What’s more intimidating than attempting to introduce yourself to a new mom, a possible mom friend?
Introducing yourself to the literal girl gang of moms. The ones you eye as you sip your coffee at the park, they are laughing and carrying on as if they have it all together, they are BESTIES.
That girl gang is intimidating as crap!
Let me paint you a scenario that I found myself in not too long ago, and I – honestly – kick myself because I was tat stuck up sounding B*tch from mean girls when a fellow momma attempted to penetrate the girl gang. In my defence, I didn’t see it for what it was at the time, I was fairly insecure in my place in said girl gang, and I kind of brushed off the approach before I took a step back and regretted my nonchalant dismissal.
A couple of years ago, when I was only two kids and MAYBE a cling on into this mom journey, I was part of what we lovingly and only partially joked was a hydra mom squad. That gang of ladies that was joined by some invisible force of mothering children around the same age, of having similar interests and of fiercely defending one another because what we had was “special”.
We would coffee together, play date together, we even went out for dinners together without children or husbands and would laugh the night away as we recounted the insane things our kids did or as we shared intimate details of our marriages and dating years.
We were close y’all.
We even were all baby wearers, we would go out to the park, allow a couple of our runners to be “free” and we would strap on the youngest of the crew as we finagled our hot coffees, sipping precariously above their heads. We would circle for a bit and laugh, catch up and then play mom to each others children when the need arose.
We had a good thing going and, secretly, I think we all knew it.
Suddenly our lady group felt more like family and motherhood was bearable.
We radiated some sort of joy when we went out, we knew that if someone was having an off day there would be another mom to pick up the pieces, to parent in our absence, we could breathe, catch our thoughts, and would undoubtedly leave the park or playdate refreshed.
Well, one such baby wearing, coffee sipping, four moms owning the park situation was unfolding and I caught myself being approached by an outsider. A mom who had watched our interactions, observed our children, and mustered enough courage to approach me … only to get shut down.
And, literally, I cringe at my stupidity.
Courageous momma came up to me and introduced herself to me. She used her name, HER NAME, and I wasn’t paying attention *I regret this*, she braved a question which was my opportunity to shut down the conversation … “Hey, are you ladies part of a baby wearing group?”
In my OWN insecurity, and fearing what it would mean to let a new mom into OUR tight knit group, I quickly replied that we weren’t, we were just friends from church and I smiled *politely … not* and walked away.
How cold that shoulder was. How badly I feel for that brave mom, and how I wish I would have opened the door just a crack. But I didn’t …
And here’s the truth of the matter.
As much as I was “in” the cool crowd, I was still desperately insecure. I didn’t know where I stood in the hydra, I didn’t know if I was really IN, or if I could be tossed to the curb if someone cooler and more crunchy (maybe) came along. I was so desperate to feel like a part of something that I wasn’t willing to allow anyone to push me out.
And I applaud that courageous momma who came up to me … maybe the weakest link in the chain … that wildebeest that the lion goes after because they are slowest and least likely to get away … maybe she thought I was the safest bet for acceptance. I applaud her for doing all she needed to do to get “in”, the problem wasn’t her approach or even her question about our clique of baby wearing, coffee sipping snobbery, it was ME.
Trust me …
I would sooner clean baby poop off the crib, the walls, my toddler who took to Picasso style home decor, then I would approach a girl gang, no matter how friendly they appear.
The very idea of it sends me reeling into this insecure place, feeling like the outcast in high school, wondering if the popular girls were laughing at something one of them said or if they were poking fun at my mismatched Wal Mart special outfit.
Those girls are clearly close, they share a special bond, and they LIKELY don’t need another insecure momma in the mix.
Here’s the thing, I want you to know that the only thing you can do from the outside, looking in, is to go back to the basic step one of making mom friends, walk up to the ladies and introduce YOURSELF.
If you need to make the transition a little simpler you can always toss a ball their way “accidentally” and then walk over, apologize for the ball and introduce yourself.
That’s all that YOU, miss outsider, miss self conscious, little bit anxious, “new” mom have to do.
The rest, is up to them.
And so, that is the person I want to speak to.
The girl gang momma.
Don’t be me.
Don’t allow yourself to feel insecure in your girl gang. Don’t allow yourself to fear the “what if’s” of friendship.
All that doubting, all that coveting this new found friendship will only prevent you from really getting deep with the ladies you surround yourself with.
If you don’t trust your inherent place in your circle you’ll never fully commit to it. Sure, you’ll protect it with the ferocity of a mother bear, sure you’ll laugh and you’ll tell yourself that you’ve made it somehow, but you’ll also find yourself scrolling the Facebook or the Instagram “checking” to see if they are getting together without you. If they are having FUN behind your back. You’ll start to doubt their loyalties and suddenly you will find yourself on the inside, feeling very much on the outside.
So, to the girl IN the gang, lighten up a little.
These momma’s may be the ones you walk with until the end, or they may be here for a season. They may be your best friend for life or they may be the person you need for the first five years when you question your sanity each and every time you get pregnant.
That momma at the park, who has the courage to say hello, she may need a friend, she may be walking alone and afraid. And then again, it may not be about her but about how she will bless and fill a space in your life. Maybe she is that person who laughs at your lame jokes or the memes that no one else seems to get, maybe she is available for the random coffee dates when you’re pulling out your hair, maybe God is nudging you to expand beyond the comfort zone of your girl gang, and is begging you to let down the facade and be REAL for a minute.
Don’t be ME.
Don’t cling to an idea of what friendship will look like at this stage in the game, don’t spiral into your adolescent insecurities wondering if these ladies really GET you or LIKE you, wondering they are happier without you, enjoying life behind your back.
Be brave in friendship, in accepting new applications all the time, and in investing in those who want to be around you. Remember that we all come with different baggage, we are all differently blessed, and we all have something to offer the girl gang … if we are just WILLING to say (and accept) the hello.
The older I get, the more I realize that my former self, that little girl who wondered why the other girls didn’t like her … the one who played with the guys because it was easier and safer, that little girl needs to GROW THE FRICK UP and be a woman who is not defined by the opinions of others, who doesn’t waste her time wondering if her friends are REAL or not, and the one who dives into relationships with the love of God at the forefront. When we approach friendship with apprehension and doubt, we lose the true connection of being together.
When we question the motive of others we miss out on their genuine ability to love.
The older I get the more I realize that REAL women are there for one another, they walk around Home Sense aimlessly with one another, they send random memes because they think it would make you laugh, and they don’t bother if they were or weren’t invited to “x” night out because we realize that it isn’t an all or nothing walk. We don’t need to be included just so that we aren’t excluded.
We are friends, and how close we are with one friend does’t diminish our relationship with another. God didn’t give us a cap on our ability to love. We do that. And, as scary as it is to welcome another child and to wonder if we will love them “as much” as the first, we KNOW – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that love multiplies, that we don’t love the first less or have an inability to love the next as much, we GROW in love.
The same is true of our friends.
Grow the relationships, accept the invitations, don’t be the hydra … creating an exclusive girl gang that is impossible to penetrate.
That girl gang is INSECURE, is fearful of losing the “bond” and … unfortunately … won’t last. Nothing built on fear LASTS.
Be inclusive, grab sushi with ten ladies and coffee with two.
There is no “right” answer to how many friends to have or hang out with at a given time, but there is one FACT. Love multiplies, we all have skills and gifting to contribute, and we are stronger TOGETHER.