Did you miss me? Have you noticed my absence at all? No? Ah, well, okay. I’ve missed you, or at least the idea of you, imaginary reader. Writing for Ms. Behaved was (is) my grown-up, just for me thing, and I have not had a lot (any) of that, lately. This summer has been about my family. My kids. My newborn. And I’ve loved every exhausting second of it, (okay, not EVERY second), and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s exactly what I wanted, but also: Me. Now, mmkay?
Of course, let’s be honest, “Me” isn’t going to have much of anything to talk about besides BABIES for the immediate future, because “Me” cannot move more than twelve inches away from my daughter without setting off her scream and flail about switch. For real. She’s asleep on a pillow ON MY LAP as I type this, because if I put her next to me, she will wake up and demand to suck on my boob for the 2 minutes it will take her to fall back into a blissful sleep. So, yeah, there’s that.
What’s really on my mind right now, though, is school. As in my 4 year old son starting reception in a few weeks. Reception is the equivalent of Kindergarten, i.e. big kid school! Which means uniforms and packed lunches and P.E. kits and do any 4 year olds actually wipe their own bums or tie their own shoes and (deep breath) the dreaded school gate. You know, where moms all stand around in cliques judging each other’s messy hair and pajama pants and children? It sounds awful, right?
I mean, I barely have any friends in this country, let alone mom friends whose children go to the same school as my son. Is it sad and pathetic to say all my friends live on the internet? Yes, it probably is, but it’s also true. My friends are scattered across the globe at this point, even the ones I’ve known all or most of my life, and making new ones seems way harder than it did in grade school!
For example, my health visitor encouraged me to take my newborn to the weekly weigh-ins. Your baby gets weighed, a bunch of health visitors are there to answer any questions, and there are tons of toys, babies, and new moms all sat around lonely and looking for other people to commiserate with. Sounds perfect for a new mom/foreigner like me, right? Except it isn’t like that at all! The moms are all sat around in small groups of women who already know each other, with their kids playing in front of them on the floor. Some women bring their husbands with them. CHEATERS, I say! CHEATING CHEATER-PANTS! I’d totally bring mine if he wasn’t at work, but he is, so I sit there by myself looking like a lost puppy and exchanging awkward smiles with the other friendless moms, who invariably do not speak English.
So yeah, hopes for making school gate mom friendships are not high. I swear, I used to be the kind of kid who would strike up a conversation with anybody. Now I find myself acting all weird and self-conscious when people talk to me. What the hell happened? And anyway, is this it? Am I damned to be friendless and awkward for all eternity now? Have I used up my allowance of friends for my lifetime or something?