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Old 08-31-18, 10:24 PM
peripatetic peripatetic is offline
 
 

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Making/keeping/having "fellow mums" as "friends" is hard

I'll be frank: I don't make new friends, lasting friendships, in person easily anymore. I'm not quite as bad at maintaining old friendships (currently, though that's subject to change at any time), but anything beyond superficial exchanges and I'm not really available for that.

I have a few (very few left at this point, but at least one) super long term friends though. Think, from boarding school meeting at age 13/14 and we're both in our early forties now. She lives on the other side of the country, but we text, video chat, and physically visit at least a couple of times a year most years. She's outgoing and has always stuck by me. She lasted through countless breaks and hospitalizations, through me going MIA for stretches of time, through me being super self isolative, etc. I like to think it's more balanced when I'm stable and that, well, I know for certain I've been there for her in times of need always. But she bridges the distance. She's not your average friend, you know?

Then there's my partner, who doesn't exactly count as a "friend" though he is my dearest friend at the same time. He's already in for a penny, in for a pound, though. He lives with me so my mental health issues aren't exactly a surprise. And he knows all of my unpleasant bits already.

Then there are a few people who I see at groups for years on end or in hospital. Again, they already know the unfortunate bits and those that I'm referring to also have SZ so it's not, like, awkward when I'm awkward, if you know what I mean.

There're proprietors I frequent, most of whom have seen me pretty unwell over the years...but I mean people like the barista from Peet's and so forth...it's not a real "friendship"... similar situation with neighbors. And the homeless in our neighborhood. We all know each other, but we don't REALLY hang out even if we (at times) have daily exchanges, right?

Then I have some online friends. Particularly some people from here whose friendship extends beyond this forum, but also people I'm consistently and (for me) reassuringly always friend(ly) with, right?

Here's the snag: my daughter has started preschool and I've tried making a couple of mum friends. It's SUPER ******* hard. We have one thing in common, it sometimes feels like: our respective children are near (enough) in she. One is a mum of four, though, and her kid is a little delayed so our kids aren't great playmates yet, but ultimately will be, I think. The other is a mum of two (one a pretty fresh baby, the other a couple of months older than my E, but they're in the same room at their preschool. The first one knows I spent time in hospital in June but we've not discussed details or diagnoses or anything; the other I had to postpone our first play date due to June hospitalization, but she doesn't know that.

How do I act like a normal enough person so my child doesn't end up alienated/isolated because I'm weird?

And before you start in with "you're not weird, peri"...um, trust me...in person, I have a lot of weird **** going on, from things I think and blurt out that is shocking to others (think ADHD with delusional steaks) and I have some "odd mannerisms", one could say. Plus, I don't drink much anymore, I don't like running except by myself, and I kinda can't imagine becoming close friends with a new in-person individual at this point in my life.

I spend a lot of time, hours a day, either being weird and pacing/sorting my head or in mental health groups. I guess my point is that these other women have jobs and book clubs and go to try all of the new SF restaurants (or have FOUR kids yet manage to watch television and read books weekly...)

My E is at a play-based public preschool that emphasizes social-emotional development. *I* (in person) seriously am lacking in my own "social-emotional" development.

I'll bold the question I asked above because I realize this is achingly long at this point (congrats if you've made it to here), but I don't know what I'm really looking for in this post except navigating parenting friendships is really hard. And I want my daughter to see healthy, maintained friendships and, except my bestie and a rare person here and there (and my M's 2 friends since primary school and his brother + everyone's partners), like, I haven't hosted a dinner party or gathering in at least a decade. I don't want people in my house. I don't really open myself up to people in that friendship way anymore.

I just want my child to be well adjusted, whatever that means, and she seems to be this far...she's definitely made little friends...but how can I raise a kid who's healthy and normal when my life and problems are so far from normal, you know?

Maybe I just needed to type up a bunch of venting and consternation...

Cheers for reading if you do/did. xx

PS: typed on phone so please excuse autocorrupt if it's happened throughout. I'm a ****ty editor.

