighborhood. I strongly suspect it's the former. Which means that at the rate I'm going, they'll be leaving for college before I settle in to this. How come nobody tells you that this motherhood gig is like repeating 8th grade?

linuxgrl | 2:58 AM

It's so good to hear that having a second baby is so much easier than the first, at least for you... Because I'm still completely overwhelmed with my first and OMG I'm not even at the point where I can consider having playdates and mom friends... I'm too exhausted! I love love love that you're embracing motherhood so fully the second time around - I hope I can get to that point too someday!

Francesca | 3:30 AM

You said it! My god that is/was me. The mother's group thing just didn't work out. Similar things happened as you describe. Women went on and on about how young I was, and I was 28!!! Just shows the joy of demographic trends hey?

I felt like crap most of the time we hung out and began worring about routines, and feeding and prams and cloth nappies and part time work and sex and my god....stop already! So I left.

Now, my son's at day care. And I have another. We began going to parties, accepting a beer, having a chat, consoling each other's children, celebrating their milestones and commiserating their hiccups. We grieved together and we laughed and now, I am able to say that both my husband and I look forward to hanging out with friends (who now happen to have children Archie's age), sharing a glass of wine, enjoying a gossip, hugging the sleep deprived and popping a cork for the newly pregnant. Who'd have thought, when 3 years ago, I watched mothers around speak a language I didn't understand, making no effort to include me and more importantly, me doing little to share myself with them.

Great post.

Bethany Bassett | 3:49 AM

I had to re-read this post. It read like an articulate glimpse into my own mind and unspoken insecurities, and I'm so glad you find yourself on the other side now. I have never found my mommy-niche, though I have a few mother friends scattered around the globe. I was a young mother by American standards (getting married and having children in my early 20s), and here in Europe, people laugh if I start a sentence with "When I was growing up..." I'm considered a baby in a country of 40-year-old mothers, and the playground conversations don't flow for me. However, I feel bolstered by the recognition that I'm not a "typical" mother. I'm happy to be on the outside if it means I can keep my own identity as a traveler, a music-lover, a writer, a woman with enough energy to run with my girls and with a whole life ahead of us. More than anything, I hope that my being a misfit mommy will inspire my daughters to live without stereotypes... though maybe I'll only succeed in giving them a stunted view of friendships. Get back to me in 18 years and I'll let you know how it turned out. :)
(P.S. - Don't include me in the drawing; you'd have to pay a fortune in international shipping.)

Jaime Bear | 4:03 AM

I've felt like an outsider ever since I left college. Well, even before then. In ways I grew up long before my friends, and in others I'm still stuck. I left college without a degree and married my husband so I wouldn't be left behind when he re-enlisted in the Marines. Those plans fell through so at times I feel at a standstill in this one bedroom apartment, laid off, with a brand new baby and my husband in a dead-end job. I don't really talk to most of my friends much anymore, but I haven't in years so I really can't blame my son. I definitely haven't made any new "mother friends" yet that's for sure, and the friends I do keep in touch with are all out of town, and most out of state.

Having my son has brought me closer to family though, I must say, and I'm finally able now to look around at my situation and say that I've accomplished something. Sure it's not the degree I wanted (yet) or a big house, or even a house at all, but I have a family of my own now and I love my men more than anything else in this world. My life finally has a purpose again, and I'll be damned if I care that I don't have lunch dates or birthday parties to go to. I'm sure one day I'll be part of a group, but right now I'm just relishing my time bonding with my little one.

Joel and Maria | 4:19 AM

What a great post. My son is 8 months old, his older sister is 2 so I can definitely relate on the differences the second time around. Motherhood has made me a misfit in that I am way more comfortable standing my ground than I was before kids. Not as much of a people pleaser as I used to be. I think it is easy to relate to all sorts of women that I might not have known without the "baby link", but I do miss my single and unbabied friends. It's definitely hard to relate to them when I'm currently at home with two babies.
I trust myself so much more this time around. I make my own decisions - not comfortable letting them cry it out, breastfeeding despite a million obstacles in the beginning, etc. It is liberating to trust myself and my instincts rather than constantly seeking reassurance.

Loonstruck | 4:35 AM

I always feel like I'm doing motherhood wrong. It's weird because I have a smart, funny, polite kid whenever anyone else is around. When they're not, he's testing his boundaries. It's normal, I know. But I feel like such a fraud when people tell me how wonderful he is.

They don't know the context of how wonderful he is and if I keep talking about it, they'll get bored and wander away. Being a mother is lots like being an awkward teen. You have so much to say but it's never the right time to say it.

Noell | 4:39 AM

I had my first child at 23 too...now he will be 6 this summer and I also have a 20 month old. I felt the exact same way you did. I was the first of my friends to have a baby, so I spent a lot of time alone. Now that my oldest is in kindergarten I think that I am the youngest mother in his class. I forced myself to sign up for room parent, and that has helped a little bit. We recently had a playdate with a girl from his old school. Her mother was 37, and I am 28. It actually was a pleasant experience even though we are at different places in our lives. So I guess this becoming a grownup thing isn't so bad, but by the time my youngest goes into kindergarten I will be an old pro!!

Katy | 4:44 AM

Wow. Where have you been through this mothering thing? Our daughter is almost 4 and I still feel this way, I am hoping all will improve when school starts (kindergarten). It is so difficult to find people that we fit in with.

Molly | 4:56 AM

I guess I've always felt like kind of a trainwreck, but somewhere in the whole motherhood thing, I quit caring so much and started trying to find the right thing to do for him, and me, and my husband, and the new baby that's coming.

It felt like I spent all of high school wondering why I did all the right things and still sticking out like a sore thumb. I like that I'm in a place where I don't notice the sticking-out so much anymore, or that it doesn't bother me.

Um, and P.S.? Love that stroller. Love.

Karen | 5:02 AM

I'm due in 10 weeks, and I already feel like I'm doing it wrong. Thank you for the reminder that it does get easier.

MirandaLea | 5:08 AM

I can relate to your feelings, but I have the opposite experience. I'm 31 and my first child is only two. I'm way older than most people I know with kids the same age as mine. Also, the other younger mothers all seem to have a really nice house and a really nice car with a gorgeous bedroom for their little one, and we live in a one bedroom dumpy apartment where my son sleeps in a play pen in the living room. Talk about feeling insecure!

NHmommy | 5:08 AM

Motherhood has completely alienated me from our previous 'friends'. Completely and utterly. It's stupid but hey, oh well for them, right? We've now joined a playgroup and are slowly (very slowly) trying to make some grownup friends and fit in. Wish me luck.
I think I am becoming more outgoing though with my child in tow. It opens up a common area of discussion and low and behold...more things pop up from there.

Rochelle | 5:09 AM

I was a young mother, too. I had my first child at 20 and I never went on walks or did the park thing. I was completely intimidated. I was the same as you and didn't want to fit in the with "stereotypical" mother. So, I tried to stay friends with all of my high school group, but they didn't know how to act around my husband and I now that we were parents. They assumed that we had changed, just because we had a baby. So, we ended up spending a lot of years alone.
Then we moved into a house in a neighborhood and this woman moved in next door who was cool and hip and had kids and didn't care who thought what about her and she embraced us and that helped us SO much! And now our baby is almost 11 and going into middle school next year and we moved away from the awesome neighbor. And I feel awkward again. And now I'm pregnant with my 2nd, due in July, but this time I plan to do the walks and the park thing and I hope that I don't feel as intimidated. I hope to find a friend.

notthemonster3 | 5:10 AM

i think i may have always been a misfit. married at 18, pregnant at 19, delivered at 20, divorced at 22. and while everyone else was still out partying, i was broken hearted & lonely with a 2 1/2 year old. and then when everyone else was getting married & having babies, i was trying to figure out school tuition on one income. and then getting remarried. and gaining a son. and finally, 10 1/2 years after the first daughter, having another one.

where before i was ahead, now i'm behind. people my age are done having babies. they are the ones trying to sort out tuition & car pools & scout meetings. i'm struggling with potty training & terrible twos, amidst a teenage drama queen, man-sized feet on a 13-year-old boy and elephant sized appetites.

i don't do things the way everyone else does. that, in and of itself, makes me a misfit. timing has done the rest.

i am definitely seeing the benefits of waiting & being in a better place all around...more patience, less worry, more time to sit back & enjoy the burgeoning beauty & vocabulary of this newest member. sometimes i think i'd change it all...but then after a minute, i realize i wouldn't change a thing.

KC | 5:12 AM

How has motherhood made you a misfit?

I was the first of my high school/college friends to get married (at 22), first to get pregnant (25) and in September, when my baby is born, the first to become a mother. They are excited for me and my husband, can't wait to play with and get to know the baby, but are not ready for the same life.

Have you found that parenthood has made it easier or more difficult to make friends?

I was a nanny for a family of 3 all through college and for 1.5 years after (same family for 5.5 years). I was not their mother, but I certainly felt like a parent. Playgroups, diaper bags, "Mommy and Me" classes (I was the only Nanny). I made lots of friends, friends that I am still close with. Those mothers have taught me and given me an example to learn from.

Do you rebel against the cliches of modern motherhood or embrace them?

I know I will be a working mother 12 weeks after my baby is born. I don't look forward to that day, but in this economy I can't count on another job in 6 months - 1 year, or that my husband will still have his job (potential layoffs...). I guess I have to embrace 'modern' motherhood and find the best way to make it work for my family.

Thanks for a great post!

Ali | 5:14 AM

My eldest is thirteen. I had him when I was 18. I was never able to fit in with the other mums. I am still the crap misfit mother, really. I will always be younger, a bit offbeat, a bit different.The Mum who forgets to sign a permission slip or make sure that my daughter is dressed exactly the same as the other girls.Looked down upon just a bit for being so young when I had my older kids.

The mothers at school are not like me.
I am able to make conversation and have even become kind of friends with a couple but for the most part I can not fit in with the pearls and twin-set set,

I also have a 3yo and a 9mo though. Unlike my older two, I am probably about the right age now. Maybe the Mum's of their friends will be more like me, maybe not. I know this: I have gradually learned that I am okay with who I am as a mother, whether the other mothers judge me or not. I used to be intimidated but now I realise that I am a great Mum. I don't need to be a 'normal' Mum of the correct age to be that. I rock.

Rebecca | 5:17 AM

I was the 23 year old who desperately wanted to have a baby, and spent my 20s trying to fix a broken marriage and trying to get pregnant. When I finally abandoned all hope, I abandoned the marriage and with it my possibility of having a biological family (I am adopted).

A mere year later, I met the man I should have met 10 years ago, we married within a year, and were pregnant within the first month. Our little Lucie was born when I was 30, turns 1 in two weeks, and we are trying for our second. Misfits make great moms.

Crystal | 5:33 AM

Awesome post! I have a feeling that when I have a kid I'll be like this. I'm already a misfit with little to no friends and I worry that it will only get worse when I have my first.

kristine | 5:38 AM

I've never been a horribly social person, but now that I'm 20 weeks pregnant with my first child I'm already seeing a change. People have come out of the woodwork to congratualte me, check on my progress, and just to chat. These are folks I've had only minimal contact with in the past. Relatives I typically only talk to once or twice a year are calling every couple of weeks. At first I couldn't stand the attention. I wanted everyone to leave me alone. But now I'm enjoying it. It's actually helping me develop deeper relationships with a few women I shied away from in the past. I'm excited to see where this will go after I give birth in August.

vertigob | 5:44 AM

Motherhood has made me more of a misfit. I am over 40 with a toddler and an 11 month old. I know there are more of us, but we are by no means the norm. Yup, I am...of advanced maternal age. Thanks! I needed that one tossed up in my face.

I have never been a terribly "friendy" person. I tend to have more male friends, turns out, they aren't moms.

Don't know why, but being an "older mom" has made me feel even more marginalized, more alienated from other women, more judged. Will someone mistake me for my children's grandmother at some point? Ugh!

Shay | 5:44 AM

Ah! Get out of my head, Rebecca!

I'm 24, and a new mom. My beautiful Helena is just two months older than your beautiful Fable, and I'm in an extremely weird place. It was such a surprise finding my husband, and then finding out I was pregnant (two days after I got fired from a church for helping someone (!) or should it be (?)) that I look back on my life two years ago and it just doesn't make any sense juxtaposed with the life that I have today. And it feels like my friends (who aren't very good at being friends but are nearby) have backed away slowly, and the new friends I've made that know this Shay, this life, are all an hour away by my husband's job. And I'm stuck inside of a house we can't sell, in a neighborhood that's kind of scary to be outside in, with a driveway that is a deathtrap to get out of (blind curve at the bottom of a hill) and I'm just...tired? bummed out? Something. Thank god for my lovely daughter because I can't get enough chewing on her chubby cheeks! Just me and her and hubby, and we'll get there someday!

P.S. I wish you didn't live across the country, I SO would have waited to order.

Lauren H | 5:50 AM

I'm due in 9 weeks. I've had a hard time making friends lately bc where I work there are a lot of single people and just being married put me kind of "on the outside". I don't know what will happen when I have my baby girl. I hope I can find some friends with this new "common ground" but who knows. I've always felt kind of like the outsider. We shall see.....

