I am a parent and receive e-mails—more of them than I would like, really—for moms meetup groups. And moms meetup groups are important because an enormous part of having children is venting and commiserating with other people who also have children. Interacting with other parents is one of the things that keeps us sane and makes parenthood manageable. They are a chance to really connect with other people about the difficult stages we are all going through and yet so many of the meetups have “fun” or “upbeat” themes like “Join us for Zumba!” or “Splashpad playdate!” And those groups are fine, I suppose, in that they get new parents out of the house, but every time an e-mail arrives what I am secretly hoping for are the meetups listed below.
Join us Thursday evening at Katherine’s apartment where we’ll all sit around and pretend having kids is going really well and that nothing is ever wrong. Prepare for an evening of saying things like “OMG, where did you get her outfit, it is too cute!” and “I can’t believe you made this quilt, you are so talented!” when what you’d like to do is grab another mother by the ears and scream, “TELL ME PLEASE. HOW MANY MONTHS BEFORE I FEEL ALIVE AGAIN?” Please arrive having showered and pretending like showering is something you always have time to do. (Coffee and Pastries will be served.)
Does your kid love smoked salmon and asparagus? Good for you. Part of us is very happy because that is so wonderful that your child is eating well, but also we are miserable because our own children, who we had also hoped would eat very well, react to specks of oregano the way Indiana Jones reacts to snakes. Join us for an extremely tentative meetup in a restaurant where the majority of our children will clamor for white bread like 19th century British orphans and one oblivious parent will talk about how his daughter loves roasted chick peas and even though he’s totally a nice guy, we’ll all briefly fantasize about drowning him. 10 AM Beechwood Café.
Are you bursting with sadness and anxiety the way the 1930’s airships were filled to capacity with hydrogen? Does it worry you how often you make analogies between your emotional state and the Hindenburg disaster? Meet with other local parents as we sit in a circle and have a quiet, emotional breakdown about how f**king hard it is to raise kids and how we’re not sure we can do it anymore because we constantly feel like we’re watching our life go up in flames. All parents of young children welcome. BYO handkerchief as we cry on each other’s shoulders and quietly whisper the phrase “Oh, the Humanity,” to anyone who’s emotionally holding it together enough to still be listening.
A great meetup for moms and babies aged 0-6 months. Trapped at home with a newborn? Bring your bundle of joy down to the Grove Street Playroom and talk to the other new moms about how you have each read 40 articles on the topic and yet none of you understands sleep training and how breastfeeding is only slightly less time consuming than training to become an Olympic gymnast. Have a brief chat about how before you became parents you were well-respected professionals in the business world and enthusiastically compare the Netflix shows that have kept your brains from deteriorating to the point where you can no longer use language or solve simple logic problems.
All parents of young toddlers welcome. Join us as we drink whatever wine was on sale that week (Cupcake, Barefoot) and heatedly talk about how private schools are too expensive and also have impossibly long waiting lists but public schools are terrifying because they decrease the chance that our children will become fluent in Mandarin and/or graduate Summa Cum Laude from a university whose administrative buildings look like the Hogwarts campus. Nod politely at the person suggesting homeschooling while quietly admitting to yourself that part of you enjoys the “free babysitting” aspect of public education. Eventually leave having resolved nothing other than determining how many glasses of wine it takes for you to throw up between two parked cars. (Five!)
Ready to talk with some other adults? Start a bunch of conversations with other seemingly nice parents that are inevitably cut short because your 18 month-old decided she’d like to climb a steep, metal playground ladder that’s inexplicably the height of the Chrysler building. Have a disjointed 30 minute talk with someone who seems genuinely interesting, after which you both apologize for having to constantly run after your kids and eventually just agree to friend each other on Facebook and maybe private message each other or someday meet for a beer.
Do you like sitting on a blanket, clapping? Of course not. No one does. Put your hair in a high ponytail, whiten your teeth, and show up to this anyway.
Want to run away into the wilderness and live like a primal hunter/gatherer because it’s one of those days where biting the head off a writhing fish seems preferable to uttering the phrase “Hey, which one of us is picking up Caitlyn?” or crying into an unfinished lasagna? Join a bunch of other parents who’ve had the kind of week where they’re totally ready to purchase a one-way bus ticket to Alaska and eat nothing but berries and roadkill for months on end as long as it means they never, for as long as they live, get CCed on another e-mail chain entitled “Madison’s Birthday (Gluten Allergy!)” or lay eyes on another overflowing laundry basket.
Join a wonderful group of local parents as we preface every sentence with the phrase, “But not that I don’t love my kid because I obviously love them so much,” and then go on to talk about what we thought parenthood was going to be like while we all laugh in a group at people’s naivete and inexperience. Hahahahahaha, remember how you thought you would just seamlessly incorporate your child into the life you already had instead of being literally sucked in by a tornado of a human being and being spit out onto the yellow brick road, only the yellow brick road is paved with expensive food pouches and extremely high childcare costs and you don’t get magical shoes or a fun scarecrow friend?
Has today been one of those days where you literally can’t take it anymore?? Join other parents in a soundproofed recording studio to scream about how occasionally having kids seems like literally the worst decision you have ever made and you can’t believe this is your f**king life now. Let off steam about how 90% of your time is spent dealing with tantrums, relationship stress, and money issues and how you feel like becoming a parent has completely stripped you of your identity. Enjoy two hours of literally screaming at the top of your lungs alongside other really nice, normally calm parents who are also screaming.
Led by a local mother who has four children under the age of six, Yelling in Frustration is the perfect way to diffuse the frustration of parenthood in a safe, contained environment. Scream at the top of your lungs. Wonder how you will make it through tomorrow without having a nervous breakdown. Then glance at the photo of your children that you use as your iPhone wallpaper, and remember, suddenly, how painfully much you love them.
RSVP quickly, this one always fills up fast.
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If you enjoyed the post I have a lightweight and inexpensive book out now called Welcome to the Club: 100 Parenting Milestones You Never Saw Coming, which you can buy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, or by walking into your local bookstore and asking for it. It works really well as a baby shower gift for new parents so if you’re feeling ambitious you can buy the book for someone you know who’s having a baby but when it arrives you can do that thing where you flip through it to read parts of it but without breaking the spine so the person receiving the book doesn’t realize you totally looked at it. Obviously I would never ever do something like that but clearly I totally might.