She catches your eye across the playground. She has a cute haircut and is wearing those sandals you’ve been eying. The kid she’s pushing in the swing appears to be about the same age and gender as the one you chase around on a daily basis. This woman is worth further inspection.
You casually move towards the swing set, stopping to catch your child at the bottom of the slide. You point him in that general direction, hoping he’ll follow your lead. As soon as he catches sight of the swings he takes off running. Success! You quickly run a hand through your hair and smooth your shirt before sidling up beside her as your little one reaches his arms up to be lifted into the seat.
Once he’s settled, you back up a few paces and give her a tentative smile. Your heart beats a bit faster when she smiles back and says something about the eternal appeal of swings. Yes! She spoke first. That’s a great sign.
You chat easily for a few minutes and learn that she shares several of your interests and only lives one town over. You can totally picture having play dates with this woman. The two of you sipping coffee at the kitchen table, swapping stories of the funny things your kids say, your cherubs playing happily in the next room.
Before you know it, your relationship will be at the next level: Leaving the kids with the husbands and going shopping or for pedicures, maybe grabbing a bite to eat before heading home. If things go really well you might be able to convince your husband that she and her husband are perfect ‘couple friends’ material.
But wait, you’re getting ahead of yourself. Back to the swing set. The kids are starting to lose interest and you know you don’t have much time left. So how should you play it? Cool and slightly aloof; waiting for her to make the first move? You don’t want her to think you’re over-eager, or worse, desperate. Sure, you haven’t hung out with another woman your own age in you don’t remember how long, but you can’t let her know that.
You’re just about to throw caution to the wind and ask if she wants to get together sometime when her kid starts crying. He pinched his finger in the chain and is not at all happy about it. She quickly lifts him from the seat, kisses his finger, and rubs his back, but her attempts to soothe him are unsuccessful. As his cries become louder, she gives a hasty goodbye and heads for her car.
You watch her go with mounting dismay, consider calling out to her to stop, but think better of it and watch as she buckles in her son and drives away. You were so close, yet now she’s gone and you didn’t even get her name. A quick scan of the playground reveals no other appealing possibilities.
Disheartened, you lift your son from the swing and set him down on the ground. As he takes off across the grass you suddenly remember: She said she frequents this park. Maybe hope isn’t lost after all! Looks like daily trips to the playground are in order until you just happen to bump into each other again.
You smile to yourself as you follow your son towards the slide. You can just feel it; those pedicures are right around the corner.
Jocelyn McGaffic says
This was so funny, yet so true! I moved 1000 miles from home a year and half ago and still have a hard time making friends. At my age its awkward. This describes it perfectly!
Thanks Jocelyn! I’ve been in the same place for a long time and I’m still bad at making friends. I have a hard time talking to people I know, let alone total strangers, lol.
Well, Lauren, not sure where you are but I feel your pain!
If you’re in Maine, maybe we can meet up at the playground and you can practice pickup lines on me, lol.
I’ve been waiting for this and I’m not disappointed! I think you’ve captured the essence of a woman who has a young child and her life is nearly consumed by it and almost desperate for adult interaction. This actually happened to me at the bookstore. My daughter started flirting with her daughter, but the mom wasn’t so shy and practically invited me over to her house right there! We’ve gone on a few outings to the park, but we’re ready for the next step and are going to the movies! Yeah, it’s almost like getting a date with a guy. I’m nervous and excited at the same time.
LOL, I love it! Have you decided what you’re wearing yet? That would be what I’d be stressing over.
Lol, actually I did a little. I wanted to look nice so I wore a cotton dress with some black knee length tights. Our date was great and we really got to know each other better. I’m so glad she came up to me.
