When my son started kindergarten so long ago, I had visions of making new friends. I was excited to volunteer at the school functions and meet new people. I’d heard of women who bonded because their kids were in the same class, and they were a tight-knit group until their kids graduated and beyond.
During his first few weeks of school, I’d drop my son off and talk to several women. Everyone was friendly and nice, but I felt like a little bit of an outsider. I chalked it up to the fact I didn’t send my kids to preschool, and they did, so they already formed a friendship. It was clear they all knew each other, and many of their kids already played some of the same sports — something I hadn’t introduced my son to yet because I wanted to wait until he was older and seemed drawn to something.
I was never invited to get-togethers with the other moms
I was never invited to their get-togethers, and that was fine with me because I didn’t know many of the moms well and knew it might take some time. I continued volunteering for things like the annual Halloween parade, spring breakfast, and holiday craft fair and enjoyed it even if I wasn’t making much headway with the moms in my son’s class.
Then, one day while dropping the kids off, I was wearing a dress, and I walked up to a group of moms to say hello. One of them turned and said, “Why are you wearing a dress to drop off?” They all laughed.
I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be hurtful, but it bothered me. I was already feeling rejected by the moms since they never accepted my invitations to do anything. It was clear they already had established friendships that did not include me. I’m not sure if I just wasn’t their cup of tea, but I did have other friends outside of my kids’ school, and I realized those friends were deep and genuine, and I didn’t need anything else.
We were never invited to team parties (I felt like it was my fault)
So, I spent the next few years doing my thing and continued to volunteer, thinking when my other two kids went to school; maybe I’d make friends with some of their friends’ parents.
Now, I have a son that graduated a few years ago, a daughter who is a senior, and another son who is a sophomore, and I still don’t fit in. When my kids played sports, they liked it, but they weren’t very competitive, and it wasn’t their world; there were many times I didn’t feel comfortable with how the coaches treated the kids or how wrapped up the other parents got into winning.
We were never invited to the events or parties the parents put on for the kids, and I always felt like it was my fault. Because I didn’t push my kids to practice all the time or seem concerned about their team winning, I think that made me an outsider.
I’m not blaming the other moms for excluding me
I’m not saying it was all the other moms’ fault, and I had no part in why I didn’t mesh with them. I can be introverted, and sometimes I had to say no about helping out with school things. I wasn’t afraid to say no. I also think we were just interested in different things, and I didn’t have much in common with the other moms at school. After a while, I stopped trying and just did my own thing, which may have come across as being snobbish.
But I’ve realized as time has passed not everyone finds a new group of friends when their kids go to school. The thought of it is lovely, and I know many women have found a lot of support this way, but it doesn’t happen for everyone.
Not everyone finds their social group during motherhood
Mom friends are so important during all the stages of motherhood. But that doesn’t mean you will always have friends who are going through all the same things you are doing simultaneously. There’s something to be said for friends who have older kids while yours are younger and friends who have younger kids while yours are older. And if you don’t meet your people through your kids, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Throughout our lives, there are going to be opportunities to form relationships. There will be times and places that are conducive to making friends. I know it can be hard when you hope to bond with your kids’ friends’ parents, and you don’t, but that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you. The important thing is you find people you are comfortable around and can be yourself with. It doesn’t have to be the women you see at sporting events or drop off every day.
So, if you feel like an outsider and wish that you had more of a relationship with your kids’ friends’ parents, know that I was there once. To be honest, I was a little hurt for a while, but I’ve since learned that nothing was lacking in my life because of it.
The author of this post wishes to remain anonymous.
More Great Reading:
Sometimes It’s Really Hard to Connect With Other Moms