With my youngest in preschool this year, I am meeting lots of new moms. I have to admit, I am fairly timid and tend to hang on the fringe when plunged into an unfamiliar and random cross-section of women. I tend to do so much better within my own species - quirky, artsy, entrepreneurial free spirits, and girls who are a little on the woo-woo side, gathered together for some similar creative purpose. In the wider motherhood sea, I dress a little differently, I don't go to many soccer or baseball games, and I'm not really a joiner as far as all the mom driven roles in schools, troops and teams. I'm just not that particular kind of mom. I appreciate those moms, but I am unquestionably not one of them.
My kids will try to hook me up with this mom and that and sometimes it's a good fit for all of us, but sometimes it doesn't work out. It's not that I have to love the parents of my kid's friends, but it's really nice when I do. Then, there is always that moment in a new mom-relationship when you know this one is for keeps. Really, it's hard to gauge what kind of person someone is in the fast paced, fleeting, fly-bys of school. Sometimes you have to open up and just dive in.
This past weekend I met two new moms during playdates, one for each kiddo, and I'm happy to report both went really well! I'm always relieved to get the first date over with, to have a better sense where things might be going... like, will I just be having the little boy over for dinner or might I invite the mom sometime too? Can we talk about the real stuff or is it all only about the kids and the next classroom event? One of the moms had me at her offering of fresh eggs from her front-yard chicken coop adding in talk about food allergies and a trying new diagnosis, and the other opened the door for both of us when she confided in me about her marriage. Honesty about the messiness will always win my heart and I try to stay open and invite that in. Just not everyone wants to go there. I understand.
Maybe that's part of the challenge for me; I'm just not really wired for superficial connections. They make me feel terribly awkward. I am affable and fairly likable, I think. I can hold up my end of a conversation on the playground and help set up parties with enthusiasm and a genuine smile on my face, but I would so much rather have something real to sink into. It's just my nature.
This certainly is not a pre-requisite for any of my kid's friends, so I'm even more grateful when I do make those connections - when mom to mom we can be real people and not just an extension of our little ones. We need each other as moms, as women, beyond however we may seem to each other on the outside.