by Lindsay Pennell
When I had my first daughter, almost four years ago now, I never could have imagined how different my life would become. It’s not the 4 a.m. feedings, sleep deprivation, countless diaper changes or the way that life suddenly became all about my children that shocked me. It was the sudden bonds and deep friendships with other parents that caught me off guard.
At the ripe old age of 24, I thought I had this whole ‘parenting’ thing figured out and was ready to tackle motherhood. See, the thing about me is, I’m outgoing and friendly but I am also very up front and at times, well, alot to handle when it comes to my no-holds barred honest approach to life. Before my daughter, I didn’t generally like other people’s children and had no idea why some parents would put their children on those silly backpacks with leashes and let them become sticky with mud or ice cream. Ew.
I felt that if I attended play groups or “mommy talks” I would be judged for my lack of knowledge on the diaper genie or the fact that I had no idea what BPA was or why it was important. For the first few months, I stuck to my own circle of fabulous friends. Although amazing, none of them had entered into mommyhood yet, so I bored them with conversation about the consistency of poop and teething rings. Then I decided to face my fears and “mommy up” by attending one of these dreaded mom groups.
The first playgroup I attended was filled with talk of “little Christopher being very advanced for his age” and “what school are you sending your daughter to?”.
This threw me for a loop because I hadn’t decided what we were even having for dinner that night, let alone which form of higher education best-suited my monkey.
That said, I forced myself to keep going, all the while telling myself it would improve my daughter’s ability to play chess before her third birthday and become the next Picasso.
Then a fabulous thing happened. The “competitive mommies” started to weed themselves out, and I found myself meeting other parents who seemed not only able to understand my humour but also my parenting style. I reconnected with some old acquaintances who have since had children, and even some old family friends, who have kids as well.
Yes, we do trade stories of baby poop and sleepless nights but we also talk about our spouses and what books we are reading. The conversations flow from wine, to our family, to the latest drama on our facebook pages – all without judgement, and a healthy dose of humour.
A few years have passed now. I still have my amazing childhood friends, some with children and some without. I have added more lovely ladies to my close circle and our husbands are also starting to benefit from our friendships. We find ourselves attending family BBQ’s, hosting “mommy only” potluck dinners, and trading off our children for “date nights”.
If you asked me five years ago if this is what I imagined being a parent was like, I would have laughed and vowed never to conform. Yet these days, my girls sport cute puppy dog backpacks with leashes and have extra sprinkles on their ice cream – and their faces!
Lindsay Pennell is the proud mom of three beautiful girls, age three and under. While Lindsay’s oldest daughter still can’t play chess, she can spell her name and better yet, has inherited her mother’s “unique” sense of humour. Read more about Lindsay’s local adventures with the family at littlecitycharm.blogspot.com and follow her on Twitter @littlecitycharm.