So funny! IT is true though – it’s hard to find normal mom friends right? Let me know when you want to come to Miami…we can hang! 😉
You may not find me normal in real life 😉
I understands this! I just relocated to the Miami/ Fort Lauderdale area with my husband and 2 yr old daughter! I am a hair stylist by trade but currently staying home! Meeting new people is hard at 36! I’ve tried swim lessons and dance classes so far! Any suggestions are appreciated
Honestly, I’m such an introvert that I am probably not the one to ask. That said, this post has gotten so many hits that it makes me think there are a lot of moms out there who feel the exact same way. So as awkward as it feels, maybe just being willing to take that first step will result in some friendships. Maybe not with everyone you ‘hit on’ and maybe you’ll end up clicking with some women more than others, but I think it’s worth the risk! Good luck 🙂
What a funny post and one that I think most moms have felt. I’m really shy and I don’t normally make the first move, so this describes me almost perfectly.
Same here Erlene! I am awful at starting conversations. It puts me way out of my comfort zone.
Lol funny and true!
Paula Parker says
Another fun post. I knew I would love it when I read the title. So impressed with your writing.
Thank you Paula! I really appreciate that!
Alicia @ Felt With Love Designs says
Read this the other day from one of your links on Facebook or Twitter. Loved it! I was actually just telling one of my friends about it too 🙂
Oh my gosh, this post is beyond perfect!
Renee @ CreativeMamaMessyHouse says
Exactly my feelings! I am the first of my family to have kids, so even at family get togethers it’s a little awkward. And my youngest is at that play aggressive stage where I’m afraid he’s going to hit or kick someone’s kid, so trips to the park don’t happen as often as I would like.
It’s definitely funny and I enjoyed reading it 🙂
I cannot relate as I’m not a mom yet……
I’m dying here, that is so true! Friends are hard to make so when an opportunity presents itself pounce!
I guess the next time I go to the playground I’ll assume that the other mom is just as desperate as I am. Maybe I’ll open the conversation by inviting her over, haha.
Hahaha – so funny! And, so true…
The almost exact same event happened to me today right before I read your post! I just moved to a new city so its tough getting up the courage to talk to other moms but after today’s event and stumbling across your article I’ve decided to be more outgoing and attempt to make some new friends at the park.
That’s awesome Michele! I love when the timing of things lines up like that. Good luck!! You’ll do great 😉
That is exactly how we met some of our best friends now. One and a half year old boy in tow and pregnant with number two and saw another mommy with same age girl and pregnant with number two! We now have regular play dates and swap babysitting. We enrolled the kids in gymnastics together and joke they are betrothed. Her oldest daughter one month older than my oldest son and younger daughter a month younger than my younger. I speak to moms all the time at the park!
It’s so funny how true this is. Making friends (or even small talk) with strangers is so painful to me, and I never know what appropriate follow-ups are (so I just let everything go). I need intermediaries to pave the way. It’s probably no surprise then that my friend set me up with my boyfriend. 🙂
I totally get it! Talking is hard!! If I could live behind a computer screen, I would have lots of close friends 😉 Also, my MOM set me up with my husband. And I’m eternally grateful that she did 🙂
Haha.. This is funny because it is so true! Sometimes I find a mom friend who could be THE ONE but our kids just don’t get along. So I’m still on the hunt.
Oh, that’s a great point! It’s so much easier if the kids click!!
Too funny!! Haven’t we all been there?
Hilarious and very close to how i feel. I always forget to introduce myself. It must be nerves. Ha ha. I liked this very much!
I remember reading this back a few months ago and smiling, after all I met one of my closest friends five years ago when walking with my son in the baby bjorn. She had hers in the stroller and we kept on bumping into each other during our power walks, so just gave each other our digits and the rest is history. I had to return and post, because my son just started KG and I’m finding myself feeling like I’m starting over, too. I’m laughing because while I am much wiser than I was on the playground years ago, I still sometimes feel like such a littler girl around new people. 🙂
This is the start of my third year being around the same school parents and I feel like I’m just starting to get to know some of them. It doesn’t help that I’m totally shy and awkward in public, but man, it’s hard! And now my middle child just started K4, so I have to start all over with a new group of parents, lol. I’m thankful to know that for the most part we’ll all be ‘together’ for the next 12 years, so I’ve still got time to get to know them!
