Finding My Mom Tribe

Being a mom is tough work.  Add to the mix working full-time away from the home and you’ve got to be a mom juggler extraordinaire!  There are reports to file, papers to sign, meetings to go to and that’s just for the kids, let alone the job!  I’m lucky though that I work for a company that offers a flextime policy.  As long as my physical presence isn’t necessitated at the office for some sort of project, event or meeting, I get to work one day from home. for me, that day is on Fridays.

HiResAh, I wish I looked as put together as this harried mom!

I like working from home for a number of reasons and not just because I can wear my comfy sweats!  Fridays are not some sort of goof-off day for me, I actually find that it’s one of my most productive work days since once the kidlets are off to school I can work pretty much interrupted (aside from the dog barking) for several hours.   It’s also a day where I can catch up a bit on the housework that’s been literally piling up all week…that means laundry!

However, I love working from home for the one big perk it offers me.  It’s the one day of the week where I can go and pick my kids up from school.

Seeing the look of absolute happiness and joy on my kidlet’s faces when they realize it’s me picking them up in the schoolyard instead of their sitter (Whom BTW is super fantastic, we all absolutely ADORE her!), just melts my heart.  I mean what mom or parent for that matter doesn’t live for those moments where their child runs up to them with abounding energy to give them the biggest, most super-duper hug in the world, get pelted with kisses and hear phrases like “Mommy, I missed you,” “I’m so happy you’re here” or “I love you!”

I wouldn’t trade my Friday afternoon pickups in for the world. In fact I look forward to that special time every week.  What I’m not a fan of is waiting in the schoolyard for the bell to ring.

Every Friday when I walk up to the school yard I’m surrounded by moms chatting away in their own little groups.  There’s the fashionista moms, the sports moms and the volunteer moms to name just a few types of groups.   I’m sure they’re all very nice people, but I really have no idea.  I’ve done pickup now for almost two years and I’ve had no luck in infiltrating any of these groups.

I’ve tried to be both friendly and welcoming at pickup.  I’ve even made the first move and gone up to a few groups and introduced myself.  Each week I make sure to say “hi,” ask how things are going or try to make small talk about an upcoming school event.  I always get a polite response from these moms, but I never really get included into their conversation.  After a few awkward minutes of just standing there listening to their conversation I wind up walking away sheepishly and stand by myself in the middle of the playground counting down the seconds until the darn bell rings.

I have to admit that I haven’t been trying too hard lately.  Though I’ve been blaming it on the cold weather, I’ve been timing my arrival at the schoolyard as close to dismissal time as possible.  If I do get there early, I wind up burying my head in my iPhone-like I’m pondering world issues or answering “urgent” emails.

And just like that I’m suddenly transported back to high school and not feeling good enough to hang with the cool kids. Why am I so intimidated by the mommy mafia?  Why do I feel like I’m being left out?

For crying out loud, everyday at work I have to deal with tough executives, handle major business crises and answer difficult questions from reporters at major media outlets.  I’ve always been able to find a way to make connections and build friendships in order to get the job done.

Why can’t I seem to make those same connections with these moms?

Maybe it’s because I’ve worked at my career for 20 years that I have that confidence. I’ve only been doing the mom thing for six years and I never have 100% confidence that I’m getting it right.  Maybe I feel like I’m not a good enough mom since working and not home with my kids 24/7 like they are?

In the past when my kidlets have come home and told me that they feel bad because so-and-so didn’t let them play with them or they didn’t get invited to someone’s birthday, I comfort them and tell them that it’s not the end of the world.  I point out what makes them a great kid and advise them that they should seek other kids with similar interests and make friends with them, that they shouldn’t limit themselves to just one or one group of friends.

Maybe I need to heed my own advice.  I work hard and I am a good enough mom.  I shouldn’t feel intimidated by anyone else, especially another mom!  I guess I just haven’t found my own mom tribe yet.  I’ll be on the lookout again this Friday at pickup in the schoolyard.  I just need to keep saying “hi” until I find my own group of moms to fit in with.

Now it’s your turn to share.  How did or do you make friends with other moms?




