You spot her across the park. You glance at her with a sort of half smile and quickly turn away, lest she think you are some creepy weirdo. You contemplate your next move, wondering if it would be too forward to introduce yourself.
Sharing a mutual bond of parenthood should be enough to break the ice. If only it were that simple. Like picking up someone at a bar or trying to engage a potential employer at a networking event, meeting new moms comes with those same feelings of fear and rejection.
Though I already had friends with kids, I needed some in my own neighborhood. And while there were many around me, I was too intimidated to approach them. Fortunately, my mother-in-law has no qualms about starting conversations with random strangers, and was via her that I met my first “mom” friend in my neighborhood.
Now I have a wonderful woman to spend an afternoon with sharing joys and challenges and just some good, adult conversation. Plus, I love how my child lights up when he sees his friend.
In recent months, I have initiated more mommy meetings. Some have lead to subsequent get togethers, while others ended at the playground. Either way, I am glad to be venturing beyond my own parenting bubble.
I used to dismiss a mother ignoring me as snobbery, rudeness or simply not thinking I am my child’s mother. I realize that she might be too shy to come over and talk to me, and she could be wishing I would say hello to her.
Thankfully, my now very active child has no reservations about crawling up to anyone — baby or otherwise — and saying, “Hi!” in his own way. I can learn a lot from him.