Last edited by peripatetic; 08-31-18 at 10:40 PM..
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Old 09-01-18, 12:19 AM
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Re: Making/keeping/having "fellow mums" as "friends" is hard

I was not capable to have a fellow mum as a friend. I did not like the behavior of their children nor did their behavior meet my standards to be a mother.


I believe that I may have missed out by not letting any one in.
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Old 09-01-18, 03:02 AM
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Re: Making/keeping/having "fellow mums" as "friends" is hard

I don't have friends. And when my kids were growing up coz I had mine so young everyone else was so much older than me. Having kids out of sync with the reat of society is isolating. At the same time everytime I try to make a friend it goes pear shaped so I have given up. My kids have more friends than me in spite of being isolated because of a combination of their issues and mine.
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Old 09-01-18, 07:59 AM
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Re: Making/keeping/having "fellow mums" as "friends" is hard

Oh man Peri I wish I could tell you that making and keeping mom friends was easy. I did not find it easy. Part of it was because I didn't have all the "stuff"other parents were able to give to their kids. They were not spoiled or overloaded with toys. Christmas was regular, not over the top. I didn't have them in tons of activities. In fact, when my husband was out of work and we almost lost the house, I didn't have them in any activities. I guess now that I think about it, I dropped the ball on that. We just couldn't afford it and none of them were very sports oriented. I mean the oldest did marching band but that was in high school but still...I feel guilty I couldn't do more.

I also am not the kind of person who feels that having a "perfect" kid means I am a perfect mom. My kids got messy. I let them explore the woods. I wasn't able to have them in special summer camps with all the bells and whistles. They didn't have the latest xbox or cell phones. I tried to keep their early years simple and basic. It was hard too raising kind kids. I really tried hard to make them have empathy even when the mean kid was so mean and seemed to have all the stuff they wished they could have. I tried to get them to see that not everything is as it seems.

My mental health really impacted them in the early years with unchecked bipolar and the fugue states I was in. Not having the best memory. When all three of them were young I had all those school papers to fill out and trips to remember and I know I let them down sometimes.

The other thing is I didn't work. And it was because of my mental health and stuff so I was on disability which I never told anyone about.
I would get comments like" I wish I could afford not to work". And it wasn't saving us money or anything like that I simply could not handle a job. People sometimes seem to have this invisible judgement of me because I presented as able bodied but didn't work but also wasn't the president of the PTA running bake sales and being room mother. I think I looked like I was lazy AND that I didn't care.

I do not want to say I do not play well with others. I am blessed to be ridiculously friendly and have so many friends (especially sober ones) but I do not play the mom game very well with other moms. I couldn't share the same interest in mani/pedi's and soccer games. If you wanted to talk about the next book I was going to read or my feelings about world peace that would be great but I was no fun to talk to about the new sale at Macy's. I hated the mall. I love thrift stores. I don't mean to imply that you or any of the moms near you are like that at all. I am just trying to share what it seemed like for me here in NJ. My good dear friends I can count on one hand and they are all different ages and not any of them have school age kids except for my neighbor.
I hope I don't come off as judgemental. Things were not miserable. My kids and husband and I are super close and that's priceless but it really is hard navigating the school age waters. I am sorry if this doesn't sound more hopeful so please do not think I mean to make it sound likes its awful- perhaps I judged them all wrong and missed out. Perhaps I shouldn't have let my feelings count as facts but it was just hard.
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Old 09-01-18, 08:52 AM
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Re: Making/keeping/having "fellow mums" as "friends" is hard

Hello Peri i read your post
Firstly, i must say . I don’t have children , never read anything about parenting
So i will just tell my opinion

You are taking your meds, you get treatment
You call yourself weird, i’m weird too. We can be weird, just accept yourself as you are.
If you have to act like someone that you arent, you base your relationships on it.
It isn’t friendship , it is a contract
You can make friendships , i am sure .
But there can’t be ideal person , if we say that then we reject ourselves, we arent machine

Just teach your children , don’t do something to someone that she/he doesnt want to experience
Remember that your children are human too , you love them , listen to them tell your own opinions
And let them chose

If you teach them to be “this ideal” , then they will have other inner problems because they wont be themselves

They have to draw their own path, you can help them while they do it

We shouldnt be scared of our worries, we have to accept them as they are.