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  1. says

    I’m not a mom but from my years of working in childcare I noticed that mothers tended to bond together if they had children that were the same ages, liked the same thing, or had the same problems. For example, I had these two mothers who would stand outside of my facility and talk for HOURS (I almost asked them once what was the point of paying me to watch their kids if all they were doing was standing there) because one had a girl with aspberger’s while the other had a son with it.
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  2. says

    I totally feel your pain. I work full time too and when we first moved the people I worked with were mostly men. I had such a hard time making other mom friends! One of the things I did that helped was to be deliberate about getting to know our kids’ favorite friends and their families. We set up family play dates or went out to dinner or the movies together. One of my closest friends now is the mom of one of my daughter’s closest friends. It took forever to get to that point though. I hope you find your mom tribe soon!!!
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  3. says

    This is such a tough situation. I know what you mean. I see the same thing when I pick up my kids from school. I think most of the moms who are all cliquey at school usually know each other from somewhere else too — probably kid related — like church, scouts, gymnastics, etc. Most of my mom friends are co-workers or my husband’s co-workers’ spouses that I’ve befriended along the way. We would never on purpose leave someone out and I would feel terrible if someone thought we were blowing them off!
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  4. says

    I feel the same way! When my daughter was young the same mommy cliques existed. I didn’t belong to any of them. I finally (After seven years of my daughter being with the same group) have made friends with these moms. It takes time but eventually you’ll find your mom tribe!
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  5. says

    To be honest I have very few actual mom friends. I mean sure, I have occasional acquaintances, but I have never made the effort to make regular mom friends. I prefer friends that do not have kids so that I do not have to hear about kids during the whole meetup lol!! My kids drive me nuts, but I love them to pieces..the last thing I want to do is hear about other people’s kids non stop.
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  6. says

    As a Brazilian, I’ve always had a hard time finding my tribe. I live in a clicky town and even Latinas, sometimes don’t see me as one, since I don’t have Spanish as my native language. I think finding your tribe is finding people who love and accept you for what you are, not what you have, not what you can offer. Loved reading your post!
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    • TheHarriedMom says

      There’s definitely cliques everywhere, I just try to avoid and say hi to everyone, but I guess I just haven’t said “Hi” to the right group yet. Thanks Claudia!

  7. says

    Being part of a group of some kind in your town can help with that — maybe you become a girl scout leader, or join your Woman’s Club/Newcomber’s club, or something with your place of worship. I found that I made GREAT friends in my town (who my son will be going to school with their kids bc we only have 1 school) through my involvement. I see this at my son’s nursery school — the little tribes — but I’m not bothered by it there because he won’t be in school with those children since it’s a town over from us.

    • TheHarriedMom says

      I’m actually the class mom for my son’s class and I’ve met a few moms that way, but none that I would call my tribe. I just have to keep looking!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      Some people just have that instant charisma. I’m friendly, but sometimes I find it difficult to create small talk!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      That’s great. I’ve found a NJ digital moms group that I just adore, the ladies are all great – all moms who work in the social space who understand me!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      I’ve got one or two mom friends at my son’s school, but like me they work full time and they’re not a pickup when I go! But we’ll see how this week goes!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      It certainly does. Working at home or being a WAHM doesn’t automatically they have mommy friends – it’s just as challenging since you’re working and not socializing!

  8. says

    I need the answer to this myself. I work and also have this here side hustle, so it’s hard for me to find ways to have play dates. I’m selfish and want my weekends to myself to relax!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      Its tough. I’ve tried to set up playdates for my kids during the week, but because they are with a sitter – other parents aren’t always as thrilled about that. I try to set them up on Fridays when I’m home or on the weekends, but there are so many activities everyone does, including us!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      I love my blogging friends – they “get” me and what I do. Its the IRL that I can’t seem to figure these ladies out…

  9. says

    I’m very lucky that my youngest goes to a small school. Everyone says good morning and how are you. I’ve spoken with a few of the moms if we got there early. But even then, it took months for me to get to a point where first names were even used. It definitely takes time.
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    • TheHarriedMom says

      That’s great – it was like that at my son’s preschool. I had a tight group of moms there that I hung out with – but then again we were also all working moms…..

