Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Making Mommy Friends

I’ve found that making friends as an adult is not as easy as it was when I was a kid. Kid is defined as “in school of some kind” – so that includes college. Actually, I recall that making friends in college was easy-peasy. I would meet someone while moving into a dorm and we would be best friends 48 hours later. The excessive beer drinking could also have been a factor. Possibly.


In my twenties, I was married and my only kids were feline and canine. Making new friends in a new city wasn’t easy. I had work friends. I had buddies from the neighborhood. I had friends from the dog park. But it took a couple of years before any of them became my real friends. And then, as soon I had them and loved them, it was time to move again.  Shizzle.  That still gives me the red ass and it was nine years ago.

Everyone says that once you have kids it gets a lot easier to make friends. Then again, everyone also said you lose tons of weight while breastfeeding. But the size of my enormous ass discounts the veracity of that little tidbit of maternal wisdom. Another myth shot to hell, thank you very much.

The whole making friends with kids thing though, is partially true. When the kids are older. When they’re little babies, especially with your first baby, it can be incredibly isolating and lonely. Because it’s all about meeting their basic, primal needs all the time so that they will not perish and the world will not implode. And that just doesn’t leave a lot of time for other things. Like sleeping or basic hygiene or attempts to reclaim your sanity.

When I had my first baby, I had no family living nearby and only a handful or neighbors and acquaintances, who while truly lovely people, were not what I needed. Mostly because at the time, I didn’t know what that was. It turns out what I needed was a mommy friend who would tell me: “You are a total psycho but that’s normal. Now let’s go to Barnes and Noble and get lattes and pretend we still know how to read.”

Though that’s not entirely fair because at the time I could still read (unlike now). As long as it was Good Night Moon or UsWeekly.

In 2003, what I needed was a Kate. I had a wonderful husband who thankfully, was really supportive and just as overwhelmed by and crazy about becoming a parent as I was. But he was at work all day. And he was f*cking asleep all night. And he was (and remains) a dude.

So for the first year, I spent a lot of time on the phone with friends from far away. And watching TV. And being alternately resentful and snarly and then guilty and weepy and failure-y that the whole thing wasn’t easier. I kept asking myself if it was supposed to be this hard?

Yes. I know, Kate. That’s what she said.

Then somehow, when I least expected it and most needed it, a miracle happened. I ended up in a playgroup. It was five first time mommies and five almost-one-year-old little girls. The girls enjoyed playing together, but it wasn’t really about them. It was about us. Woot! Finally...  Because all of us were loving being mommies but kept wondering what the hell happened to us.  And when we figured out we weren't alone in the confusion and chaos, it became infinitely more easy to deal with.

I could say things to them that no one else understood. Like the fact that I was watching so many Wiggles DVD’s that I actually had a sex dream about the blue one. Or that the lack of sleep was turning me into angry old witch who was a total B to her husband all the time. That going to the Starbucks drive-thru was the most exciting part of my day and I was fully aware that that made me totally pathetic. That every time I heard Dora the Explorer’s voice it was like someone flipped a Manchurian Candidate kill switch in my head and I just wanted to smash things and set fires.

And instead of being like: “That’s frightening and off-putting. You should consider spending the weekend wearing a huggy jacket in a nice bouncy room.” They were like, “The Blue Wiggle. Yeah. Let’s google him.”

This is what we saw when we googled him...
And there was no weirdness or drama or competitiveness. Just support and kindness and booby jokes. It was great. And I had no idea just how unique our situation was, how special each of them were. And that I will never be able to duplicate what we had for that year. Because once I had made these amazing friends, who were supportive and understanding and funny… We moved again.

Awesome. Thank you, fates that guide my husband’s career.

But even though it was awful to leave, it really was OK. Only one of the five mommies is still there (military town - though we are not military - enough said). And we got each other through the worst of it, those first two years of mommyhood. Because once your kiddos get older, you get out of the house a lot more. You start to have a life again, even if it’s nothing like the life you used to have. The one where you were cool or badass or had a single second of autonomy. Sometimes it’s actually even better.

You start preschool or soccer and you’re thrown into the paths of other moms and families. Which is a whole other post (for later this week). Because whether you like it or not, you’re going to be seeing a lot of those mommies. Some of them might make you want to square up and kick them in the taco.  But most of them will be nice.  And possibly they may end up being your best buds or maybe even a Kate.  And that's huge.