Listen to your heart , not others who say “isolated,weird”
If you think that you are doing right thing then do

Happiness, being healthy cant be given by others, because at final we are with our own
If we cant love ourselves, we cant love others

Don’t worry to do mistake, your children shouldnt worry to
We learn from our mistakes

I hope i wrote something useful
But i m not a parent , probably i don’t have the worries you have, just trying to understand
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Old 09-01-18, 12:00 PM
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Re: Making/keeping/having "fellow mums" as "friends" is hard

Yeah, I get it. Undiagnosed ADHD and ASD when I was a young mum.

Other mums in our tiny town would take their pre-schoolers to story time at
the library in the next town over and they would go across the street to the
cafe for coffee and chit chat. They invited my daughter and I to go along.

I mostly sat there and drank my iced tea and listened to their chit chat.
Didn't really have much to share. It was good of them to invite a new-comer
to tag along, but I didn't have that inside connection of having been raised
in the same area. And I just didn't relate to them.


Fast forward 25 years and I was the one taking my Gdaughter to kindergarten
and picking her up. All the moms waited in the hallway for the bell to signal
that class was over. They would chat among themselves, and I pretty much
leaned against a wall and listened ... again.


I did make some friends through role play gaming, and they were very
forgiving of the odd things I'd blurt out at times. Although there were a few
odd looks. Later, on the drive home, I'd sometimes realize how I must have
sounded and I'd feel crappy. By then it was really too late to apologize.


Then there was another group of friends who were mostly forgiving of my
verbal oopsies. All but one woman, a former nurse, who thought I was using
my ADHD as an excuse for saying rude things. Ugh. That one still hurts.
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Old 09-01-18, 04:59 PM
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Re: Making/keeping/having "fellow mums" as "friends" is hard

Just because you have children the same age doesn't mean you need to be friends. It's like those coffee groups when you have a baby, just because you all have babies doesn't mean you'll all be best friends.

Making friends with other mums at school is hard for most people, including NT mums. You already have good friends, you don't need to strike up superficial friendships at the school gate. If you find a mum you click with, great, but don't feel bad if you don't.

Your daughter will make her own friends, regardless of which mothers you do or don't befriend.

The best example you can set for your daughter is being comfortable in your own skin and loving yourself for who you are regardless of your conditions. Just be yourself.

You say she seems well adjusted so far....I think you can safely assume you're doing a great job.
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Old 09-01-18, 08:41 PM
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Re: Making/keeping/having "fellow mums" as "friends" is hard

Quote:
Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
How do I act like a normal enough person so my child doesn't end up alienated/isolated because I'm weird?
In my neighborhood, growing up, the kids would free range outside and play with each other. The parents had little role in influencing these social interactions. But maybe times are changing. I've heard that some people will call CPS on unsupervised kids.
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Old 09-02-18, 02:46 PM
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Re: Making/keeping/having "fellow mums" as "friends" is hard

I can't really relate to the people you're describing. That sounds like a ******* nightmare of its own. That's what I envision living in surburbja is like...and precisely why no chance in hell I'd live there. Sorry you endure that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahsweets View Post
Oh man Peri I wish I could tell you that making and keeping mom friends was easy. I did not find it easy. Part of it was because I didn't have all the "stuff"other parents were able to give to their kids. They were not spoiled or overloaded with toys. Christmas was regular, not over the top. I didn't have them in tons of activities. In fact, when my husband was out of work and we almost lost the house, I didn't have them in any activities. I guess now that I think about it, I dropped the ball on that. We just couldn't afford it and none of them were very sports oriented. I mean the oldest did marching band but that was in high school but still...I feel guilty I couldn't do more.

I also am not the kind of person who feels that having a "perfect" kid means I am a perfect mom. My kids got messy. I let them explore the woods. I wasn't able to have them in special summer camps with all the bells and whistles. They didn't have the latest xbox or cell phones. I tried to keep their early years simple and basic. It was hard too raising kind kids. I really tried hard to make them have empathy even when the mean kid was so mean and seemed to have all the stuff they wished they could have. I tried to get them to see that not everything is as it seems.

