Rediscovering the 'Me' in 'Mumeeeeeee'

'I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than a housewife’s badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways'. (Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1861)

February 19, 2010

Mum flirting


Have you ever felt as though you were flirting with another mum in an attempt to become her friend? I have.

It’s hard making new mummy friends and since leaving my professional alter-ego behind, I seem to have become a bit of a social cripple. Professionally, I’d have no problem networking a room, striking up a conversation and making new contacts. In my domestic environment, I don’t seem to be able to do any of this.

I feel like a stalker; scouring the faces of other mums at the playground or toddler group to see if any of them look like potential friends. I feel mildly jealous when other mums start chatting to each other and I try to find an opportunity to join in, “That’s hilarious!! Exactly the same thing happened to me last week. Will you be my friend? Please?”

Even if I do start chatting to another mum as we swing our children, what then? How do you go from polite chatter to coffee to a night out? It’s like a slow dating process; awkward first exchanges, more comfortable familiarity over a number of weeks, possibly mobile numbers exchanged. But what then? Do you call them or do you wait for them to call you first? Do you just send a friendly text instead? It’s worse than dating!

I wish I could just come straight out with it. “Hello. I’m a mum looking for friends. Would you like to be my friend? I don’t want to snog you or anything. I just want someone to chat to over coffee and maybe have a laugh with. Nothing complicated. No formal commitment needed. So, how about it? Coffee at my place tomorrow?”

As the movie title says, It’s complicated!

p.s. thank you to everyone who commented on my previous post about having a bad week. I am pleased to say it is gradually getting better!

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24 comments:

  1. me me! I do that... It's tough - isn't it!

    (and I think I might do it online a little too...)

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  2. Totally totally TOTALLY! But thats not a problem, we all like attention and 'pursuing' another whether for dating or friendship is flattering as it lets them know we're interested and willing to make an effort in the friendship. Its a great way to find friends--and to test the water because if they dont respond then it would be a very one-sided friendship, or non-existent of course. Sometimes I do just want to say 'hey, I need friends, it looks like you do too, lets be fiends!' but on the other hand, effort is important in friendships as much as intimate relationships, so why not start with the introduction?

    Im with you on this, I totally relate--nothing stalkerish about it. :)

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  3. Get grit in your eye and see if any of the other mothers will get it out for you.

    Oh hang on, that's Brief Encounters... Oh well, if it worked for Celia Johnson perhaps it can work for you.

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  4. I'll be your friend too. ;)
    As a working mother I find it even harder as times with my children are scare enough without needing all this extra stress! Why do some mothers need to be so clicky!!
    BNMx

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  5. Maybe that is where I am going wrong, I think I need a sandwich board

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  6. Yep, have experienced this too and have been tempted to do the 'Will you be my friend?' thing but never quite had the courage lol. I have found Mother & Toddler groups to be a disaster for this, the one I tried to attend was awful I felt like I was a social misfit they ignored me so much!! Hate the cliques. Jen.

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  7. Funny and very true! I definitely 'eye-up' new mums at babygroup in case they are friend material! I even met up with a mum (mummy-to-be at the time) through netmums, it was like a blind date!

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  8. Been there, have no advice because I am still there. Because I am only home 12 weeks in the year it seems I have fallen off the social radar. Forgotten! I feel like I need to put an ad in the paper, "Friend wanted for coffee and chat". How's that for desperate!

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  9. Great post. The thing is everyone is in the same position but why does it feel like it's just you?

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  10. Speaking of mommy flirting, I PICKED UP TODAY!!!! I walked home with another mum from the playgroup I've started going to and invited her to hang out with me and some other mums next week. Do you think I moved too fast? hmm.... I feel a blog coming on...

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  11. This has made me laugh. I think there was a whole year of awkwardness at the school gates between all the other mums until eventually one of them piped up - Let's go on a deperate mother's night out! And we did, and finally the very thick ice wa broken. If only she had said that in week one - but then we would probably have looked at her very oddly indeed!

