Boston mommy blogger Kara Baskin wrote a post about why it's creepy and awkward making mom friends. She is particularly confused by apparent rejections from vegan moms of boys (girls?) named Fauntleroy and the like. She writes of an endless stream of play-date dodging coming her way after initial connections with potential mom friends because, as she astutely recognizes, adult friendships are fickle to ignite. She does sound a little like the mom version of a swagger don, a guy who talks to as many women as possible and has a success rate of two per year. By the way, if you make two mom friends per year, consider yourself very popular.
The majority of the recipients of adult friendship-initiating gestures are cantankerous homebodies like me who, when we do have a moment of free time, just want to flitter it away on the internet reading blogs like hers. See? Without us, she would have no audience! Where's my cookie now, mom who questions my passive-aggressive moves?!
Everything she describes about her mom foes applies to me (did wear Steve Madden loafers and ho jeans in the 90's, did eat stinky food in close quarters in college, am funny and friendly-seeming at first, do invent half-assed excuses when I don't feel like socializing). And yet I do have my share of friends and play dates with minimal effort, so I feel I owe it to the Kara Baskins of the world an explanation of my behavior on behalf of play date-dodgers everywhere.
Why I sometimes diss people who try to be my friend:
1. I'm not in a good place right now. I just realized a birth control mishap I made a week ago, my back hurts from a car accident I had in January and maybe I had to face my own family in court yesterday, who knows. In short, I've got baggage and I might not want this to be common knowledge.
When you chat me up on the play ground, you see a sunny, affable mom with a toothy grin and two giggley kids. What you don't see - and you may see if we play date too much - is the dark stuff I'd rather keep for the people who have been on this crazy train with me a few years already. I'm not trying to be rude by dodging a play date, I just don't want to harsh your mellow, man.
2. I'm busy. Really. I know you're busy too, but your busyness and my busyness just aren't jiving at the same time. I have two kids and three naps to consider around preschool, dance and gymnastics, so trying to plan something around your two kids and their soccer games is more headache that it's worth. Sorry. Tip: Live in the city or somewhere that does not require driving to see people. Or just socialize at the activities you already share together. Drop the kids off at dance and have coffee down the street. See, that I can do!
3. I have enough friends already. Ooh, this one is harsh and one I'm likely to regret after my BFF mom-friend moves to L.A. next month. Then it will be me nosing around play group looking for a buddy and getting rejected left and right, but I feel it's only fair to include it. It's true. I've got my mom-BFF, my regular BFF, my online buddies and a reliable cast of neighbors. Also, in-laws who have birthdays at the alarming rate of once per year. I just don't have enough emotional energy for another seat on the bus. Don't take it personally. I'm at capacity.
Between having a few Life Problems, lots of life-living going on and the inability to stuff more people into my world it's just hard to invest in new friendships for the sake of dawdling time. As a matter of fact, I wish I could keep up with the friends I already have. My pal Erin, whom I've been friends with for twenty years, mailed me a letter that's been sitting on my counter for a month. She mailed me a letter. Allow me to pause while I claw my cheeks in horror and disgust at myself because she has the organizational ability to MAIL A LETTER and I can't even get to the grocery and the gym in the same day. If I don't have the fortitude to respond to a hand written letter from a friend of 20 years, I ain't kicking it with a stranger in the middle of the day.
It's not you, Kara Baskins of America. It's us.
The friendly-seeming-at-first moms who don't want to hang
PS- #4, Or maybe you are a bit offensive. Don't trash my methods of parenting, criticize my kids, one-up me, out-mom me or give me stink eye because I'm vegan and kind of dig this Fauntleroy name you mention. If you do anything on that little menu, I might be able to squeeze in some face time for you at my funeral. Let's use pencil to be safe.
My Chicago Now buddy has a theory on making friends as a couple.