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A Mother Manifesto: Be More Than Kind. Embrace Other Mothers.

A Mother Manifesto: Be More Than Kind. Embrace Other Mothers.

By Kelcey Kintner

When I first moved to Florida from New York, it was overwhelming. Everywhere I went, I searched for familiar faces but of course there were none. A few weeks in, I was talking to another mom in my twins’ preschool class. It turned out we both had older girls too. She seemed nice. This was promising! “Maybe we could do a playdate one afternoon,” I said.

“I can’t. My girls have gymnastics every afternoon. Our schedule is packed,” she responded.

And that was it. She said nothing more.  And I didn’t really know how to respond other than to say, “Ok” and go cry in my car. Yes, I really cried in my car.

I’m not the only one to have this kind of experience. Another new mom I know tried to up a playdate and was told, “My kids have all the friends they need.” But of course that wasn’t really the point. This was a mom who was just trying to make some friends. A playdate was just a way to hopefully get there.

Making new friends is not for the weak. It’s completely exhausting. You get constant flashbacks to junior high and the intense desire to fit in and be liked. And it’s very lonely at times.

I think as moms we can do better when it comes to reaching out, supporting and embracing new moms in our communities. Yes, it’s wonderful to introduce yourself and say hi. But you can do more. And it doesn’t take much effort. Planning a girls night out with your girlfriends? Invite the new mom. Meeting a bunch of moms at the playground? Invite the new mom. Having a birthday lunch for someone? Invite the new mom. It just gives her an opportunity to start meeting people, making connections and finding her community. And it might turn out you really love hanging out with her too.

It’s easy once you get settled in your life to just coast. I’ve been there. You’re busy. You have your friends. But put some extra positive energy into the world and embrace some moms who are probably crying in their cars right now.

And if you’re new, keep reaching out and trying too.  You can’t just sit back and wait for the invitations to roll in. Because they just might not. And it’s not necessarily personal. It’s just that people are living their lives.

Every few weeks, I try to invite one mom over with her kids for a playdate/ pizza dinner. Because who doesn’t like to be invited over for a playdate where your kids get fed and you don’t have to do any of the clean up?!

If it’s not a love connection, we both move on. It’s like suburban dating in the comfort of my home.

I’ve now been in Florida a year and I have definitely made some friends.  I don’t feel a sense of community yet. It doesn’t feel like home. I still feel lonely at times. But it does feel a little bit better.

And that mom who shut me down because of her children’s packed gymnastics schedule? She ended up inviting me over to her pool and we’ve hung out several times since. I really like her and it looks like we became friends after all.

Kelcey Kintner
About the Author

Kelcey Kintner

Kelcey Kintner writes the humor blog, The Mama Bird Diaries and co-founded the cheeky advice site, The Mouthy Ho...

Kelcey Kintner writes the humor blog, The Mama Bird Diaries and co-founded the cheeky advice site, The Mouthy Housewives. This Columbia Journalism School graduate also drives a gold minivan because you can’t fit five kids on a Vespa. An award winning journalist, she still secretly longs to be an Olympic ice skater. You can follow her on Twitter @mamabirddiaries.

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Comments

  • When Sam was a baby, I went to talk to my neighbor at the bus stop. She introduced me to the other moms and they barely looked my way. Later she said, “Sorry they were rude, but they just have enough friends already.”

    Ever since then, I’ve made a point to include as many moms as I can in whatever I plan.

  • Nikki

    We moved to Vermont when my son was six months. The closest friends/family are in western Pennsylvannia. I’ve reached out so many times to moms that I have met at kids groups and events and have given my phone number and email out so many times with no luck of ever being called, etc. I’ve also had two moms Facebook message me to say we can have a play date to only stop messaging when a date needs set or not show up for said play date.

    It’s been rough. Especially since motherhood has been the loneliest time of my life. I feel like I’m back in elementary school and it sucks. I’m not quite sure what to do actually. I long for human interaction and to have friends in the area but the rejection is HORRIBLE.

    • Kate

      Nikki – where are you in VT? I’m in the Kingdom (and grew up in Pittsburgh, PA) – we’ve been here 9 years, and have a 5 yr old girl, 4 mo old boy.

      And yes – the follow through factor is wicked lame for the most part. Yet, it’s easier with kids than it was before, so… yeah, it’s bad. We have maybe two families who follow through on playdates. And like 3 more who are somewhat available/interested, but not usually reliable for various reasons – some involving transportation problems, some health-related.

      So my sympathies, and if you’re in my area, let me know!

  • Paige

    I have a different point of view on the situation.  Yes, I am a stay at home mom and I am horribly lonely at times.  But I am also socially awkward, and have a hard time with new people.  I also have been told I’m “way too nice”, and because of this, have attracted “weirdos” in the past.  People who are incredibly clingy and are just looking for somebody to boost their own situation, giving very little back.  I’m not saying all new moms are like that, but maybe people are dealing with their own issues, their own insecurities.  I have been guilty of the ‘I’ll reject you before you can reject me’ mentality.  Not that it’s right.  It’s just the other side of the coin.

  • MissMags

    Yes please! Its so hard to be the new mom, especially for us who aren’t great with the small talk. I’m so introverted, and everyone at my kiddos kindergarten is already in a happy little group, and its a bad combo. I have a “hi how are you” relationship with them all but it never goes beyond that. I would love someone to reach out in a intentional way. I have suggested play dates and got the smile and nod but never an actual time. One mom told me she lost the email I’d sent trying to set one up… yeah. They just don’t need me.

  • Arial

    If you are an at-home mom, look for a MOMS Club in your area. If there isn’t one, consider starting one. There’s something on our calendar almost every single day and I’ve made several wonderful mom friends through my local MOMS Club.

  • This is part of the reason I joined The Moms Club when I quit working after my second was born and why I joined again when we moved to another city.  Those moms are ALSO looking for friends and it’s a great way to break the ice and meet other Moms.  No, you won’t become best friends with them all but you will probably find a couple gems, at least.  I know I did!  

    I cannot imagine saying “I/they have enough” friends to anyone. I love making friends! 😀