My mental health really impacted them in the early years with unchecked bipolar and the fugue states I was in. Not having the best memory. When all three of them were young I had all those school papers to fill out and trips to remember and I know I let them down sometimes.

The other thing is I didn't work. And it was because of my mental health and stuff so I was on disability which I never told anyone about.
I would get comments like" I wish I could afford not to work". And it wasn't saving us money or anything like that I simply could not handle a job. People sometimes seem to have this invisible judgement of me because I presented as able bodied but didn't work but also wasn't the president of the PTA running bake sales and being room mother. I think I looked like I was lazy AND that I didn't care.

I do not want to say I do not play well with others. I am blessed to be ridiculously friendly and have so many friends (especially sober ones) but I do not play the mom game very well with other moms. I couldn't share the same interest in mani/pedi's and soccer games. If you wanted to talk about the next book I was going to read or my feelings about world peace that would be great but I was no fun to talk to about the new sale at Macy's. I hated the mall. I love thrift stores. I don't mean to imply that you or any of the moms near you are like that at all. I am just trying to share what it seemed like for me here in NJ. My good dear friends I can count on one hand and they are all different ages and not any of them have school age kids except for my neighbor.
I hope I don't come off as judgemental. Things were not miserable. My kids and husband and I are super close and that's priceless but it really is hard navigating the school age waters. I am sorry if this doesn't sound more hopeful so please do not think I mean to make it sound likes its awful- perhaps I judged them all wrong and missed out. Perhaps I shouldn't have let my feelings count as facts but it was just hard.
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Old 09-02-18, 02:59 PM
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Re: Making/keeping/having "fellow mums" as "friends" is hard

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesH View Post
In my neighborhood, growing up, the kids would free range outside and play with each other. The parents had little role in influencing these social interactions. But maybe times are changing. I've heard that some people will call CPS on unsupervised kids.
Yeah...that sounds well and good except I live in a densely populated urban center, not a small mountain town like I grew up in. We don't have a yard, we have a well trafficked street outside and golden gate park at the bottom of the hill...but i can't just unleash my three year old onto the street and tell her to find a friend... trust me, I'm nowhere near being overprotective or helicopter ish. I just can't have her crossing streets solo or picking up needles (they have bright orange caps, which I *think* she's learned "no touch"...but, dude, she's only three and I can't run that risk. Hepatitis and hiv are real things).

Don't get me wrong though. There are advantages to raising a little urbanite and certainly for the progressive diverse community, if nothing else, it's fantastic and I'm not moving somewhere else. My child can ride muni like a boss, she's about ten blocks from the beach, we have three museum memberships, and she treats unhoused persons with respect. But, no, we don't live where what you describe as "free range" is practicable for a three year old and there aren't yards with neighbor kids in them near our flat.
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Old 09-02-18, 04:33 PM
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Re: Making/keeping/having "fellow mums" as "friends" is hard

I suck at making friends. Any kind of friends. What lunacie wrote really struck a chord ("I leaned against a wall and listened..again..") except of course listening isn't my strong point but leaning against the wall.ans not finding a way in is.

Anyway, I actually found making mum friends was slightly easier because 1. A lot of new mums are keen to make friends, 2. Little kids generate a lot of talk material even if it's just discussing the colour of poo 3. Whenever there's an awkward silence you can just go back to taking to your kid or the other mum's kid.

I still managed to make only three mum friends (two I met in my ante natal class and one during pregnancy yoga) and after the first year we don't see each other that much anymore.

I do wonder about school and how social I will have to be. I know nothing about how the school system here works or how involved parents have to be. I can relate to wanting the best for your child but will that entail having to take part in social activities? Then we are screwed (we as in fuzzling and me).

I'm not sure I understood why you need to make mum friends. Aoologies if you said and I missed it or didn't understand it. Imean it's nice to have mum friends I think because I learnt a lot from the three mums I socialized with and it's not have someone to share this with who is at the same stage but is there another reason?.do you think it will benefit e (genuinely asking as I don't know) or disadvantage her if you don't click with the other mums?

