Childrearing

I’m Not Here To Make Friends With My Kid’s Friends’ Parents

By  | 

two-moms-gossipingWhen my daughter was little, I felt a distinct an obligation to make nice with the parents of her friends. At play dates I would always at least attempt to strike up a conversation. After all, when two toddlers are busy mashing play-doh into a colander or eating whatever delicious treats they find wedged into the cushions of the couch, what else are you supposed to do? No one wanted to be the first to whip out their phone and be judged.

Well, no more!  One of the great things about having an older kid is that the play dates are drop-off style, and you no longer have to hold in anything about yourself to make yourself more palatable. And yes, I often did tone down aspects about my personality or outright lie about things like my religion or marital status to make sure my kid had friends to play with.

Was I setting a bad example for my child by being a fake and a liar? No, she was too busy playing with her friends to even notice me. It was my job to keep it that way by nodding politely when someone asked me if I had heard the good news about Jesus Christ.

A part of this also stemmed from the insecurity I felt as a younger mom; it’s likely that the majority of the people I interacted with wouldn’t have cut off my child if there was some aspect of my life that they didn’t like, but it happened enough to make me wary and turn me into a hilarious parody of Mrs. Lovejoy.

helen lovejoy

Then something beautiful happened. My daughter started school, and so did all of her little friends. We didn’t live in the same neighborhoods, and they didn’t go to the same schools, so suddenly all of these relationships that I was so keen on sustaining by tucking them into a bed of lies basically evaporated.

Talk about perspective. My child doesn’t even remember her playmates from her toddler and preschool years, since she’s so wrapped up in the friendships she’s made with the kids that she goes to school with. And I don’t have to even be pleasant anymore: if my kid’s  friends’ parents don’t like me, what does that matter? She’ll just play with them anyway at school.

I’ve also noticed that a pleasant side effect of all of this is the fact that I’ve actually made more mom friends this way. I’m sure there’s a lesson to be learned here on the value of being yourself, but who cares?

There are a few moms and dads that I will never, ever, be friends with. Our personalities clash so bad that if I had to spend any extended period of time with them, one or both of us would probably say something that would end in tears or a slap fight, so I just ignore them. We don’t suffer through coffee together or pretend to have anything in common. When their kids come over I shoo the parents away at the door, and everyone’s happy.

I won’t judge you if you don’t want to be friends with me. We don’t have to get along. Our kids are friends, but that’s as far as this needs to go. And no, I don’t need to hear the good news about Jesus Christ.

(Image: siSSen/Shutterstock)

20 Comments

  1. Ursi

    July 18, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Socializing with people with whom I would presumably have nothing in common except that we both had offspring is so not my idea of a good time. Why do we have to be friends with all of the people? Isn’t it enough just to be courteous and compassionate. Do we have to also pretend we’re interested in their lives and that they are interested in ours? Ugh, I’d be the worst parent ever for mom-socializing.

    • BakerMama

      July 19, 2014 at 1:41 am

      Thank you! I feel exactly the same way, and also about neighbors. I never understood how just because we both chose to live on the same street we were suddenly so simpatico that we have to invite each other to all our parties and barbecue together. No thank you, I like nod and keep walking neighbors and parents.

  2. LadyClodia the Modest Rat

    July 18, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    I have to take my 5yo to a birthday party for some of his friends from preschool tomorrow. It will be awkward to try to socialize with the other parents, and I’m not looking forward to it. I’m anticipating that this will be my last big faking it thing with the parents from the Catholic preschool he went to. He’ll go to elementary school with some of them, but I don’t plan on faking it anymore.

    • Justme

      July 18, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      This sounds like another good reason for Mommyish Island.

    • wisegal

      July 18, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      Soon you will just be able to drop them off for birthday parties and pick them up later. It’s a wonderful thing.

    • Lackadaisical

      July 19, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      I always leave my 5 year old at parties and collect her at the end, but she is the youngest of three so she is very confident and I am used to it. Her younger big brother is a bit clingier and gets scared in crowds so I had to hang around until he was much older, although he started to cope when he turned 7.

  3. Lackadaisical

    July 18, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    While I am lucky that I don’t live in such a judgemental shametopia of keeping quiet about your real self for fear of other mothers and their pearl clutching ways, I agree that getting on with your kids parents matters less and less as you get older. My eldest is now 11 and about to start secondary school and my contact with some of his friends mums is just a text message to confirm that their kid is indeed invited over on the date the boys have arranged between themselves, and a text message to confirm their kid has arrived or set off for home as they often walk or bike themselves over alone. Most of the mums from his toddler years I am no more than nodding acquaintances to now although I was lucky to hit it off with two of the mums who I still socialise with. Some of the kids in my eldest’s class walk themselves to and from school and he meets me at his little sister’s class so there is no opportunity to meet the parents of other kids and when he goes up to secondary school in September the only time parents set foot in the school is for termly parent/teacher meetings. I see more of the parents of my 5 year old’s class but I must admit I only socialise with 3 of them by occasionally popping out for a coffee after dropping the kids at school.

