When Ron was just learning to crawl, I had a regular weekly playdate with a handful of other moms.
Two I knew from high school. One was a friend of a friend. One was a cousin, I think. And one lived in my neighbourhood.
We met every Wednesday at a local indoor playspace for young kids. We’d pack lunches, get there mid-morning, and stay until mid-afternoon. The staff all knew us. We’d hang out and talk about anything and everything, pausing every so often to nurse the babies or mediate disputes with the older kids, drinking bad coffee and eating the slightly-stale muffins they offered in the “parent cafe”.
It was a much-needed break from the everyday grind of being SAHMs.
As the kids got older we’d rotate from house to house. Different moms came and went. Eventually the group fell apart in the face of one mom’s very messy divorce, my return to part-time work, and several maternity leaves coming to an end.
I never really replaced it with anything. And I feel the lack.
I’m still in regular contact with two of the moms from the playgroup days. But I almost never get to see them. One runs a dayhome too, and has three kids of her own, and juggling our two schedules is damned near impossible. One moved out of the neighbourhood and relies on public transportation, which doesn’t come to my area. (We’re meeting up tomorrow night – finally – after trying to plan it for three weeks. And hubby wonders why I don’t get out with my friends more often).
I have friends scattered across Canada and the US that I only know in 140 character bursts on Twitter. We have long conversations where other participants drop in and out. During quiet times here, I log on and within minutes I can always find someone to chat with, even if only for a few minutes. Sometimes I learn things – like why parents do the Hallowe’en Fairy (something I have wondered about, and snickered at. I’ll give anyone doing it the benefit of the doubt now. Some people have excellent reasons). Most times I get a good laugh, like yesterday’s discussion of our tween popstar love affairs and how our parents used them to scar us for life. Sometimes I get caring love and support.
It’s like an instant friend machine. The Tassimo of adult conversation. Facebook is fading and Google+ is turning into a pebble dropped down a mineshaft, but after initial skepticism I have grown to depend on Twitter as my lifeline to the outside world.
When hubby goes on parental leave and I lose one of my full time clients, we will be very pinched, cash-wise. As in, we will be going into debt for those four months. And we know that. We’re OK with it, it happens, and really there is no other way. We are already reasonably economical, but there are some cuts we could make if we had to.
One of those will not be the internet.