Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Motherhood, friendships, and a ramble

I'm a young mother for Germany. I was 24 when Teddy was born and I will be 26 when baby number 2 arrives.   Now for the USA that is on the earlyish side but for most towns still totally normal. For Germany, especially a big city, it is weird. Weirder still is that I am married and have been since I was 22. The average age for a German to get married is 30 and the average age to have a first child is 30. But of course averages are funny things so in an affluent area you see many, many moms with young children in their early to mid 40s. Nothing wrong with that of course. But when it comes to trying to make friends it can be hard.

I've lived here for 7 1/2 years and I still don't have a "best friend" here. I'm thankful that in my time here I have managed to make some good friends. Friends that I enjoy hanging out with and chatting with. But I'll be honest and say I'm still on the search for a friend that would compare to the friendships I had back home in the States.  Now there are quite a few reasons for this; different cultures, ex-pats often only here for short periods of time, twenties are a period of transition for lots of people, etc. This is also something I am alright with and I really have made some awesome friends here both German and not who I really enjoy. However I'm not letting go of my goal of trying to find a female best friend who I really love, can relate to, and who has just as much fun with me as I with her. Honestly reading this it sounds sort of like I am searching for the perfect partner and since I already hit the jackpot once in that regard, I totally accept that this time around it will probably be a little more difficult and take a bit longer. However I think some things are slowly starting to turn in my favor, for example...

The average German female I meet in my age range (lets say within 6 years of me) has normally been in a completely different spot in life, and can't really relate to me already being married and having a kid. Now don't get me wrong I still really like to go out, go drinking, go dancing, and in general do all the things I enjoyed doing before having Teddy but I can't really relate to someone with absolutely no responsibility in their life. Not that I can't enjoy hanging out with them, but in general I have always tended to be closest with people who could at least in many ways relate to me. But the situation is changing because I am getting older! Yep that's right I'm now closer to 30 then 20, which for most people wouldn't necessarily be a positive thing but for me I do think it absolutely increases my chances of meeting someone my age, with kids, with a long term partner, who shares similar interests, and who isn't 15 years my senior.

I have to interject here that I do have a lot of friends that are 10-15 years older then me, and I really enjoy them, and hopefully they me. However there are some things in which we just can't really relate to each other and which sometimes makes things harder. I mean who really wants to go out dancing with a girl 15 years your junior? Not me LOL. I get it. Of course they would never say it but in certain things you feel it.

So I have a plan for this year. One is to start being a bit more friendly at activities for Teddy and when we are out and about. Now normally I have my friends at things like children's gym, and I don't really interact with anyone else but I am going to try and be a bit more "Minnesotan nice" and start chit chatting with others when opportunities arise. Same thing goes for when I am at the park ,etc. I'm also going to try and start going to a few classes at the gym more regularly so I have a chance to get to know people better by showing up to the same course multiple times, instead of always switching around.

I'm also just going to chill because through the hubby and my own exploits I have managed to make quite a few friends and have exciting things like a girl's spa weekend, and a 3 family 4 day long weekend trip planned which is pretty impressive considering I came to Germany knowing all of 4 people. I also accept that my standards are kind of high for what I want in a good friend... although I have to say it is partially a culture thing too. I have a friend I met on an online message board from my home state. We met in real life and she was awesome! Honestly if I lived back home I am sure we would see each other often, and it was so easy. Reminding me that friendship doesn't have to be this thing that you constantly need to work at and which is difficult. I have another woman I met here from the US who unfortunately is only here for a year but once again hanging out with her and her son is just fun and easy and enjoyable. In some ways Americans are just more open then Germans so it is much easier to reach that level where you are just sitting around chatting about your life, or a TV show, or whatever. But that is no excuse for me.

So that was a ramble. Sorry! I'm going out to dinner with the hubby tonight and I am sure he is thrilled he isn't hearing it....again.


  1. I thought I had seen you say in a previous post you were pregnant but wasn't 100% sure! Congrats! =) When is the due date?

  2. I think this is pretty normal for a great many mothers - stateside, too! Even though I'm a normal age for mothers here, I have a difficult time finding like-minded mothers. Have fun tonight!

  3. Emma- I know I just keep mentioning it on the sly :D I'm due at the end of August. I'll write a post about it soon. You're due soon aren't you?

    La Reine- You bring up a good point. I do know a lot of moms who also have trouble finding good friends. I think the hardest part is when you move away from where you went to school or where your family is. Then you really have to start from scratch plus even if you stay near your close school friends you may find that they aren't following a path similar to yours and that they have trouble relating to you. Ahh adult life and friendships not as easy as I thought it would be :)

  4. I think it's definitely harder to make friends when you get older, no matter where you are. People are just busy, or have their own set of friends already established. Plus, like you said, it's really hard to find people who are like-minded, share your same values, or have the same likes/dislikes. It's so easy in school, because you automatically have something in common...you would think that would be the same for motherhood, but there are SO many different techniques to parenting, and people definitely break into different camps based on that.

    Anyway, I hope you find what you're looking for, and enjoy what you have now!

  5. I have been noticing the pregnancy hints too and just went back to see if I missed something! Hehe! Congrats! If you still read me, I'm due July 12...17 weeks Thursday. Can't wait to hear more about #2!

  6. I'm still following you Fine For Now. Although I think I forgot to officially congratulate you- congratulations!!

  7. yes, due march 6th! So close to the end!

  8. That is so exciting, just a few more weeks!!!!