Dear Playgroup Moms,
I’m really much nicer than I may seem. I know, I know, I probably accidentally gave you the stink eye or totally blew you off when you tried to strike up a conversation. But please hear me out. There are a few reasons why I may be coming off as hostile when really I want nothing more than for you, me and our babies to be BFFs and we’ll all live happily ever.
1. I’m tired of being here.
Are you not experiencing the same mind-numbing boredom as me? Are you really this excited and cheerful at your 857th time coming to the Kids Gym and singing Itsy Bitsy Spider? I am trying so hard to plaster on the cheery grin that other moms are wearing, but some days I’m sure I slip up and let my annoyance show through. How many more times will I have to return to this place? I want to quit, but I know it’s good for Baby Smoosh to be active and social, so I return week after week.
Don’t get me wrong, I have days where I am genuinely one of those super happy mom’s following their kid around with a video camera. These are the days that Baby Smoosh does something new and seriously awesome like clapping along to a song for the first time or climbing up something that was previously too difficult for him. My heart swells with pride and adoration at these moments and I am so grateful to be surrounded by moms who can celebrate the small victories with me.
Unfortunately these days happen somewhat infrequently. And in the meantime, I am bored. Full disclosure, I’m kind of only coming to this play group to find mommy friends who live near me and can meet up outside of the Kid Gym, thereby saving me my monthly membership fee and my sanity. I can’t be the only one with this hidden intention, can I?
2. You said something I’ve heard too many times.
Maybe you commented on his birthmark. Or the fact that his foot points out when he walks. Or some other little quirk that I am fully aware of and don’t need to have pointed out to me ever, let alone for the hundredth time. I mean to smile and give a patient explanation, but what comes out is a death stare and a “Yeah I Know.” I’m so rude. I can’t help it, I have no filter and very expressive eyes.
Of course I can’t claim innocence on this one because I know I’ve done it, too. I’ve seen the eye rolls and heard the tired “Yeah, she’s been doing this for months” when I giggle and exclaim how cute your daughter’s habit of pulling down her pants every 10 seconds is. I get it, we’re all just trying to start a conversation and relate to one another. But many of us are also overly sensitive when it comes to our kids. So if you’re pointing out something positive, like how beautiful his big blues eyes are, then by all means go ahead. I never get tired of the compliments. But if your comment isn’t one that gushes praise upon my son, prepare yourself for my cold shoulder.
3. My ‘Mean Face’ is really the ‘I’m so zoned out because I only slept 4 hours again last night’ face.
My son is a horrible sleeper. I am always tired and usually not fully present. Sometimes I’m sleeping with my eyes open and have absolutely no idea what the topic of conversation is. I’ve seen pictures of myself when I’m in this state and whoa, I wouldn’t want to talk to me either. Feel free to shake me a little and offer me coffee. I won’t be offended. In fact, I’ll probably hug you. I adore coffee.
4. You look better than me.
This one may sound shallow but I think many moms who struggle to shower every day can relate. I’m really self conscious that you actually took the time to put together an outfit that matches and to style your hair. And let’s not even talk about how you managed to apply eye-liner and lipstick so perfectly. (Actually, yes, lets talk about it. Give me some tips!) The whole time you’re talking to me I’m distracted imagining what you must be thinking about my faded black yoga pants covered in white dog hair, my unwashed hair sloppily thrown into a ponytail, and the bags under my eyes that I didn’t even try to mask with concealer.
And then there’s the fact that your baby girl looks adorable in her frilly dress with matching hair bow while my son is still rocking his cereal from this morning on his shirt and chin. I’m a mess and you clearly have your rubber duckies in a row. We will just never get along.
5. We’re late for nap time.
You’re being so friendly and chatty but I’m checking the clock every 10 seconds. We’re already 30 minutes past nap time and if I don’t get Smoosh home right this second he’s going to fall asleep in the car, only sleep for 20 minutes, and totally ruin the rest of our day. Also, he’s cranky from being overtired and screeching “MaMaaaaaaa” in my ear while banging his tired head against my shoulder. But you just keep talking. Because like me, you’re probably desperate for some social interaction and are missing my hints that I need to get going. All you notice is that while you’re trying to engage me in conversation, my eyes are darting to the clock, I’m giving short answers and eventually make a hasty exit. Rude, I know. I’m sorry.
I wish I were one of those mom-toddler duos who are too cool and carefree to abide by schedules. But naptime is the only time of day I get a solid 1-2 hours of solace, so please don’t deprive me of that.
#6. I’m Shy
I hate always engaging in the same small talk but too socially awkward to think of new and exciting topics to bring up. I’m worried that you’ll think I’m boring. I’m also not particularly chatty and prefer to listen and observe, which I know comes off as aloof or rude to you extroverted mommies. Unless I’m constantly checking my phone or not-so-subtly packing up my bags, I’m enjoying myself. Really.
So to the moms at playgroup, please give us quiet, messy, sometimes frazzled mommies a second chance. And probably a third. We’re all on this Parenthood journey together and it’s so much more fun with friends by our side.