Sometimes Having Kids in School Only Makes You Lonelier

A few girlfriends are experiencing the same Mommy Loneliness that many of us have, had or will experience. It’s universal and it’s awful but maybe knowing that everyone experiences it at least a little bit will take some of the sting off.

If you think tweenage girls are cliquey try getting into a conversation in the parking lot after drop off. Every school has it. These aren’t mean women, they aren’t trying to leave you out, but they do. They just have the same interests and have worked on the same projects or committees forever and you haven’t. And for my Asian girlfriend who married a caucasian man, you’re right, you are different and they just don’t like you. They don’t really have the words for it but your Asian-ness is very not okay and your instincts are right. Find nicer women. That little group IS bitchy.

To be fair there are some really great women you’ll meet just by virtue of being a mom at the same school. I’ve made some fabulous friends at the kids’ schools but I’ve also experienced overwhelming loneliness when people talk about the school being a community.

Whose community is the school? Is it for the adults? I mean the adults are a community of sorts, but unlike kids (who are grouped by age and then subgrouped by skill) the adults aren’t a homogenous group. The only thing they may have in common is having a child the same age. Expecting the mother of every 4th grader to be interesting is just unrealistic.

Three girlfriends in the past four days have talked about how lonely they feel at their child’s school. I guess I want to tell y’all that it’s normal. What is also normal is to make acquaintances with the moms and to still feel lonely.

The women at my kids’ school (particularly in Jane’s class) are absolutely lovely. I enjoy the time I spend with them but the time is quite often brief. When we get to talking about anything that’s not child related I realize I have little in common with many of them. If they read my blog I probably don’t have any funny stories left to tell them and folks who don’t really use the internet think I’m odd. To be fair I think they’re odd. We just sort of bore each other to tears and I sometimes leave feeling lonelier.

I guess I just wanted to say that it’s normal and that if your girlfriends don’t come from your child’s school that’s also really normal. They don’t mean to be cliquish, they’re just defaulting to comfortable behaviors…. except those ladies that hate the Asian brides. All I can do is apologize on their behalf, because they never will be self aware.

Photocredit Flickr. 

 

Facebook Comments

  • Try being one of the few fathers who shows up during the day to school events. If I walk into a public restroom at the same time or after a kid I get the stink eye, but I didn’t expect to get it at the kids’ school.

    To be fair it doesn’t happen with everyone, but there are moments where it is very clear that you just aren’t a part of things. I sometimes wonder if it is worse at private schools.

    I know for certain that if you aren’t a big donor it is much harder to catch the eye of the administration.

  • Excellent, timely, honest, well-written, right-on post. 

  • Electobama

    I get it, and I’m a dad.  We usually at least have sports to talk about, but in LA even that tried and true ice-breaker doesn’t work.

  • Yup! And I try.. and I normally have no issues “making friends”.. its just odd. 

  • Eva

    So true, Jessica. People assume that cliques stay in high school. BUT, there are so many instances where I think “this is SO high school.”

  • Eva, you’re so right. Sometimes it feels like high school all over again.

  • LA Moms Dig

    I appreciate this post because it reminds me to be more aware of others around me. I have many mom friends at school and even in all my kids classes. I’m almost always talking to others at school, actually so much that I may not notice that there is another mom right next to me feeling excluded. That is terrible. I am never trying to leave anyone one out. I am simply too caught up in conversation.

    With that said, I think it’s important (although not always easy) to talk to anyone you can at school. Most people want to be involved in conversation they may just not know how to start it. Granted I know there are women who want nothing to do with anyone outside their group but that is not always the case.

  • Guest

    i’m asian and not sure why the asian race is being singled out.  probably these cliquey ladies will feel uncomfortable around other races other than caucasian.

  • Rachel

    Sadly many moms are very stand-offish and reserved in nature.  If you visit parks here in Los Angeles, you often see nannies yapping away with each other while moms sit on parks benches and blankets on their phones.  If you try to talk to them, well, they often look at you like you are weird! 

    Living in Chicago the past three years after being born and raised in Los Angeles, I was shocked that people would literally come up and talk to you all of the time.  Walking down the street, people talk to you.  I once made a friend when a woman complimented my Tory Burch shoes while crossing over the Michigan Avenue Bridge.  Making mom friends in Chicago is as easy as crossing the street.

    Moving back to LA when my son was three months old, there is definitely a big difference in the mom community.  I think one of the reasons for this difference is that in LA we are such a car culture, we are often alone in our cars in traffic.  We rarely walk around and we don’t encounter people as much as you do in a big city like NYC or Chicago.  People also keep to themselves more as so many people tend to judge you based on appearance, what stroller you use, etc.

    This was a huge reason that we decided to start Club MomMe – moms need mom friends!  Not just as a mom, but starting when you get pregnant and start the odyssey to becoming a mom.  Hopefully by introducing women to each other at events, play dates and other fun activities, we can start to break down this divide amongst moms.

    I don’t really care what kind of care you drive or what college you went to, but having another mom who understands just how difficult my day is – that is priceless :)

  • NotJune

    Great points. I’ve totally experienced it but hadn’t really thought of it that way. These aren’t people I’ve chosen, these are people that created the kids that were chosen by the school. I certainly don’t expect my kids to be friends with everyone they’ve been thrown together with, so why do I hold myself to that standard?

  • Guest

    My son goes to a great private school, but I am a single working mother, and I am somewhat of a rarity, especially because I work 2 jobs.  2 great jobs, but 2 nonetheless.  The school is expensive, and the sport my son plays is expensive, and with one income, that’s the reality, and that makes me feel even lonlier.. thanks for letting me express