Sigh... I know.  That's what she said.

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49 comments:

  1. I commend you on your taste. Obviously, if you're going to have a dream about one of The Wiggles Anthony is really your only option. But what is he doing in the picture you googled -- a Pilates workout?

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  2. I wound up getting pregnant at the same time as another friend, and two months behind another friend, though 2 months ahead of 1 more (that makes 4 pregos at the same time) which was awesome and funny and weird at the same time. We did NOT plan this.....2 boys, 2 girls, and 2 of us went on to have our second babies 5 months apart. It's been great. Then, living in another part of town and a newly sahm, I met a whole 'nother group of moms that are also awesome and amazing. I got lucky I guess. The groups are definitely separate though. I'm much more of a middle of the road mom than my friends (ie, um, yes, ice cream IS a great idea at 7 pm!, Sure you can watch another episode of Thomas, No, you may not sit on your baby brother) Anyhoo, I'm one of the only ones I know that is sahm, so it's a little mind numbing and I thank you every day I get to read your blog.

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  3. We moved several thousand miles away from all of our family and friends when my one and only child was 7 months old. I wasn't working, and had NO idea how I was going to meet anyone, or keep my sanity. I joined a local MOMS club, and many of those women turned out to be my Kates! I refer to them as my "Oregon Family." Our kids are 7 now, and we have all added more kiddos to the mix, and we continue to support each other when we are at our craziest! This usually means calling for an early happy hour and tapping the T-box. ;-) Thanks for such a wonderful post. I'm going to go tell all my buds how much I love them!!! Cheers!

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  4. My mom's group turned out to be my lifesaver as well. We moved to New England (without knowing anyone) and got pregnant a few months later. It was hard, isolating, and depressing until I met a few other ladies at a class for Georgia. Over a year later, I feel like myself again and Georgia gets time to play away from her crazy mom. Thanks for a great post.

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  5. Good thing to know I'll get out of the house eventually. And brush AND floss my teeth on a regular basis... someday. Right now, in the throws of 2 kids under 2. Thanks for making me laugh today!

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  6. We moved to three different homes in three different states in the first four years of my first child's life. It sucked donkey dong. Horrible.

    Thankfully, we ultimately landed right back where we started (a fourth move) so it was sort of like some terrible post-partum nightmare that I made up in my completely bat-crazy (and lonely) Mommy-mind.

    You should post about how its hard enough trying to make good mommy friends...but then there's the element of trying to make good Mommy friends that have husbands cool enough to pass muster with your own husband. 'Cause its so fun and worth it (ha) to have to drag their sorry ass*s out against their will so that you can actually drink wine with these women you think you MIGHT become good friends with.

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  7. I have a 6 year old and I am still looking for my "Kate". I found one then she moved. sigh....maybe one day.

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  8. We moved three times in two years, on the opposite coast from my family, as my two oldest children were being born and bred. It was terribly isolating, and only the long-distance calls with the best friends far away who were also having kids kept me sane.
    Now that we have been in the same house for 5 (!!) years, I have more opportunities to choose those mommy friends. I'm still looking for a close-by Kate (I still have the phone ones).
    And serialswooper, well put on the man issue.
    Thanks for another right-on post.

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  9. So so so true. We've lived in 4 places since my oldest was born 5 years ago and we're moving again next week. Military - Woot! I've finally found my Kate but as of next week she'll live in Scotland and I'll be back in the US. So not fair...

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  10. This is one of your sweetest ones. We all need mommy friends, because we can't love being a mommy alllllll the time!

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  11. I would KILL for a playgroup with mommies that GET IT. As it stands, my "playgroup" is a lot of men in suits and it's called work. Not as fun.

    And thanks. Now I'M going to have a sex dream about the blue wiggle.

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  12. What a wonderful post - my sister (who has a 7 week old) and I just had a conversation about how she needs to find some Mommy friends where she lives. She's currently calling me every day (which is cool) to get her dose of sanity along with a reality check :)

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  13. Is that Tony Blair as the trainer? Maybe that's what happens to former prime ministers.

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  14. I am reading this while detangling Mardi Gras beads for my little one and over-smooching on my big one in hopes of getting her to stop the chatty-cathy routine and run away from me in fear of more kisses....but what I got of it while reading is a few laughs and a few tears. A good mom's group is hard to find....I am glad you found your Kate! We've moved 3 times in the past five years and the mom' groups just seem to get snarkier and more competitive as we go. Ugh!

