Guest Post: A Young Mom’s Lament

Monday, August 2, 2010

Here it is,  Ms. Mary Mack‘s first guest post!

Please welcome blogger, mom and Ohio “player” Tara Jefferson. I came across her blog, The Young Mommy Life, a while ago doing research about motherhood and the bloggy world for MMM. We chatted (if you can call it that, with the 140-character limit) on Twitter. And  BING-BANG-BOOM … read her guest post below. Definitely stop by her site, too, and leave a comment. Tell her we sent ya.

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My three-year-old daughter pulls my hand and drags me back into her classroom when I come to pick her up from preschool. I’m tired, it’s pushing 100 degrees outside and all I want to do is grab my kids, get home and make dinner before I pass out.

She points to her class artwork. “This one is mine,” she says, gesturing to a slightly crooked finger painting.

“It’s beautiful,” I say, moving towards the door. “Come on, let’s go.”

“Wait!” she says, and scampers over to another art display. “This is Jasmine’s* painting.”

Ah, Jasmine. My daughter’s best friend at preschool. I’ve heard nonstop about Jasmine for months now.

I start to say (again) that it’s time to go, when here comes Jasmine dragging her mother into the classroom, too. The two girls run to each other with squeals and give one another tight hugs. They act like they haven’t seen each other all day, even though they’ve just spent the past 7 hours sitting side-by-side.

Jasmine’s mom and I avoid eye contact and wait for our daughters to untangle themselves so we can go our respective ways.

Two weeks before, I had left the mother a message saying that, if it worked on her end, we should arrange a playdate for the two buddies. In an effort to make things easier for her, I even offered to host.

You should know, I don’t “do” playdates. I don’t like other kids at my house other than the two I actually birthed. I spend all day at work and when I get home, I want to give my kids my full attention. They can see their friends at school.

But I knew my daughter was developing a solid friendship with Jasmine, so I made the move and approached her mom.

“Uh-huh,” she said. “Well … I’ll check with my husband.”

And then … nothing. For two weeks. So that day as we watched our daughters hug like they had “buddies for life” tattoos, I had been waiting for her response for 15 days. Obviously, it wasn’t gonna happen.

I’ve talked to Jasmine enough during preschool pick-up to know that she has playdates all the time. But these other friends? They all have older moms in the same age range as Jasmine’s mom. I started to wonder if the playdate slight had to do with my age.

I’m 24. And since becoming a mom almost four years ago, I have bent over backwards to make sure my kids were never viewed as “less than” because they have young mom.

What does Jasmine’s mother think is going to happen here? What am I going to do to her daughter? Sit her down and talk about how GREAT premarital sex is and that if she waits until after she’s 20 to have a baby, she’s basically a loser?

I’m just like every other mom. I make cookies. I do crafts. I lug around a 20-pound diaper bag. I’m a normal, 24-year-old mom. And I’m proud of it. I’m a good mom, too. It just sucks that others can’t see past my age to realize that.

My husband and I alternate days to pick up the kids, so I don’t always run into Jasmine’s mom. But the next time I see her, I will ask about a playdate again and see if I can get her to spill exactly what her hesitation is. I’m hoping it’s not something silly (like my age) that’s keeping our kids from having fun together. That’s just not fair to them.  Plus, I don’t want to keep stalling every time my daughter asks, “Is Jasmine coming over to play today?”

[*Name changed.]

Tara Jefferson is a freelance writer, public relations professional and blogger. Read more from her on what it means to be a 20-something mama at The Young Mommy Life. She’s also working on a book about the challenges and joys of young motherhood.

8 Comments
  • 1
    Mrs. CJ says:

    I’d probably be a little offended, too. At least until I knew why she seemed so hesitant. Maybe it is just that she doesn’t know you very well.

    • 1.1
      Ms. Mack says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Mrs. CJ!
      I’m also hoping that it’s a case of the woman not knowing Young Mommy well enough yet. We’ll have to get the update/part 2 from YM on that.

  • 2
    Ms. SM says:

    It happened to be few months ago. My daughter asked me to have a play date with her friend. Since I never ran into the mom. I sent her an email in June and she NEVER answered me back. So I’m anxious to found out how you will get your answer. I think ignoring a request like that is so rude. I am still offended by that and I totally on your side Ms. Mack.

    Good luck

    • 2.1
      Ms. Mack says:

      Hi, Ms. SM. Thanks for the comment.
      It’s so hard to say. We really don’t know what’s behind someone’s behavior. Could be that the other mom is overwhelmed and/or crazy busy with other things and just forgot. Best thing is, do what you’re doing (in this case, try asking for another playdate) and don’t worry about what this other woman *might* be thinking. Now, if on the second try you don’t hear anything? You kinda got your answer, right?

  • 3
    40 but likes to think she's 28 says:

    I don’t know. Being a parent is tough and busy and full. Since the guest poster even said she doesn’t like to do playdates, it can’t be too much of a disappointment to not have to do one with someone she doesn’t have a relationship with already. I tend to stick with the same three or four people over and over: I don’t have to clean for them. I know what snacks they will offer and bring. We know how much of a commotion the kids will cause together. All good.

    It’s work and (to some shy folks like me – stressful!) to meet new people – all those questions and answers and “getting to know you” moments. Unless you’re new in an area or just want to expand your circle, sticking with the people you know is just easier. We’re talking about a young kid here, right? Not even elementary school.

    Don’t avoid the lady over this. Don’t create drama where there probably isn’t any. Just offer again, and give her the sincere benefit of the doubt. If I dwelled on whether or not people were avoiding me because I wasn’t quite what their profile needs, I’d drive myself batty with all the attempts my shy self has made and not been returned. And then I remember all the attempts that were a one time deal and I never pursued it. Do those people feel rejected by me or are they relieved?

    I just don’t know!

    • 3.1
      Ms. Mack says:

      All good points, 40/28 (by the way, your name is hilarious). Like I said earlier, we don’t know where people are coming from, so best not to assume.

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment!

  • 4
    E says:

    Besides the fact that 24 really is not that young to be a mom (we are designed to breed in our teens and it is only recently that women started waiting longer to have children–often aided by medical advances that make it possible!) you may be projecting. I have been a young mom and an older mom and I realize now that when I was a young mom a lot of moms avoided me because my youth made them feel bad about themselves! My 10 years younger self would make my current self insecure too. Or maybe she assumes you would have nothing in common and just needs to talk to you to hear how mature and interesting you are. Read The Four Agreements–nothing is personal!

    • 4.1

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, E!
      Like I said before, it’s almost impossible to know what was/is behind the other mother’s actions. It could be a mix of a million things, and one might very well be an issue with Young Mom’s age. But then, that’s her issue to sort through, you know? And like you said, none of it is personal.

      Hope you keep reading–and leaving your thoughts here in the comments!