Brielle & her buddy at the 11am Birthday Party
While I was out on maternity leave, I resisted the urge to hibernate for the winter. One Wednesday morning, Brielle and I ventured out to the new moms meeting at the Hospital. I think she was six weeks old. I walked into a room of approximately 30 women and frankly, I was immediately overwhelmed. It felt something like sorority recruitment: a room full of estrogen, everyone struggling in her own way, and all the while trying to make friends. I went home after the meeting and vowed to never go back.
The following Wednesday, my husband forced me to go back. I swore to him that I wasn’t going to like it. However, this time I met two moms with sons only weeks older than Brielle. We got to chatting and ultimately had lunch after the meeting. In only a few short weeks, we had a somewhat regular lunch group of 8 moms, all of whom I adored.
Over the last year, my “Hoboken Moms” (as they are fondly referred to on my group text message chain) have been my backbone. Our kids have all given us a run for our money at one point or another, and no matter what question I have, it is amazing to know that there are 7 other women on the other end of the line to guide me, commiserate with me, or simply listen to me.
When the time came to start celebrating the kids’ first birthdays, one of my Hoboken Mom friends was having a birthday party for her daughter on a Tuesday, at 11:00 a.m. She hired a musician to do a mini music class, and the kids were going to have so much fun! The mid-day plan worked for most of our group, but not for me, the working mom. I was so bummed that Brielle and I would have to miss this, particularly when I had nothing of extreme importance going on at the office that day. (Note: this was in my past life, not when I was working for RLG,). So I called in to the office and I said I would be late.
Brielle and I went to the birthday party, and I relished in watching her dance to the music and play with her friends. (By “play with her friends,” I mean the kids just took turns putting different instruments in their mouths). She truly had so much fun, and I got to experience in real time the videos and pictures my nanny usually sends me every day.
Thankfully, I missed absolutely nothing at work that morning, But that didn’t stop me from leaving the party the minute it was over, rushing home to drop off Brielle, and speeding off to the office- afraid that my afternoon arrival would draw attention. I know I am not going to be able to make every birthday party, but that won’t stop me from trying.
Ashley Vallillo Manzi lives in Hoboken with her husband and one year old daughter. She is an family law attorney with Ziegler Zemsky & Resnick. With focus on prenuptial agreements, divorce, alimony & child custody, Ashley sees her role as "helping someone arrive at a new beginning." On the weekends, Greg, Brielle, and Ashley love to go out for brunch, playing in Church Square Park or chasing the birds along Sinatra Drive. With lots of friends and family (her siblings live here too!) this family is always on the go.