I came to the realization today that I suck at making mom friends! I am awkward. I stutter. I make stupid jokes. All in the hopes that the mom in the dance class parking lot will engage and want to talk to me. When we were children we were almost forced into some time of friendships because the moms were friends, or we were in school together and the whole class had to be invited to the birthday party. So it was a pseudo friendship. I had quite a few of them. When I speak with the moms of those kids that I played with, I politely ask how their child is doing and tell them to give “Johnny” or “Sally” my best even though I have not seen them for years!!! Because if not, my mother will “South Philly Italian” slap me upside the head.
As we got older we made and kept friendships based on similar interests but still it was easy to start a conversation because you were in the same homeroom or on the same sports team. You had the basic connection of a shared space for a finite period of time. You had to engage with peers and therefore friendships blossomed. And that is amazing!!! Many people keep those friendships into adulthood and that is a blessing. But sadly, for many that doesn’t happen. We grow up, grow apart, move away, go off to college or whatever happens that causes the separation.
Now I find myself struggling to connect with people now that I am a side part combing, skinny jean wearing, cry face emoji using old maid mama. Don’t get me wrong…I love all three of those things! They give me comfort and make me feel safe and secure. And this skinny jean wearing mama can go to the wine store!!!
With all the isolation and separation due to The Rona it is already hard enough to connect with the people we HAVE a relationship with, let alone try to make new connections! I was at the park during the week with my 6yo daughter and she was having the time of her life. While she was playing I overheard a mom say something amazing to her son (I don’t remember what it is now because after 2 kids, a full time job and isolation I have Dory’s memory) but I made a comment in agreement and she engaged! She responded and we started talking. She was laughing and I was laughing…the mom flirting was going great! Because that is what you have to do when you want to make a new mom friend. You have flirt with them. Tell them they’re pretty. That their “eyes are like the see after a storm.” Tell them they’re doing a boss job mommying it. Whatever it takes for them to just engage. So then when I asked if which school her 7 yo son went to, because you know…my kid is 6… her kid is 7…close in age…play date planning in my head…mom flirting…she was trying to get them to play together…then she drops the bomb and my dreams of a new mom friend are shattered…her in-laws live in town, she doesn’t and then she left. I felt like it was just swiped the wrong way on Tinder (I have no idea which direction is good or bad on Tinder because I am a side part mom.)
Now please don’t take this post to mean that I have no friends. That would just be pathetic and only slightly accurate. I have some excellent and wonderfully dear friends. A couple from my childhood, a couple from high school, a couple from college and a few dear friends through work. Other than my “work” friends, many of my other friends and I have differing parenting styles, opposing political views and our lifestyles don’t match (our kids are all different ages and they don’t really play together.) Also, I am new in my town and it would be nice to have 1 or 2 moms that I can talk to about things happening in the school, roll our eyes together at school board meetings or even volunteer together for school field trips (if the apocolypse is ever averted and they have them again.)
All of this is made that much harder with the mask wearing. Disclaimer…I don’t mind wearing masks. I lived in Japan where wearing a mask is not unusual and would wear them often. So please do not take what I am saying to mean I don’t want to wear a mask. I am PRO-MASK. But I think that we can all agree that the wearing of the mask makes it that much harder to connect. What I mean is…I think I am hilarious (I am humble too.) Not George Carlin or Monty Python hilarious but I have been known to get out a few side splitters. But that only works if one can hear my under breath, sarcastic comments. The ones that are made at a volume just loud of enough for the person next to me, “Mom Friend Target” to hear but low enough that person or group that I am being sarcastic about can’t hear. That does not work if I have to yell to be heard through the cloth and elastic and everyone from here to Tennessee can hear me.
The moral of the story is…if you are in the dance school parking lot or on the soccer field and a mom awkwardly tries to engage with you…be kind. More often than not that mom just needs a friend. Not necessarily a Ride or Die Friend…because she probably has one but sadly not nearby…But someone she can talk to at the weekly class/practice and not look like a loser with no friends.