Thursday, March 21, 2013

Repost: Making mom-friends: Take awkwardness, add a kid and stir

I've contributed to the Orlando Sentinel's Moms at Work blog since 2010. The blog is changing content management systems and my old posts will no longer be available to the public, so I'm reposting them here, in the order that they were originally posted.


Nov. 3, 2010

A couple of times recently, I've realized that moms on my quiet street had planned get-togethers for their babies and toddlers but although I've worked hard at being a friendly, outgoing neighbor, my daughter and I weren't invited.

Being forgotten (rejected?) by other moms on my own street just underscores how difficult it's been for me to find a mom-friend.

For years, it's been a point of pride for me that my circle of good friends was spread around the country and world. I wouldn't give up a single member of my friendship diaspora, but now that my daughter's here, I do feel quite keenly the lack of nearby buddies who understand what I'm going through. I knew finding mom-friends with whom I had something in common might be difficult when my husband and I attended several weeks of childbirth classes and were, strangely, the oldest couple in the class. Despite our six weeks of classes, we didn't connect with anyone.

I vowed to do a better job of meeting moms with kids near my daughter's age around the neighborhood, at church, storytime at the library and other places we go regularly. So far, my efforts have come to naught. It's strange. How exactly does one go about making new friends when one is thirty-mumble years old?

I'm reaching out. Truly, I am. I bathe and brush my teeth regularly. I strike up conversations with other people. My daughter is impeccably clad (except on the days when her father dresses her and she ends up looking like a 14-month-old Willow Smith).

I admit that I can sometimes be quiet (some people think I'm shy; those people are wrong). My sense of humor is decidedly on the snarky side. Maybe it's a cultural thing and other moms don't know how to respond to me or assume I'm not interested. Maybe this will all get easier once my daughter is in school and has made a few friends herself.

But for now, talking to other moms is a lot like what I imagine it's like to audition for acting roles.

For now, I'll double my efforts at being extra-friendly to the moms I meet and those I see around the neighborhood -- and know that I'm not alone in trying to solve the mom-friend conundrum.

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