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Mom Friends: Parts Two, Three and Four

August 2, 2017 - Stacey Sacco
When my oldest was a toddler and preschooler, I was desperate to make mom friends. I went out of my way and out of my comfort zone to find other adults to talk to. I didn’t even really care if our kids got along. I just needed someone else to tell me that parenting is hard and lonely and sometimes an emotional roller coaster. I put a lot of effort into finding other women to relate to. I may not be the friendliest person in the world, but I find great value in having a small and very close group of friends. It takes a lot of time to cultivate those kinds of relationships and moms of little ones are not typically wondering what to do with all the free time they find.

So I invested. For myself and for the other women I created relationships with. And I have ended up with a lovely group of friends. I have plenty of acquaintances I enjoy talking to, but a beautiful small group of friends I would and do trust with my life. There are few things I enjoy more than spending a few hours with my friends. Because we have been through so many things with our children, spouses, extended families, employers, schools, other friends and the community, we have developed a common language and a set of experience to draw from. I love the place I have found myself in when it comes to friends.

And this is a lovely place to be when I consider that my oldest child is entering sixth grade. We have a group of families I trust and enjoy being around who also have children his age. However, it’s not such a great place to be for my younger kids. I did a pretty good job of still acquiring friends when Justus was a baby since Matthias was in school during his toddler years. But none of those friends go to school with him. I didn’t know any of the other parents of kids in his class and, strangely, I was perfectly OK with this.

Instead of being willing to put in the time to cultivate relationships with the other Kindergarten parents, I found myself being content with friendly speaking-terms. Sure, I want my kids to have friends, but I’m not sure I’m still willing to put all the effort into finding additional mom friends for myself. Because it’s A LOT of effort with no guarantee of a reward.

It’s probably unfair to the younger kids if I’m not close to their friend’s parents. We are more inclined to spend time with other people I like as much as they do. But the idea of having to make a whole new set of friends this year when Anelise goes to Kindergarten and yet another set in two years when Iris starts school just sounds exhausting. Plus, I love the friends I have now! Why do I need to change?

I’m sure I could find other women I enjoy being around in these other groups. I’m sure not all of the mom’s with three-year-olds don’t look like they are fresh out of high school as it sometimes appears in the toddler classes we’ve attended. But the thought of starting from scratch is overwhelming.

I’d love to be the cool parent who reaches out to other new parents and makes them feel welcome and normal. I want to be friendly and open. I remember how hard it is and I would love to make it easier on someone else. But I’m an introvert. It’s draining to be my “public self” with everyone every day. Sometimes I just want to sit at home with a book and text my closest friends about how ridiculous my kids behaved at the store or how annoying it is when everyone complains about what I made for dinner.

I don’t always have room in my life for balance. Sometimes, my life needs comfort and stability. Even in friendships.

 
 

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