Broke-Ass Mom Learns How to Make Friends

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A few months ago, I wrote about how a Broke-Ass Mom could make some friends in a dog eat dog world.  Since we last spoke I have made a total of one new mom friend. It’s hard to believe considering how cute and charming my son and I both are but, my friends, it’s true.  One new friend is all I have to show for the past five months of my Broke-Ass Mom-hood.

That’s the bad news.  The good news is that I’ve figured out my strategy has been all wrong.  I learned a valuable lesson this past weekend from my six-year-old niece.  She taught me that making friends does not have to include mom groups, stroller strides, yoga classes, gymnastics, being at the playground every day at 10am, or story time.  I don’t have to make mom business cards, or even beg some poor unsuspecting soul to hang out with us.

It was Saturday afternoon, my son was at home pretending to nap with my husband, and I was at the park with my six-year-old niece.  We were having a wonderful time doing headstands, cartwheels, and playing on the seesaw.  At a certain point my niece stopped in her tracks (literally mid headstand) and stared off into the distance.  I turned to see what was so interesting.  I saw nothing except a few trees, some grass, a bird or two, and a little girl playing by herself.

My niece turned back to me and said, “I’m going to go play with her, okay?”

“Umm.  Sure.  Of course.  Have fun.” I replied slightly hesitant because I felt dumped by my own niece.  I was curious to see how this was going to turn out because surely it can’t be that easy.  But it was.  My niece went over to the little girl, said a few words and the next thing I know they are crawling around on the ground pretending to be cats.  It was one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen, and I couldn’t have been more jealous.  I watched as they chased each other around the park, played on the slides, and practiced their headstands.  After about thirty minutes of complete awe over all this, it was time for us to leave.

My niece said to the little girl, “I guess I’ll see you someday.”

The girl replied, “Okay but only on Saturdays and Sundays.  I go to school the other days.”

“Me too!”, replied my niece surprised to hear someone else went to school during the week.

As my niece and I began to walk away I asked her what the little girl’s name was, realizing she didn’t know she turned around to the girl and said, “What was your name?”

“Juliana”, she said.

I couldn’t believe it.  I have been doing everything wrong trying to make new friends.  It really doesn’t have to be that hard.  People just become more cynical, pickier, and more anti-social as they get older.  What I need to do is just swallow my pride, walk up to some parent who looks my age, and ask if they wants to play.  It’s that simple ladies and gentlemen, or at least it should be. Best part is that it doesn’t cost a dime!

Photo by: Istockphoto kate_sept 2004

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Jennifer White - Mommy No Bucks

Jennifer White - Mommy No Bucks

Jennifer has been a bit of a nomad having lived in seven different cities. Her life as a gypsy has settled down for the moment in San Francisco with her husband and two-year old son. Recently, she decided to throw caution to the wind, quit her job as an analyst to be a full-time mom while chasing her dreams (and the Pulitzer Prize). When she's not writing, she's aspiring to be a luddite (although blogging isn't helping), knitting the occasional hat, or running in the park with her son and his secondhand compost truck in tow.