In a desperate attempt to up my game in the making mom-friends category, I decided to attend a birthday party for my son’s classmate from school. It reminded me of high school because all I wanted was to fit in and make some connections. I have been dying to create my mom-village for five years (yes, since the day my son was born).
I am a working mom. It’s a choice I’ve made for myself and my family and it works for us. It comes at a sacrifice, however, because as I attempted to make connections at this particular birthday party, I noticed three distinct cliques of people that weren’t completely exclusive but they weren’t inclusive either….
- Love them or hate them; these moms run the school. They are involved, volunteer in the classroom, and they are up on every detail about the teachers, the students, and even the school staff. They know each other so they are a tight-knit group and it’s tough to get a seat at the table. For me, I was DESPERATE to talk these moms because they probably saw my son more than I did on a day-to-day basis, but it was close to impossible to approach them as I conjured images of the most popular girl in the school saying these three words to me, “What’s your name?”
- This was clearly my group, except I couldn’t find them. They weren’t in the main birthday party room so I had to hunt them down, connect with them and try extra hard to make sure we exchanged numbers/contact information. I promised myself I will text them for a play date some day when I am not super busy with 1,000 other things.
- There were some folks in the “other” category who clearly also felt a bit left out. They represent single parents, grandparents, or foster/guardians who love their kids. They were mostly alone and were thankful for my attempts at conversation with them. One dad kept looking at his phone while I tried connecting with him about school and life. It was a struggle.
For my first birthday party as a mom, I must say I felt very much in high school. The exclusivity of the groups (purposeful or not) was hard to work through, and while I feel good about the connections I made, I wondered if others felt the same at this or other birthday parties. My gut says that I wasn’t alone in these feelings, and that we all need to try a little harder to be inclusive. If we can work on easing these socially awkward situations, the little people watching us could learn a thing or two and make our world a better place. Imagine if they see us being nicer to each other what they can do for our future with kindness and the power of connection.