Moms, Friends, and Mom Friends

In order for my husband to take a great job opportunity, we moved our little family to a new community at the beginning of the school year. We feel it’s an idyllic place to raise a family, but unfortunately it’s about 100 miles away from our former home. We have two school-aged children and a toddler. My school-aged children have adapted well and are doing great in school. My husband is so happy at his new job. I should be overjoyed because all I’ve ever wanted is to be a stay-at-home mom–which I am now–but I’m feeling kind of lonely and isolated as I don’t have any friends here. I had friends in our old community, but most of them were friends I’d grown up with and people I worked with. How do you make “mom” friends and can they become “real” friends?

Hi honey! Congratulations, it sounds as if you have lots of fun and exciting things going on in your life. However, it also sounds as if you’re in the middle of a lot of transitions physically as well as emotionally. Full disclosure: I went through a bit of an identity crisis when I became a stay-at-home mom, even though it was something I’d always wanted. And being a stay-at-home mom of a toddler can be lonely and isolating as they demand so much attention and depending on his/her age, sometimes they aren’t particularly portable.

The good thing about having school-aged children as well is that you’ve got an “in” to meet other moms. Are your kids involved in sports? Some of my best friends now are other moms I met sitting next to night after night at the baseball field and/or in gymnastics classes.

It is intimidating to enter any new situation. It can feel like everyone already has established groups of friends, and there’s no place for you. But I promise you, that’s probably self-doubt working overtime. Unless you are not a nice person–and you sound like a very nice person–people will want to be friends with you.

What about your kids? You probably gave them a similar kind of pep talk when they changed schools, right? Have they made friends? Do they want to have play dates? Again, some of my very best friends are my kids’ friends’ moms.

I’m an introvert too, and here’s what I’ve found: It’s easier one-on-one. If you can find one person who is open and friendly and established in your new community, try to strike up a conversation. Find common ground. Most people love to talk about themselves. Most people love to talk about their children even more.

Having one good friend to talk to will help alleviate some of the loneliness and isolation you feel. Let me know how it goes!!

xoxo

 

This is Supposed to be Fun?

Lately, it seems like all I do is scream at my kids. I’m a pretty happy person with a normal amount of stress. I have a good marriage, a great job, and I’m not overwhelmed–any more than other working moms. I don’t need medication or a vacation from my life. But I always hear people talking about how these are the best years of your life and you should enjoy them, and I really just feel like…I can’t wait until they are grown and not arguing constantly over who looked at whom or who touched what. I’m not a bad mom, but every morning I wake up vowing to enjoy them more and yell at them less, but most nights I go to bed feeling like I fell short. I love my kids so much it hurts, and I don’t want them to have bad memories or baggage.

Oh honey…reading this I can tell what a good mom you are and that your kids are so very fortunate God gave them to you. I have children in various stages of development: an adult woman–23, a teenage boy–16, and a tween girl–10. In 23 years of parenting, I’ve had a million realizations, but one is that I’m best with babies and adults. If I can hold, bounce, snuggle, or stick a boob in your mouth, we get along. If we can have wine and talk about feelings, we’re golden. It’s the years in between nursing and drinking that keep me in flux. Parenting teens and tweens and preschoolers–can we agree 3-year-olds are assholes–is not that much fun.

I promise you’re in good company. I wake up every morning with the intention of doing better, and many nights I go to bed beating myself up. Here’s the thing: All of that beating ourselves up means we’re paying attention. We’re trying. If you go to bed at night and don’t question at least one thing you did or said during the day, good for you; you might be a psychopath. I’m kidding obviously, kinda, but isn’t awareness always the first step whether we’re addressing addiction or overeating or yelling at our kids? We can’t change anything until we realize there’s something that might need to be changed.

You’re not alone, friend. I’ve felt this more times than I can count. And I’ve had this discussion with so many great moms because I surround myself with fabulous women who overthink their parenting. Never had it with a bad mom though…go figure.

Here’s the thing: If you wake up every morning trying to do better, you’re probably already doing great. Give yourself a break. I yell at my kids too much. But I also say, “You know what…I’m sorry I yelled about that. I was feeling [insert whatever emotion or baggage I projected onto the situation] and reacted inappropriately.” They’re well-versed in Brene Brown and Shefali Tsabary.

We’re human. We fuck up. That’s not going to change. But we can accept those times we fall short as normal, own our behavior, and keep on keeping on. Works in progress, sweetheart, works in progress.

If you haven’t already read this article by Glennon Doyle Melton, I suggest you read it, frame it, tattoo its wisdom somewhere on your body, because it’s pure gold.

xoxo

You Win.

Not sure how to write this without sounding childish, but here goes. I have this friend who is ultra-competitive, passive-aggressive, and for lack of a better way to say it copies everything I do and and then tries to pass things off as her original ideas.

For instance, I get a new car–she gets a better new car. I start a “cleanse,” and she posts 90 pics of her new paleo meals–cause she’s paleo now. My kid gets an award at school, and hers enrolls in astronaut camp or some shit.

I know it should not bother me, but it is so ANNOYING!! I can’t really cut her out of my life, and she’s not a bad person … but this behavior drives me crazy.

Hi Honey,

My gut reaction: You must be super-fabulous if someone is trying that hard to be like you. Do you wanna be friends, lol? I promise I won’t copy you 😉 Seriously though, if your life wasn’t so awesome, your friend wouldn’t be trying so hard to emulate your behavior–even while trying to pass your ideas off as her own, which is incredibly annoying.

When I was in 8th grade I told a friend about a pair of shoes I really really wanted. The next day she showed up with the exact shoes I was coveting. I was so pissed, and my mom told me, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” But when I finally saved enough money to buy the shoes, it would look like I was copying her. Ugh. Never got the shoes. Lived to tell the story.

Side note: That full quote is “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” Well well well, that’s a bit harsher. Oscar Wilde does not play.

But through elementary and middle and high school, I’ve used the same sentiment 5000 times or so with my own girls. And it’s actually started to ring true to me. Even though I still get really fucking pissed about it sometimes. Especially when someone tries to pass off my words or ideas as their own. Work in progress, folks.

During my brief stint as an avid churchgoer, I shared one such annoyance with my pastor about a person who–while actively disliking me–followed my blog and periodically plagiarized my writing in her own posts. His response stuck with me: There’s no such thing as an original idea. Think about it…what you wrote? You probably got the idea from someone else. Most likely someone you admire or who at least inspired you in the moment. So try re-framing it in your mind. No, that person is never going to give you credit, but you can give yourself credit, knowing that you’ve inspired someone else. Even someone who doesn’t like you. That’s something.

Circling back to my original sentiment, I think you must be pretty freaking amazing if your friend wants so badly to be like you. Yes, I agree with you 100 percent, her behavior is super-annoying. But here’s the thing: She’s not fooling anybody. And so what if she is. You are living the fabulous life she is trying so hard to create. You already won.

I really mean it about being friends, and as all my friends know, I’m not even currently interviewing new friends. But I’d make an exception for you 😉