CAN WE BE FRIENDS?
Have you ever noticed how the dreaded park playground is a great place to meet mom friends? Well, in theory that is. "So, you're at the park too, huh?" That's my typical opening line I use on any mom type figure who has the unfortunate luck of being anywhere in my vicinity. And although it has about a 4% success rate, I continue to use it. And that's because I really want to say, "PLEASE BE MY FRIEND!!" But I can't say that.
That's so 8th grade.
Anyhow, the other day after using my doomed mom friend pickup line at the park, I started thinking about why it’s so difficult to make mom friends. Every mom I know agrees it’s difficult. Even the ones who don't use pick-up lines at the park like I do. Which is none of them. I wondered how we got here and why we have become traitors to our own motherhood kind. I wondered why we see each other as people who need to be beat and bested, not best friend-ed.
The answers I’ve come up with all lie outside of motherhood. Perhaps keeping us as enemies ensures the current model of motherhood continues. Maybe wading through the scarcity and having to fight for resources and support has encouraged our competition and held strong the inequalities that exist between us. Is it possible that if we had a maternal culture that respected its mothers and provided them with equal access to supportive social policies that we would be friends? That we would have a sisterhood of motherhood?
My husband Matt says I should change my opening line to something catchier. Specifically, "geez, the park is horrid, isn't it?” And to be honest, I’ve also contemplated bursting into tears and seeing if I could attract any mom friends that way. But the thing is no pickup line will cure what’s happening. It won’t cure my inability to socialize properly and it certainly won’t cure the fact that we live in a society that seems to profit, in many ways, from us being enemies.
Ever hear of the saying befriend those who need befriended? Wait, that’s not the saying. But hear me out. What if wounding each other was no longer our goal? What if, instead, we started befriending each other? And even befriending moms who are different from us? What would change? Would our power grow? Would we be able to pass supportive maternal social policies? Would we create equality inside and outside of motherhood? Would we be less lonely, tired, stressed…fill in the blank?
I can’t see you right now, my dear mom. I don’t know your life, your face, your fears, your friends, your struggles or your children. But I know one thing for sure. We can be friends. And that when all of us start becoming friends, a powerful maternal revolution will take place. When we start evoking and inciting, as Nat likes to put it, a true sisterhood of motherhood, change will happen.
I’ll leave you with one more question. If you ever see me at the park, and thou shall know me by my pick up line, will you please just say you’ll be my friend? In the name of the maternal revolution and the sisterhood of motherhood, if for nothing else.