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  15. I love the Blue Wiggle too. He's hot, can sing and dance, and I bet he's great with kids..LOL I would LOVE to find a group to connect with, but I live in an small town in nowhere Texas that doesn't have "mommy and me" classes. Sooo, y'all are it! You make me laugh and cry and I look forward to your posts everyday. Thank you ladies for all you do!

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  16. I had a playgroup like that when my older son was one. Then...we moved. We are military so it's what we do but it's still hard. I was lucky though, I found two Kates before we left. :)

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  17. I was lucky enough to find a playgroup like that when my older son was one. Then slowly but surely, people started to move, including us. We are military so it's what's expected but still hard. I got lucky though, I found two Kates. :)

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  18. Ya. Totally the blue one. LOL And @chacha, I second that! After two years Alone bc I was the only SAHM I knew and Now moving 4 hours away from all I've known for 20 of my 36 years... Lydia and Kate- Ya'll are my daily dose of sanity and non-aloneness! I'm hoping against hope for some MOPS who Get It come fall! Until then... Ya'll ROCK!

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  19. I have nearly 15 month old boy girl twins, and a ten year old stepdaughter, and a husband who half the time acts like he's twelve...ahem. So, YEAH I need mommy friends, and I've got 'em, thank God! I have four girlfriends who had babies a year ahead of me, and who all live within an hour of me. I have an amazing aunt/big sis (aunt who's only nine years older than me) in New York who keeps me in perspective 'cause she's got three boys ages 2, 5, and 7. Argh. I'm also a part of my local Mothers of Multiples club, and am getting closer with gals there which is great. I LOVE reading your blog, and this posting was delightful. Thanks!

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  20. Thanks for the awesome post! I'm blessed enough to have found my Kate 10 years ago and while we live in different states now and have 6 kids between the two of us we still love eachother like sisters. She never judges me even when my kids turn into crazy crack heads and finger paint the walls with poo. I'm also blessed to be a member of a great playgroup, while I love each and every one of those Moms for who she is, it's much harder for those to blossom into friendships outside of the group. Hopefully someday I'll have the network of perfectly imperfect, non-judgmental awesome Mom's I'm looking for.

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  21. Thank you for saying it gets better after they are 2. I just found out I'm pregnant with my second and my son is only 8 months old. I'm freaking out a bit, but it's nice to know there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

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  22. We had moved from Washington State back to NJ to be in a better work situation for my husband and to be closer to family. So close, in fact, we were living with them while looking for our own place. It was a house with five adults, one teen, one infant, one dog and one cat - and one full bathroom. Everyone but me had a place to be in the early morning. By 9am it was me, the baby and the pets. I was starting to go bonkers and my husband told me "you have to go out and meet some other moms". He encouraged me to check out Le Leche League, Welcome Wagon, Newcomers, etc. It was the best thing he could have done for me at that time. I found other moms, some were great, some were also a bit nutty, and many are still good friends today (even with various intercontinental moves). Very important for new moms to have play dates and to have husbands who support those play dates.

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  23. Oh Lydia...
    I can't begin to thank you enough for this one! <3 It was like you went straight into my head and pretty much described my life!
    Extra special thanks with a feather sword on top for the wiggles confession! I used to sit there and think how weird/pathetic I was for trying to decide which wiggle was the hottest, and thought there couldn't possibly be anyone else doing that! 8) What a relief!!! (btw, I had been leaning at the time toward the original yellow one, but after seeing the pic you posted... :P)
    I'm a former military wife, so I know just what you mean about making those special friends - who are a lifesaver after that newborn isolation phase - only to have to leave them.
    This year when my son's kindergarten ended, the group of mom-friends we'd made was so bummed. Yes, we exchanged #'s and e-mail, but our kids' school only goes up to kindergarten, so we are all going to be scattered among different schools next year. :( I'm glad to know we all weren't crazy for just not wanting to leave after drop off on that last day of school.
    I love your blog, but this entry really resonated with me, and holds a special place. (Funny timing on this too, because I just blogged about mommy-friends myself yesterday.)
    Keep up the fantastic work, and thanks again for such a great entry!
    ~Holly
    ps - Now I've got wiggles songs stuck in my head!