    • Allyson_et_al

      July 19, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      I love the independence my kids have developed. It’s so great that I don’t have to spend hours each week shuttling them around and scheduling their lives. They have more time to be with their friends and just hang out, and I have an easier time just enjoying them when they’re home, because our time is more relaxed. It makes up a little for missing their baby selves.

    • Lackadaisical

      July 19, 2014 at 6:41 pm

      Yes, I love it too. My eldest is naturally shy and anxious so I was thrilled when his school friends started knocking for him and he felt happy to just get on his bike and ride to the local park with them. It did him a lot of good socially at school too, his friends are in the other class so he had felt lonely and left out and now not only has it cemented his friendships with his own friends but it has helped him fit in with other kids in his year that he sometimes sees down the park. Seeing my shy and anxious lad with a nervous tick blossom into an independent lad with far more self confidence has been wonderful. I think it has also helped him cope with his imminent move to big school at the end of summer too. As soon as he started playing out past earshot of our house (the younger ones play in the cup de sac that our house is on the corner of) I went and bought him a mobile phone and knowing he can reach me instantly in an emergency has meant he feels more comfortable with being more independent and adventurous. He is off to scout camp for 8 days next week after school breaks up for the holidays and although he did 3 nights with cubs this will be a long time away from us for him. We will miss him for a week but I love how confident he is about it now and look forward to hearing about his adventures when he returns.

  4. Justme

    July 18, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    I am terrified of having to make “friends” with the mothers of my daughter’s future friends. We live in an upper class town and since I’ve taught in the area, I have a pretty good understanding of the types of mothers affluence can breed….and it makes me very uncomfortable.

    I will not dye my hair blond. I will not wear anything bedazzled. I will not wear platform flip-flops with crosses attached. I will not try to be best-friends with my daughter. I will not take my daughter out of school in order to go tanning and for a hair appointment.

    I know that there are plenty of level-headed, down-to-Earth women in the city where I live, but they sure are hard to find…

    • BREEDER

      July 18, 2014 at 11:23 pm

      oh cmon,,a little bleach and irresponsible parenting wont rub off on the kid

    • Justme

      July 19, 2014 at 8:24 am

      That stuff is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s the mindset that some of these people instill in their children – that they are entitled to whatever they want, whenever they want it. It’s the fact that many of them place their value in a big home, fancy car, a closet full of clothes, exotic vacations, and the latest technology. I don’t want to raise my child in a bubble, but I do want to raise her around similarly minded people – people that have placed their value in friendship, kindness, and humility.

    • BREEDER

      July 19, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      Many kids get setup for disappointment, and sometimes conditioning them for their own independence is considered unorthodox , its all fun tell there’s no more Clorox.

    • ElvaRMartelli

      July 20, 2014 at 12:57 am

      as Thelma
      explained I cannot believe that a stay at home mom can make $7420 in four weeks
      on the internet . more info here C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

    • Ms.Anne'sNotoriousLadygarden

      July 19, 2014 at 8:50 am

      Well, the bleach might. Better put her in light-colored clothes.

  5. another mom

    July 19, 2014 at 10:55 am

    I have always desperately wanted to make friends with the other moms, but I live in a really rich suburb and am not wealthy myself…plus I’m an older mom (as in I could be the other mothers’ mother). I take my little kids to playdates, church groups, school functions and it’s like the mean-girls club. I can’t usually even get anyone to smile at me, let alone act like I’m in the same room. They see I don’t have expensive clothes and I’m overweight. I (and I mean this very very literally) do not have one single friend. No one. It’s so lonely!!!

    • surfermom

      July 19, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      I feel terrible for you…there are some insanely unfriendly moms at my mommy and me class. They are practically hostile. Is it really so hard to socialize for two hours with other people? Sometimes socializing outside your comfort zone is healthy! I disagree with this post, and the poor attitude behind it.

    • Allyson_et_al

      July 19, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      I’m so sorry! It was like that for me at my kids’ preschool. Moms who wore full make-up to drop-off. Moms who looked at me like I had two heads when I said, no, this 8-year-old Subaru is our only car. Moms who thought I was weird for not sending my preschoolers to 8-hour-a-day day camp at over $1k a week per kid (I’m a SAHM, as were most of them). It sucks. I eventually found my people, but it took a long time. Good luck to you!

    • la vega

      July 19, 2014 at 10:49 pm

      My kids attend a school with mostly high income families and older parents, & I’ve been waiting for the snobs to rear their ugly heads for 2 yrs. I’m happy to report that the dozen or so parents I’ve chatted with have neen nothing but pleasant. I hope you find parents you can be friendly with. It makes things just a little nicer to see a familiar face.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *