Will You Be My Mommy Friend?

I am an introvert. I admit it. Have always been one, am currently one, and probably always will be. Some of my writer friends who also claim to be introverts turn into extroverts when they’re around other writers. Not me. I always hang back, watching and waiting until I feel comfortable to join in the conversation.

The other day as my husband and I were driving the girls to Target to let SuperGirl give us an idea of what she wanted for her birthday (she turned 3 yesterday, yay!), we got to talking about how we really need to expand our social circles and start meeting new people and start doing new things. As I’m sure everyone who has young kids knows, this is a lot easier said than done. We’ve good intentions, certainly, but when push comes to shove, something always seems to come up. For me, this is even worse as an introvert, because I can easily talk myself out of any number of things that normally fall outside my comfort zone.

Once inside Target, that conversation on the road led to the recognition of an opportunity. While my family was sorting through the dollar bins (I love those so much!), a very nice mom with two boys under 5 and one on the way came up and just started talking to me–saying how great the dollar toys were, asking about my girls, telling me about her family, etc. Well, conversations between strangers can only go on for so long (especially when you have kids in tow), and we ended the conversation (perhaps a little awkwardly, with me being the introvert I am, lol). A few minutes later, though, my husband tells me that I should go find the woman again and give her my number and email address, to see if she and I can get together with the kids for a playdate sometime. Yeah, he called me on my feel-good speech on the way to Target about meeting new people and doing new things. =P

I hemmed and hawed (of course). “That’s creepy.” “She was just being nice.” “No, YOU don’t go give it to her–that’ll be even worse!” (He did volunteer to find her and give her my information, and–while I appreciate it–I KNEW he would have looked like some crazy stalker and also, it would make me look like I was in the 2nd grade having to ask a friend to pass a note to someone else to be my friend. *sigh*)

So, I did it. *deep breath* Against every natural inclination of my deeply ingrained introvert tendencies, I wrote down my information, put WonderGirl on my hip (you know, because my hope was that she would make me look less creepy), and went to search for the other mom and her kids. I walked ALL AROUND that Target store, looking up and down every aisle, to no avail. Finally, we went outside (to where my husband and SuperGirl had already gone to load the car) and he waves frantically to me, telling me that she’s a few cars away getting ready to leave. In fact, she’s putting her kids in their carseats.

Great. So, as if stalking someone around a Target store isn’t bad enough, I now have to seek them out in the middle of a parking lot where they’re focused on putting their kids in their carseats (which, we all know, can be a mentally exhausting task). But I go. New me and all. I believe my words were something to the effect of, “Excuse me, ma’am. I know this looks creepy, but my husband (I was SO ready to blame him, lol) thought you might be interested in getting together for a playdate sometime.” I didn’t even have WonderGirl on my hip anymore, but I held out my information and she took it. Then–wonder of wonders–she gave me her card and said that sounded like fun.

AND she called me yesterday to actually schedule a playdate. (Because you better believe I was 75% of the way ready to talk myself out of calling HER.)

So, what have I learned in all of this?

1) Being an introvert can really suck sometimes. I need to just do what I’ve heard a million times: ACT like I’m outgoing until I feel like it.

2) Introverts CAN take risks that CAN result in positive outcomes and (hopefully) new friendships.

3) Perhaps other moms out there are as desperate to find another mom to relate to and help preserve her sanity as I am, and perhaps they’re waiting for ME to strike up a conversation in Target. =)

4) I have an amazing husband who knows my faults and challenges me to do better.

5) Starbucks (which I was drinking when this happened) is my liquid courage. 😉

So, fellow moms–are you an introvert? Do you find it difficult to reach out/find other moms? (I joined MOPs at one point, but never really clicked with my group–either time; I’ve learned I’m better in a one-on-one situation than in a large group.) Why is having a friendship with other moms so meaningful to you?

