Morristown Mama Drama is two Morris County moms with two different perspectives– one from the land of Mardi Gras (New Orleans, LA) and one from the land of WaWa (Bucks County, PA)–sharing insights and tips from the trenches. We met in Morristown when our oldest kids were 6 months old and have been navigating this delightful, and sometimes harrowing, journey together ever since. Check out our latest escapades and local recommendations right here on Morristown Green.
Becoming a parent is a major life milestone. It can change how you view yourself, how you view the world, and what you see as important. You navigate this new life with family, friends, and various healthcare and childcare professionals to provide suggestions, support, an open ear.
Even if you have a rich network of open ears, there is something profound about friendships formed with other mothers of similar-aged children, particularly first-time moms who want to spend an entire hangout session unabashedly discussing poop and how to choose a preschool.
To have someone who gets the push-pull of wanting to work and wanting to be with your kids full time. To have a buddy who totally gets how all-consuming this experience can be creates a deep and lasting friendship. It can be like a sisterhood, it can be like a dating pool, it can be like a team-building retreat — whatever it is, it’s important and it’s special.
There’s not much difference between being a college freshman and being a new mom.
Wawa: Many people find that their friendships forged during college are some of the strongest bonds they have. Something about meeting people in that time when you’re figuring out how to be responsible for yourself, seeing each other in your pajamas without your contacts in, and keeping odd hours makes for deep, lasting friendships.
You’re up all night; you don’t know where the body you took for granted went; you’ll eat whatever is in front of you, and you have no qualms about donning loungewear for every scheduled activity or obligation of your day.
You’re showing these people — at the playground, at preschool drop off, at prime Costco sampling hours — who you are when you’re not trying to be who you usually want people to think you are, and that forges a powerful connection.
It also helps the friendship-building process that the bar is then set so low for compliments. If a woman who usually sees you in spit-up stained t-shirts and yoga pants you’ve been wearing for 36 hours straight sees you with clean hair, she’ll tell you that you look gorgeous, and you’ll love her forever, just like the girl who told you you were still beautiful after crying in the bathroom at a frat party (and put you to bed in your clothes) in freshman year.
Mardi: Yup, like college with a bit less consumption of Kendall Jackson chardonnay and Twizzlers. And instead of staring up at the infinity of the cosmos and trying to figure out if you believe that consciousness lives on beyond the body, you engage in long discussions about if you messed up your kid because you didn’t wear her in a sling everywhere.
But similarly, at the end of the bag of Bugles (still good after all these years), you find yourself wondering if there’s any solid truth in the universe, and hate to admit that you feel a bit of schadenfreude when you see someone who never forgets to get the crust out of her eyes losing it in the preschool parking lot because her kid just won’t get into that car seat.
Get her digits…
Mardi: Hit it off with mom next to you at the park? No shame in asking for her number. There’s no industry standard—you can text right away or even call if you’re feeling social.
Two paths forward—invite her over for a playdate or out with the mommies. If you take the first route, you’ll get to know her, but it will take longer because her Mom Ambassador will show up with Cake Pops or homemade cookies.
But if you can get her to take an Uber and meet you and your girls at a bar, you can skip through the pleasantries and catch a glimpse who she was at Girl’s Night before it became Mom’s Night.
Remember that girl we all used to be–she who wore pants with a button and zipper, cleavage-baring shirt, had a Cheerios-free backseat, and no extra pouch below her belly button?
Wawa: The world of diaper bags, sippy cups and Mommy and Me classes turned out to be an unexpected social sweet spot for me. Something about having a child as an excuse, a smoke screen, a red herring helped smooth the path from acquaintance to friend for me.
The automatic equalizer of being in the same sleep-deprived, puked-upon boat made it easier to close that deal. Asking someone from Gymboree to plan a playdate rolled off the tongue easier than asking someone from yoga to go out for coffee.
Pre-kids I worried someone would think “shouldn’t she already have enough friends?” But my fresh little baby–he had a perfect excuse for needing new friends–he needed new everything.
Just remember to ask for the mom’s name when making the overture toward friendship–it’s easy to fall into the trap of only knowing your new buddy as “Aiden’s mom” and suddenly you’ve talked, texted, and hung out too much to ask her name without feeling like a dope.
Mardi: An ingenious way I’ve noticed some moms deal with that café d’awkward moment is instead of giving you their number (then you’d need to know the name to save the contact under), these moms will say, “what’s your number? I’ll text you.” Then they text you: “Hi, it’s Jane” You can text back, “Hi, it’s Tarzan.”
(from lowest to highest level of “Mommy Friend Intimacy”)
Mardi: Park playdate: Find a park.
Pack some snacks. (Or forget them, if you’re me and, if you’re Wawa Mama, pack extra to share.) No need to plan activities. You just need a relatively nice day. If your oldest has a playground friend, she won’t beat up on her younger sibling or steal the swing out from under him because she is otherwise engaged.
Ice Cream date: Meet at The Creamery in Morristown for a sticky, drippy playdate and order yourself a scoop because mommies need treats too. Great for killing time after school before the babysitter comes.
Come Over: This one really stresses me out except for Fridays when the cleaning lady comes because I’m scared of being judged. The irony is that I stress that people will fault me for my lack of domestication, but in truth, I never think twice about other people having toys littering their hallways or piles of mail on a sticky kitchen table. We are all just so happy to be out of our own houses and have our children occupied, playing with someone else’s enticing toys (often the same ones you have at home).
Wawa: I like hosting playdates and usually offer to have people over. I don’t know if I like a home team advantage or just like not having to get my kids in and out of the car. But I do always have ample snack options.
Meet me for a glass of wine: I need to get away from my children NOW date
Wawa: I’m there.
Local Tips: Like in regular life, mom friendships can happen organically, but being out in the world doing things you enjoy certainly increases the chances that you will meet like-minded people looking to connect.
We both have an appreciation for the arts and performing and met in a Music Together of Warren class at the Morristown Masonic Center when our first babies were six months old.
After a few weeks of rocking out to All Around the Kitchen, we went to lunch with the other first-time moms in our class. We took over a corner of Swiss Chalet with our strollers and nursing covers and talked about sleep training, starting solid foods, and figuring out together how to be out socializing in the world with little people attached to us, and we’ve never looked back.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions for future column topics? Feel free to reach out to the Mamas by commenting below, or by dropping a line here. We look forward to hearing from you!