I’m a theatre nerd. I sing show tunes, the harmonies too. I do a passable Merman (woot! Astoria shout out!). I have a rather insane Playbill collection that my husband may have threatened to toss during one of our moves. I read Michael Riedel, and I used to read Frank Rich before he jumped the shark. Sometimes when I have trouble falling asleep I write scripts or cast shows in my head. Put me in a room with folks who wear these traits like badges of honor and I am happy. There is a sense of belonging that comes with shared passion and I’m confident in my nerdiness.
Why do you suppose we feel weird acknowledging the same about parenting? Of course you can laugh and chat with any Mom at the playground, because there are elements of child rearing that are just universal. But one of the best things I’ve done in my parenting life is admit that I want to keep company with others who have arrived at the same conclusions I have. I’ve taken the sometimes hard but always joyful steps to build community and “find my birds”.
So nowadays I’m also an AP nerd. I quote Aldort. I believe strongly in sleep sharing. I make my own kefir. I know what SSC stands for and wear my youngest around town in his Ergo. (Psst, I still covet fancy strollers like some girls covet Birkin bags)
I NEED others like me. They feed me and normalize me and teach me cool things like how to get rid of pink eye (squirt squirt).
Although practices like babywearing and cosleeping and exclusive breastfeeding are less “counter cultural“ in 2012 then they were when my parents trail-blazed in the 70s and 80s, it still can be a lonely road if you don’t have your birds.
Have you ever had to pleasure to overhear two Moms discover that they are both cloth diapering? It’s happened in my living room a few times and it’s like a party! “OMG, really? Hooray” Next thing you know it’s the new bumgenius patterns and their favorite balms and how they can’t wait for summer because a cute AIO is practically an outfit and let’s trade emails. Best pals being made right there.
So c’mon. YOU know your instincts are right. You just need to find others who know your instincts are right too. They are out there- some in plain sight but more are hiding. Attend LLL. Join API. Read the message boards on mothering.com. Feel normal and empowered. Take a deep breath and just walk up to the new Mom at the park who is fussing with one of those boob covers and say “Hey, how about you throw that thing away and be my bird”.
Rebecca lives 12 miles west of Broadway and secretly dislikes most Sondheim. She is always on the lookout for nursing Moms at playgrounds.