When you’re a mom, I think it’s important to have friends with kids among your other friends. It makes play dates more bearable and you’ve got someone to talk to about tantrums and potty-training. The thing is…nobody ever warned me how difficult it was to make mom friends. It’s awkward, it’s new, and well, it’s just like dating.
First, consider where you meet moms. Maybe at the class holiday party, maybe soccer practice, or even a gathering with a local moms group. You notice that a child is getting along particularly well with yours and you decide to strike up a conversation with their mom. How does this even work? Am I the only one that really isn’t sure of the right “pickup line” to open up with to spark up the conversation?
Somehow, you manage to get the discussion going. You talk about what little Susie likes to do after school, perhaps ask the mother questions about her and her child. I’ve noticed that some moms don’t want to get friendly too fast and you can tell the conversation is a little forced. She’s not that into you, move on.
When is it okay to start inquiring about play dates and how do you do it? When we were new to Philadelphia, I didn’t know anyone and my daughters were getting along beautifully with a child in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. The mother was busy and on her way out, I just politely mentioned how well our daughters got along and handed her my number. This woman looked at me like I was a creepy perv at a bar. I swooped in too soon and with far too little prompting. Oops, shot down.
At most venues, there is time for a chat while the kids play together. This year, I saw a mom at back-to-school night who seemed very friendly and her daughter sat next to mine so I took the plunge and handed her my business card. I explained a story from last year where my daughter tried to make her own play date with the little girl who sat next to her in school, but the phone numbers that made it home were never legible. She seemed pleased to take my card, so at least it wasn’t awkward…except for the part where I’m pretty sure I spit all over her when I opened my mouth to introduce myself.
So say you finally make it past the hurdles of meeting someone, you’ve had all of the appropriate introduction discussions and you set up a date to get together and get to know each other…what if she’s not your type? What if she loves to talk politics and you despise it? What if she proclaims her strong belief that formula was created by the devil and you are just about to break out the bottle to feed your little one? What if you’re constantly making jokes and she’s not too big on humor? (My worst nightmare and it happens a lot! Moms just stare at me like I’m speaking a foreign language!)
Usually you want someone you’ve got things in common with and you’ll be comfortable around. I was so excited to meet a mom who seemed perfect for me. I kept shouting to my husband about all of the things we had in common. Then one day I gasped and he asked what was wrong, to which I responded, “She’s militantly against breastfeeding in public! What will I do?!” It’s like finding out your dream guy likes Nickelback. (Just kidding, I like them and I don’t understand that hubbub about hating them, honestly!)
I’m always on the prowl for more friends and especially close friends. It’s nice to change up the surroundings and I love getting to know new people, but I’ll always have my personal ad in the back of my mind….
ME: Weird, sometimes awkward, very talkative and sometimes on a TMI-level, crazy sense of humor, sarcastic, interested in debating, political, and general intellectual discussions, doesn’t drink coffee or alcohol, loves crafts, does the semi-crunchy parenting thing
YOU: Must love jokes. Not put off by my weirdness, can have intellectual discussions, any parenting style while mutually respectful of mine, cool with the fact that I will probably nurse my child around you at some point
US: Go for coffee dates at Starbucks even though I will order a steamer (flavored milk), open to having girls night at a bar if they have good food, shopping, go out for painting, pottery, and haunted hayrides, take kids to parks, zoos, aquariums, beach, etc. together.
OUR KIDS: Get along relatively well and by that I mean don’t try to kill each other.
What would your personal ad say?