Admission of the truth… For the most part, my social life revolves around my kids’ social lives. To support their social development, we make playtime with peers a priority. Between play dates, birthday parties, dance classes, and school events, I often have to make small talk with fellow Moms.
I love meeting other Moms, and swapping stories about Mom-life. Dads too, of course, but it’s usually the Moms that I click with most naturally. It’s encouraging to meet someone who “gets it”, and with whom you automatically have a lot in common. I gain new parenting ideas, encouragement to do better in certain areas, or even validation about the job I’m doing.
Recently I had to laugh when I observed how making friends with new Moms can feel a bit like dating.
Did she like me? Will she call?
My insecurities are showing here, but following a play date with a new Mom-friend, I’m wondering if she thought it was fun, and whether or not she wants to see us again. Did she think my story about making homemade popsicles was lame? Does she have the impression that I’m too relaxed of a parent…or, too high-strung as a parent? Does she think it’s weird that our family doesn’t go camping every weekend like hers does? And if she can’t seem to find time to plan another play date with you, maybe “she’s just not that into you.”
I’m a big fan of small talk. Getting-to-know-you conversation takes very little effort, and it’s very predictable. I’m an expert at rattling off my kids’ ages, schools, and activities. I can chat with ease about the weekend weather forecast, where I grew up, and kid-friendly dinner recipes.
Small talk is a necessary step in establishing a new friendship, but in the moment it all feels rather impersonal. It’s during this small talk session, however, that you begin to learn about someone’s personality and perspective. If you like it, you’ll hopefully move along to more personal topics, such as concerns for your kids or the realities of marriage. You begin to open up on a deeper level and share more about yourself. If you’re lucky, you find a close friend with whom you can support one another through this important job of raising tiny humans.
… when it doesn’t feel like you’ve clicked. So, you did the small talk thing, the kids played nicely together, and it was all fine. But in the end, you aren’t super elated to have another play date together. Maybe you’ve both got a lot going on, or the kids have other friends they’re more closely connected to. You have to be okay with this. If the other Mom/kid isn’t a great fit, it’s fine. You can’t be besties with everyone.
I can’t believe I’m going to admit this, but I’ve had Mom friends casually mention a recent play date with someone else and I think may have felt a little jealous. Like…wait, what? You had a play date with someone else? Are they more fun than we are? You mean, we’re seeing other people? Yes, I hear myself, and I know it’s ridiculous.
It’s Okay to Be Single
Frankly, sometimes I just want to be “single.” Sometimes I don’t feel like making an effort to meet people or find a new close friend. I want to go to the playground, keep my nose in a book, and leave without speaking to another person. I’m not in the mood to make small talk, or to find out what our kids have in common.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve become an introverted-extrovert (it’s a thing). Maybe that’s because in this season of life, I’m rarely alone, so I crave any opportunity to think my own thoughts without interruption. Case in point: Do you know what I want for Mother’s Day? To be alone for an afternoon. Just me and my thoughts. And a glass of wine. And maybe a Hallmark movie. 😉
No Man (or Mom) is an Island
In reality, I treasure my girlfriends. Those with children, and those without. I love a good Girls Night Out, and the opportunity to chat freely with someone who understands my world. I hope to be an encouragement to other women, and I need to be encouraged as well. So, I will continue to step outside my comfort zone and “date” other Moms. I’ll do this for my children’s benefit, but also for my own.