Being new in town AND being a new mom can make me feel a lot like I’m floating on a tiny boat in the middle of the ocean with only a tiger to keep me company. Ring any bells?
I have never been one to have a posse of chicks to call on for gossip or girls night out stuff. Being a mom, though, it really helps to have something of a Tribe. Now, I’m of the opinion that a Tribe can consist of anybody, parent or not, male or female, etc., but it can be intimidating as crap to find other moms to hang out with. What if we don’t like each other? What if our kids don’t like each other? What if I seem crazy? What if they find out I actually am crazy?
I’ve started making mental notes of what I should do and what I should probably not do. I have done a lot of the Dos and a lot of Don’ts, and I’ve had a lot of them done to me. Let’s begin!
Scenario: You find a new mom online who seems very cool and fun to hang out with.
Do: “Hey there, I like your style! Want to go grab a beer sometime and let our kids freak out the squares?”
Don’t: “Oh my god, you’re so pretty! Can I come over and play with your hair? I have a brush….”
Scenario: You’re hanging out with someone new and they start to breastfeed their baby.
Do: “Isn’t it cool that our bodies make this perfect nutrition for our babies? What a sweetie. I’m going to see if mine wants to nurse.”
Don’t: **Stare at the breastfeeding kid awkwardly trying to find something to say, notice you might be having a letdown and stare at your own boobs for a while. Mumble something like, “Ow, n-nipples.” and stumble away.**
Scenario: It’s a nice day outside. It’s just you and your offspring. Kids need to blow off some steam.
Do: Go outside to a park. Actually try to find other parents who you might get along with and strike up a conversation. Share contact info if you hit it off with someone or make an actual second “date”.
Don’t: Stay home and cry into your toilet because of your crippling, nauseating fear of rejection.
Scenario: You’re at a place with lots of kids and families, like a concert or festival.
Do: Be the cool parent who brings the fun toys like a bubble machine or a wagon. The kids will want to come play with your kid and you’ll have somethings to talk about with the other parents. Enjoy the event as a group.
Don’t: Stare at your effing phone while your child plays with other kids and parents. Engage everybody. I swear it makes you seem so much cooler and in-demand if you’re NOT on your phone all the time like a damn movie star.
Scenario: You actually convinced some other mom to come over to your house for a play date. Your house does not look like an Ikea show room, is kind of covered in toys and you can not find out where that smell is coming from.
Do: “Dang, it looks like the munchkin and I got a little caught up in the Legos this morning. They’re so much cooler nowadays! Let’s go sit out back because it smells like a dead body in here. Diaper problems, am I right? Let me just pour us some wine, first.”
Don’t: “I’m so sorry this place is such a wreck. I swear it doesn’t always look like this. I’m going to go clean my toilet. Here’s the TV remote, maybe you can figure it out, I’m lost. Are you hungry? I’ll go cook something. Sorry my house is so boring. Do you think your kid is having fun?”
Scenario: You meet someone at a park and your kids are playing while you sit back and chill.
Do: “Aww, look, they’re playing together! I love that hat. Hey, do you watch Blacklist? Oh man, kids are so weird.”
Don’t: “My kid is such an a-hole. He always hits babies. Sorry he’s yelling like a jerk. Can I give him some of your snacks?”
Making friends is kind of like dating. Now that we have kids it’s like dating, but with some real baggage. Baggage that needs to have a lot of attention and might start screaming because you’re trying to get all the toilet paper out of its mouth. Remember that other parents probably think you have your shit together. Just try not to let your crazy flag fly too early and be respectful of the boundaries and differences of other families. You’re cooler than you think.