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Sorry But I Can’t Be Your Mom Friend

Photograph by Twenty20

It’s happened to me twice now. I’ve been out on a walk with my little girl (who is just 3 and a half), and some woman with a similarly aged child has walked by and tried to strike up a conversation. Once, it turned out our daughters actually knew each other—they went to the same preschool, I’d just never seen her little one before. But the other time, there was no connection at all beyond the fact that we had kids around the same age.

Both times, these women boldly asked for my number. After just a minute or two of chatting, they asked for a way to get in touch so that we could “arrange a playdate” and “maybe have some mommy time, too.”

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Yes, that is exactly how it went down, the very clear indication being that these mamas were looking more for mom friends than for playdates for their kiddos.

Both times, I awkwardly handed over my number (because … what else can you do?!) Then I made excuses for why we couldn’t get together every time they called until they finally got the hint.

I know … I’m awful.

I’ve always preferred to expend that (finite amount of social) energy on the people who are already my people.

Here’s the thing, though. I already have my group of mom friends. And it’s a big group, made up of women I was close to before motherhood who all just happened to have kids right around the same time. I know how incredibly lucky I am in that, how blessed I’ve been to build up this family unit around us. There is never a shortage of kids for my little one to play with or other mommies for me to socialize with. I know how rare that is.

But as it is, I don’t see some of my own friends as often as I would like. And if I do have precious free time, I’d rather be catching up with them, not attempting to cultivate a new friendship with someone I probably won’t end up liking all that much anyway.

Like I said, I know I’m awful. In my defense, I’m a true-blue introvert. I have always felt like I have a finite amount of social energy to put out into the world, and I’ve always preferred to expend that energy on the people who are already my people.

So I’m sorry, but I can’t be your new mom friend.

For whatever it's worth, I do feel bad. I know it takes balls to approach a stranger like that and attempt to form a connection. And I know there are so many moms out there just desperate to find what I happened to luck upon—a good group of mom friends they can rely on. I’m a compassionate person who really would like to be able to give everyone that.

But …

I’m a single mom who is entirely self-employed, which means I’m always busy.

I’m an introvert.

I’m trying, slowly but surely, to dip my feet into the dating pool, which already sucks some of my getting-to-know-you energy dry.

I’m not sure how much we have in common, or how much time I want to spend attempting to figure that out.

My little girl is at an age where she’ll play with just about anyone, so yeah, I’d prefer she play with my friend’s children as opposed to kids I don’t know.

Our schedule is forever packed full.

If we’re out on a walk just us, it’s probably because I wanted that one-on-one time with my little girl. Because that matters to me too.

I. Just. Can’t.

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I’m sorry, I am. I wish I could be the mom friend you’re looking for. I know it must be hard, and that you wouldn’t ask if you weren’t really hoping to find that one person you could call on to vent to, drink wine with and commiserate. I’m not a crappy person, and if I thought I could be that to you without giving up yet another slice of my coveted personal time, I would.

But I can’t. And I won’t.

I did just have a thought, though … maybe it’s high time I introduce you to each other.

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