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  24. Thanks for the fantastic post! I'm still looking for the mommy friends. My path rarely crosses with my local mommy friend's except on the occasional walk. I have other friends who are mommies, but their experiences are so different from mine, due to age and other circumstances, that it's hard to relate. I need friends I can go out with, with my daughter, who totally understand that the occasional stroller meltdown is to be expected, and diaper changing breaks mandatory. Kate and Lydia, you are so lucky to have each other!

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  25. It has taken me over half-an-hour to even respond to something as awesome as your Anthony Field fetish. As you know, I too covet the Blue Wiggle.
    I can't decide whether to be jealous of you or recruit you to take out two back-up dancers on the next tour so when they ask if anybody knows the dance moves to the Shimmy Shake, you and I can step in. I'm leaning towards the later so hone your Tonya Harding crowbar skills.

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  26. Totally awesome post. I love it. I had some lovely Kates, and we ... you guessed it ... moved last year. It was pretty horrible.

    And yes -- Anthony W. is entirely crush-worthy.

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  27. WHOA! Way to go Blue Wiggle! I'm going to be thinking about that all day.

    But yes, mommy friends are the most important thing. I love my playgroup!

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  28. I'm a sahm and my daughter has been in preschool for the past year because otherwise she would never see her friends. The other parents all work all the time so there is never time for playdates. My son knows a couple kids that are close to his age, he's 15 months, but the only time he sees them is at storytime because their parents work as well. It's SO hard to make new friends and I'm not that old. I'm only 25 and all the moms where I live are just now having kids at the age of 35-40. Thanks so much for that post, it will keep me going until I find my Kate!

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  29. The best part of the post? “The Blue Wiggle. Yeah. Let’s google him.” I did the same thing! If you're stuck looking at the Wiggles all day long they might as well be Eye Candy!

    My play group brings wine to all play dates.

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  30. I laughed through most of this post...because yes, that was me, and eventhough my kids are now 10 & 8, I still secretely watch the old wiggles DVDs..but, I was so hot for Captain Feathersword (LOL), but Anthony is a good choice too!

    You are so lucky to find a group that fits you. I did the younger years alone, and am now just finding those "good friends" that will carry me through the teen years.

    Good luck...and when you get a chance, check out Lazytown...Sportycus puts all the wiggles to shame!

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  31. I thought I was alone in the dreams about Anthony...he IS hot.

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  32. My best friend is a girl who I used to be friends with in high school, we both completely destroyed each other we fought nearly to the death and we both moved away, then one day we met randomly online, we had kids 2 months apart. we met for a playdate and now we run a blog together and are expecting our new babies two weeks apart. High school sucked for us, but we got over that shit when we saw how scary it is to have no friends as an adult.

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  33. My friends made fun of me when I told them I had a crush on Anthony (The Blue Wiggle.) I'm glad to see I'm not the only one. Granted, I never had a sex dream about him.

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  34. I have been struggling with finding good mommy friends. I had a set of amazing friends in high school and college and now we've all kind of gone our separate ways. Sometimes I think my standards are too high because of this. I'm always trying to find that group that I once had. I also love to laugh, and used to easily make friends with scandalous humor. Now I feel like life is a bit more serious so that kind of thing doesn't go over so well with most moms that I meet...

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  35. OH MY GOD! THANK YOU!!! I am not the only one who was moderately (ok, maybe more than moderately) obsessed with the blue Wiggle for a while (a long while... Hey sweetie, let's watch the Wiggles! No, no, not the Wonder Pets, there are no hot guys in the Wonder Pets and even if they were they'd be animated and that would be all kinds of weird, you want to sing and dance and watch the Wiggles)

    But, really, yeah, I feel your pain, I was the only person that I knew with a kid until I started chatting with other daycare moms. I had family, but they all blamed every tiny little issue on the fact that I "let strangers care for my child". It was a rough couple of years.

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  36. I'm laughing a lot here... I had a hard time deciding between Greg & Anthony when my munchkins were the 'right' age for The Wiggles. I also may have gone overboard when defending them against a stupidhead who called them "The Four Fags" (and I'd already googled them & found out their backgrounds - though not that totally hot pic!!!).
    And yes, it does get easier when the kidlets are older. And I've been lucky enough to find a bunch of really cool women, and even a Kate or two.

