I’m So Busy with My Daughter’s Social Life That Her Little Brother Has None

When my daughter was born, 6 years ago, I verged on a somewhat obsessive level of friend-making—both for her, and for me. I was both excited and scared to become a new mom, and I thought, “If I can just surround us both with similar-aged babies and their likeminded mamas, we can all grow and learn together, forever, and live happily ever after.” Sounds awesome, right?

Cut to four years later with the birth of my son. The second child. Sigh. While I went to exhaustive lengths to build friendships for my daughter — from prenatal yoga and childbirth education class, to baby meet ups, preschool and camp playdates — I have done next to nothing to make friends for my son. And why, you ask, don’t I give a crap about my now 2-year-old son? Well, I do. It’s just that I’m too freaking busy maintaining my daughter’s social life.

The guilt is palpable. My son and I still go to sing-alongs and read-alouds and the nearest playground, but here’s the difference: When I’m pushing him on the swing, I’m not ogling the mom next to us, wondering if the kid she’s pushing is the same age as my son or whether she seems friendly. I’m not even contemplating a casual intro or asking if she’d like to set up a playdate sometime, because my calendar is booked solid. In fact, in about five minutes we have to go pick up my 6-year-old from school. These days, my entire schedule consists of drop-offs, pick-ups, my day job (which I didn’t have when my daughter was a baby), and playdates, because my social butterfly has more friends than I do and they are all dying to see each other all the time. When would I possibly find the time to set up a playdate for her little brother?

What sucks is, I actually tried in the beginning. My son was born in England, and I enjoyed meeting new moms at prenatal yoga and sing-alongs in our pastoral hamlet … but any attempt I made at building friendships (and I met some incredible people!) was upended when we moved back to New York around his first birthday. We were back in New York, and back to square one. Sigh.

The truth is, my son has probably made buddies at daycare, and I feel awful that I don’t have time to find out who they are. His only other friend is the daughter of a close friend of mine, and even they don’t play more than once a month (at best). But I’m ready to turn over a new leaf. You heard right. My son turned 2 yesterday, and I have scraped six– yes, six! – kids together (mostly other secondborns with no social lives), and we’re going to have an awesome birthday party for him this weekend. So maybe we didn’t rent the puppet theater and cram it with 75 friends like we did for his sister’s third birthday, but six friends in the garden sounds like a good start.

I look at my adorable, friendless son and I see the way he laughs, the way he plays with his sister, the way he cares. Maybe my son doesn’t have a thousand friends, but I don’t think he’s scarred for life. Yet.

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