Making friends was so much easier when we were younger. I am 10 years older than my next sibling so I spent a lot of time identifying as an only child and the challenges and loneliness that come with that. I remember hanging out on the beach and digging holes in the sand. Some poor soul would be lurking near by watching me because it never occurred to her parents to bring her a bucket and shovel I guess. I would simply smile and say “Hi! Do you want to build a castle with me?” And that was it. Instant best friends for the day!
If only it were that easy as an adult…
I remember listening to this Cat & Nat #momtruthfriday about how making mom friends is the same as dating. That awkward beginning part where you identify a mom that you think has the same parenting values as you. You recognize that your kids are about the same age and seem to get along well with each other. You hear her on the phone with her husband joking about how she wishes it was appropriate to drink wine out of a water bottle to make sitting in the park in 90 degree weather more bearable. You’re all excited because you’re hopeful that you have finally found a mom friend/soulmate that just gets you.
But then how do you make the first move? You don’t want to seem too desperate and scare her off. And if you do strike up a conversation, when is the appropriate time to exchange numbers so you can make playdate plans? Getting shot down by a potential mom friend is just as awkward as getting shot down by a guy at a party back in college! And if it does go further than that first encounter, you still have that whole getting to know you phase where you only agree to hang out after a sufficient nap and with his hair clean and combed with a nice outfit on. I HATED that part of dating with my husband. I used to tell him all the time how happy I was to never have to date again!
And now having to relive it when making mom friends is even worse. I just want to get to that part where you come to my house, that is probably a mess (no judgments because were best friends), and my kid is in mismatched pajamas and still has syrup in his hair from breakfast. We fill up a baby pool in the backyard and let them do their thing while we hang in the shade drinking sangria and talk about the latest episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale and how stupid Offred was to think she wasn’t going to get caught on that plane!
Well, yesterday I had to laugh out loud because the exact scenario that Cat & Nat talk about happened to me. I was at “Muffins with Mommy” at my sons school. We send our son to Montessori school and we ABSOLUTELY LOVE the sense of community and togetherness that the school exudes! We wanted to surround our child with families that value the same things that we do. We are not super hard core fanatics or anything, but we do try to incorporate the Montessori style of teaching into our home as much as possible and our son is thriving in his school environment.
Up until yesterday, I haven’t really found a mom that I connected with though. I thought when I sent him to this school it would be easy to find moms that I had a lot in common with. After all, we already had a common ground because we all value the Montessori based education. We all get the school newsletter that contains discipline tips, healthy eating suggestions, and upcoming events in the community that are kid friendly and safe, so it should be easy to find a conversation topic or to make plans outside of school. However, I quickly learned there is a wide spectrum for the levels of commitment to the Montessori way. Some delete the educational emails and laugh at the teachings of the school (ummm why do you send your kid here then?), while others swear by the lessons and liken any other learning style to a form of torture.
I usually keep to myself at school functions (if my husband isn’t present) and when I have had a conversation with one of the moms its usually very surface level and I’m thinking of 100 ways to get out of the convo. There are 2 types of moms at his school: the stay at home mom with the super successful husband that talks about their ritzy gym membership and has their nanny come to school functions so they can “enjoy themselves without worrying about the kids and the “granola crunchy” mom who has some weirdly successful business doing I don’t know what, that preaches non-stop about the benefits of a natural parenting lifestyle, still tandem breastfeeding their 5 year old and 3 year old, co-sleeping in a twin bed, and constantly sending social media blasts about an upcoming yoga retreat in a field. I love both of these types of moms and find myself enamored with their lifestyle (especially the passion of the “granola crunchy” mom…I wish I was that hardcore about something). I’m just not like them.
And then I found Jen! My son is constantly talking about his 2 best friends at school. All day every day I hear about these boys and their adventures inside and outside of the classroom. They pretend they are dinosaurs together on the playground and crash monster trucks during story time. Jen came over to introduce herself to me since our sons are bonded at the hip. We struck up a conversation that began with us sharing war stories about parenting boys who NEVER stop moving, which led to us commiserating on how hard it is that our friends all have girls! She completely understood the difficulty of keeping our rough and energetic boys from tearing off the baby doll heads of the calm and sweet spirited little girls. The looks of pity that moms of girls give you when you carry your mud covered gremlin child off the playground laughing hysterically and fighting to get away because they somehow found the ONE puddle in the whole place and thought it was wise to roll through it. And the pure exhaustion that comes from constantly trying to protect OTHER children from your child because you can’t be sure he won’t throw a ball at a little girl with enough force to knock the cute little pig tails out of her hair. We agreed that while we love our friends dearly, it’s just become easier to NOT hang out with them. It’s too tiring to have to always apologize because boys don’t sit still and they will always think burps and farts are funny.
It was so nice to talk to someone who understands! We exchanged numbers and left the school with the promise to talk soon and set up a play date where the boys can just wreck shit and we won’t apologize a bit for it! Now I just have to figure out the appropriate length of time to wait before I can text her and not seem needy… #datingsucks