Friday, July 9, 2010

How To Win Friends And Influence People, Housewife Edition.

Moving away from Nashville has affected me the most, I believe. The husband is from this town, so even if he doesn't "technically" have friends here yet, he is always running into this classmate from high school or that childhood friend. Ella did have to say goodbye to her friends, but come on, she is four years old. She asked about them a lot the first couple of weeks, not so much last week, and each passing day brings fewer questions about when we can go see her friends. But I, on the other hand, had an amazing network of friends in my hometown. Friends who were stay-at-home-moms like me, friends to go grab a coffee with, friends to sit next to while we watched the newest vampire/werewolf saga on the big screen (shut UP. I KNOW.) There was never a shortage of people to call when the kids and I felt like getting out of the house and I needed some grown-up conversation while the kids ran around the park. So this? This lonely day-to-day existence with virtually NO adult interaction of any kind? This is brand new to me. And it is starting to suck. I can literally feel myself going crazy every day, bit by bit, which is kind of understandable seeing as the only conversations I am having are centered around Barbies and answering questions such as "Is that God singing on the radio?". So last week I made a real, conscious effort to put myself out there and meet people. Here is my story.

Day 1: Woke up and showered, giving myself ample time to actually "get ready", which is the exact opposite of my daily ponytail-and-tshirt-and-shorts-and-no-makeup routine. If I wanted people to like me, I reasoned, then I had better not stink or scare them off with my frightening, makeup-free face. Dressed the kids in their cutest play clothes, same reasoning applying here: No one wants their kids to play with Those Kids, the ones who are wearing a too small Elmo tshirt that shows their bellies and look as if they possibly have lice. We looked like a damned JCrew catalogue picture, and I felt like I was heading out for a job interview. At the park, Ella immediately ran over and began playing with a little girl about her age, and I noticed that her mother had a little boy just a bit older than Charlie. Oh my God, I thought. This is going to be like shooting fish in a barrel. She is going to love me and we are going to be best mommy friends forevermore. I trekked across the playground and set down our things about six feet from Friend Candidate #1. I did not even get the chance to open my mouth before Ella and her new friend trotted over to say hello. Except Ella apparently had other things on her mind. "Hey, guess what?", I heard her telling her new friend. "My mommy has on the most beautiful green polka dot bra today. And guess what ELSE?!?! It has a cute bow RIGHT IN BETWEEN HER BOOBIES!" I laughed nervously, waiting to see what the other mom's reaction would be to this revelation. Apparently it was to haul ass out of there. "Come on kids, it's time to go! Mommy needs to get us home so we can fix lunch." And that was that. We were left at the park alone. "Wait!" I wanted to yell. "Wait! You would probably really like me if I didn't have my kids with me!". Making a good first impression on the Moms of Clarksville: FAIL.

Day 2: Banking on the fact that Friend Candidate #1 was probably not going to chance running into us again at the same park, the kids and I headed back the next day. The kids may have whined something about not wanting to play outside, that it was too hot, and I may have said something to the effect of "We will go to the park and YOU WILL LIKE IT, dammit. Mommy needs some friends." We lasted longer this time, I even struck up a conversation with another mom there with a daughter that was Ella's age. Things were going swimmingly: she had two kids, lived near us, our kids were zoned for the same school district, blah blah blah. When she got up to go check on her younger kid, I noticed Ella coming closer with the girl by her side. "Oh, sweet Jesus, please do not let her say anything to ruin this for me," I silently pleaded. No such luck. Apparently while we had been in the car on the way to the park, a song had come on the radio that she took a particular liking to. I hadn't even noticed it was on, which is all to say that NO, I do NOT let my four year old listen to songs about smoking weed. I could hear her from twenty feet away: "Who says I can't get stoned, call up a girl that I used to know...". She had memorized almost all the lyrics, just from hearing it once, God help me. Before the other mother could come back and discover her preschooler hanging around with That Kid who is singing about smoking a joint and arranging a one night stand, I yanked up both kids and trotted to the car. Friendship Making: FAIL.

Day 3: I believe I mentioned it in the last post I wrote, but we have been kicked in the ass all week by a vicious head cold. Fevers, aches, chills, snot, and coughing was abundant here for about four days. I do not feel like I need to tell you what this meant for my appearance. Suffice it to say that my bathrobe aged ten years in one week. I didn't realize that this day was going to be a day in which I would make a first impression on someone, or I may have actually tried to run a comb through my hair (that hadn't been washed in, oh, three days) or scrape the boogers off my tshirt (courtesy of Ella, who believes I am a walking snot rag). But around 4pm, when I was just approaching the height of my sexiness for the week, there it was: a knock on the door. Oh, Lordy, who could it be? I thought. Turns out it was our next door neighbors that we had yet to meet. A lovely family, one that was standing there looking at me and my disheveled, snot-covered children in what I can only assume was horror. They were dressed to go to church. Ella had on a princess nightgown that has seen better days, and Charlie had on a too big tshirt with watercolor paint stains on the front. And a diaper. After they introduced themselves and made small talk for all of thirty seconds, they thrust a houseplant through my doorway and made their way home. Probably to take a shower or bathe in hand sanitizer. Meeting the neighbors and not making them want to put their house up for sale: FAIL.

I give up. If anyone knows of any nice, normal moms here that want someone to host a playgroup, have them call me. That is if they don't mind the fact that I wear polka-dotted bras, my four year old sometimes sings about firing up a joint, and I may have snot on me at any given point in the day. And if they do mind? Then I probably wouldn't want to be friends with them anyway.

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