I'm an Empty Nester — Where's My "Mom Group" Now?

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When my boys were little, Tuesdays were my favorite days. This was the day when my group of moms would get together for tea and sympathy, gossip and cookies. It was the truest, realest day of my entire week.

Back then, I worked the dinner shift in a local restaurant, and Tuesday was my day off. My two younger boys had afternoon kindergarten and the two older boys were in school. Laura, my closest mom friend, would host and I used some of my tips from the weekend to buy ingredients for cookies that I would bake and bring along for our morning. There were usually between four and six of us, some with babies and some with school-aged kids and some, like me, with little ones playing in her playroom while we talked.

And oh how we talked. Most of us barely knew each other beyond those Tuesday mornings, but no one was a stranger. I knew about Jane and her cracked nipples and Stephanie and her daughter’s temper tantrums. I knew about Sylvia and the horrible time she was having with her mother and the constant fights Bev was having with her husband now that she had gone back to work part-time. There was no such thing as small talk, even if we were talking about movies or TV or what we were making for dinner or how tired we were of making dinner or where we should get takeaway pizza because we decided not to make dinner. Everything we said to each other was easy and important and best of all, understood. We understood each other deeply on those Tuesday mornings.

Sadly, as our kids got older, we drifted apart. The funny thing is, I think we needed each other even more during those years, when our problems with our kids got darker or more nuanced, and when our worries, rather than our feeding schedules, kept us up at night. Instead of little kids trying to sneak extra cookies into the playroom, we had teenagers sequestered behind closed doors, leaving us all grappling with feeling alone in a house full of children.

I can’t quite remember when we stopped calling each other to commiserate. Maybe it was the fading away of our shared schedules. Or maybe it was the fear of judgment, of rejection. Because judgment came swifter once the kids hit double digits. How awful it would have been to call these women, the same people I trusted to get me through kids breaking bones and multiple rounds of head lice and my divorce, and hear that awful silence. The kind that says, you’ve done it wrong. My kids would never do that. I cannot understand a thing about you anymore.

I tried to make mom groups happen as the kids got older. I called them different names like “book club” and “outdoor yoga” and “bonfire Wednesdays,” but really I was just trying to get those Tuesdays back. I’ve even tried shoehorning myself into other mom groups with friends who had their kids later in life. It doesn’t work. They’re still in the thick of things and I am not. I have not been for a long time.

My sons are grown men now, one of them is getting married this summer and I need that mom group back more than ever. I have friends, of course, some of them those very same mom friends from my early years of motherhood. I can still text them a photo of my mother-of-the-groom dress and ask “too much boob?” and they’ll text me back with a link to a tasteful camisole. We’ll grab drinks or a hike or a night out when we can. Maybe this Tuesday will be the one. Maybe.

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