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I’m Elise Rome, AKA Midnight Mama because I’m usually burning the midnight oil. If SuperGirl (3, with a speech delay) and WonderGirl (1, my very own hip attachment) aren’t getting up in the middle of the night, then I’m busy working on writing and writing-related business until early morning…usually 3-4 am or so. Both my husband and I stay home with the girls (he’s a writer, too! www.lukasholmes.com), but usually I’m focused on them throughout the day and only get started working until after 8pm when they’re both in bed. I’m a former Texan now living in Colorado who desperately misses no-snow winters, and my parenting goal is to raise my daughters to be strong, intelligent, and independent women…much like the heroines I write, as a matter of fact. I’m a recovering perfectionist, recovering procrastinator, and perpetually aspire to keep the house clean (because it never actually is). When I’m not chasing around my daughters or adoring my cooking/cleaning/diaper-changing husband of 8 years, I write historical romances about women who fascinate me and men who somehow always remind me of Rhett Butler, the first literary hero who captured my heart. www.eliserome.com

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17 thoughts on “Will You Be My Mommy Friend?

  1. Elise, I am SO glad you did that. Good for you. Girl, there ain’t nothin’ wrong with being an introvert!!!! Awareness of who we are is key to our happiness, you know? When something needs to be done (connection, in your case), you just work with your personality and get the job done. You connected. Yay!!!

    When my kids were younger, we had to move a few times because my husband was in the Navy, and we were never on the military post. That is, I didn’t have other young Navy moms to hang with and no social network. It was so bad the first year I was a mom, I went into a depression. I was incredibly lonely. I stayed at home, and there was no one in my apartment complex. It was truly bad, and I’ll never forget it.

    I remember I finally broke down and called my very dear sister-in-law Kathy and told her the truth, and she flew me down to North Carolina to stay with her for a week. That helped.

    What I did to solve the situation when I got back home was find a moms group–it might have been MOPS. I can’t remember the actual name, but boy, were they organized!!! I couldn’t stand the actual meetings. Like you, I’m not good in big groups. They don’t suit me. But I met ONE mom there, and that changed everything. Gail and I would take the kids to the mall, the park, restaurants, you name it. I really wish I could find Gail now that our kids are grown up.

    The next town we lived in I joined Newcomers. That was another lifesaver. I met the nicest moms, and my husband got to come to some couples’ events with me.

    Church is a great way to get involved, too, if that’s up your alley. Now I wish I’d been going to church back then when I was depressed, but my husband had never attended church, so I quit for a while trying to figure out what to do about our spiritual life. But the truth was, I just needed to see some smiling faces and get some connection, and church could have helped me along!!!!

    Young moms, unite. That’s all I can say. You need each other. So keep on with that connecting, Elise. And you should be very proud of yourself for showing the courage you did at Target!!!

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  2. Good for you! I bet this snowballs and you meet other people through her. Yes, I am an introvert, and Baby Galen was a difficult baby, so I didn’t really meet any other moms until she was almost a year old. At 11 months, Baby G started what Caillou calls playschool and I met other moms through her class. The moms mostly live in the neighborhood or those surrounding ours, so I see them around. And then last year, we were all in the same class again, and we scheduled quite a few play dates. And we coordinate other activities, like taking music class or swim class together, so the kids see each other frequently, and we see one another too. Even within that group, some of us click more than others, so that’s normal. As your girls get older and get involved in activities and school, you’ll find it easier to meet other moms because you’ll be sitting around with them for hours on end all year, and even an introvert will meet someone given that amount of time.

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    • Thanks, Shana! SuperGirl starts preschool this year, so I’ll try to keep an open mind to more opportunities that may arise. And you’re absolutely right about kid classes–I’ll have to check them out!

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  3. I was very much an introvert when my kids were little. I have always been shy. But I will tell you that the older I have gotten the less I am an introvert. My kids are adults now, so it is no help for them. lol I am still a loner though. That is just who I am and nothing will change that. I am now able to just start talking to someone in the store or any place I happen to be at. The one thing I love about getting older is that I just don’t care what someone thinks of me. I like myself and that is all that matters to me. It’s funny you had this on here today, because this was on Facebook and it kind of goes with what you are talking about. ” Your children will become what you are; so be what you want them to be “. Just another reason to try to become a more outgoing person.

