Recently I was seated with four moms about my age at a baby shower. Some worked, some didn’t, but they had children in common. When the conversation moved on from sitting in a car for two hours to let a child sleep and dealing with other moms at daycare to ripping vaginas and cord-cutting, I reminded the ladies we were eating. They looked at me like I was an alien. Then one of the women asked me what I’d normally be doing on a Saturday—they had already reeled off lists of classes and activities—and I said, deadpan, “Yoga, then… whatever.” They laughed, all in on the big joke that I had nothing important to do. I wanted to say, “I might spend three hours on the phone with my mother trying to convince her to move to a single-story house, because I worry every night she’ll fall and kill herself.”
There’s this idea that New York City is the one place where you never have to grow up. People do, although it happens later. They marry in their early thirties, move to Park Slope or Hoboken, have one kid, immediately swear they’ll stay in the city forever, have another, and eventually move to Jersey. Does that qualify as growing up? Probably. I think once you’re in charge of making sure another person doesn’t die—even if you’re a teen mom—you’re pretty much grown up.
Some of us get left behind. [...]