A | 5:52 AM

Ugh! Exactly! Exactly! Exactly!

It's so weird, feeling like a misfit. I wrote a post about it around my daughter's 9th month. I had "friends" who knew we were trying for a while to get pregnant...and when I shared the happy news that we were expecting, I was floored by their responses. It went something like this: "well, shit, now we can't go out and party and get drunk together. and no more sushi either." I guess they hadn't noticed that I stopped doing all that stuff about a year before.
I'm the only one in my group of (older!) friends who has a baby, and I've been married the longest...(on my second marriage too, btw...but let's talk about that later). I'm 27, my husband is 28, and all of our friends are in the 28-32 age range. I've recently had to revisit random acquaintances and make friends so that my kiddo can have some toddler interaction. They are, of course, all in their late 30s and done having kids. I've tried to stop thinking about how we aren't the same, and how we aren't in the same place as parents, but it's hard!
The nice thing about being the first parent in your group of friends, though...IS the experience. You've been there and done that, so your friends will turn to you when the time comes. I just learned that a girlfriend of mine is pregnant, and she came to me asking for help, books, and advice. That's a good feeling. Much better than being left alone at the empty table for six. (I can't believe the audacity, btw, of those girls!)

pam | 5:54 AM

I had my first when I was 17 so imagine how 'outside' I was. I never got in either.

Christine | 5:56 AM

I'm the single 27 year old mom with 3 kids. Yeah I'm the misfit mom. I don't quite fit in with any of the mom groups. I'm too young. I'm straddling the line between working and not. I'm marching to my own drum, but then again I always have. Having kids has just amplified some of my feelings of isolation. Set me apart in new ways.

MeganL | 5:57 AM

My husband and I are just in different places in our life and relationship than our friends are. It's really hard because we just dont have the same interests anymore (i.e. going to the bar every weekend) and it's really put a strain on our friendships. We are hoping as everyone grows, it will become easier!

Meg | 5:59 AM

You always put into words exactly the thing I can't. We live in the Bible Belt, where everyone wear khaki pants and goes to church socials. I'm looked down upon because we don't go to church and I like to wear jeans. I let my daughter say "butt" and "crap" and we actually have fun playing together. I don't organize play dates. We don't eat organic foods. Basically, we do our own thing and love it.

It's been hard for me, and I've actually been thinking a lot about this. I spend more time cultivating my online friendships than I do in real life because I feel more myself online. The people around here just don't get me.

We're nearing the age of school and sports and I'm anxious to see what this will bring for all of us.

Melinda | 5:59 AM

I have found it really hard to make friends and keep friends now that I am a mom. I feel like the only grown up among my friends since most of them do not have kids yet. It is hard but I would rather be lonely for adult interaction and have my darling 8 month old son, than have all the friends in the world.

Stephannie | 6:05 AM

I feel exactly that - a child raising a child. For Godsake, I'm nearly 30 years old and married and had the baby on purpose and I still feel like a clueless 16-year-old girl.
I have a "perfect baby friend" who I've been in an unspoken competition with since my son was born 10 days after her daughter.
Her baby was sleeping through the night (supposedly) at 11 weeks. Mine, six-and-a-half-months. Hers was rolling all over the place at five months; mine, six months.
I have no mom friends. I hate the constant judgement and raised eyebrows and silent snickers. I too smile and cross the road when I see those stroller bitches reading to mow me down.
I rebel against as many mom cliches as I can, because, well I'm not June Cleaver. Although I love my baby to pieces, he is not my world, I do need to get out now and then, I do need time for me. I still like to look hot for my husband (and for me), I love to go out with my non-mom friends on occasion for a few drinks.
I have changed leaps and bounds. It's not all about me and what I want and need - baby comes first in many respects and I'm okay with that - more okay than I thought I would be. After all, I am an only child, you know what they say about only children.
I do the best I can with what I have to give. I give him my all, because he's worth it and I love him more than I thought I could love another person. His presence in my life has shaped me, made me a better woman, friend, wife, human. I owe a lot to my little Noah.

jami | 6:09 AM

You always have the words to say that I just can't seem to form into a cohesive sentence :). It is like you know my innermost thoughts and feelings, but I guess that is because we all feel them in some way. You are an incredible mother and person! Thanks for the giveaway!

Marin | 6:10 AM

First, don't enter me in the contest because I don't have a baby.

Second, I can't believe people didn't want to be friends with you. Seriously. You are so COOL.

bstab | 6:10 AM

Oh not a day goes by that I don't feel like a misfit. My girl is almost three and first it was that none of my close friends had babies. Now they all do but I'm so unlike their philosophies sometimes, I'm still scrambling on a daily basis to remind myself that I'm doing it right for our family. And I'm not ruining anyone's life by doing things our way.

Thanks for this post. It's a great reminder that we do all feel lost in this mess.

I'm Heather | 6:23 AM

As a girl whose always had an easier time being freinds with the boys, mommy groups scare the hell out of me!! I've been lucky enough to find a couple of moms, with kiddo's Greyson's age, to call my best friends. I still after 3.5 years of being a mom can't do the whole mommy group thing. It's just not me, or maybe I'm just not them...

Keri | 6:24 AM

I don't know if I would call myself a misfit but I'm sure that other people view me as one. Parenthood has definitely shown me who my true friends are. A couple of friendships ended because of their warped views of parenthood...expecting my child to act as perfect as their children do.

Since I'm Deaf, there's a small Deaf community where I live so with those friendships that ended, that leaves me even fewer options to make friends. Hearing people freak out when they meet me, thinking that communication isn't possible. If only they treated me just a human being like them, things would be easier. So far, only the parents who practice Attachment Parenting are the ones open-minded enough to talk to me. Luckily, I am an AP parent but it's still not a perfect situation.

I have changed because my children make me want to be the best parent possible for them even if it means stepping out of my comfort zone to make sure that they experience what life has to offer to them. Including meeting other parents and children who I wouldn't normally interact with if I didn't have children.

Anonymous | 6:27 AM

It seems that our circle of friends is reversed; all of my friends had their kids as I was starting law school so, while I have 2 year old twins, their second/third kids are my kids ages. It was kind of nice, actually, for them to have gone through infancy/toddlerhood stages first so they could offer me support when I was freaking out about anything and everything. So, even though we're pretty much all the same age, my friends have kids ranging in age from 10-8 months. I like to think that we all just commisserate with each other and there's not too much judgment. Also, I live in Michigan so I'm sure if I lived in LA (my bro-in-law lives in Newport Beach), my experience would be different.

Thank you for this post.

Leslie

Kendra | 6:27 AM

Becoming a mom has done some interesting things for my identity. It's very isolating, since I stay at home and have lost most contact with pretty much all my pre-kid friends. But I've met some other moms and they've introduce me to others; and I've discovered the phenomenon of the mommy blog (and I don't know how other people feel about it, especially those who get described as mommy bloggers, but as a reader and new blogger, I think it's a lifesaver). Every once in a while, I find myself with a group of women who talk honestly about the things that matter, and I feel strong and competent and like being a mom has meant coming into my own. More often, I'm alone or just remaining quiet so I don't say anything to give away how stupid I feel. But I've found that there are these places, these blogs, where moms are totally honest about who they are. And they make me feel so much better about who I am. And they make me think that maybe I can do that too, be honest about who I am and make another mom somewhere feel better about who she is. And sometimes another mom asks me for advice, and I realize that maybe I do actually know what I'm doing.

I'm pretty scared of the moms at the park and spend the birthday parties pretending that my kids can't be without me for a single second and worry that everyone else is thinking about how much I need a haircut and some lipstick. But honestly, blogs like yours (and all your wonderful readers and their comments) remind me that I'm not the only one to feel that way, and that makes me feel a lot better.

Marianne | 6:28 AM

I am 6 weeks from my due date, so maybe not really qualified to answer, but things are already changing. Several of my friends are already pregnant and I can feel a distancing from my childless friends. The exhaustion of pregnancy coupled with the lack of drinking has changed my social constructs and priorities, and I don't see those old priorities coming back for a while after the baby comes. With most of these friends it feels like a natural growing apart, though, like it was already in motion before I even got pregnant.

Sara | 6:28 AM

And even my husband doesn't understand.

(Stuck on #1)

bekah | 6:29 AM

Im not sure im eligible for the contest, Im pregnant with our first so I cant really say much about meeting other moms and such, but I can say that it terrifies me. Im relatively young, 24, I have no idea what I am doing(I mean, not really), and it's hard. And I dont even have the kid yet! I feel like I am judged by the answers I give to the questions they ask.

I have actually had one person ( a family member at that) tell me "you arent ready". Yeah? Well tough. Im pregnant, and I will do my best to provide everything this child needs. I can tell you this, I will love this baby, I do love this baby.

Im starting to go off on a rant...I should stop now. And breathe.

NES | 6:31 AM

Motherhood has both helped AND hurt, I think. Through it I've made some truly great friends. But I also think because of it, and its all-consuming constancy, I've also lost some friends who seem too far across an abyss now to reclaim.

wordnerd | 6:33 AM

My son made me less of an asshole.

I almost can't type it...it's more painful than you can imagine to even fess up to this.

I was one of those people with an opinion on everyone and everything. I was *usually* pretty good at only sharing my opinion with the like-mindeds, but I still HAD those opinions and they percolated just under the surface at all times.

to wit...

How could people EVER go to a resort instead of spending a week in Barcelona? (because maybe they were tired and wanted a break...ASSHOLE)

If people REALLY thought about clothe diapers, they'd realize what a colossal waste pampers are! (Maybe some people think that your clothes dryer is also a colossal waste of energy and maybe some people can't afford or simply don't WANT to do clothe diapers...ASSHOLE)

How could someone ever drive an SUV? (because they WANT TO...ASSHOLE)

A little over a year ago, the universe shifted for me....I realize, finally, FINALLY realized, that those are MY values and I in no way have ANY right to impose them on anyone other than myself. Anything else makes me an asshole.

I still have my moments of doing or saying the wrong thing, but by and large, I have become more tolerant, more understanding and more open-minded. I finally *get* that all sorts of different people have all sorts of different ideas about how to live their lives. And this is a GOOD THING.

Sherrill | 6:34 AM

Of all of your posts, this one struck a huge chord with me. I live in my husband's hometown. 900 miles from mine. Initially, I was so infatuated, that I didn't care if I made friends. Then, I was scared with a touch of lazy, so I didn't make friends. Now, I have a five-month-old daughter and a great husband...but I feel lonely and miss having friends.

I still wouldn't trade it, though.

Michelle | 6:39 AM

Becoming a mother has caused me to become my own person, to be more comfortable in my own skin. To be more me and not case what others think. I need to be an example for my daughter!!!

Shylo Bisnett | 6:41 AM

This really hits home -- not because of the age stuff (I'm 30 and due in three weeks) but because of so many other factors about parenting and personality. I'm just shy and like you, Rebecca, never had a lot of girl friends. It's tough for me to trust women. And even though most of my friends are my age, almost none of them have children -- and are pretty emphatic about that. Plus, I'm staying at home with my kid.

I feel like I'm in junior high school again and I'm wearing Palmetto jeans when everyone else is wearing Guess and nobody will tell me where to get the better jeans.

amber c. | 6:43 AM

Excellent post. Motherhood is a strange, new world that I'm still trying to "relax into" with a four month old by my side 24-7. I've never felt particularly "inside". Some days that's OK and some days it rips my heart out. But you're right -- on the level that matters, we're all level.

Erin, Nick and Merrick | 6:44 AM

Even among friends, I still feel like the misfit toy.
We are raising our son very different from everyone else we know. So that makes us different.
Merrick talks like an adult, cause we never talked at him, we talk to him. Merrick is VERY independent, cause his father and I are also very independent.
At 2, we let him make decisions. Paint colors, clothes, restaurants, we want him to know that his feelings matter.
So we are all a band of misfits together : )

Miranda F. | 6:49 AM

I've found that it makes it easier to meet people...Esp. since I don't have a large friend base in the city I moved to a few years ago.

Mrs. Cline | 6:57 AM

I adore you. I am not a parent yet, but I hope that when I am, I have the courage that you do.

Natalie

curryrl | 6:58 AM

As always Rebecca, your words are so true! I was the too young mom - I was 18 when she was born - and wife. I also went back to work full time when she was 6 weeks old, so there were no "mom" moments, no opportunities to meet moms at the park or coffee shop. Just me struggling to belong to this new life of being a wife and mother, the new life of not living under my parents control and rules. It was a hard road to navigate for someone so young and naive.
When she started preschool and began getting invited to birthdays, it became evident that even though I tried, I wouldn't be able to just fit in. I always found ways to fit in at work and school but with other moms I was an outcast. People just looked at me like I was wrong. Like because I was a teenager when I got pregnant, my daughter was doomed to become a teen mom or a druggie or something else that was socially unacceptable.
But then, when she started kindergarten, I rebelled. I decided that no matter what the other parents thought about my age and experience as a mom, I didn't care! I would prove that regardless of my choices in life, my daughter would grow up well adjusted, educated and open minded. Just because she wasn't planned to come into the world of perfect suburbian cookie cutter houses after her father and I had been married for the appropriate number of years and had our white picket fence painted and our daisies planted, that didn't mean that she wasn't wanted, loved or able to be raised properly with good morals and an education. Once I stopped caring, I realized that I wasn't really as much of an outsider as I perceived myself to be. I have mom friends now and sometimes, they even ask me for advice! Me, the one who is years younger than all of them... look at me now! Who would have thought?!

