We Should Get Together… Sometime
By Diane Stark
I’m not much of a joiner. Although I consider myself very outgoing, (read: I talk too much) I don’t get involved in many activities without some persuasion. Some not-so-gentle persuasion.
My daughters take gymnastics for an hour each week. So every Monday evening, I sit in the waiting area with the other moms while the girls flip and jump. And every Monday evening, we talk about our kids and our husbands and our jobs and our lives. I enjoy the company of these women. We share funny kid stories, and we laugh, and we gripe about our husbands, and we laugh some more. And at least once a month, one of these women invites me to lunch or out for coffee. I always smile and say, “Yes, that would be fun. We should do that sometime.” But “sometime” hasn’t come yet.
And I’m not sure why.
Sometimes it’s because the other woman is…well, intimidating. Too well put together. I’m a natural beauty (read: I have five children and can only get seven minutes alone in the bathroom on any given morning.) So if she’s a ten in the looks department, and I’m only a seven, (OK, a six without my miracle bra) why would she want to have lunch with me? So when I say we’ll have lunch “sometime,” I never quite work up the nerve to call her and make more definite plans.
Sometimes the lunch never happens because the other woman is too quiet. Or too talkative. I worry that we’ll go out and have nothing to talk about, that there will be empty silences that I’ll feel obligated to fill with meaningless chatter. (Never mind that I actually like meaningless chatter.) Or I worry that the other woman will talk too much, and I won’t be able to get a word in. I hate that even more than the silences. If I have to listen to her blabber on, it’s the least she can do to return the favor.
And sometimes, the “We’ll get together sometime,” stays just “sometime” because I’m worried that I won’t have fun, but I’ll feel obligated to do it again because I see this woman at my children’s school functions and extra-curricular activities. What if she likes me more than I like her? What if she keeps calling and calling, and she just won’t take a hint? Or, worse yet, what if I like her, but she doesn’t want to get together again? I mean, come on, nobody likes rejection.
And then there’s the whole kid issue. My kids have to like her kids, or there’s just no future for the relationship at all. I couldn’t possibly consider sharing low-fat double mocha lattes with someone my children don’t care for. If my potential coffee date has children of similar ages to my own and the genders match up right, that scores her some major points. She might even get a second coffee date – possibly even a weeknight dinner – because of that one.
But sometimes and this sometimes is really more of a most of the time, I think the reason I don’t pursue these invitations is because I’m lazy. Making friends – and keeping them – takes time. It takes effort and energy, and those things are in short supply in my life. I save the crux of my energy for my family, and that’s exactly how it should be.
But I’m entitled to take some time for myself. For myself, but not necessarily by myself. If going out for coffee or lunch with another mom makes me happy and helps me to relax, that makes me a better wife and mother. Going out on a Mom-date gives me an hour or two to myself, it might introduce my kids to some new playmates, and I get to tell someone else the stories that my husband really doesn’t want to listen to anyway. You see, everyone benefits.
So if this whole “Moms having coffee and lunch dates thing” is so great, why don’t I make more time to do it? Why don’t I overcome my laziness/fear/slightly neurotic worries and just ask another Mom to lunch? Why is something this wonderful so difficult to do? Why, I ask you, why?
All right, that’s it. Enough is enough.
I’m starting an eHarmony for Moms.
About this writer
- Diane Stark is a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. Her work has been published in 16 Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, A Cup of Comfort for Christian Women and dozens of magazines. She loves to write about the important things in life: her family and her faith.