Recently relocated from Manhattan to suburban Port Washington, Long Island, where she’s marooned with her newborn daughter while her husband works in New York City, Jessie is excited for a high-stakes meeting: She’s invited her next-door neighbor Lina over for backyard coffee. The women bond quickly over sleep training, breastfeeding, the best librarians at story time, and their anxieties about balancing work and family when they return to their jobs.
During one of their now-regular naptime coffee dates, a man they don’t know shows up in Jessie’s backyard and introduces himself. Mitchell, a socially awkward new father who lives in the wealthy neighborhood that overlooks theirs, expresses an admiration for the women’s friendship—which he has observed from his own backyard, literally above theirs.
Mitchell believes his wife Adrienne is struggling with parenthood and would benefit from their company. Lina is cautious but Jessie is welcoming as Mitchell invites Adrienne to their afternoon coffee date.
It does not go well. The ensuing conversations—between Mitchell and Jessie, Jessie and Adrienne—reveal the many ways no one can assume they understand the full story behind another parents’ decisions.
This new person enters their community just as Jessie and Lina’s maternity leaves near their end and each face difficult choices as they transition back to work. Lina returns to her regular shifts as a hospital receptionist but worries about leaving her son in the care of his often-inebriated grandmother. After a dangerous birth, Jessie struggles with the thought of returning to work at all, although she’s nearing the moment to try to make partner at her law firm. The friends face a new crossroads together, but with distinctly different options.