Katie | 7:01 AM

I'm 28 and have only been at this motherhood thing for 7 months. But before my son was born I hadn't made a new friend since college. And honestly, as an introvert, that suited me just fine. The interactions at work all day, with my husband at night and occasionally with friends was enough for me. Once I was home alone all day with someone who couldn't talk it was a different story. I sought out a moms group right away and I'm sooo glad I did. I think I would've gone insane by now if not for them. There are some of them I don't think I'd be friends with, if not for our children, but I think that's okay. We all get along and I get to hear some different opinions, things I wouldn't have thought of.

carly | 7:03 AM

Fable's little toes! She's too much.

Allyssa | 7:05 AM

I usually feel like an outside because I LIKE TO WORK OUTSIDE THE HOME! All my mom friends are either SAHMs or moms who wish they could stay at home. I feel like a freak! Plus, I'm an attorney and when I mention that to other moms, they get this weird look on their face and say "ooohhh" and then get all weird, like I'm acting like I'm better than them, which is strange b/c I didn't act like I was better than you the 3x we met up previously, then when you finally weasle out what I do (b/c I don't like mentioning it), you freak out on me! Argh! BUT, I do find it easier to find friends as a mom. I lived in my new city for 5 yrs with only 1 girlfriend from previous lifetime and no new friends. I have a kid and poof, new friends. Very odd how it all happened, but I'm grateful, nonetheless.

Little Dude's Mama | 7:06 AM

Oh sure. I belong to both the group and the ungroup. I feel pretty confident in the ways in which I'm raising my daughter, yet I hear why the things I do or believe aren't the best. She wasn't breastfed. She sleeps with blankets. She had a pacifier. You know, you hear it all. And I defend it too ... but I am also guilty of making the same judgments against other moms. I hate myself for that, but I think it's a coping mechanism for the criticism I have to process.

Trish | 7:08 AM

My whole life I have always wanted to be a mom. So when I had my daughter I couldn't wait for play dates at the park and the zoo. But unfortunately, I live in Orange County and HAVE to work. I tried to join a weekend playgroup but I just didn't fit in. I felt out of place because I was the working mom among lot's of stay-at-home mommies.
Then at work, I am surrounded by very young teachers who still party all night or older teachers whose children are all grown. I don't really feel I fit into either world.
Luckily I have a few great friends that I have always known. But when it comes to meeting new ones, I have yet to find that perfect niche. Maybe with the birth of my second baby, I will feel more like you. Here's hoping. I just LOVE reading your stories!!!

Angie | 7:09 AM

Motherhood has changed every relationship I have. Those I thought I could count on have disappeared and those with whom I had only a casual relationship have been the most supportive. My MIL betrayed us horribly and is out of our lives...and the love between my father and I has grown. Everything is upside down. I never saw it coming.

Rachel | 7:11 AM

My life lately has been the same, but different lately. How has no longer being a parent made me a misfit or outsider I should ask.

My husband and I are/were foster parents trying to adopt and were selected for three boys, 4, 7, and 8. During the time they lived with us (because our state has a mandatory 6 month foster rule before you can finalize an adoption) we discovered they had extreme behavioral special needs with ADHD, Bi-Polar Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, blah blah, etc. We still loved them and fought for them and campaigned for them at school the entire time.

I was 23 and my husband was 32 when they moved in. It was death to my already slim social life. What 23 year old has an 8 year old that convinces his 7 year old brother to break out of their bedroom window in the middle of the night to go to the mall and get picked up by the cops? What 23 year old never sees her husband so that she can work an evening shift because someone can be at home at all times in case the school calls because the 8 or 5 year old has been suspended again and needs to come home?

Our nextdoor neighbors, another youngish "perfect" couple with 3 girls who had once been so excited for us built a literal fence around their front yard to keep our boys away. The other mothers at the school smiled weak smiles, grabbed their kids and walked away when I entered the building.

Despite all this, we were committed, devoted, and loved our boys. We made our therapy meetings, IEP planning sessions, psychiatrist appointments, etc. And then the state decided they needed to remove the boys from our home and separate them because they are "too special needs."

I miss my children everyday and still feel like an outsider. Instead of being the mom with the bad kids, now I'm the mom with no kids. I get pity smiles now. I'm 25.

Hubby and I are renewing our foster license this month and are going to return to pure foster parenting of infants for a start. And then I'm going to start my own support group for other foster/adopt moms in the area who are struggling with the same outsider status. Mom but not mom. Here goes.

Along this path | 7:16 AM

I am six months pregnant, so I only have experiences with the baby bump so far, but I have noticed that more women are talking to me now. Women seem ready to offer help or advice and just talk about their children. I am ready to be a member of the Mommy Group!

Misty

jamie | 7:17 AM

I call them "power stay at home moms". The ones at the zoo with their mighty strollers packed with lunches/snacks/diaper bags. Each one wearing fabulous walking shoes. I work PT but don't seem to fit into their world. Not really home, not really working.

I've found my own group of moms who aren't afraid to say parenthood sucks sometimes and that their shorties aren't perfect. They get it - this is a bittersweet gig.

Lacey | 7:25 AM

I kind of find it ironic you are posting about this because this whole mom thing has been on my mind a lot.
I am too a young mother, 26 to be exact and it has always been hard for me to make friends with the other Gymboree moms. I do not know if it is my age or how I appear, but I am not fitting in. I also find it a tad bit difficult since I am also a military wife and moving around is my middle name, so in the end making friends gets harder. All in all, I love being a mom and my husband and kids are great reminders that sometimes finding that perfect friend is not as important as I think:)

Mrs. Jenna | 7:28 AM

I'll give birth to my first child in November, at the ripe old age of 29. Already I see myself rebelling against typical "mothering" ideals, and striving so badly to be a "cool mom." I don't even know if I know what that means.

My other non-married, non-child-rearing friends are beginning to separate themselves from me. And friends with children are suddenly my best friends. Meanwhile, all I really want is a beer and a loud show.

But I cannot wait for my little one to get here. Hopefully, regardless of how I see myself, my child will see me as a hip mom. (Not to be confused with hipster mom. Weird.)

Naomi | 7:30 AM

It's definitely harder, especially with two kids. You can't just get together, stay out all night talking, etc. Plus most of my friends have been rocker types and that's not as easy to find where I live now (bible belt), especially at playgroups!

shoe | 7:31 AM

Wow, I am so self conscious about being a mom! As a graduate student my friends think we were crazy trying to juggle a baby when everyone else was out at shows or parties, and other moms think we're equally crazy for having children before we're 'settled'. Though I'm grateful of having the flexibility to pick my daughter up early from daycare and finish my work after she's in bed, I can't help but resent the parents that have a more stable career, fancy baby accessories and of course friends that they can share their stories with!

Emily | 7:33 AM

I was astounded by your entry on motherhood. I have experienced those same feelings-being an outsider among "stepford moms". I was 21 with two childern under the age of 3 not very long ago. I often felt out of place with mothers that were atleast 10 years older than me. Most of my friends were still single and having a blast in college.
Now at 33 I am a mother to three children (ages 13, 11 and 21 months!). I am the mother who is enjoying my baby and not worrying about whether she eats dirt. I am having a blast with my older kids and they are two of my best friends. I am confident in my calling as a young mother and I am proud that I have the experience to share with others regardless of being 10 years their junior.

Rachel | 7:35 AM

This rang so true for me but in a different way... I felt like the outsider and uncomfortable before my daughter was born. she has made it easier for me to talk to people about life in general and not be so shy and feel like anything I say has to be brilliant or else I'm wasting other people's time. I know it has brought me closer to my best friend who I've had .. connection issues with for quite a few years. we were pregnant together and are now moms together and I cherish her beyond all words. I used to feel like I couldnt live up to the way she and others thought I should be, but now we stand strong for each other and the judgements are just not there.

This Mom thing has changed my perspective so greatly that I feel like I GET IT. and maybe thats why I never clicked with people in general before. I still have a hard time finding people that I truely enjoy - I'm waiting for the day when some of my 'soul friends' get pregnant so we can hang out without going to the pub...

but I am figuring out this mommy club thing - and I think that women are still who they were before children came along, its just different traits that come on stronger than others. I'm still quirky and akward, but I can hold my own with the overbearing, the loud, the pushy - but I'm not buying the matching yoga pants. I find that the mommies I love are the ones I would have loved if we didnt have kids, but those gems are hard to find.

Emery Jo | 7:36 AM

initially, i fled from other mothers because... ewww.

then i was embraced by some and have never looked back. my single friends suddenly seemed... mostly clueless about the workings of my life.

now, i find it very EASY to make acquaintances but very difficult to make FRIENDS. Because the kids are running around and going deep is nearly impossible to do.

for now.

Megan | 7:37 AM

As per usual, your words seem to tell my own story. I also was 23 with my first child, attending playgroups with women 10 years older than me, and never feeling like part of the group. Always lying about my age and acting like I wanted to talk about the best type of minivan. I still feel that way most of the time, but hopefully when we decide to have another one, your experiences will again mirror mine.

Abby Girl | 7:39 AM

Motherhood is definitely an adjustment that is still taking it's time working itself out in my life. I love being a Mom, but socially it's changed me completely. I have a group of Mom's that have invited me in after I had a baby - but I am definitely the odd ball in the group. I am the one who is all - Let's do SHOTS!! when they are all saying no to a second glass of wine.... I guess I am younger than all of them - but I am also completely different. I like the outlet of being able to talk to them about Mom stuff - but I also need the option to HAVE FUN when I have the time off!! I am still looking for "my Moms" I guess!

Great post - it really sums up how I am feeling right now....

Abby - Mom of Elliette the 13 month old...

Mimi | 7:42 AM

I had my first child at 24 and felt like an outsider as well. When my second came along, everything was easier. I wish I knew everything that I know now when I only had one baby... would have made life less stressful.

Beautiful post!

Ashley | 7:42 AM
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ashley | 7:43 AM

I'm still just a mother to the unborn right now, but it has still changed my ability to make friends. Women who aren't pregnant size me up trying to figure out if I'm with child or just fat and women who are pregnant size me up trying to figure out how far along I am, how much weight I've gained, if they are looking better than me. Once that barrier is broken it's easy to talk about things like pregnancy and childbirth until I mention that I'm having a natural birth center birth with a midwife and they reveal that they would never consider not giving birth in a hospital. Then the conversation politely fizzles and we part ways. *sigh*

Courtney | 7:49 AM

I feel like an outsider because we don't have a baby yet. While all my friends are giggling over their husbands trying to figure out the baby bjorn, we're still just thinking about trying. I am 28 and my husband is 31 and we do want to be parents, we are just "planners" and the plan hasn't reached satisfactory yet. I love reading your experience and often feel like when I do have my children I will come back to your posts and see that I am not alone in my experience.

Sonya | 7:49 AM

I'm at the other end of the age issue--always older than the moms I am around. It's hard that way too but I think the issue is mine. No one else has ever made much of it. I'm trying to speak up more and reveal more about myself. I know there's a connection to be made when we get past the facades and the insecurities.

shelby | 7:50 AM

Your blog has made every mama feel that much more "in". Thanks!

Betsy Ralston | 7:54 AM

Great post, Bec. You offer perspective on how important it is to maintain and love yourself while maintaining and raising a little one, or two. We're gearing up for a baby, and this is something I will keep in mind as the journey progresses. Thanks for the insight.

Darkblue | 7:55 AM

I was a punky teenager...gangly, but unafraid to make an ass out of myself, so I had friends-more like people who didn't mind hanging out. Then I got married, took out my lip ring, had one beautiful daughter, decided blue hair wasn't for me, really fell in love with being a mom, had another daughter, made some peace with myself. Now I am 21, have two girls under two, and I have no real interaction with anyone besides my girls and my husband. I'm too young for the playgroups full of moms in their thrity-somethings, driving their awesome cars that I seriously can't afford. I'm too 'dreadlocky' for the perfectly coifed moms who hang out at the coffeshop, too awkward for everything else. Being a mom has made me a woman as opposed to a waste of space, but it sure has made me a recluse.

