So I’ve been on the fence about most of the meet-up gatherings I have attended. To clarify, meetup.com is a website where folks can create groups and gatherings (meet-ups) around any kind of topic, interest, motivation you can imagine. Not surprisingly, there are lots of moms meet ups, because, let’s face it: it can be lonely without a good network of friends who also are home with their kids, and it can be hard to find friends in a new place. More here on my saga in that regard. I’ve gone to a couple of local mom group meet ups and found them tolerable, even mildly enjoyable, but in the end, they’re an inorganic and forced way of finding people to spend time with. But finally I think I have come across a group where I feel comfortable and can do genuinely interesting things with other moms.
The group is about a half-hour away, but in a neighborhood on our target for our move next summer. And the group has a definite bias toward attachment parenting style, so the cloth diapers and breastfeeding and baby sleeping in my bed are all things no one there is at all surprised by. (You can’t really commisserate about the challenge of getting a good sleep with your little one under your arm with folks whose answer will be “so sleep train!” or about nursing a wiggly almost-9-month-old to folks who think you’re odd to be still nursing at all.)
The first gathering that fell on a day I could join was today – a get-together to attempt making kimchi. Five moms attended, along with about nine little ones. A couple of women had already chopped and brined overnight a significant quantity of napa cabbage. Together, we chopped shallots, green onions, garlic, ginger, and carrots. And in big mixing bowls we each combined ingredients for a total of about (i’m guessing here) 3 gallons of kimchi, divided into jars of various sizes for us to divide up and take home. Those who contributed more supplies took home more, but even those of us (me) who came with only green onions and some apples and peanut butter for snacks got a couple of jars. I can’t wait to try it – it smelled insanely good in preparation.
While we worked together the kids played, and it was easy to step away from a task to nurse or play. Most of us had a baby in a carrier for all or some of the morning. Del played on the floor and later fell asleep in the mei tai on my back. Conversation was comfortable. I felt like these were moms I would want to see again.
In fact, we all felt that way. And made plans to meet every two weeks for some kind of productive cooking project – baking bread, canning fall produce, making some bulk meals to take home and freeze. Or, as my friend Kristi put it: better living through hippies. Hear! Hear!