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    • That is such a wonderful quote, Mary! Thank you so much for sharing! I think I’m going to have to post this up somewhere so I can see it every day. =) When I used to have a 9-5, I was forced to be outgoing–and I actually enjoyed it. The funny thing is, I really enjoy meeting and talking to new people–I just have to do it! lol

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  4. Congrats, Elise! I hope your playdates are a blast! 🙂

    It’s hard to approach strangers and try to make a connection. I tried joining a mommy group, but failed to forms bonds. Our worlds were way to different, I guess. Luckily, once my oldest went to kindergarten, I met some wondeful women and we’ve become close. The best part is our older kids are all in 2nd grade and their youngest and my middle will be in kinder together. I’m so happy with how it worked out! However, my 18m old will be in need of a playmate now, so I’ll be hunting again quite soon. Yikes!

    Best wishes for speech growth for your 3yr old! I’m a speech mom, too After four years, my son is finally getting to the point where we can back off a little. Poor guy has had 4x a week speech since 17m! It’s exciting to see his hard work pay off. The best thing is practice, practice! Thanks for posting such a fun blog today! 🙂

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    • Thanks, Sarah! I really appreciate your encouragement. I always love to hear I’m not the only one in these predicaments. =) And yay re your 4yo! Quite recently SuperGirl has started to say (one or two) complete sentences, and it always catches me by surprise. She has to start preschool a year early so she’ll be more articulate when “regular” preschool for her age group starts, but I’m still so proud of the progress she’s made.

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  5. I have always been an introvert so I can relate. I am lucky in the sense that my 3 yrs old daughter goes up to people (kids, adults..etc) and introduces herself and plays with others. So she makes friends for me sometimes! 🙂

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    • I know exactly what you mean. That’s happened to us, too. =) It also helps that having kids seems to make people want to interact with you, when they normally might not have struck up a convo. Of course, that’s when they’re not throwing tantrums… 😉

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  6. Lol, I SO feel you on this, seriously. I’m cringing at the thought of hunting someone down in the parking lot. >.< But I'm in the same position. We went to the end of the year preschool performance for kidlet and one of the moms came up to me to apologize (because her child has bitten mine a few times this year, lol.) She was so mortified that he had done so and was super apologetic. But anyway, she was very chatty and outgoing, which got my introverted self talking and then somehow it comes up that I'm a writer. And she is like this huge reader and loves my genre and was so excited. So, like you, I went outside of my comfort zone and exchanged info with her so we can get the kids together (hopefully, the biter/bitee relationship can be repaired.) : ) Good luck with your playdate!

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    • LOL on the biting thing. (I hope Kidlet doesn’t get bitten anymore, too.) Thank goodness for extroverted people, that’s all I have to say. Otherwise if you got a roomful of introverts together, we’d all just sit around waiting for someone to talk. Remember last year’s publisher party? There’s no way I would have done all that without you by my side. =) (And that’s super cool that she’s a romance fan, too!)

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  7. I’m not an introvert. There, I said it. I’m the rare extrovert writer. BUT for some reason, I’ve had a hard time meeting other moms. I wonder sometimes if it’s because I’m (frankly) a bit outside of the age group of moms with kids my kids’ age. Also, it’s hard when you have a child with special needs because I don’t feel like I can sit and visit with a mom while our kids play (they need to live in a maximum security prison to keep the boy in…and no one does, so then I’m paranoid)

    The only new people I’ve met in the past three years have been at writer’s conferences. And then I have the problem of none of my friends living near me!

    I admit, I also have the fear of women either in the parent line, or at church, not approving of what I do for a living, and I get tense about that. :/

    So even the extrovert has no answer. LOL. But at writer’s conferences, where I’m confident I can be accepted…well, I’ll chat you up there!

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  8. I’m one of those introverts who becomes an extrovert (sometimes…if the conversation is something I know anything about) around other writers and moms, and I’m feeling your pain. I have a solution, though. Move to Alpharetta already, and we can be introverted writer-moms together! 😀 Seriously, though, I’m proof of the fake it till you make it credo, going from throw-up-if-I-so-much-as-think-about-public-speaking to teaching in front of a class and standing up in front of our RWA chapter to give conference updates and book reviews. I can’t say it’s easy to meet new people, but it gets easIER. I once read a blog about going to conferences alone, and the advice it gave is still my favorite – don’t be afraid to walk up to people, because chances are, you have something in common (kids, writing, etc.) you can talk about. And you never know when you’re going to find your next best friend.

    Life is too short for regrets, and every mistake is a learning opportunity. Seize them!

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