Today, I am excited to have Melanie Dale here to share her secret to finding moms friends. When I met Melanie last fall, I immediately had a smile on my face. She had just finished writing a book called “Women are Scary: the totally awkward adventure of finding mom friends” and explained the cover to me. It went something like this:
There are 2 moms on the cover, but they are going to be cake pops. And one mom is going to be taking a bite out of the other’s head.
What? I was oddly mesmerized by this quirky little author. You have to watch Melanie’s hilarious book promo video below to see what I mean, and then go buy her book. It’s as hilarious as she is.
The Secret to Finding Mom Friends You Actually Want to Hang Out With
By Melanie Dale
When you’re a mom, you live in this freaky little world where sitting on a bench side-by-side with total strangers screaming at their kids is totally normal. It’s called soccer practice, or dance class (maybe with less screaming), or whatever rehearsal.
You spend hours of your life elbow-to-elbow with other moms, and you don’t know their names, only their kids’ names, because they keep shouting at them to DRIVE IT DOWN THE FIELD or STAY WITH IT or OTHER SPORTS TERMINOLOGY. You’re mostly there for your kid, not to make friends.
Also, if you’re like me, other moms can be intimidating, because they all seem to have it together and you’re just glad you made it to practice. More than once I’ve sent my daughter into tap class without shoes, because who the heck knows where those are in our house? I tell her to just imagine the tippy taps in her head as she stomps her pink tights on the floor, and I collapse onto a bench with the other moms who must be better than me. I can’t even look at the other moms, much less talk to them.
Someone leans over and says, “I’ve done that before.” I’m sorry, what? I didn’t hear you over my Immense Shame. “I’ve forgotten the shoes, I’ve shown up late, I’ve left the bag at home. Me too. Me too.”
Some of my greatest friendships have started with a “Me too.” You take a second to turn your attention from the kids and turn to each other, lock eyeballs, and share a moment of solidarity.
This parenting thing is so freaking hard.
These awkward moments sitting on benches butt cheek to cheek with total strangers aren’t going away any time soon. Creepy side eyes and contrived small talk are here to stay, as long as your kids want to do anything besides sit at home by themselves.
So when it’s awkward, when you don’t know what to say, say something encouraging. Because we all need to hear it. “Me too” someone. “Me too” the heck out of someone.
And if you actually do have it all together and are always totally prepared and perfect, maybe you can just make this a quiet moment. Shh. The rest of us are just trying to figure it out.
The secret to finding mom friends you actually want to hang out with is to let them see you not just as Blonde Girl’s Mom, but as you, the woman you are, the one who’s doing the best she can, the one who’s kind of quirky and not always perfectly together. Be yourself, in all your messy glory.
Finding real mom friends may take some time. Not everyone’s going to like you, and you’re not going to like everybody. And that’s okay. But. No matter how you get there, it’s worth a little awkwardness along the way.
In this crazy world of raising tiny humans, nobody has time for perfection, and we’re all going to fail. Over and over. We need each other; we need the encouragement; we need the me toos. This week I forgot my daughter’s lunch and my other daughter’s snack and my son’s water bottle and Hat Day. (Darn it, not Hat Day. That one was a blow.) And my friends, the ones I actually want to hang out with, were there with “Me toos.”
You are not the only one dropping balls. We are all dropping balls all over the place. And we’re picking them up together.
Want more mom dating advice?
Check out Melanie’s new book, Women Are Scary: The Totally Awkward Adventure of Finding Mom Friends at WomenAreScary.com for help on rounding the bases of mom dating.
Melanie Dale is a geek on a God-ride, a minivan mama and total weirdo who stinks at small talk. Her laugh is a combination honk-snort, and it’s so bad that people have moved away from her in the movie theater. She adores sci-fi and superheroes and is terrified of Pinterest. Author of Women Are Scary: The Totally Awkward Adventure of Finding Mom Friends, she’s also a contributor for Coffee+Crumbs and an advocate for Children’s HopeChest. Living in the Atlanta area, she blogs at Unexpected.org about motherhood, orphan care, adoption, and sometimes poo.