Chandra | 7:58 AM

Wow, you just summed up exactly how I've been feeling. I totally feel like a kid playing grown up, but it's nice to hear I'm not the only one.
moonbeam234(at)hotmail.com

Mandi | 8:03 AM

I am very confident in my mothering skills. I went to school to teach preschoolers and worked in daycare before I had my first born. I just had my second and am still just as confident. With that I would like to say that I am almost always the one hosting. Trying to figure out the bouncey thing and making sure the barbeque will be enough for everyone. Refilling the beer and organic juice box coolers. Everyone comes to the parties but no one offers to help. So, I'm not sure where that puts me...

marleymonet | 8:04 AM

i am 26. i was the girl that was always super shy but i was a hairstylist had tons of friends to go out with. me and "my gays" danced our asses off every weekend, my boyfriend (now husband) and i went to mexico in 2008 and lo and behold i came home and 3 weeks later i found out i was 8 weeks pregnant. we had been together 9 months. i immediately became a misfit. i have 2 friends that i see but it's maybe once or twice a month. the people i went out with all of the time have never even met my little girl. most of them didn't even come to my baby shower. i still try and make an effort to see them but my daughter will be one next month and i guess i'm wearing a sign that says "i have baby cooties" because seriously i have no idea why we can't still be friends??!! every mommy group i've looked into seems like it would be the most boring, god awful thing to endure so i gave up looking. it's whatever. i am a badass mommy and wife and that makes me more proud than a thousand friend trinkets hanging from my wrist. i wouldn't have it any other way!

Jamie Rock | 8:04 AM

I am 15 weeks pregnant and I already feel like a misfit. I will be 25 in a couple of weeks and all I have ever dreamed about was being a mommy. Now that it is happening I am afraid of so many things. The number one thing is losing me. You give me hope that one day I will fit in to this new "mommy" role.

Heather | 8:06 AM

I could have written your post. I was nodding the entire time I was reading it. I do feel like the misfit mommy at times, because I don't want to be stress out mommy, who I seem to run into at every twist and turn in life. I want my kids to grow up in a relaxed and loving environment. That is not to say that I don't have limitations and rules, I just don't want to be the mom who does everything for my kid. I want them to succeed, but do it on their own motivation, not mine.

Deborah | 8:11 AM

Since becoming a mother, I think for the first time in my life it has been much easier to make friends. Motherhood really levels the playing field - especially when you are a first time mom and everyone is clueless and struggling with figuring out how to care for this wondrous creature. With my second child, I've been fortunate to make a whole new group of friends as I get to share my experience with the first time mothers in this age group. It's been great and has really given me confidence. I guess I embrace the cliches!

Alice-in-Wonderland | 8:15 AM

Wow, this post makes me feel so much better. I have the same problem, of feeling like I'm too young (24), not fitting in, etc. Nice to hear someone actually verbalize it. Koodos.

cassie | 8:18 AM

I have not found my "mommy" group. Well, I shouldn't say that. I found may mothers online that I can talk with and laugh with. They cannot see the clothes all over the floor or my son running around in his underpants. They cannot see my messy desk or frazzled hair. However, in real life? I am twenty one years old with a a 3 year old. No, I have not found my group.

Tricia | 8:19 AM

I am a young mom too...I turned 24 about 3 months after I had my daughter Bella 8 months ago. But I am kinda the opposite. I always have the extra wipes, extra outfit, extra food, toys...everything but the kitchen sink people have said smirking at me. And yet, if I didn't, they would still be smirking...wtf? It's like you can't win sometimes :/ I am slowly learning that we are all in this crazy but oh so wonderful mishmosh of motherhood together and all of us have felt left out in one way or another at sometime. We're all learning how to do it in our own way. It bonds us no matter whether we want it to or not. When you see a pregnant woman,a woman pushing her kid in a stroller,or another woman trying to calm her 3 year old having a melt down over ice cream, you smile because you have been there, done that or still doing it. We're "In" the mom's club.

That one girl | 8:22 AM

Ah man, I thought this post was going to be about sex! Still a great post though!!! I think being a parent makes it super easy to make friends with parents but a little more difficult to make friends with the single people out there. My friend even said to me yesterday after talking about taking vacations together, "Well, maybe we'll wait a few years when your kid is older and you guys are more fun." HUH?! We are STILL are fun, WE ARE STILL FUN DAMN IT!!!!

Amanda | 8:22 AM

Great post. I have a lot of "mom" friends -but they were my friends before they, or I, became moms. A lot of my close friends had become parents before I did - so I sometimes felt lost at sea when I was the only non-parent - but I think that was more my issue than anything they were doing or projecting. As for now, I have a 20-month-old daughter. She is in daycare, and I have yet to make any friends with any of the other parents. There have been a few parties where we are all crammed into the same room, but mostly everyone just pays attention to their own kids - they don't do a lot of chatting. Although I do know some of the other parents have become close. Honestly, at the end of the day, I just want to get her the hell out of there and go home. I wouldn't mind being friendly with some of her classmates' friends, and maybe that will happen...but it hasn't happened yet, aside from a rushed smile here and there.

Miss Grace | 8:25 AM

When I was pregnant/new mom, I found it easier than normal to make friends, because I felt like everyone was lost and looking for friends, and I just approached people. As Gabriel gets older, I feel like parents have all settled into their "parenting groups" and it's a lot harder; especially since I moved when he was 2, and left my mom circle behind. I've had a hard time crafting a new one.

Katie | 8:27 AM

I'm not yet a mother (due in 5 weeks!) but I'd say I embrace the cliches?? I guess I don't know yet...but most of my friends are in the same place as me, although I'm the first, there will be many more soon to follow! So in that regard, the adjustment will be easier for me than it was for you, and so many of you that have commented. I have sensed a change in myself already though- I have an urge to move from the city to the country with lots of land and lots of room! I never pictured myself living out of the city until now...so maybe this will pass? We'll see! Just ordered your book and can't wait to read it!

Valerie V | 8:29 AM

I think when we speak truthfully and openly about ourselves we begin to realize that we indeed are not alone but are surrounded by people just like us who have experienced the same unfortunate things we have. Thumbs up GGC for being honest and inspiring so many of us to do the same. Love the stroller shot!

Caroline | 8:31 AM

I'm expecting my first, and I'm already having anxiety about this. Thanks for describing the feelings so perfectly.

Megan C. | 8:32 AM

While I moved "home" after getting married, I have no one here to belong with. Now that I am pregnant, it's like having that first day of middle school feeling all over again. And while I'm very outgoing in my non-mom life now, I can only hope that I can come out of my shell with this..

Erin | 8:33 AM

I went back to grad school when my son was almost a year old. There are a couple other grad students with kids, but most of them are young, just out of undergrad, still partying hard on weekends and puking on front lawns. They're wonderful people, but so far from where I am in life that I often feel awkward when we have a few minutes before class to chat. I think it's mostly in my head.

EdenSky | 8:35 AM

The second baby didn't do that for me. I still feel like I'm on the outside in every way you mentioned. I'm 23 and a mother of 2 but I certainly don't feel like a grown-up. You keep saying "no one is going to steal your identity" but I'm not sure I ever had an identity to steal.

Martina | 8:36 AM

I cried as I read your post and I'm crying again because there are so many other people who have commented who feel the same.

You are amazing

Laura | 8:43 AM

The other moms in my Midwestern 'hood are all powdered donuts and lunch meat, and I'm more like organic veggies and "let's pound these rocks together and see what sound they make!"

Jackie | 8:45 AM

This was one of those posts that made me sit back and think - "oh my gosh, she's talking about me!".
I am a young (25) wife, and mother of 2. I do have friends my age, and we had babies within months of each other, but I think that they are the only ones I originally felt comfortable talking with - and even then, I felt like my experiences didn't validate me in the "Mommy" world...I just somehow felt out of place. I tried to join a Moms and Tots group, but everyone was so much older and seemed like a close-knit clique, especially since we're in a small town. Even when out in public, I got many disapproving glares, as if I was a child myself. On one occasion while out with my Mom, a stranger asked if I enjoyed helping look after my baby sister - that made me feel less than adult. But when I had my second baby, (my son, Austin, 4 months ago)things changed. I don't think anything "actually" changed, but I feel different. I suddenly feel more like an adult, and like my opinions matter. When I feel judged by a stranger's comments, I no longer feel intimidated and instead am sure to defend (politely, of course) my children's wardrobe, dry skin, messy hair...or whatever else they look down their nose at. I feel like I've somehow "earned" mommyhood, and the right to fit in. Like having/raising 2 children means I'm obviously capable of doing something right. I'm sure my thoughts are silly, but it's nice to know I'm not alone! Thanks again for your fabulous blog!

Matt and Shelby | 8:46 AM

How has motherhood changed me?

Well, I’m very close to your age, but I’m from a “different neck of the woods”. Most of my friends have begun having their first round of children. And I chose to go to law school (graduation date May 09, Thank God). Therefore, I have not had a baby. Do I desperately want one? YES. Am I overcome with jealousy when ever my friends make the announcements of their expecting arrivals? YES. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy for them, but I also begin judging myself pretty harshly.

I’m the outsider at the birthday parties. I have no idea who to talk to, or what to talk to them about. I converse with them. But I always assume that they dismiss me because, what do I know, I don’t have any kids. Motherhood has also changed my friends and I’s perceptions and priorities. Each time we get together, I’m always more grateful for the people we are now, as opposed to the people we were just a few years ago (current childless outsider or not). I look forward to the upcoming year and the changes that it might bring to my life/family. I guess the grass IS always greener.

elinda_peterson@yahoo.com | 8:48 AM

I had my first son at 19, my second son at 29... and my third son is due within days of my 31st birthday. I was completely an outsider when my first son was born. All of my friends were kids! I was a kid! I still feel like an outsider when I go to 5th grade school events. Most of those mothers are 40+! I feel like they give me the "evil-eye" for still being young and in shape. I get even more dirty looks when they find out I'm single. I don't care to belong to their group. I'm not a Stepford wife. My life is far from perfect, but I know I'm doing a good job with my kids. I love them; they love me. I don't need the approval of anyone but my kids. I take this as a sign that I have grown up.

Alissa | 8:48 AM

Your words really hit home. I am a working mom among stay-at-home moms or much older mom's and I always feel like I don't belong in the same circle. My first child is almost 4 and it has taken me that long to be comfortable with the type of mother I am to him and to realize that I don't have to do all the classes and lessons to be the kind of mom he needs. I am expecting another one and I really hope that trend can continue, you give me hope.

Katie | 8:52 AM

A friend once told me that my birth mother wasn't intended for motherhood but found herself with a child and that my adoptive mother was intended for motherhood but hadn't found her baby yet. It was the first time the universe made sense to me. I've always been intended for motherhood but it's taken me 32 years to find my baby. I've gotten to know her through her kicks and hiccups and pulses in my body but when she arrives on the outside in just about 8 weeks, the misfit mother in me will be quieted. My 'misfit' label came from finding more comfort in the presence of children and savoring their intricacies than in anything else. I won't feel so much like an outsider when my first arrives and I can't wait to thank her for that!

Birdie | 8:52 AM

Wow. Great post. I feel like an outsider because...I always have? And my parenting philosophies (extended breastfeeding (for US- not everyone!), co-sleeping (ditto), lots of punk rock, fake tattoos to match Momma's real ones!) have just seemed to add another layer to that. I do have a community, but its small and even within that there often seems to be a thin barrier seperating ME from THEM.
If motherhood has done anything for me, its opened my mind to the experience that new parents go through and made me less judgemental and more understanding of what a transformative experience it can be. But I will always want more tattoos...

MeL | 8:55 AM

I think it varies for me from day to day. One day I feel like the outsider, the rebel, She Who Will Not Be Tamed. The next day I slap on the yoga pants and curl up with a coffee to pour out my heart and be poured to with the girlfriends. I've always struggled to build friendships with women. With kids, it's become easier somehow. The ones in the throes of the heavy-lifting of small-human rearing and raising are typically more forgiving, accepting, and understanding towards one another. But some days I still don't want to talk to anyone, because "Nobody knows...the trouble I seen. Nobody knows my sorrow...."
The more time passes, though, the less I struggle with those insecurities that kept me on the "outside" looking in. Maybe it's an age thing? Maybe not even the age of the mother, but the age of the children.
I have noticed that once their kids are in their teens, the other parents tend to lose their sympathy for those with small ones. How quickly they forget what it's like....
And how sweetly the new moms with their first babies look at me with my three and assume I must know all the sage secrets of the ages. It's flattering, though totally mistaken. But maybe that's the secret. None of us really knows what she's doing, entirely, and anyone who says they do is either delusional or in denial. :)

Rebecca | 8:56 AM

I never did meet any Mom friends at any Mom's groups. I didn't feel connected there. Like a bit of an outsider, like you said. I didn't feel as dependent on them either though. I'm lucky - I have my 'always' friends. The ones who were there before babe, with babe, and forever forward. And many of them have kids of their own so we have each other.

Still, I continue to be terrified of somehow becoming someone else in this 'new life'. I feel like one day I'm going to wake-up and just be some different person, someone I don't like as much.

I found the transition to 'wife' to be a hard one. How to still be me and be 'a wife' at the same time. I'm trying to use the confidence I gained from that experience to fight the fear of becoming 'A MOM' (not fear of mothering just fear of the label)

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com | 8:56 AM

I don't really apply here, as I've not had the baby yet, but things are already starting to change. I no longer fit in with the friends I had before, because most of them are not married and do not have children and have no plans for either in the near future. We only have so much in common. And I've noticed that I have a hard time fitting in with other moms because I am younger, because I am poorer, because I am crazier? I don't know, but we don't click.

