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Read all about the adventures of the Tsao Family during the summer of 2012

Thursday, July 13, 2006

 

Drinks For All My Friends Inside The Box

[Warning: Long post ahead. If words bore you, go check out what I'm wearing instead.]

I've been moved lately by some writing by women whom I very much admire. The first piece of writing was an article written by Kristen Chase of Motherhood Uncensored that appeared on Mamazine. In her article, she writes about being a misplaced military mom:

"But the real truth is that I don't know anyone because I don't engage in any activities that involve other people. I always find an excuse to miss the socials, and because, for some reason, folks on base associate me with the "working, non-military" group, I don't get included in a lot of "during the day" activities—once a working mom, always a working mom. Sure, I'm on the email list and in the newsletter group. But really, I don't know any moms, and they don't know me either."

And then Dawn of I am doing the best I can wrote a post for Mommybloggers in which she references Kristen's article and talks about her own desire to make a mommy friend and how difficult is has been for her, too:

"As Kristen wrote in this article, sometimes a Mommy just wants some mommy friends.

Alas, like Kristen expresses so beautifully, I am an oddball Mommy. Always have been, always will be. The other moms just don't want to play with me. They steer clear at the public school functions."

These two pieces of writing moved me because they illustrate so clearly how hard it can be to forge friendships with other moms. I have problems making friends with other moms when I had no trouble making friends in the past. When I was in school or was working, I was friends with the people I saw every day. This was especially true when I worked. And many of these friendships were with people whom I had absolutely nothing in common except for the fact that we both worked at the same place and both hated the same boss.

And when I was in school, friendships were easily forged over beers and burritos and bands. Everybody loves everybody in school; that's just how it is.

It's not so easy to make a mom friend. First, there is rarely alcohol involved when we gather at the playground. Lots of juice boxes and goldfish crackers and the like, but not much to lubricate my vocal chords and turn me into a funny person, if you know what I mean. Second, there's no common hatred of a boss to band me and the other moms together as chums against The Man. Of course, I can always moan and groan about how my husband is always on the computer, but too much slamming of my partner and people tend to get quiet -- these are moms, not therapists.

So it seems that the only thing I really have in common with other moms is the fact that we both are moms; they are "like" me only because we both have procreated. Which means that many times I have no idea if we share any common interests other than little people. And even with that big thing in common, there are the differences with how I want to raise my little people and how she wants to raise her little people. If the differences are too great, chances are the incompatibility factor will be quite high. And the process of figuring out that we actually have nothing in common can be oh.so.painful.

And honestly, have you ever tried to have a conversation with another mom on the playground? Conversations that take place between fights and tantrums and kids about to fall off playground equipment are not very engaging or well-conceived and can hardly be called conversations. We moms are at work when we're at the playground and our job is to watch the wee ones we brought with us, not to giggle and laugh and braid each other's hair.

I have long been an evangelist for moms blogging to allay the boredom and isolation that tends to come with being a mom, especially a SAHM. At first I believed mommyblogging was important because of the writing aspect of it. Writing is good for self reflection and self awareness; it's good for the soul. But now I also believe mommyblogging is important for the community aspect of it. I really liked what Susan of Friday Playdate wrote in comments the other day:

"...blogs are a community, where we can come for support and validation and a break from the routine of parenting (or whatever it is we do all day)."

So this funny thing happens when people support and validate you--you start to think of them as your friends. They become your friends. Tracey of Sweetney admits that Kristen's article and related blog post got her thinking about her offline and online friendships:

"I believe that the interactions and friendships forged online are as real as anything else and as meaningful as any other human interaction, and shouldn't be demoted to some sort of ill-defined second-tier of reality that doesn't really matter as much somehow."

Tracey ended her post by conjuring up the image of the upcoming BlogHer convention, the place where online meets offline in two days of squeals and hugs and maybe even tears of joy. She's looking forward to it and so am I. Because even though I don't see these moms at my neighborhood playground, I see them on my blog and I really appreciate their support. Ladies, the first round's on me!

Mama's lemonade -- No Touch!


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