Love this! I am such an introvert myself and completely terrified when it comes to approaching potential “mom-friends”. Feels like everything I say is wrong or awkward, etc. It is like I am back in middle school and that is a time I would not revisit for all the money in the world – LOL! I am much more in my comfort zone when I can just skype with my out of town friend – LOL! It took me 3 years to forge and build a friendship with her and the thought of doing that again here seems way too nerve wracking sometimes. BTW, I would totally be your mom buddy – you are amazing!
We could sit around and be awkward together, haha.
Aubrey @ 53weeks says
Funny! This is a good one!! I can relate, fortunately making Mom friends was pretty easy for me!! 🙂
Jennifer Johnson says
So funny and true. We moved alot when my kids were little and I felt like this every time!
I’d do awful if we moved a lot. I’m not so great at meeting people :/
Kathryn Shirey says
Love this – so true! Now I’m in a different level of awkward – trying to setup playdates for my elementary-aged daughter with her friends – so often feel like I’m stalking these moms to figure out who they are, where they live, how to get in touch (since you don’t get to see the other moms now that we’re in big school). I miss the days of running into moms at day care and the playground – at least I saw them and could orchestrate such conversations 🙂
That’s a good point! My kids go to a small school, so I think I’ll know the parents pretty much right on through. I did, however, send a message to the mom of a kid in my son’s preK class saying, “I know we’ve never met, but wanna come over?” because he was after me for weeks to have a play date with his friend.
Jes @ Deadpan Diaries says
I saw your blog on the SITS sharefest! So funny! You have definite “mom pick up” game. I can never play it cool. As a southerner, I’m aggressively friendly. Of course I’ve heard these words come out of my mouth:
“It’s not weird to be friendly when you’re from Louisiana.” Smooth:)
That is SO completely true. And I hate to say it, but it’s much worse for Moms of older kids and working Moms. I’ve eaten lunch by myself at work for like 5 YEARS now because the rest of my department works in another state and I haven’t managed to hook up with any of the other ladies and it’s just too weird to eat lunch with a group of guys. I finally found a Meet-Up group in my area for empty nesters and I’ve gone on a few activities with them. It’s a little weird, sort of like a dating service for bored Moms, but I’ve met some nice ladies that way. #SITSSharefest
Good for you for getting out there! I always have good intentions of joining groups like that and then never do.
This is soooo true!!!
You;ve got this. I am 45 with a 17 and 12 y/o living in the USA from London. Three years ago a woman stopped me as I was leaving her house after dropping off my oldest for a hang out. She and I got to chatting and we have been BFF’s ever since. This summer she will be moving to the East Coast, and guess what we will still talk on the phone every day, Skype and I will get to do girl weekends with her….. You can make friends…. I did even at my age 🙂
I think having kids makes it a lot easier to strike up a conversation. You automatically have something in common!
Cassidy Cruise says
This is hilarious! I definitely had a conversation about this with my husband when we moved halfway across the country. It brings me back to college and when I asked guys on dates 😉 I played it cool with one mom but we kept running into each other everywhere around the city so we figured it was meant to be and now we hang out on an (almost) weekly basis. Love this post!
I love that! You two were meant to be, haha.
This is hilarious and so so true!!! My sister and I were joking around saying this same thing the other day! It’s like dating. After having my second baby and all my original mother group friends are still at work I have struggled feeling alone and not making any new friends. I recently met this lady at my sons soccer and your description above was exactly like how it was lol. She wasn’t giving my much in the end so I had to let her go. Maybe the time wasn’t right for us lol. I did just join another mothers group in my local area and all the ladies seem similar age and interests. It’s like being at a night club checking the guys out – you are sussing out which mums you get a good vibe from and who you can be lifelong friends with!
Haha! A mom’s group is probably a really good place to go. Everyone there is actively looking to pick someone up lol. Good luck!!
Ha, so true! Love how you captured the inner life of so many of us! Thanks for sharing you. Looking forward to browsing on your site a little more 🙂
Thanks Nicola! I’m glad you could relate 🙂
Alessandra Ferguson says
Pretty sure I’ve done this with a mom at Chick-Fil-A recently….
LOL! Nothing wrong with that!!