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  12. I have definitely felt like this since moving abroad - it's also very tiring because you can't just relax and be yourself as you can with old friends. I always feel I am having to present myself as a fun, interesting person and a serenely capable mother, and not some knackered person who shouts at her kids.....

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  13. I too find making friends exhausting. Since moving to the US I have had to repeat the process so many times because of friends either moving back to the UK or moving to another state. The process of starting all over again is absolutely depressing - but the joy of making the effort and finding that one person that you absolutely click with is so worth it. The friend I made last year (Subversive Mum) overheard me muttering under my breath in the new term class room tour, 'well at least there is caffeine and wine to get me through the days...thank god no one ever introduced me to heroin - I dread to think what might have happened given my addictive personality...' (cue rueful snort). The following day we had a coffee which lasted 3 hours and were pretty much inseparable ever since. Of course, since then she has bloody sodded off back to England...and I am even more grateful than ever that my drugs of lonely choice remain of the grape variety.

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  14. Aw, friend flirting - not just the prerogative of Mums you know. When I started my doctorate I developed a full on friend-crush on another PhD student. I so desperately wanted to be her friend. She was so cool and clever and nice. I bought her coffee. I brought in books that might be useful to her. I rejoiced when she sent me text messages! Luckily, my friend-crush was reciprocated and now we are now good buddies. But it was touch and go there for a while.

    Just foud your blog via the Blog Awards page and thought I'd say hello. Congrats on the nomination and mayhaps I shall see you in Galway.

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  15. I completely identify with this! Luckily my four year old is very outgoing and makes friends with lots of children so, by default, I've made friends with some of their mums. I've joined the Pre-School committee which I've got no time to do but does mean you can socialise a bit more (the meetings are in the pub!) and you get the insider gossip. You could try having another baby. Other mums chat to you when you're heavily pregnant or have a new baby without you having to make much effort. And they pull lots of sympathetic faces at you when you're battling with three small children. It's just occured to me that they probably feel sorry for me.

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  16. Hi, I just spotted you on another blog. Can I flirt with you for a minute? Great post - you've summed up the experience really well.

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  17. Oh, I have exactly that problem! And I'm so bad at the whole thing. If you find the solution, do share!

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  18. Am so glad I am not alone! Felt snubbed this morning dropping Eldest to Montessori.. am back at work and no longer sahming with the rest of them.. Felt judged! What is that about??
    I love meeting new mums at the playground, find it can get personal very quickly.. I have had within minutes of meeting a mum ask me if I am "going again"..but its terrible when u meet a lovely mum at the playground and then start scouring for them the next time you are there.. its like being back at school!

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  19. I know I'm really late getting here, but I'm glad I did. *flutters eyelashes* I'd go on a 'mum date' with you, if we lived in the same country! x

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  20. I'm going through the same thing at the moment - I am having my first baby in July and know absolutely zero other pregnant women! I'm just about restrained myself from leaping across the pram display at Mothercare to beg other pregnant women to be my friend, but it might get to that point...

    Do I spot a gap in the market? A Lonely Hearts website for pregnant women and mums?!

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  21. I wrote a rather similar post just over a year ago (http://wahm-bam.blogspot.com/2009/01/how-do-i-make-date-with-mum.html). It also struck home with lots of people, so I think it is definitely something many of us have issues with. I recently met a mum I think I could well become friends with. It's very exciting and Chris does actually joke about it: 'Are you going to see your girlfriend, today?'

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  22. Came over here from Babyrambles. This is a hilarious post, because you capture exactly what it is like, but mostly it's something we don't admit to. Everyone looks around and sees that everyone else has lots of friends, and they're the one who is left out. But guess what? Everyone is really in the same boat.

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  23. Wow, it's so true though. Finding friends is very much like dating. I really hate the inbetweens of aquaintances and friends. If only there were a fast forward button.

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