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Maintaining School Friendships

School Friendships Out For Summer

By Amalah

Amalah is currently on maternity leave. In her absence, however, she’s just as tethered to the computer as ever, and will be using this space to ask you — our intrepid Advice Smackdown Commenter Crew — questions. What’s been baffling her, as a parent, you may wonder? Why, she’s so glad you asked!

Advice Smackdown ArchivesDear Internet-Wan Kenobi,

Okay, I feel like this is probably not technically a question, but more like a plea to hear that I’m Not The Only One. Noah is graduating from preschool this month. Next fall, he and all his classmates begin kindergarten, and with the exception of ONE little girl who will attend the same school as Noah, they are all being scattered to the wind and to different schools in the area. It’s sad, I suppose, but obviously to be expected.

And it’s not really NOAH I’m worried about here. It’s me. I’m afraid I’m going to lose all the mom friends I’ve made during the past two years of preschool, and I could really use some tips on how to make sure that doesn’t happen. Because it’s happened before — I have a truly WRETCHED track record of keeping in touch with moms and playmates once our children move on from the programs (kiddie gym class, preschool, summer camp, etc.) where we originally met (and where we generally saw each other every day, or at least with some regularity).

I’m pretty good at long-distance friendships, thanks to hundreds of online-only blogging friends, but I feel like the rules are different for the Local Mom Friends. They only email for playdate planning purposes rather than OMG I SAW THE FUNNIEST THING EVER AND THOUGHT OF YOU. They aren’t into Facebook or get a little weirded out after they friend me and see the whole Amalah/online personality schtick thing, they’re phone people and I’m NOT…or else we really do try and try to keep up and in touch and get together… But in the summer schedules verge off in wildly different directions thanks to work, camp, NEW BABIES AND STUFF, it gets harder to get together in person as often as we like and sooner or later it occurs to me that wow, I haven’t seen/heard from so-and-so in a really long time.

As a result, I can name a good half-dozen dormant mom-friend relationships that have eventually ended the same way: No reason, no fight, no drama, just…neglect via impossibly busy schedules and being unsure about where the boundary between our CHILDREN’S friendship ends and our own mom-friendship begins. If Noah isn’t begging to get together with so-and-so-number-one but really wants to play with so-and-so-number-two and we only have time for maybe one playdate a week, well…I might like so-and-so-number-one’s mom better but will probably make more of an effort to get him together with so-and-so-number-two, who arrives with a nanny in tow or gets dropped off solo or ETC.

So…is there some kind of magic trick to keeping mom friendships alive, once your children move on to new schools, new schedules, new friends? (Don’t even get me started on how shockingly early the whole “no girls/boys allowed” thing is starting among Noah’s peer group, which is killing me because MY MOM FRIENDS ARE ALL THE ONES WITH GIRLS.) Or is it just an inevitable part of these early, transitive years and I should just pin my hopes on meeting someone really, really awesome next fall in the kindergarten drop off line?

Thank you,
Amalah

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Michelle
Guest
Michelle

Well my secret is to do stuff with mom friends that don’t involve the kids. My son attended district preschool at his home elementary school and I made friends with 3 of the other moms. I don’t particularly care for one of the mom’s son and another mom has indicated that her son is going to a private kindergarten in the fall. So we all traded e-mails and have had one mom’s night out for dinner with plans for more this summer. Granted, I think it is kind of silly that I’m the only working mom (I work at home)… Read more »

tasterspoon
Guest
tasterspoon

Caveat that I am the worst friendship-maintainer in the history of mankind. Not for lack of good intentions or even for lack of thinking about how much I like them, just – so easy to get caught up in everyday urgencies. But a few things occur to me: 1. It’s so hard to make new friends as adults, especially as our free time disappears, that when you find people who have already been willing to make time for you and vice versa, odds are they are in the same boat and are receptive to the straightforward approach: “I have a… Read more »

Vivian
Guest
Vivian

I think it’s going to be a bit rougher now that you have Ike, as well as Ezra and Noah. But I second the previous suggestion where you meet somewhere that the kids don’t HAVE to play together, like the park or whatever. Also, when I was growing up, my mom and some friends would pool money to get a baby sitter (or two), usually someone’s older daughter, dump us kids in a living room with pizza, popcorn, and a movie and go out together for a girl’s night. Fun for us because hey pizza and a movie and permission… Read more »

Sally
Guest

I arrange playground play dates quite frequently. I pick a park and a date/time and then invite everyone my kids know, usually by e-mail. Then we see who shows up. It’s usually qute surprising who shows up! I think more people want to keep up friendships than actually know how to go about it, so all people need is an opportunity. Doing it at a park is great because nobody has to deal with cleaning house or rsvping or providing snacks.

Laura
Guest
Laura

I am very bad about initiating things outside of the kids, so I hold play dates.  I invite a bunch of people, and whomever shows comes.  If it’s just 2 moms, great!  If it’s 10, also great!  A new one is Happy Hour play dates.  Have a drink, let the kids play during that post nap, pre-daddy home period.  Also, if you go anywhere (children’s museum, bounce houses, etc), send out an email to everyone to let them know where and when so they can attend if they are free.  

Carrie
Guest

The other commenters have all said what I was going to say. I made a concerted effort to keep in touch with the people I really like. That meant some rejection, but it also meant a lot of fun. Before I had my fussy baby, it meant I was sending out e-mails for Girls Night Outs on a regular basis and some of my friends took that idea and ran with it. I will also post on FB or send out e-mails when we are going somewhere fun and invite others to join us. I have never been much of… Read more »

HereWeGoAJen
Guest

I move a lot. Which means I keep having to make new friends. And here is the thing- you have to be the one who makes all the effort. Otherwise no one will. I just got home from a group playdate (joined the local mom’s club to try to make friends) and I emailed every single person I talked to with something, like “hey, here’s that website I mentioned.” And I did this just to try and forge some deeper relationships. Because just like you said, everyone is unsure of where the boundaries are and if you aren’t the one… Read more »

Whozat
Guest

This won’t help with keeping up with Noah’s previous classmates’ moms, but have you considered joining some sort of moms group? If you’d asked me a few years ago I would have rolled my eyes and thought “oh, how MOMLY!” but when my daugher (a couple of weeks younger than Ezra) was a few months old, I joined the local MOMS Club (google it – it’s an international organization) but it took about 8 months before I actually got active, for a variety of reasons (we run a 2nd shift schedule and activities are in the morning, but mostly “but… Read more »

Kira
Guest

My friends and I get together once a month to play bunco (a mindless dice game that requires no skill). We eat and drink and usually end up talking about our kids. We organize the events through a facebook group.

Erin
Guest

I don’t really have anything to contribute that everyone else hasn’t said already except that two of my prenatal water aerobics friends and I joined the same gym, so we do a water aerobics class there once a week, and we do a monthly pedicure date. For a couple weeks all our babies were enrolled in a baby learning games class thing at the community center so we saw each other there — maybe there’s some sort of community center activity that would work for all your kids’ ages and you can send out an email or start a phone… Read more »

Erin
Guest

I don’t really have anything to contribute that everyone else hasn’t said already except that two of my prenatal water aerobics friends and I joined the same gym, so we do a water aerobics class there once a week, and we do a monthly pedicure date. For a couple weeks all our babies were enrolled in a baby learning games class thing at the community center so we saw each other there — maybe there’s some sort of community center activity that would work for all your kids’ ages and you can send out an email or start a phone… Read more »

bethany actually
Guest

I’m with tasterspoon. Make time for the playdates with the mom friends you want to stay in touch with, even if they’re not Noah’s first choice of friends (as long as the kids aren’t actively antagonistic towards each other). He gets to see his friends at school, and it won’t hurt him to play with different kids once in a while if it helps keep you sane. Maybe make park playdates or library dates with those moms, stuff you’d be doing anyway.

Michelle M.
Guest
Michelle M.

I recently formed what I call “The Park Posse” and created a group for it on Facebook. It’s sort of like a Moms’ Group, I suppose, but with moms that I hand-picked because I like them. The multiple person park play-date takes some of the pressure off the kids, too. Seems my boys will play with just about anyone if a park is involved. At first I worried about the ones who didn’t already know what A GIANT DORKWAD I am actually figuring out my level of dorkitude once they saw what I say on Facebook (and do on Foursquare)… Read more »

Minka
Guest

I think some good suggestions were made already, ie: try to join something together — A class for yourselves, something that requires a regular commitment. By that same token, sign your KIDS up for something together. That’s one of the best ways I stayed in touch. Since we were already good at emailing about school-related stuff, it was just an extension of that. I even looked around at summer activities and let them know which ones we were doing and we all ended up doing some together. We may not have had lunch a lot, but we car-pooled our kids… Read more »

jane
Guest
jane

It was my daughter (and my help) who set up a ‘reunion’ for her kindergarten friends! She kept saying she hadn’t seen them – so she (and I of course) sent emails to the class and met up again. She was so happy (and I was too of course). Writring this reminds me time to do it again as Kindergarten ends….

elizabeth
Guest
elizabeth

Hi~
I send text messages to my mom friends and work out play dates that way and they in turn text me. Now when we text its sometimes a funny thing that made me think of them or their child and others its to make plans, but text is like email but more instant. you might be surprised that they text more than you think! Try that!