It’s not bowling alone, really.


Last weekend I accompanied Eight to a birthday party of one of his classmates. It was at a bowling alley, and the other mom’s (no dads this time) sat at tables at the back of the room. Mike had a bunch of stuff to do at home in order to finish up his dad’s birthday present (and I had just cranked mine out that morning), so I offered to take the little chipmunk.

And! it was a little weird. but then it always is, right? when you show up with “someone elses” kid? and you don’t know any of the parents, and they’re already sitting down at tables for 3 or 4 with no room to buttinsky and introduce yourself?

So I sat right next to them, smiled a lot, and knit away, fiercely, on my latest hat. I mean, already I was sticking out as the new person. And to top it off I was wearing – as I typically do – a short skirt, knee socks, and my converse with pirate shoelaces. I find myself knitting in public and hoping that this tiny thing is what will make me seem a little less cool (because obviously I am ultra cool, with my short skirts and knee socks and lack of mom-pants and branded sweatshirts) and a little more approachable.

At football practice I’ve noticed that the way parents get to know one another is you show up a few times and then you just start talking to each other (or even eavesdropping and then joining their conversations) on the bleachers as if you’ve been formally introduced, or actually gone to the effort to meet one-another. But at the birthday parties, they all seem to know each other.

And I’m the STEPPERS. I don’t get to go to parent-teacher night. I don’t get to do the early-dismissal pick-up line. I don’t get to join the PTA.  I am not even the normal regular person who brings Eight to birthday parties. So how the heck does one even make friends with the other parents? Or even get the chance to find out if one wants to?


Eight told me on the way home that he told the other kids I am his mom. He does this, see, because it’s EASIER. No reflection on his ACTUAL mom, none at all. plus, then he gets to be the center of attention if any of his friends call him on it. I don’t blame him – man! what a mouthful! I’ve been there myself! – but of course I said “oh, I told all the other parents I’m your stepmom!” and he and I had a good laugh imagining the kids and parents comparing stories about us after the party.