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Why Is There So Much Pressure When You're a Kindergarten Mom?!

Photograph by Getty Images

When my 5-year-old transitioned from her cozy little preschool to the big, public kindergarten, I worried about her making new friends. Silly me. We're one month in, and she is wild about the girls, and even a few boys, in her class. I can barely keep track of all the names she mentions, and at pick-up time, there are so many protracted good-bye hugs with new friends, it looks like she's going off to war. I'm thrilled for her.

Secretly, I wish it were the same for me.

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It's only been a month, but I haven't exactly found my mom BFF at school yet. The parents are lovely, I swear. It's a very down-to-earth community, and I have not detected one whiff of snottiness. But that doesn't mean it's easy to make a connection.

And I want to.

Many of our kids will be together for the next 12 years, so it's important to me to find my tribe—the group of parents I can call on to discuss new teachers, carpool to activities, complain about homework, plan sleepovers and generally be in this together.

So what's the rush?

You would think I have all the time in the world—or at least 12 years—to let the parent friendships form naturally. Except, apparently I don't. Before the school year began, a friend with older kids warned, "Find your mom friends now, because you'll never get another chance." Another advised me to "Be aggressive with playdates!" Not for the benefit of the kids, but for me.

I'm beginning to wish there was a Tinder app just for our class. I'd swipe right on moms who love coffee, hate cleaning, and say "f*ck" a lot while their kids are in school.

According to these friends who've been there, kindergarten is by far the most social year for the adults due largely to the unique pick-up and drop-off ritual. See, during kindergarten, parents and caregivers are required to enter the school yard and bring kids right to their classroom doors. By first grade, you can pretty much slow down your car and give your kid a gentle push somewhere in the vicinity of school. In other words, after kindergarten, you have very little face time with the other parents.

So I'm trying, awkwardly, to find my people while I still can. Every day, I'm initiating all of these two-minute conversations before the bell rings, like speed dating in public. I'm scheduling playdates, which my kid seems to enjoy, but can occasionally be torture for me (like the time another mom purposely provided an incorrect home address, thinking it would be easier for me to find. It was most assuredly not.)

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I'm beginning to wish there was a Tinder app just for our class. I'd swipe right on moms who love coffee, hate cleaning, and say "f*ck" a lot while their kids are in school.

I guess I just didn't expect making new mom friends to be this hard. When my 5-year-old was a baby, our weekly Mommy & Me class jelled so easily. But I think the older our kids get, the busier moms get. We're juggling jobs, other children, extracurricular activities and all kinds of other commitments that limit our time to invest in new friends. Still, I'm going to keep trying.

Even if it means I have to suck it up and join the PTA.

Wish me luck.

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