It was about five months ago when
we first met L and her mom, at a weekly postpartum support group that took
place at the local JCC. L's mom and I clicked and, when she left the group to
go back to work, we exchanged contact information.
We'd gone on a single walk in the
park since then, and they'd also come to one of our barbecues. But this playdate would be the first chance for Em and L to really interact. In fact, it
would be Em's first playdate ever.
Obviously, I was excited. So when
my husband and I arrived at L's house with Em, we quickly extracted her from
her car seat and her snowsuit and plopped her down on the large play mat in the
living room, eager to see their friendship magically blossom like a beautiful bunch
of hydrangeas. L—who had been attending day care at her mother's office since
the age of 2 months—squealed happily upon seeing Em.
Em, on the other hand,
immediately began sobbing. She remained inconsolable for the next 10 or 15
minutes. My husband and I were mortified. This was obviously an indication that
we had failed as parents.
I know what you're thinking:
Seven months in and no playdates? As a busy WAHM who also teaches yoga on the
weekends, I've had trouble finding the time to make mom friends, let alone make
plans with them. And though I'd been diligent about attending new mom circles
and Mommy & Me activities at the beginning of new motherhood, as my work load
increased—and the temperature decreased—I'd become more isolated, retreating
back to my pre-baby reclusive ways.
Isn't mommy guilt a given, no matter what decisions we make as parents?
And since I'd resisted paying for
child care, convinced I could juggle my daughter and my work simultaneously, Em
had become a recluse by default.
Just last week, a few days before
that ill-fated playdate, I blogged
about the guilt I feel over being unable to interact with Em during the work
day as much as I'd like to.
Now it seems I have much more to
feel guilty about.
Which is typical, isn't it? Isn't
guilt a given, no matter what decisions we make as parents? Isn't this the
part where I freak out about having not socialized Em enough and, as a result,
overcompensate by overextending myself, scheduling playdates and activities I
don't have time for, paying for child care I don't have money for?
Deciding what's best for our
children isn't a black-and-white decision. So much is dependent upon our life
circumstances. And the solution that works for one family may not work for
So you might proclaim the glories
of day care. Meanwhile, I'm thinking of returning to Mommy & Me Yoga and
Mommy & Me Storytime, and of paying another mom I know to watch Em one or two
days a week, alongside her own daughter. It might work. It might not. The best
I can do is test things out and adjust course as needed.