I cannot wait to be a mother and I honestly don't think I'll have much difficulty embracing motherhood. This is a baby my husband and I have spent years trying to have, and we're both thrilled. But I just don't fit in with the "norm" mom around us yet, and I don't fit in with the non-moms around us anymore.

I hope that changes soon. Oh Lord, how I hope that changes soon.

Shauna | 9:01 AM

I am not a mom yet but maybe someday...

I think I will be the most misfit mom ever though... especially living in Utah. My lack of conservative values will surely give me away and my child will probably be an outcast because of that.

Although this stroller would make a great gift for one of the million women I know that are pregnant right now.

Also, my word verification was biledoom - which is yet another reason I am terrified to have kids of my own.

Miss M | 9:24 AM

First, Holy comments! So many comments these days!! Second, are you in my head? You write how I feel so often, I feel like you read my mind. It's creepy.

I am pregnant with #2 and my first is seven. Only since I have become pregnant again that I have STARTED to look past all the ways I don't fit in, and just embrace the ways that I do...

Nicoolmama | 9:25 AM

Reading your post felt like I was reading something I had written. I had my first son at 19 and felt exactly like 'a child with children.' I didn't have a home we owned(just a crappy 2 bedroom apt we tried to make nice with ghetto furniture), nice cars, the fancy stroller, or the cute clothes. We made it day by day- his dad at a temp company and me working at a pizza place. Time went on, the relationship ended,(which was a blessing, since he was an abusive man) eventually a new relationship(and marriage) began. I was blessed to have my second son at the age of 23 and this time, it is worlds different. I sit and think about why it is so much different. Am I more confident in my mothering skills? Do I just not care as much about the other mother's opinions? I joined a breastfeeding group(I wasn't able to bf my first son, due to severe postpartum depression) and found that these first time mothers were asking ME questions about how to do things. To think that someone would want MY advice on how to parent, diaper, feed shocked me. Then I took a step back and realized, Of course they would. I am a great mother and I don't need the fancy stroller(unless I win!, but if I don't I still won't NEED it) or the fancy cars to be a phenomenal mother. I somehow learned that over the past few years. I found my place and have made great, true friends, that are also phenomenal mothers. It's great to finally know where you belong and that you don't have to hide away because you are not like everyone else. I am due with my third son in late July and am looking forward to just being the mom I am, without second guessing myself. Ok, maybe a little, but this time I am very aware that I am the best mother for my kids there is! This is my favorite post of yours so far- it hit home for me. Thank you!

Oh, and my baby's nails are always needing trimming- those damn things grow fast!!

William Ryan | 9:27 AM

Awesome post! When I found out I was pregnant, I feared I would never fit in to any "Mommy group" b/c I work full time and it seemed that these mommies only met on say a Wednesday at 10am. (What's up with that!?) There was no Thursday night at 8pm Mommy and Me class to join. I sought out comfort on the internet and found a group of women who were all due to give birth at the same time as I (February 2007). We talked about any and everything throughout our pregnancies via a message board. We cried for each other and celebrated each other victories. Here we are two plus years later and we still talk on a daily basis. We've been through a lot together; death of a spouse, job loss, illness, breastfeeding woes, first steps, birthdays and everything in between. I have never felt so connected to a group of people in my life and the fact that we are so close made me realize that I could relate to moms in my area as well. You're right, we're all in this together and sometimes it takes something very unlikely to make us realize that we're not alone in this whole mommy'ing thing.

Dana | 9:31 AM

great post!

i didn't have my baby until i was 32, but still felt like a misfit since none of my friends had babies. it was a few lonely months with my newborn until i sucked it up and went out to be around other mothers. sure i rarely connect with them in a way that will turn into a real friendship, but it sure is nice to be around people who share your experience.

Raggsokk | 9:34 AM

I'm loving this post, but most of all I'm loving your boots!! The one you're wearing in the pictures... can I ask where you got them??

boosmom10 | 9:36 AM

When I moved in 3rd grade a girl at the new school became my friend. After a few weeks she told me that we were not friends she just wanted to see how many people she get to be her friend. Apparently I didn't make the cut. After that I have been to guared to put my friendship on the line so easily. So yeah I'm nice to mom's but I have never been the one to go up and make friends with other moms. Then after Blake started playing sports we didn't have the time. He is now 17 and sometimes I want to make an effort but I just don't really care at this point. I have my husband and son and that is all that really matters in the end.

Cindy | 9:40 AM

I'm the mother that opens her mouth to voice her opinion and, when I'm done, everyone is looking at me like I just said that I like to let my beagle watch my baby while I'm not at home. I'm vegan and my daughter's been vegan since conception. I don't want her watching TV at one year old. I like to spend time with my daughter. I'm still breastfeeding her. All these things tend to put me in the category of "weirdo." But, my daughter loves me and she's happy and knows she can count on her mama. What I do is working for me!

casadekaloi | 9:43 AM

This is really fascinating for me! I have no clue how I'm going to fit in on the whole mom scale. I'm 24, which is kind of between the ages. I'm not too young, but I'm also not as old as most moms.

KellyV | 9:45 AM

We tried for a baby for years. I felt like an outsider of a different sort. It felt like everyone around me was swollen with child as I tried to smile barren and heavily ridden with envy. It was very lonely because almost everyone I knew had children. And I was bombarded with advice on what I was doing wrong on my road to conception.
When we were finally blessed with Kayla Raye it felt like I was given a key to some secret club. Suddenly the sea of swollen bellies were no longer the bane of my existence but my realization that I know belonged to a sisterhood of sorts. Inside my head I could look at them and finally say "Welcome to the club momma"
And now she is here nine months out of my womb. In our eighteen months together I can say the biggest change motherhood has given me is that I feel so much more connected to this world. I feel like so much of my real self is out there - for all the world to see and judge and hear. She is the heart on my sleeve.

Mackenzie | 9:51 AM

I don't know how I'll be yet, I'm expecting my first in September.
When we moved from Brooklyn to Providence, RI, I worried about loosing my self. I guess that in a way I did. I wear sneakers now, where before I didn't even own any. At this very moment I am wearing yoga pants. I shop at the MALL. I seem to be prone to blending, even though I don't really want to blend.
When I become a mother, will I blend even further into this suburban cliche? Perhaps. I must confess that I sort of hope I will be a misfit, in at least a few ways. It just seems more interesting than the alternative.

Amber | 9:51 AM

You said it, mama. I've joined countless playdate groups... but at 23, and with a baby who's 6 months old, I'm on the young end of everything. I have the opportunity to stay at home with my girl, and I know not many young moms get that- so it's awkward. Not to mention, I've been *blessed* (coughcough) with some pretty severe PPD, and that comes with its own anxieties... feeling like noone really wants me around, like everything i say and do is ridiculous..

I want to be there, tough, to have the mommy friends, to have FRIENDS. Yeah. That'd be nice.

andrea | 9:55 AM

this is a great post...for all us mothers. I found that i didn't fit with the typical "playgroup" mommies. But I found one mom who I connected with and that was all i needed for my first time being a mom. Someone to walk with or to bitch with or to cry to.... Now we are both having our second children a month apart and i feel very confident...not so alone.

Love the stroller!!

krista | 9:57 AM

a male friend of mine asked me what having a child was like. i told him it was every cliche you've ever heard wrapped in the conviction that no one has ever actually experienced what you are experiencing.
he looked at me and nodded.
'that's how i felt the first time i did acid.'
'exactly,' i said. 'exactly.'

i definitely feel like the new kid in school whenever i'm around a group of women and their babies. i'm in my thirties...i'm supposed to be more of this, less of that, have more of a clue, be less worried that i'm going to screw her up. i don't have the right accessories, her clothes are hand me downs and handmade. i'm not married by choice even though my man and i are in love and together.

it took me years to be able to say this:
but i'm okay with not fitting in.

Brittany | 9:58 AM

Wow Rebecca - this really hit home for me. I was 28 when I had my first and 30 when I had my 2nd and right now Sophie is 2 1/2 and Miles is almost 1. I thought I would make SO many mommy friends but really I lost a lot of my single friends and have trouble defining a lot of my mom realtionships as friends. I mean, does talking about breastfeeding and pre-schools and parks make for real friendships? I hope so because I think that is all I do!

I think I am a bit of a misfit because I desperately miss work (I left when I got pregnant with Miles) and that makes me feel guilty when all the other mommies are loving doing 2 year old stuff all day every day. I love spending time with my little ones but I really miss grown up conversation! I miss being really up on the pocitical and economic world when these days I am only really up on parenting magazine and the latest Dora episodes. I fit in before and now it may be just my guilt at not loving every second of mommy time, but I feel like an outsider much of the time.

Still, all that talk of baby stuff has made me a truck load of acquaintances that I hope one day will turn into real friendships...I really hope so!

Motherhood has made me a better person. I am more open minded. I try, despite my shyness around new people, to be outgoing so that my kids can meet people. I laugh more. I appreciate my own mother and family more. I care more about the community around me. I think I just need to learn to like this person I am becoming and be comfortable in this new mommy skin.

We are all still the beautiful women we were before we had babies and I think that as it took time to gain comfort with oursleves as women it also takes time to gain comfort and confidence as a mom!

Thanks again Rebecca!

butwhymommy | 10:01 AM

That sums me up to a tee. I've always been a loner, an outsider and it never really bothered me until I adopted my daughter. But then I feared meeting other moms, would they judge me, would they dislike me or would the just ignore me. And I feared that my outsiderness would doom my daughter to a friendless life.

I tried on some groups for size but none really fit. I have found one mom like me and that is okay. I'm still not the one to pick up the phone and call but its nice to have her there.

I'm trying to reach out more to others now that we are in the process of adopting again. I'm finding more people who have gone through the same things and that makes me feel better.

Dana | 10:03 AM

I am in opposite of you in that I waited a long time to have kids. Now that I have a 7 month old daughter I finally feel like I fit in. I always thought having a child would change me, but it really didn't. Life is the same but better. So much better.

Susan | 10:04 AM

Please exclude me from the contest, but I wanted to share how motherhood made me a misfit in a totally different way. I'm 31 and all of my friends have kids, but I don't. My husband and I have been dealing with infertility for four years, so it's not that I don't want to be a mom, it's just that I can't.

I can't even express the awkwardness that this has driven into friendships that I've had since childhood. All of a sudden they feel guilty sharing happy moments with me, from the announcement of a second pregnancy to smaller things like first teeth. Despite the fact that I am really truly happy for my friends, sometimes I can't help feeling jealous. They don't know if they should invite me to events like birthday parties, and I don't know if I want to go. Sometimes the idea of attending a baby shower or birthday party surrounded by families and mom-talk is too much for me to take. Sometimes I just want to feel like I am a part of their lives, babies or no babies.

I recently confronted some of them about it, telling them that I felt like I was being excluded from their Mommy Club when they were getting together during the week to go to lunch, the zoo, etc. They said that I would decline their invitations, which might be true, but I just want that opportunity.

Cori | 10:05 AM

I'm actually 10 years older than you and I still feel like all the other moms are older than me. I show up at Gymboree and most of the moms who seem my age turn out to be nannies.

elise | 10:07 AM

I am slowly shaking the loneliness that motherhood delivered along with my precious bundle. Don't get me wrong, I love it and have from the very first second. I love my son (who it 15 months old) I love my husband and I love my job. I try to describe to my friends the feelings I had when I first became a mom, but none of the few friends that have, seem to think the way I do.

When I was pregnant I was determined not to lose my style, my uniqueness, my je ne sais quoi. Everyone said “just wait” I’d only want to be a mom, I’d never want to work or do anything else, things that mattered before would not longer be important. I maintained that I would be hip, I would never give into the mom jeans, the sweatpants. I would still rock my skinny jeans and my razor-sculpted, pixi-rocker cut, I would still work because my creativity feeds my soul.

When I had my son I instantly felt like a mom, but when I looked in the mirror I couldn't get the image to match. I didn't reflect the mom's in those laundry detergent ads, nor did I want to, but I felt like maybe I wasn't officially part of the "mom club" until I ditched my liquid liner for a jug of laundry detergent and a matching velour sweat suit (you see... I live in South Florida). I skipped out of mom groups, mid-craft project like a highschooler on sex ed day. I also skidded the wheels of my "pod-like" stroller in order to avoid being asked to join the millionth Mommy mall walk. I avoided these types of “mom cults” in order to not be brainwashed in to mom-dom and be stripped of my coolness.

I fought with myself reflection too, for a good nine months. Until that reflection began to look like that mom I from the laundry commercials of my imagination. I finally came to terms with the fact that moms come in all different packages, I may be younger or have a different outlook on parenting than the next mom or even the majority of moms around me, but at the end of the day we all pick up the jug of laundry detergent it is just the threads that go into the machine that are a little different.

I hope that it continues to become easier to find common ground with other mamas. I don't veer so quickly anymore when I spy another stroller, because in the end we all need the support, regardless of our age, style, or beliefs. I remain seated a little longer into craft-time *cringe* because at the end I am a better mom and woman for having learned a little more about how someone else is navigating in this crazy world.