I don't know. I think there's something a bit stand offish about me. I don't seem to be the kind of person that people naturally gravitate towards. I go through phases of being social and on a good day I can be the soul of the party but these good days are becoming more and more rare and my social phases never last long. Usually depression hits and I withdraw and after that it seems impossible to get back to being friendly with people again or even liked.

And then of course I'm a lot older than most other mums with kids at this age and i guess that might not help with relating either.
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Old 09-02-18, 05:10 PM
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Re: Making/keeping/having "fellow mums" as "friends" is hard

Quote:
Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
But, no, we don't live where what you describe as "free range" is practicable for a three year old and there aren't yards with neighbor kids in them near our flat.
Fair point! I was just speaking about my own experiences, and everyone has their own circumstances.

You mention that your child is doing well in a play-focused preschool? That might be enough already to keep your kid on the right developmental pathway. Kids can be self-centered (and I don't mean this in a bad way). Sometimes, they don't care about their parent's social life. They just want to be nurtured and to have opportunities to play with other kids.

The way you describe the fellow moms does make it seem like it'd be hard to bond with them. They seem a bit like they're trying to be superhumans, and I wouldn't want that lifestyle anyway.
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Old 09-02-18, 05:36 PM
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Re: Making/keeping/having "fellow mums" as "friends" is hard

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Originally Posted by CharlesH View Post
Fair point! I was just speaking about my own experiences, and everyone has their own circumstances.

You mention that your child is doing well in a play-focused preschool? That might be enough already to keep your kid on the right developmental pathway. Kids can be self-centered (and I don't mean this in a bad way). Sometimes, they don't care about their parent's social life. They just want to be nurtured and to have opportunities to play with other kids.

The way you describe the fellow moms does make it seem like it'd be hard to bond with them. They seem a bit like they're trying to be superhumans, and I wouldn't want that lifestyle anyway.
This is a good point and it's reassuring that she's doing well.

To fuzzys question, I don't necessarily need mum friends, I suppose...I just don't want her to be excluded because I, too, can come across as standoffish. And then that alternates with being overly chatty, I think.

Luna moth is probably right that I don't... I guess I don't want E to think I'm antisocial for not having mum friends. It just feels like I'm not presenting a good friend model sorta.
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Old 09-04-18, 09:15 AM
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Re: Making/keeping/having "fellow mums" as "friends" is hard

i don't have ADHD, or anything on the spectrum. So let's call me average. I can tell you that the average mom doesn't have long lasting friendships usually either. here are examples.

1. I've known Megan for 5 years now, our daughters were in Kindergarten together. My daughter has had one sleep over there and she was kind enough to watch my daughter while my ex moved out all his stuff...didn't want the kids near drama. We are
mom's from school"...but we don't gab on the phone or meet up. We do the head nod at school and if I hear Isabella(the daughter) wants to do a sleepover or wants to join cheer than I text megan. That's a NORMAL mom friendship at school.

2. Amy, I've known Amy since our sons played baseball at age 8, they are now 16. Very similar relationship that I have with Megan....still 8 years later...it's all surface stuff.

3. Jessica, I've known for 3 years. Our girls started cheer at the same time. She was getting the email and I wasn't. So she forwarded the emails to me. Then we discovered we both smoked cigarettes and that I had an older boy and so did she. We traded info on our lives over smoke breaks and during the BORING 2 hour cheer practices for months. We eventually decided we needed a kid break and a real friendship happened. She complains about work and her husband, we do the sleepover thing, hey I have a date on Friday can P have a sleepover?....etc.

My son is 16, my daughter is 9, and in ALLLLL this time I have ONE true friend out of all this. The average behavior is to save the other mom's number into your phone with something like this "Cheer-Sally's mom-Jessica"...that way you remember who they are and who their kid is, and maybe where you spend the most time with them. You have birthday parties and these kids are invited to it, then sleepovers at your house, you let your kid sleep over there....perhaps you even have a mom round robin where 4 of you get together and one person is always having a sleep over at their house for the kids....but this stuff doesn't happen until age 7 or so. So please don't think you are behind because you aren't. It will come, and you may or may not get a friendship out of it, but that's not really the point. Smile, nod, play your part. Your kid will do the rest.
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