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  37. My oldest starts preschool this fall and I can't WAIT to make some mom friends. Our first preschool playgroup meets Friday and I'm really looking forward to it.

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  38. I'm not great at making friends as it is (am I too picky? too dorky? not sure.), but then throw in the military wife thing into the mix, then having three kids, including twins, at home, and being in my 30's (GASP!) when everyone else around here pops out their kids between 18 and 22, and, well, let's just say I have yet to find my "Kate". At least locally. Once upon a time I had a pretty great playgroup, but the one I've found out here is pretty clique-y. And that's not how I roll...

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  39. In reading back through the comments and the post itself, it occurs to me that "blue wiggle" sounds a little inappropriate. Of course, I've been up for two days straight, but I totally think I'm gonna start calling Something getting my blue wiggle on. You don't have to post this. I'm just too lazy to email you.

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  40. What a fantastic post. I was lucky enough to fall into an amazing group of supportive and non-judgmental mommyfriends when my daughter was about four months old. This post made me very nostalgic for that time and the great conversations we all used to have!

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  41. I absolutely love that you made two "that's what she said" jokes in this article!

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  42. I appreciate this post a lot! I am a first time mom to a 6 month old and while I love her to death, I'm not 'loving every minute' and sometimes I need to hear that other people feel the same way, that it isn't all rainbows and butterflies. ALSO, that it gets easier. Granted, right now I'm in the middle of the ear-infection-that-would-not-die so that's clouding my judgement ;)

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  43. What a great post!
    I moved not just a few states away from friends and family while 15 weeks pregnant with my first baby. I effing moved to KOREA! Military wife. Good times. I gave birth six months into our two years in Seoul with not a friend on the continent (not for lack of trying!). All friends and family were at least 16 to 18 time zones away, so calls weren't even easy. I often wondered how such a high point in my life (becoming a mom) could also be such a low point (loneliness). Then I found my temporary Kate (in addition to my real Kate....my first baby is named Kate). We couldn't be more different, either. But she and her good friend took me into their circle and helped me start searching for my sanity. I am eternally grateful to them both. We all left for much different places in the States a year later and still keep in touch.

    I went on to have two more kids and each time had to move when they were only TWO weeks old. Makes for more lonely days and insanity!

    I've moved four times in the last five years and was lucky enough to find that friend in the third location. Now I'm starting over again... with my infant, three year old and five year old.

    It's nice to know there are others out there!

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  44. Okay, so there are more opportunities to make mommy friends when the kids are older, but don't you find it's like asking a guy out at a bar?!? I meet a mom at the playground. Two of her kids are the same ages as mine. We chat, seem to get along. Then what? I'm as nervous to ask for her number or email as I would be asking some guy back in my dating days. Why does it have to be so hard??

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  45. I love "that's what she said" jokes! I said it like 5 times today!
    I, too, had a Wiggles crush. But, it was on the yellow one. I know. I like nerds. What can I say.
    As to Mommies who get it, I had one in 2003 when my oldest was almost two. Her daughter was 10 days older. We were both pregnant and she was due like 4 days after me. At 8 months pregnant we moved. On a visit to her house we stayed over since it was winter. I went into labor there (20 days early!) and had to leave my daughter. She, pregnant with twins and sure she would go first, was just too stunned to say a thing. She will never forget me, that's for sure!
    Since then, no Mommies that really get me though. I work, and all the moms around here are the "perfect" mom. And even when they aren't they think they are.

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  46. I agree that if you have to have a sex dream abot the wiggles, the blue one is the way to go:)

    And yes, those first few months after the first baby is born can be lonely. You no longer fit in with your work friends nor do you have time for happy hour anymore:)

    Having a family and staying home is a whole new world. A great one, but I soooooo agree that it is hard to mae new friends until you meet other moms in the same situation.

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  47. the blue wiggle really is the hottest by far.

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  48. Could we maybe set up a group THRU you guys?? If they are reading this post, they are obviously mommies that GET IT!!! That aren't afraid to be (or find) the bad ass, sexy, drrrty, scary, loco mommas they ARE. Like make a box in the corner that we could type in our city/state and if someone else were looking for a RFM fan to be friends with in that area, they could contact us. BTW you should REALLY, really, reallyreally, make nursing tank tops (with belly support) with the mommy is gonna lose it Advisory System. That would be awesome.

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