In an excellent episode of Dear Sugar, the Sugars talk to relationship therapist Esther Perel about infidelity. There are SO MANY great takeaways from this podcast (like you should go out into the world and do something that makes you feel sexy – like dance or hike or whatever and then bring that energy home to the bedroom), but one thing that stuck out in my mind is that many of us expect all things from our marriage: our partner is supposed to be the love of our life, our best friend, our co-parent, our business partner, etc, etc all while maintaining a fabulous sex life. Esther points out that its ridiculous to believe that one person can be all things – and it’s ridiculous that people expect this of their marriages. You need a village.
You need family. You need colleagues, creative partners, mentors, etc. And you need friends. (And you need the Sugars, because they are amazing.)
One of my weird life-long complexes is that I believe that people do not like to be around me. It began in middle school (where else?) with the crippling desire to be super duper popular while deep down wanting to hide under a rock and never be seen. If people saw me, they might see me for the boring/annoying/waste-of-time-to-be-around loser that I was.
It can be hard to make friends when you feel like you’re a mosquito. But the thing is: I have great friends. Inspiring and amazing people, for real. I think beer helped me in college. And sometimes the universe delivers an instant-friend, that requires almost no effort, someone that rides your same wavelength in life, you know?
Like my friend Erica.
I met Erica on the first day of my pre-natal yoga class. We got paired up for an exercise, chatted for that brief moment and realized our due dates were three days apart. She was the only person I ever really talked to the whole five months or so that I took the class.
When our due dates grew near – our bellies so round – we exchanged numbers in the locker room after class. That was the last time we saw each other at yoga.
About a month after James was born, I got a text from her. Our littles – Lucy and James – were born on the same day. We saw each other soon after.
And now I don’t know what I would do without Erica. Every new Mom needs a friend like this: one who is going through exactly what you are going through, one with a similar parenting philosophy but would never judge anyway, whose child somehow naps at the same times (mostly) as yours so getting together is a breeze – and it turns out is just generally awesome and inspiring and you’d have been friends in life before babies too.
Erica and I have walked many miles (actually kilometres because we live in Canada) with the little ones. We have talked about baby sleep for hours on end. We have commiserated about how our (amazing) husbands sometimes just don’t get it.
I think James may have finally sent my people-don’t-want-to-be-around-me complex packing. I don’t have the time or the energy for it. Moms (and dads) need each other. The experience is just too big to go at alone.
This year, a couple made a very long difficult flight with James tolerable…even memorable. A local toured me around Castle Mountain. Sometimes, I feel like James (or babies in general) is a magnet for goodwill. Just yesterday, a mom came up to me before she got off the train to say: He’s a beautiful baby.
It’s so easy to blur out the people around you. But James can bring things like that into focus. He’s brought down a wall. He’s opened me up.