Monday, September 1, 2014

Making mom friends

It is so hard to make friends with other moms. So far, actually, it's been impossible! I haven't made one single friend through the kids - not one playdate, not one coffee, nothing.

It's true that I don't really try very hard; when I go to the playground with the kids, I'm there to play with them. And when I go alone (without M), trying to chase H around while also keeping E happy means that it's impossible to have an actual conversation with another adult.

But there have been a handful of occasions where I've gotten into a conversation with another mom, thought she was really nice and interesting, and we have similar-aged children, and I would have liked to suggest a playdate or lunch or walk or whatever . . . . . . but then I don't. One example that comes to mind is a mom in H's daycare class - he's friends with a girl whose mother seems really cool, and I love chatting with her on the rare occasions that we happen to run into each other. And our kids ALREADY KNOW EACH OTHER and play together at school. So why haven't I said, "Hey, we should meet at the playground one afternoon and have coffee while the kids play!" or something similar?

I'm reminded of this issue now because this morning, we took the kids to a new playground about 15 minutes away. It's in a beautiful neighborhood, and in addition to a couple of big playground structures, it also has tennis courts, a baseball field, etc. H was running around playing with M, and I was pushing E in the swing, and a mom came up and put her daughter in the swing next to E's. We started chatting, and ended up talking for about 10 minutes - she's from the area, lives out of state now but is moving back, and her daughter is E's age. We talked about teething, real estate prices, the changes you don't think about when you move from a big city to a suburb (like needing your stroller to fit in your car because while you used to walk around the city, now you need to drive everywhere), and random small talk. She seemed really nice, and very friendly and easy to talk to. AND she's sort of new to the area, so she probably doesn't know very many people. She even mentioned how different it is at the playgrounds here - in the city, there were always tons of moms there with their kids, and here they're so empty because everyone has yards and stays home. That was the perfect opening to say, "Well, if you ever want to get together, here's my phone number - there's a coffee shop/play space a few minutes away where we could meet so the kids could play". But, I didn't.

Why?!?!? I think partly because, of course, of fear of rejection. It's almost like asking someone out on a date! I'm not sure what the protocol is for inviting someone you just met 5 minutes ago to hang out with your respective kids. Actually, I think it's mostly that - I was worried that she'd be like, "OMG, who is this desperate weirdo asking me to hang out? I was just being polite because we were stuck next to each other while our babies were on the swings". But really, if that was her reaction, who cares? How would that have harmed me? I'd never have seen her again.

So really, I had nothing to lose. And maybe I would have made a new friend! Which would be nice, because almost all of our friends are still child-free, so our schedules don't mesh very well (it's hard to have an active social life when you're in bed by 9 PM on Saturday night!). But I didn't even try.

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