Becky | 10:08 AM

I still feel like you did. I'm 26 and yet I'm still the only one I know with a child. Add to that the fact that I work full time, it seems that I'm just doomed to be without "Mommy Friends". I was hoping while reading this post that you'd a a solution to the problem. Time and another child doesn't seem a good option for me. Guess I'll just keep looking.

Kait | 10:09 AM

I'm the 22 year old, married, adoptive mother of two little girls two and under. Not only am I a child with children, I didn't even home grow them so I don't have the whole pregnancy thing to bring us together. Adoptive families tend to be significantly older than we are and have years of fertility struggles and soul searching that went in to their adoption and biological families in our same sort of age range tend to be young enough and fertile enough to believe that genetics makes families. Not to mention the fact that our daughters are biracial so people assume I either had them and then got married (and my husband is a saint for taking on the three of us) or that I'm a babysitter.

I don't want to find mommy friends in my exact same situation, but one who didn't say "You guys are saints for adopting!" and follow it up with "So when will you have a real child/one of your own?"

Allison Says | 10:11 AM

Reading this just made my day.

I am the child with a child. I'm 23, with a toddler.

I'm really glad to read that you feel like an adult now. Maybe one day I will feel like that, too.

Being a mom has made it much harder to make (and keep!) friends. NO one else my age has children. And all of the other moms are so much older that a real friendship is unlikely to occur.

Catherine | 10:16 AM

Motherhood has changed me in a lot of ways. At first...I went through infertility for ten years with my ex husband...because I could not become a mother he ditched me and decided he wanted biological children so he would find someone else. And so as it went we divorced. I was a angry bitter person and then a little over a year and a half after our divorce was final I met a man online. And I became a mother....A step mother. I've weathered the ups and downs of being a step parent of two kids who are now pre-teens (and let me tell you if that doesnt make you want to run away and hid from people socially I don't know what will) MY step kids embarass me in public making me feel like an idiot. they are awesome kids..just not "mine" and right at nine months ago I found out that I was pregnant. Being overweight no noe really knew I was pregnant until I was 8 months along. people just assumed I was fat. And so that's what I dealt with. Now I am a mom to a 6 week old baby. And people ask if I have a nursery for her. And we didn't do the nursery thing because we have a small house and the kids have to share a room. Although I have the money I didn't buy the $500 stroller because I would rather be able to enjoy life in other ways and settle for the $150 combination stroller.
I work full time and my husband stays home. Since I do not fit in with the play group I went to two weeks ago I guess I will stay home and enjoy my daughter instead. I don't fit in because I refuse to conform to their attitudes.
I refuse to allow someone to tell me that when I am breastfeeding my daughter I should not cover up her head (ie: leaving my boob exposed to everyone around!! honestly??) because breastfeeding is natural and if it offends someone I should not care. I could not believe it. I want to make sure my daughter is getting the best but I am not doing it right according to those breast feeding psycho's and then there are those that think it's disgusting and when I was entirely covered up and all you could see was my daughters feet poking out from the shawl/covering..I was verbally attacked by some idiot at a mall in Vegas.

OK I totally went on a rampage here.
But ...being a mom is not about conforming. I feel like I am an old mom though I am 29 and most of the people I know had their kids in high school or just out of high school..me....I am starting out with an infant at 29...and I LOVE it!!

summertime | 10:18 AM

I was lucky in that when I got pregnant, so did about five of my friends. It was all a huge coincidence, but man was it a good one. We have tattoos and like beer and rock shows, but we're also a pretty tight nit family group and doing it together has made the transition from beer-soaked baseball Saturdays to some beer at the bbq after taking the kids to the park Saturdays much, much easier.

I have a girlfriend that lives on the other side of town, though, (here in Portland, the other side of town, eastside to westside, is like a different fucking planet) and she's had a hard time. She has this big house all of a sudden and rich neighbors and has found herself the outsider mom at baby gymnastics. It's hard to talk to the over 40 botox set about the NOFX show you want to go to next weekend. She's navigating through, but man am I glad I'm where I'm at, and with the people I have around me.

leta joy | 10:19 AM

I often wonder why it is so difficult to strike up conversations with other mothers. Being on the outside is...kind of weird. Aren't we all adults now? Why does it still feel like high school at times? Then I wonder if I've done the same to other moms when I was a part of the group and they were wanting to join in. Have I made someone else feel the way I am feeling right now? I hope not.

Johanna | 10:24 AM

Loved your post and I'm glad there is some hope for my friend future. I'm a work at home mom, have a 3 year old son and am expecting a second in November and we recently moved across the country. The mom friends I did have are now 2000 or more miles away and I'm finding it difficult to find friends out here. We're in a somewhat affluent area so most of the time when we go to the park or kindergym the kids are there with their nannies. When I do end up finding a mom to talk to they ask if my son goes to preschool (he doesn't), if he's potty trained (he's not) or if I have any older children (no). And the few times I have hit it off with a mom at the park, I've felt awkward upon leaving, do I give her my number or just hope we'll run into each other again?

Sadie | 10:28 AM

I was 30 when I had my son (we only have 1 so far)and I still felt that way. Still do in fact. My son is three years old and I have yet to make a mommy friend. I feel like the little girl in a world of grownups as well. But you would be proud - yesterday I asked a mom at the playground for her contact info so that we could plan a playdate! I am growing up! I love this post - and your writing in general, it really speaks to me. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

Chica | 10:29 AM

Well, my pregnancy was a bit unexpected. Austin is 8 weeks old and I'm still amazed that he was an "oops!" But wow, the most adorable and cute "oops!" I've ever made.

Motherhood has been a bit difficult and I'm not sure how to make "mommy friends" as all my "old" friends don't have babies yet and don't quite understand that an 8 week old likes to eat every two hours and going through the Starbucks drive-thru is a big outing for us at this point. Sigh...

So, I go through each day letting go a little bit of my old self while embracing motherhood with more enthusiasm, little by little. A little less cursing, more juggling, multi-tasking and a lot less sleeping in everyday - little by little.

It hasn't been smooth sailing and I won't pretend it has been, but at the end of the day I see my son and think to myself - he is my morning light.

Decor Addict | 10:31 AM

OMG. You just summarized exactly what i'm feeling, and my 1st baby isn't due for another 3 months!

I'm finding my friendships are changing. One of my best friends (who is single/no kids) has decided that my mood swings are too much for her, so she has decided to "do other things"...she has cancelled on me every single time we've planned something ever since I found out I was pregnant (like 6 months ago now)

I'm finding that my friendships with other girlfriends that have children are getting stronger. I feel I can ask them silly questions my single/kid-less friends would just say "huh?" too.

I'm not sure how or where to find a balance with that either. Friends with kids, and friends without. Hmm. Will I ever figure it out? Is there a balance? How do I find that?

Mary | 10:33 AM

I think this post is so great and relates so well, to so many. I have a 6 month old and just turned 26 in February. I'm not a super young first-time mom, but I definitely feel that way. NONE of my friends are having babies and are in fact, still out partying like their rockstars! I will say though, that my greatest friends that I had before I had Zane, are still my greatest friends now. They love my baby boy without limits. Friends that were just "friendly" fell by the wayside, but that's okay!

Having a baby opened an entirely new world for me. He is the center of my universe and while I am SO glad to still have my wonderful and true friends, I don't have the time or desire for the "fakes". And I believe that motherhood brings out a lot of those "fakes". I get spoken to on a daily basis just because I have a baby! In my opinion, babies don't make us friends. Friendship is something that is developed and nurtured outside of one common interest. And I think it's harder now to weed through those surface friendships.

I love reading your blog. I find it so insightful and many times, exactly what I'm thinking. I can't wait for what's next!

Prasti | 10:34 AM

please don't enter me in the drawing. i just wanted to let you know that i would eat lunch w/ you and not leave you behind :).

sometimes it does seem intimidating to befriend other moms especially when they're grouped together and seem to know each other already. it kind of reminds me of being the new kid in h.s. and not really knowing where you belong (coincidentally, i never ended up feeling like i "belonged" or associated myself w/ a certain group/clique in h.s.). i'm thankful to have "mom" friends now, but it took a while to finally get to that point. now i wonder if i appear that way to other moms (which i hope i don't)...

Lauren | 10:38 AM

i'm the first of my friends to have a baby and remember tbe feeling inside my gut when i found out. i was terrified. and i remember the looks on people's faces when i didn't shriek in excitement when revealing the news. what was wrong with me? i'm married and in love with my husband. i couldn't wait to start a family or could i?
in many ways I felt so young, so unprepared at 26. in your twenties you do so much growing up until one day you realize you are grown up. And then you long to be a child again free from responsibility and all of the traumas of everyday adulthood.

all of those dreams that loomed so far away in the distance were suddenly here. marriage. family. children. and it happened just like that!

i was scared. I was scared that the moment was here and i wasn't sure if i was worthy of the experience. getting pregnant when you aren’t even trying isn’t supposed to happen. you are supposed to have a plan and then set out on your merry ole’ way. and when the test reads a big fat plus sign you are supposed to jump for joy. i’ve questioned why it was so easy for me.

i find this frame of thought has made it difficult for me to relate to other moms. and i find myself going against the grain. i don't want to lose myself or forget who i am in the process. so for now i am on the outside. content to stay home in my sweats with my greasy hair. but one day i hope to find other moms like me because sometimes this feels lonely.

my son is five weeks old now. he is my life. and i am in no way more sure of how to be a mother. but i'm no longer scared because i've learned to let go of all the expectations. i've forced myself to block out the outside influences that tell me who i need be in order to raise a healthy child and i've learned to trust my teacher. who just happens to be a chubby, milk guzzling one month old pooping machine.

Anonymous | 10:40 AM

Great post! Where did you get those boots? I want some.

Gwen | 10:40 AM

I almost always feel like I am on the outside looking in even if I am faking it really well. This is why it is nice to find those people that you click with. I think this is why I like blogs and twitter so much. You get to meet people who you were meant to meet but wouldn't have otherwise. In some ways I am finding it harder with my second baby because I don't have the chance to go and just be with other struggling moms and babies because my 4 year old has preschool, and other activities that he needs. The balancing act is a little harder.

gwenfloyd@gmail.com

Sarah | 10:48 AM

That's so funny because I was worrying about this exact thing this morning. I'm not even pregnant yet and I'm 26 but I was thinking, what if I don't find other moms to be friends with. How will I find them and will they just think I'm too young (I look much younger than I am). What great timing for you to post this.

Look Cupcake | 10:49 AM

I guess I've pretty much always been sort of socially akward? I had my first son at 24 and instantly delved into a major identity crisis. The non-baby friends were gone and good lord, I'd had to party like a rockstar to make THOSE friends. How in the hell was I going to make motherhood friends? It only happened via the internet. It took a good two years to sort that out and then things just... I duuno.. got easier. Now I have #2 and love (almost) every second of it. I sometimes wonder if that's because I now KNOW how fast the babyhood thing goes. Or, maybe it's because I managed to keep the older one alive this long so the odds are in my favor. Either way, I'm cool now.

Anonymous | 10:52 AM

Motherhood has made me a misfit because I am a single mother of a 6 month old...but I am 31. Most of the single mothers who can relate are in their teens and early twenties, or in their 30's battling divorces and heartache and bitterness - thus I cannot relate. I am old enough and mature enough to enjoy every moment and I don't feel sorry for myself, in fact I feel quite the opposite. I have been single since the beginning. I am a misfit because I am EMPOWERED by being a single mother and those in their 30's feel and express pity instead of seeing the happiness. I don't feel like I fit in at social gatherings for mothers. But I am happy to feel this way. Instead of "arguing" with other mothers about when to start feeding solid foods and the trillion other requirements society places on you to be a GOOD MOTHER, I choose instead to just simply to be a good mother with a good baby, both enjoying each other and following our instincts.

jpfeltz@hotmail.com

UnPCMomma | 10:52 AM

I'm not what you would call a PC Mom. I have a 15 year old girl and a 9 year old boy. I didn't use cloth diapers, I didn't breast feed, I didn't do play groups and honestly I've never allowed my kids to "do" play dates. I'm an old school Mom that believe's kids should make friends as they go. Ride bikes with the neighborhood kids, climb a tree and hey build a tree house while your up there, sure you can look for frogs down by that huge puddle- what the hell, they are only young once- tear some clothes up, romp through the woods- grab a fishing pole, can't talk now- I'm arm wrestling DD to see who's doing the dishes, You want a cell phone to talk to your friend who lives a block away- why not walk over there to see if he wants to play some ball. LMAO- all these trends and childhood must haves mean nothing to me. My kids don't have Ipod's, cell phones, or a game cube. They have a half pike, a couple of bikes, skate boards, a basketball hoop, roller blades, safety gear and a first aide kit.

I don't fit in and really I don't want to. We don't have a gym membership and when I meet up with friends for coffee it's usually in one of our kitchens. I've never stepped foot in a star bucks. I don't own yoga pants or a stair master.

I like that my kids are under scheduled, I like that they come home and bring their friends, I like that my back yard looks like a day care for teenagers, I like that I work, I like that my husband calls home before stopping for a pizza to ask how many kids we are feeding tonight. I really love that my kids talk to me and open up about what's important to them.

