My thoughtful and very smart brother, who lives in South Carolina, sent me a link to a blog post called “Why is making mommy friends so hard?” I read this and thought this lady had mistakenly turned into me when she was writing her post! I had felt her same paranoia, felt her desperation,  her misunderstanding, and her failure. She told the story of the time she invited a work buddy of her husband’s and his wife for dinner. They had a great time, their kids got along really well, and the evening seemd to be perfect. She felt really good about the bond she thought she had made with the mum. Then the other couple never reciprocated and they never saw each other again. She said at first she was paranoid that something had gone wrong with the kids that they were not aware of, that maybe they didn’t offer them the right kind of drink. Then she felt snubbed because this other couple never even hinted at inviting them to their home. She went on the tell a few more stories of similar situations. Each time, she thought she made a connection with the other mom and thought a friendship might blossom. But no, that never happened and she was frustrated on many levels. She did however explain that she has friends already and she goes out with them often but they do not have kids. She wondered why it was so difficult to find a mom friend – something she wanted because her other mom friends did not live close by.

Now, i have felt like a complete failure on many many ocassions and desperate to make friends. If you read Bringing Up Brits, you will know what i mean! I have met other mums who I thought I made a great connection with and felt sure that we’d get together again and then never heard from them.

One story in particular comes to mind. I met an English mum at the playground and we discovered that our daughters were in the same school. I told her we had recently moved to the area and she said her family had moved to the area recently as well. I immediately felt a connection because we were talking about how difficult it is to chat to mums at the school gates, (that would be another blog post!) and what we thought of the school etc. etc. We didn’t exchange numbers but said we’d see each other at the school gates, which we did and I invited her over for coffee. All seemingly went well and it turned out we had a lot in common – both working mums, both travelled alot, both from other places, both had kids similar ages, and she lived quite close – within walking distance. I then had her over for coffee again and again over a period of a couple of years. Then I got pregnant and had her over for coffee again. Then she offered me a baby chair that was in her loft which I gratefully accepted… but never was actually given after all. And, I never heard from her again…. until about a year AFTER I had my baby. Did she call or text to say congratulations when we announced (and FBed and texted and tweeted) the birth of our 3rd child? Did she ever once invite me over for coffee before I was pregnant? NO. When I ran into her at the park with my 1 year old, she was very friendly and seemed pleased to see me. How very strange I thought. I also had to bite my lip to stop myself inviting her over for coffee!! I then felt guilty for not inviting her over for coffee!!! I have always wondered if I did something wrong and that was why we never really became friends.

So why is it that some mums just are not interested in making friends? Is it because they already have a set of friends and don’t need any more? Is it because they don’t want to initiate anything or make any plans that would interfere with their schedule? I think finding friends when you are new to a town, city or country can be a real struggle. Especially for busy mums and even more so for busy working mums. This, I’m sure is universal. However, it is harder for me, and for other parents like me, because I never knew anyone here in England in the first place and I have none of my own family here to lean on for support. It can be very lonely in the beginning.

To end on a positive and inspirational note, I have tried my best and my hardest to put myself out there and to make friends with other mums. I have been knocked back at times, snubbed at times, ignored at times. But I will never stop trying. I love meeting new people and when there is a connection, I am thrilled. Whether it turns into something more than just an initial connection or it does not – that’s OK. I have made a few good friends and one life-long friend during my time here. I feel lucky to have that. And I am optimistic that there are other great friends I will meet in the years to come during my time here.

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