Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mommies Playing Nice

If I've said it once, I've said it a million times-I'm not by nature a social person. I think Hubby said it best when he said "everything you know about social skills you learned from your blog".

Ain't that the truth.

Recently though I have come to a place where I realize I need to be friendly. If it were just Hubby and I, I would hole up in my house with the computer and a good book and never leave-but the kidlets need friends....and at this point in their lives if they're going to make friends that means that Mommy has to play nice with the other Mommies.

I've made some huge strides. I talked to a woman at Blockbuster. It wasn't even the counter lady-it was just Random Video Store Patron #1, who had a child in tow that looked just about Baby Bug's age. I approached her. I even asked her if she knew of any good play groups (she didn't).

While this may seem like nothing to you this is huge for me. Maybe my parents went a little overboard on the child safety instructions or something, because for whatever reason I really really dislike talking to strangers on a personal level. Don't get me wrong-the cashier at Safeway and I chat like old chums about the whether, her work schedule, and what foods the kids like; the lady at the bank knows me by name and I know her due date. I'm friendly, but I'm not friends with any of them....and the truth is, I don't particularly want to be. Nothing against them, they're all very nice and good conversationalists, I just think my social drive is broken.

Like eating tofu and exercising, if it's important enough I just keep practicing no matter how unpleasant-and I know that it's important for the kids to have friends-so I took them to the park yesterday in the late afternoon when I knew other kids (and moms) would be there. I met a mom who was a preschool teacher, and a mom who thought I was upset because her kid was rolling acorns down the slide (when I was really just making sure Monkey wasn't throwing acorns up the slide when people were coming down). I shared personal tidbits with these women-like my name....and the fact that we homeschool....What? That's a lot for me.

Besides my natural disinclination to making friends there is one more concrete issue that I am having with moms. I'm a lot younger than everyone else. The youngest mom I have met in my neighborhood is more than ten years older than I am. Most of these moms (like all three mentioned in this post) are old enough to be my mother. It seems no one is having kids young these days except me....and the older moms don't seem to want to be friends. I don't know why, but ever since I've been trying to talk to them I've been getting iced out by the majority of them.

Hey I might be socially disinclined, but when someone is trying to talk to me even I'll be nice back .

I am getting so frustrated. I don't even want to do this anyway and then they have to go and make it harder for me-like it wasn't nails on a chalkboard already.

I have the perfect solution-I want to join a Daddy play group. Guys are awesome, they don't even really talk to eachother that much...they just get together and let the kids wear each other out. That's my kind of play group! But Hubby says that I'm not "equipped" for a Daddy Group so I have to suffer it out with the Moms.

Unless you have some other suggestions? Maybe you have some advice on how to break through the ice on these Mommies? Or maybe you just have some insight on why they hate me so much? Knowing is half the battle, right?

Ooooooooooooor I can just convince the kids to be best friends with each other-then the only other parent I'll have to deal with is Hubby, and I get along with him fantastically!


The Crazy Baby Mama said...

I love your blog, and I've left an award for you at The Crazy Baby Mama

Kimi said...

I'm liking the idea of the Daddy play group! No gossip, no back biting. oh man, talk about heaven. You could just bring along a book and call it good.

Kirsty said...

They don't hate you. Really, they don't.

And don't worry about the young mom thing. I'm a young mom or at least I was ;). My first was born when I was 22 and I had 4 by age 28. I will be an empty nester by the time I am 45. But it's really never been an issue for me, I never thought about it, and I have never found it a hindrance in socializing. My best friends have generally been significantly older then me, not because of the parenting thing-just because those were the people I clicked best with.

To be honest, I think you are smart, responsible, well spoken and mature enough, and you look sophisticated enough (from what I can ascertain from your headshot ;) that most of the people who know you casually, would never realize you are on the younger side. So my advice is to try to forget about that. If it's not a big deal for you, it is less likely to be for anyone else.

I think more people then you realize are socially unmotivated or awkward these days (I think we can thank the internet for a lot of that actually), and this is just as much of a "chore" for them as is for you.

Unfortunately it really does take work in finding a connection and then developing it. One thing that has always worked for me is coming together with a common cause. Church, PTO, community committees etc. The cause is the ice breaker and what you have in common, then the friendships can develop more naturally as you work on that together.

Keep looking for that playgroup or maybe trying to find volunteering opportunities in your area where you can involve your kids. Libraries (children's story time) and hanging out after are a great place to meet moms. Make an effort to find out about and attend free events etc in your community, you will start to recognize the same faces. Keep smiling and being friendly. It's definitely not an overnight process, so don't get discouraged, don't take it personally- just keep showing up :)

thatgirlblogs said...

I could have written this post/feel just the same.

A Daddy playgroup is the exact solution. Hope you find one!

Beth P. said...

I also feel like I could've written this exact post. I am such an introvert, even online, and in person its even worse. I have a select few mommy friends and even hardly get together with them. I feel bad for my son all the time. Its frustrating!

Jenny said...

I've gotten better about being social, but I do not want any friends. You know how it is with women and I don't have time for that.

My sister and I being best friends is good enough. LOL!

Samantha said...

I've just recently gotten into Desperate Housewives, and that's kind of how I picture mommies in play groups. I am about like you though, I don't much like people, but I am nice to them...when I have to be. My parents and several others have mentioned to me about joining a play group, but honestly, I could picture myself, sitting in a corner by myself...being completely isolated by all of these mommies who probably have lots of money, and like you said, 10 years older than me.

Not how I want to spend an afternoon.

I think I'll just stick with playing with Bree in the privacy of my own home. She has a pretty cool imagination, so I don't think she's suffering :)

Kerree said...

When my oldest started school I was the youngest mum there too. The other mums looked at me like I was 2. But I never got along with them because I thought they were BORING! Now my oldest is 16 and in all that time I've settled into the routine of smiling and nodding at some as I pass them by and totally ignoring others. My kids have lots of friends, my avoiding the other mummys hasn't done any harm to their social lives at all.