Motherhood hasn't made it any easier or harder for me. I've always marched to a beat all my own and I hope one day when I'm a Grandmother I'll still be just a little bit out of step and just as much fun.

Gotta fly- my son wants to teach me how to use the half-pike!!

Beirut | 10:59 AM

Your post had my wheels a rollin'. My son is 6 months old and there have been so many times that I have felt not only on the outside of it all, but, on the outside of myself as well.

I am not that mother, the one with the perfectly behaved baby. He is raucous and loud and himself and glorious at the same time. I have stopped wanting him to be otherwise and have finally surrendered to the beauty and cacophany that is my life. Thank you for your words. As always, you never fail to move me.

Anonymous | 11:07 AM

Yep, I at times feel like a parenting misfit. Because I run my own business while I stay at home with my child I feel like I don't get respect from other mom's for being a mom. I'm pretty laid back too, so when I don't freak out about every little detail going on in my son's life, it makes me feel like I'm a mess or something.

I'm rambeling from my head cold, but great post!!

PS Even the "older" mom's feel like misfits!! ; )

Bets
betsy@betsyandjohn.net

maddie | 11:11 AM

My husband and I moved overseas straight after we got married so we could gain some independence from demanding friends and family and do things our own way but after having a baby, I feel kind of isolated - on the outside - of this new country and its people. I'm wondering if as much as they bug me, having friends and family around is actually kinda good after all. Maybe it's time to jump back in and experience the highs and lows of family and friends again.

Beth Noel | 11:15 AM

Ugh. I think I'm a snob. I know a few moms in my immediate area but I was not friends with them before hand. I live in a city and most of my friends who live here are not parents and my friends who are parents or who are on their way don't live close.
These girls who are in the area are different than me. It's hard to say how exactly but it keeps me from interacting with them. It's not our age but maybe our background? I'm an info junkie and am on the internet all of the time trying to find the answers to my questions. These girls get their answers from their mothers and aunts and sisters. Which is fine, obvs, their kids are happy and healthy. I guess it's similar to what you were saying, rebecca. We have different philosophies and I'm intimidated by conflicts, however small. What if they give me advice I don't agree with? What if I come off rude? I do want to be friends/friendly with them. I don't know. I'm not good with girls.

I see advice all the time saying I should join a new moms group and that scares the shit out of me. Blogs are my moms group.

Erin | 11:16 AM

Motherhood has definitely made me feel like a misfit. Whether or not I am one, who knows.

I am a SAHM to one son, 6 months old. I worked until he was born, I plan on going back to school soon, and I will work when he is older. Right now my husband and I have decided to sacrifice lots of luxuries (like vacations, manicures, cheese sticks...)so that we can live on one income (in this economy, it's more like half an income). I really, really want to stay home with my son. That said, I also still want to be me.

I've recently encountered THE PACK. The group of moms who have bonded together, hash out the details of full time mothering so consistently that they've come to a consensus on everything. When they disagree, they split off, forming different packs. It just so happens that my motherhood style doesn't run cleanly between party lines. I love babywearing, but not cosleeping. I tried to breastfeed and it only lasted 3 months. I make my own baby food, but the kid wears disposable diapers. I don't think I can spoil him by holding him too much, and I'm not worried that he doesn't sleep through the night yet. I don't cook well (nor do I enjoy it), I don't look good in yoga pants, and I watch too much TV.

That all said, I finally DID find a Mommy friend who took me for what I am. She, like me, makes choices on a case by case basis, not based on what her momma pack says. When you have one flexible, open-minded mom friend, the packs even become bearable in small doses. I don't have to give up who I am around her, which is refreshing, and makes me feel sane. The problem is, she's moving far, far, far away. Definitely on the "can't afford to visit" list, and I'm left here stranded on the party lines by myself.

I think moms sometimes bond together trying to find solidarity. They want someone to validate their choices, and what better way to get it than to surround yourself with people who make the same ones? I've turned to my husband, who I am lucky to have, and to my son. His happiness and well being validate my Mommy Philosophy. And armed with THAT knowledge, I can continue to try and find mommy friends without feeling like a rebel or a stereotype. I can just be me, and my son, at the park for the afternoon. But still, it'd be nice to have a good mommy friend close, again, too.

Lia | 11:19 AM

wow I feel like the first part of your post is just the way I feel... I had my baby a week before my 25th birthday and I didn't feel like a young mom at the time but as soon as he was out and I started to look for mommy groups and things to do I was always the youngest one. In my Swedish mom group here in Montreal I was so much younger in fact that the other moms were closer in age to my mom. And even though most of them were first time moms like me I still had the feeling that they knew more than me. I still do. Their lives are just so much more figured out and they get along so much better with each other than with me. They still include me but if feel like they're doing it out of an obligation since I was the one who took the initiative for the group.
My boy will be 2 this summer so hopefully by the time I've been a mom for 4 years I'll feel like you.

pandorican | 11:23 AM

I was eighteen when I first got pregnant. (Gods, how young it sounds now) Nineteen when I had her. Needless to say, it took me a long long time to find people I "fit in" with. I have my group of hard won, awesome friends now, but when it comes to school meetings and random moms in the park, I think I will always be the outsider. Even the friends I do have look at me oddly when I mention going to a NIN concert instead of "The Wiggles" I'm the one in the black wedding dress and the daughter who dresses like a pirate instead of a ballerina.

(Don't enter me in this contest please, I can't use the stroller. ;)

Meghan | 11:43 AM

The feeling of standing on the outside and watching all the other women do it differently and with ease is something I can relate to. I am pregnant (20 weeks) and have this daydream that being a mom will be my entree into making friends with other women. I had hoped that it would be as easy as - I'm a mom, you're a mom, let's be friends. It sounds like it does not work that way. Crap.

tyKa | 11:48 AM

People keep asking me what my baby's nursery color theme is and look at me like I'm strange because I don't even HAVE a nursery. We'll all be sleeping together in the same room. I'm happy with used clothing and no room for coordinating baby furniture, but people act like I shouldn't be.

courtney | 11:56 AM

Seeing as we are the last one of pretty much every couple we know to have kids, I think it will make things easier. But I guess we will find out once the baby is here.

Amanda | 12:03 PM

Motherhood made me a misfit the second I peed on the stick.
"Nobody has babies at 19, unplanned, unmarried, unprepaired!"

But I did.

I STILL don't have any friends that are parents. I haven't found ones that fit yet.

"Maybe you should make some mom-friends," my husband would say.

And I'd lash back defensively,
"I don't want to base a friendship on the fact that we both expelled a human from our womb!"

I wanted more. I wanted a mom friend that listened to Kings Of Leon or the Sex Pistols loudly in the car. I wanted a friend who would bring their son/daughter to the thrift stores downtown so we could dress our children in top hats and feather boas. I wanted someone to commiserate over more than just vaccinations.

Like you I stopped fighting it. Sort of. I'm still considered "just a young novice."

When I say "kids," I get back a condescending "wait, and you're HOW OLD?" followed by a smirk. And I retreat to the glass of wine I clutch with all my might. I'd rather have a margarita.

If I lived in L.A., I'd totally try to be your friend. You get it. But in Tucson, I'm still searching for that island in a sea of moms.

Maybe she'll like me too.

Heather | 12:05 PM

OH! I've been looking for the perfect stroller. Crossing my fingers!

Anna | 12:13 PM

It wasn't until I was going to a 0-6 month parenting group at the fabulous Happy Bambino (which is a store/resource center that provides such vital business to my town of Madison, WI), and I heard someone else say,
"I've been struggling with Post-partum depression."
that something in me clicked. I was too, but didn't really verbalize it to myself yet. That someone else was brave enough to admit it to this group of parents who had been meeting for a few months got it into my head that we ALL struggle, one way or another, with parenthood.

Bravo, Rebecca. Rock on witcha bad self.

Todd & Jess McConnel | 12:15 PM

It's funny, because I was totally that way before the baby... super awkward with anybody I wasn't really close with, I couldn't think of a thing to say so I would spit out whatever came to mind first and embarrass myself. Since the baby I feel like I can talk to anybody, especially if they have kids - I love it!

alawecki | 12:21 PM

I felt exactly the same way! I am a young mom and with my first one, I never felt like I "fit in" and now with my second I talk to more people. Maybe I care less, I don't know. Your post said exactly what I felt. Awesome post.

Amanda | 12:24 PM

Another great post. I am not a mother but I was a nanny. Other parents can be so judgmental!

Amanda

Ray | 12:35 PM

Such a great entry. I cannot relate to being on the outside from a "motherly" perspective, but I can relate to it from a "human being" perspective. Looking on the outside and feeling like a misfit; Yes, I understand that oh so well.

For you though: I'm glad you're no longer the outsider. It's great that you choose to be optimistic. Great that you stopped viewing other parents as people you couldn't associate, because you realized you all have the "parenthood status."

I loved this line though, "So instead of making small talk you try to visualize them all having sex with each other and when they ask you what's so funny you shake your head and say, kids say the darndest things." Funny. =P

I also loved this line as well, "Because sometimes we have to run away before we turn around and come home." I never thought about it that way. You're probably right.

Take, care. ;o)

P.S. It's nice to know that you didn't "lose yourself" even if you are a parent. I'm not a parent but I feel that it is important to remember that you are a "separate being" from your child. That you can still be the person that you once were, "child on your hip and all." Just my thoughts on it anyhow.

Charlotte | 12:45 PM

Hm. My story is really just the other way around--I became a mom and stopped fitting in. Because, yes, I was way over 35, with a number of graduate degrees and a new husband with a Ph.D., when I "should have been" a SAHM or, at best, a former Airman married to someone in Officer Training School, in her early twenties. The military moms in the (Christian!) band I played with as keyboarder, once they found out I was pregnant, cut me out from their "parties," stopped talking to me, and gave me *that* look (especially when I dared to show up with an Obama sticker on my car). As in, whoa! old commie lady, IN.APP.ROPRIATE!

I'm back at work now, reclaiming my professional identity as an engineer, which lasts as long as 4:30 each afternoon, when I have to go pick up my 3 1/2-month-old sunshine from daycare. Or when I try to pump during the workday.

But you know what? Fuck them all. We're doing our own thing, and if I need support--dude, there's tons of mommyblogs around.

Kate | 12:47 PM

This post made me cry. I'm 28 and my daughter will be one in May. I still haven't found a group I "fit" in. I feel like I can't relate to my old (childless) friends, but I don't click with the mommy set. Doesn't help that I live far from Metro and don't have a car; going out is difficult.

Loukia | 12:50 PM

Great post, again. As it I sit here at work procrastinating yet again, I have to say that your post struck a cord with me! I was the first in my group of friends to have a baby. So automatically, I didn't really belong anymore. Sure, I continued to go out with my friends, but their dinner discussions became really boring to me and all I talked abut was my son. I'm not really that outgoing, so talking to other moms I would see at the park or at the book store was not something I was fond of doing. It was hard making mommy friends! My two best friends with children live 5 hours away from me, so that really sucks. Not a whole lot has changed since I had my second baby, except I relaxed more and felt complete and didn't really care that I didn't have a huge group of mom friends to hang out with. My kids have a few friends, and I know once they go to school they'll make more friends and hopefully I will like these children's moms!

Caroline | 12:50 PM

We moved to a new state when I was 6 months pregnant. I didn't have any opportunities to meet people until my daughter was born and I decided to get out and join a mom's group. I am the youngest one in a group that is very proud to be "older mom's". But what can I say? I was desperate. It took me getting to know other mom's to finally except my new role as a mom. Do I feel like I've lost my identity? Not anymore. But that might all change in 8 months when baby #2 comes.

Amy | 12:51 PM

I'm not sure how it's going to be yet, because my daughter was only born three weeks ago today and we haven't gone looking for a group. I'm kind of dreading and excited for those interactions with other moms - I'm so new at all of this, it feels like everyone else must know more than I do, you know?

Lise | 12:54 PM

I was that young mother - 21 when my first child was born - but found my "people" at La Leche League meetings. We were bonded by common parenting styles and somehow the age difference didn't matter.

kate | 12:55 PM

I am a misfit among the world of parents and also among my world of friends. As for my fellow mamas and daddies, I have chosen to be an outsider, and I am fine with that. I am not the typical mom that buys name brand clothes, jogs with my kids in a fancy stroller, or feeds them Gerber lunches. I am a thrifty gal who carries her babe in a sling, breastfeeds, and TRIES so hard to feed my oldest healthy food. As for fitting in with my friends--my social network has dwindled quite significantly since the pregnancy with my first. And friends that are parents are all single and partying, while I settled down and got married. I am the odd one wherever I go!

Diandra | 12:57 PM

I had my first child at barely 20. My second at 22. I was pregnant twice during my undergrad years and manged to graduate pregnant. Yuck. I felt like the outsider always. I was the first of my friends to have babies, and the first of my siblings. It was tough and still is... It's crazy reading your comments because there's so many out there that felt the same way, as an outsider. Why couldn't I find these people 9 years ago? Perhaps it might've saved a ton of grief and some serious post-partum depression.

