I recently asked readers which parenting topics they were curious about or needed help with. How to make friends with preschool parents was the first response, and it seemed to resonate with many of you.
This is an issue for many of us who are deep in the motherhood trenches. We want to connect with others who are in the same stage in life, yet it can seem awkward and forced to strike up a conversation with someone in the hallway of a busy preschool. After all, they’re likely to have a tired toddler pulling at their hems or otherwise demanding their attention at pick up or drop off.
I know this from experience. After I quit my job as a counselor to be a stay at home mom, I found it to be a very isolating existence. I had friends, of course, but most of them were busy with their own jobs and lives, and few had children my kids’ ages. My son’s preschool was one of the only opportunities for regular social interaction at that time in my life, and even though I’m an outgoing person I found making friends there to be difficult.
Looking back, there are so many things I could have done differently. In the years since I have made wonderful friends through preschool and my oldest’s elementary school. It just took a little effort on my part. Here’s what I’ve learned.
Don’t Make Assumptions 1 of 4I made the mistake of assuming that I was the only person who felt isolated and in need of friends. When I looked at the other preschool moms I assumed that they had it all together and weren't interested in new relationships in their lives. I was wrong. Many of them were just like me, a little overwhelmed and looking for support.
Take it Outside the School 2 of 4Does your kiddo have one classmate in particular who he really connects with? Have you met another mom who you seem to have things in common with? Why not schedule a play date? Invite them to join you for a kid-friendly lunch, or if it's nice out ask them if they want to come along to the playground. If it goes well, make it a weekly date!
Photo Credit: VA State Park Staff/Flickr
Be the Friend You Want to Make 3 of 4So many times in my life I've focused on what others weren't doing for me instead of what I could have been doing for them. I'll be honest: I was bummed when I didn't make instant connections with other moms and felt more than a little bit sorry for myself at times. If I'd focused that energy on being the kind of friend to others that I was looking for, I would have been happier and likely would have made someone else happier too.
Photo Credit: Celebration Hart/Flickr
Take the Lead 4 of 4Organize a volunteer event or fundraiser. Start a conversation by giving someone a compliment. Tell another mom a funny thing you heard her child say to yours. Put yourself out there. It's worth it!
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Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
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