Liz L. | 12:57 PM

I was the first of my friends and of my then boyfriend/now husband's friends to have a baby - considering we were young and it was a suprise. Also, I was 3 months away from leaving for law school. I was not supposed to be the girl who gets knocked up at 23, I was the smart girl who was going to be a lawyer. It definetly made me a misfit insofar as I fell short of people's expectations of me. Also, my sister in law was having fertility issues, and I wasnt supposed to produce the first grandchild, she was.

coronalrain | 12:58 PM

I would say motherhood has made it more difficult for me to make friends. At 31 I am an average age mother, but I am the first in my circle of friends to have kids and I have found that I don't connect real well with the mom's in the mom's group. They are all wonderful women and they were amazingly supportive those first few months, but we are going down different paths now. It is hard since I don't know where I fit in now. I do know I love being a mom and I wouldn't change it for the world. It is just a little lonely sometimes.

tlr | 1:15 PM

What a great post, as always!
It's hard to describe how life has changed since having children but I think it's for the better.
On the one hand we are the last of our friends to have children so I feel left out of their lives now since they are dealing with teenagers. We are just at different points I guess. Even though I thought our friendships were strong I can feel us drifting away or maybe some snarkiness since I have made younger friends??
I have made new friends in our town solely due to children. I felt like a misfit before but having great children is one topic everyone loves to talk about. We didn't really know anyone here for 8 years until I had a child and then went out on a limb and joined a playgroup. Those friendships have lasted for 3 years now and we all have second children now. We are all ages, economic backgrounds, .... I think I was afraid to open up because of my preconceived notions of them (cool, hip, wealthy, snobby..the list goes on in my mind). I have learned alot from them and alot about myself once I decided I didn't care what they thought and just opened myself up. Funny, they opened up too and now we can laugh about our shared insecurities.
I think it takes guts to just approach another mom and be yourself but I think it can lead to great friendships.
Keep on rockin! Love your post.

That's Ms. Amy to You... | 1:16 PM

I’ve never felt like I found the group that could relate to me & my place in the world at this moment. Now that I am a mother, I see the similarities between me and them, but it’s still difficult to relate. Everyone else always seems older, or younger, or more established, or just starting out, or they have more children, or, or, or….. I’m not looking for a clone of myself, but it seems near-impossible to find someone who can relate to me in this place and time. Being a mom gives you that instant “in” when it comes to playgroups or parks, but it almost makes it harder to make friends. I barely have the time or energy to sneak out to a movie every 3 months, much less try to nurture a budding friendship. That being said, I feel like I fully embrace all the clich├ęs of motherhood in the modern age. I don’t pretend to be able to do it all, but I do a helluva lot, and for the most part I love it. I love starting 2 loaves of homemade bread while feeding the family breakfast and checking my work email. I never thought I’d be the middle-aged mom who is still balancing work, little ones, taking care of a household, and supporting a husband in school. But I am. And as imperfect as my life is, it’s perfectly mine.

Mrs. Chicken | 1:29 PM

I've always been terrible at making friends. Always feel awkward and silly, too "something" or not enough of that "something."

Motherhood? Made it worse. Waaaay worse. And I, on the outside, look like the mothers you describe. Normal, competent.

Alas, I am neither of those things. At all. Ever.

My best friend is my husband, and for that I am grateful. I have a wonderful mom and loving sister.

I will never have a girlfriend, and some days, that hurts.

Aspenchick | 1:30 PM

I think that parenthood has made it easier to discuss life's new parenting ups and downs with strangers; however, it has made it harder to meet new friends. I mean - when is there time to forge new meaningful friendships in the busy life of parent?

The Go To Girl | 1:31 PM

Ahh, perfect. Really, I spend everyday feeling like a little lost girl. Whether it's out with my daughter, 6 months, or at my stuffy-corporate office gig. You give me hope that things might change. Love your blog.

J.Danger | 1:33 PM

Oh my word- have you been following me? Spying on me? Taking notes? Geesh- totally rude....

Parenting, parenting...

I had my oldest son just after my 18th birthday. I really was "sooooo young" but I did it and I hate that "they" never give me credit for it. Its also "you were so oooo young" or "you could've" or "what if" but guess what- I effing did it, and I did it alone, and we turned out ok after all. Now, with my third on the way- I just give it up and forget it all. I mean good grief- I dont want your matching crystal jumpsuit things. I dont want my kids to dress just like yours. I want them to dress themselves, and draw tattoos on themselves, or make their own clothes, or color his hair if his wants. As long as they are good people. I just want to raise good boys who know who they are, and even if they dont know that yet, to be themselves every step of the way and know that that is ok.

Phew. That felt good to get out!

genagee | 1:34 PM

I think that some mothers will always be judgemental and petty despite the fact that you have been carrying the "mommy and me" card a whole lot longer than they have! I have learned just to say to hell w/ them!! Before I felt inadequate and ashamed--I felt I owed them an explanation as to why I would never remember to bring snacks or extra change of clothes!! Now I just say, oh well--we will manage like we always do! My daughter and I are fine thankyouverymuch!!
gen

Heather | 1:40 PM

Love this post.

I am def outside the yoga pants/Bugaboo stroller set. I did join a moms group but I tend to feel worse when I leave than better...so I'm not sure if I'll continue going. I don't mind being different because sometimes the yoga pant set sounds Stepford Wifeish, if you know what I mean. But I have lost friends since becoming a mom so it would be nice to have A FRIEND to confide in about all this hard Mom stuff!
Thanks for this post...it helped me today!

Poodle | 1:41 PM

I was the first of my girlfriends to have a baby. One of them just had a son a week ago and another is pregnant, but she lives in another state. My out-of-town friends suggest joining a stay-at-home-moms group, but the idea of that makes me gag. I haven't felt too lonely or too isolated or too much like I'm playing pretend as a mother. Most of the time.

I feel confident in doing it my own way. Most of the time. And with the support of my husband who is my best friend.

I see other parents on the playground and judge them and therefore don't want to try to make friends. But my baby is only 9 months old. What happens when she's older and wants to have friends? What if I hate the parents?

But sometimes I wish I had just one really good girlfriend with a baby the same age as mine, who lived in my town, whose husband got along great with my husband and who didn't mind drinking wine in the middle of the afternoon.

The thing that's changed is I now have the responsibility and the joy of my daughter, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No sleeping in. No vacation days. I have to time things now. Gone are the days of taking a "quick run to the store".

But I feel so much more in touch with myself as a human being now that I have her. And I think that makes me willing to put up with a lot less bullshit.

But it also makes me wish I could love other people a little bit more, if only to be a good example for her.

The Lees | 1:45 PM

What you wrote, spoke directly to me. I am too classified as a young mom. It has taken me nearly four years to finally feel comfortable around other parents. It has taken me trusting in my own ability as a mother and secure enough in myself to feel like I could stand with people twice my age. It's still hard somedays. I still feel lonely sometimes, but things are getting better. I am beginning to trust myself more and realize that they other moms are just people too.

Megan | 1:54 PM

Wow, you are speaking to me today!I have always wanted to be a mom, but that didn't make the social awkwardness any less awkward. I was so intimidated when my first was an infant, always afraid to say the wrong thing or have the baby that always cried! When my second came along, I think I grew into myself as a mother. I became more confidant and found it so much easier to make friends. I am very blessed to have a group of mom friends now that I cherish!! I haven't embraced all of the cliche`s of motherhood, but I did cave and buy a mini-van!!!

Overanalyzer: | 1:54 PM

Wow - many, many comments. I wonder if you'll get time to read this! Just wanted to say your blog, and this post, in particular, is brilliant. This post is so thoughtful and you've managed to express a feeling that I've often felt without being able to articulate it (in relation to both parenthood and many other things). When I was 15, I'd think of the age of 23 and think that it sounded SO OLD. And then at 23, I thought 28 sounded old. But the funny thing is I don't feel any different. I feel wiser, sure. I feel more secure in myself than I was at 16, thank goodness. But I still don't feel the "I'm an adult now!" feeling that I always assumed would hit me at some point. And according to my 56 year old dad, I never will! Thank you for your writing - you're very talented.

Maternal Mirth | 2:01 PM

How has motherhood made me feel like a misfit? I became a mom at 19 years old. THAT is quite a reality check for a sophmore in college! I was the only one of my friends home on a Friday night and when I was able to go out, I had to limit my fun (aka alcohol) because there's nothing worse than a hangover with a baby.

Now that I am 30 and the mother to 3, do I feel like a misfit? Sure, but everyone does from one time to another. High School is life's misfit-prep! But I have the love of my partner, the joys of my children and the life of my own to cushion the misfit blow. I am comfortable in my motherly skin.

Beth | 2:04 PM

I write a column about parenting issues/my family etc. in a community newspaper. Some might think that makes me one of the "in" moms. It isn't so. I am the mom people smile at but don't engage with. I am 30 with three children and maybe people feel I am unreachable because I am that column writer? Maybe they don't relate because I work full time? Maybe because I have twins and another kid so close... I don't know. But my friends are the same people I have known 20 years. No new mom friends here.

Ali-Pants | 2:05 PM

Becoming a mother has made me more confident and I find I make friends easier. I feel like I have a lot more in common now with other mothers, like I'm finally part of the club.

amyinbc | 2:08 PM

I could have written this post! Good for you for realizing we are all after all just human. I found when I had my twins (son was 4) I could care less what people had to say or think. And once I got past trying to be SUPERMOM! and thinking everyone else WAS I was fine.

Love your blog. And don't need a stroller :) Wonderful prize for someone that does though!

mommymae | 2:10 PM

there are so many ways i often feel like the outsider in parenting circles. first, when i had twins at 25. i was so young compared to so many other mothers, but i didn't let it get me down. when my kids started gong to a jewish preschool in a new city, i was a bit removed being a non-jew raising jews and not knowing anyone. now, with 4 kids, i'm the one with the gaggle of kids who is getting ready to move again to start over with parent friends anew. at least i know none of these things make me more or less of a person, they just help to make me who i am and i love it.

Baby in Broad | 2:36 PM

I've felt like an outsider since I was 8 years old. Having a baby just reinforced that feeling...at first.

I really identify with what you've written here, because I think I'm right at the stage between Inside and Outside. I'm in the stage of, "OK, so you don't fit in with the other mothers at the playground/grocery store/community center. And that has to be OK, because you're you."

But, um, now what?

Jaida | 2:38 PM

I still struggle feeling like I fit in - I'm a 28-year-old mother of nearly-two, full-time employed, in an area where all the other moms are 35+ and stay at home full time. The biggest challenge though is that my son has Down Syndrome. It's a lot of hurdles for someone naturally introverted, but it means I value the mom-friendships I do make so much more. I learn every day that we don't have to have identical lives to bond over the shared struggles (and joys!)of mothering.

3star | 2:39 PM

What a brilliant post it's refreshing to hear someone talk about these feelings. I definitely felt like an outsider when I had my baby, Isaac now 9 mths as his dad and I broke up when I was 6 mths pregnant and he left the country. I was 35 at the time so I felt embarassed that this had happened and felt I was letting my baby down. So I ended up having to rent a room from a friend and working my ass of before he was born to provide for him and pay my debts.
It felt like all the media and most people only talked about couples and where did that leave me? It's exhausting to look after a child by yourself it doesn't leave much time for friends or socialising which I miss. It's worth it but I miss having fun that's just for me. Don't get me wrong I'm still very happy and feel stronger than I ever did before. But there are downsides, I haven't got laid in a year!!! I told my sister that if someone doesn't kiss by the time Isaac is a year she better pay someone to do it.
But hey i'm proud of how I have provided for my son. His dad has been out of work for a while so mummy is bringing home the bacon and at the weekend I can't wait to mess around with Isaac.

Manda | 2:51 PM

It's like you're in my MIND. I am the youngest mother I know ... (and I'm 28, GOOD GRIEF!). My one mom friend thinks I'm a superstar because I leave the house with my child in tow. Let me just say it like this: Our kid joined our life. We are still ourselves. A lot of parents DO let their children control their every waking moment, and frankly? That sucks for them AND their kids. I want our daughter to know that her mom has a life and a higher calling that BEING her MOM. Don't get me wrong ... I LOVE being a mother. I love my daughter so much it knocks me over sometimes. I just want her to be proud of me. So the people who raise their eyebrow at me when I tell them I went back to work part-time, quit breastfeeding (and LOVE it), and watch me help my friend move with a baby in the Ergo ... they can SUCK IT.

p.s. Love your blog, Rebecca. I think (shame on me!) this is my first comment. I really enjoy your posts and love it when you're on Momversation! WOO! keep it real, girl!

musicalkel | 2:56 PM

I am the outcast. Between being the first of my friends to have a baby and moving away from everyone when I was 5 months pregnant, I have become quite the loner. But you give me hope that one day, I will be confident enough to branch out more and hopefully, gain a few friends along the way.

Love the blog btw!

Jenna | 3:00 PM

I think being a mom has made me finally not care at all what anybody else (except perhaps my partner) thinks about me. It's such a relief. People will either like me or they won't and it's really fine either way. I think I'm a great mom and I have great kids and an amazing partner, so everything else is just gravy. The strange thing is, now that I don't care so much, there's a lot more gravy coming my way.

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