  10. Autumn says

    It’s really hard to find mom friends! It shouldn’t be – we all have kids, right? But there are so many lifestyle differences that can make things interesting. I hope you are able to find some new BFF’s soon!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      It is, but I found it easier to find my digital tribe than these moms. I just have to keep trying, I’ll find one eventually!

  11. says

    it is hard to make mama friends. i find that the moms i talk to most are the ones my kids are friends with, to be honest. i work from home full time as a blogger, and often pick up my kids- there are some moms who chat and some who don’t give me the time of day. and me? i’ll talk with anyone!! i grew up always on the outside looking in and i would hate to ever think i made someone feel like that. there are many “circles” in our little town of groups like you are describing. it’s sad.
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    • TheHarriedMom says

      I agree, we should all be inclusive, but that’s not how the world works. I’m friends with some of the moms of my son’s friends, but they happen to be working moms too and are never at pickup when I am :(

  12. says

    Right now finding my “mom tribe” is a struggle of mine. Since I work from home, I don’t get very much interaction with others moms, especially since my daughter is only about to turn 3. I’m hoping this will change a little bit, though, since my daughter is now in dance and gymnastics classes. Hopefully I will be able to find a “tribe!” :)
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    • TheHarriedMom says

      I met a few moms when my kids did soccer this past fall because it was on the weekend. I think these moms know my sitter better than me!

  13. says

    Joining the PTO group and volunteering for events might be a way to get into a group. I like to volunteer at events even as a Nana. That is how my daughter got involved when her kids started a new school last year. I also help with big events making pies and checking people in. Seems like every group can you volunteers.

  14. says

    I am the older mom now, literally double the age of a lot of the moms…so moms either ignore me or embrace me instantly (or so it seems) when I’m visiting the classroom. I’m fine with either. :)
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    • TheHarriedMom says

      I feel that way too, I’m definitely an older mom amongst those women….maybe it’s a generational thing??

    • TheHarriedMom says

      I would love to join one – but the mom groups in my area meet during the week and during the day – which is hard for me as a working mom. I did volunteer to be my son’s class mom and I’ve met some other moms/parents that way!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      Thanks for the words of encouragement. I know I’ll find my tribe – it’s just going to take some time I guess!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      I had a tight group of moms from pre-school – we were all working moms, but all from different towns. So none are in my town with my kids…it’s hard starting over!

  15. says

    No one ever tells you how hard it is to make friends as an adult… or, more specifically, a stay at home mom. At every other stage of life you have these built in groups of friends (school, college, work….). I found myself totally flailing and feeling like I was drowning alone when I had Zoe and ended up staying home with her. It took me FOREVER (or 5ish years) before I really found my people. I am so truly grateful that I found them too.
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    • TheHarriedMom says

      Exactly Colleen! It is so hard as an adult. There’s so much more baggage that people take into forming relationships. I’ve met a few moms from different playground pickup groups that I seem to click with. Maybe I need to see if I can break them off to form a new group, with me in it!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      When my son was in kindergarten last year I felt like the moms already knew each other and some did because of their older kids. My son is my oldest – so I’m trying to form those friendships now so when my daughter gets to kindergarten we’ll have some established friends.

    • TheHarriedMom says

      I certainly did and I love you ladies dearly. You’re all so friendly, supportive and encouraging. I wish the rest of the world worked the way our group does!
      Thank you Elizabeth for circling me in!!

  16. says

    It’s so hard to make mom friends! I’m learning that I need to be the one to approach and try to be a part of the group instead of waiting for an invitation b/c otherwise, they just assume I have another group of friends somewhere or I have someplace to be or whatever. It’s hard to reach out b/c there are some groups that aren’t welcoming, but the ones that are are worth trying.
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    • TheHarriedMom says

      That’s a good point Shell. Maybe i should just stick to one group and really work at joining that one than spreading myself around….

  17. says

    A lot of my friends are from before we all had kids, and our kids grew up together, so I didn’t have to go make mom friends when I had mine, thankfully. I’ve tried adding more moms to my circle, but most aren’t responsive. Oh well, I will just appreciate the few that I do have 😉
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  18. Tracey says

    Great post. I don’t have kids yet but I can totally imagine how mom cliques can start.Women in general tend to cling to each other…it’s kinda sad that it’s so hard to infiltrate them.

  19. says

    Wow do I feel your pain. We moved to a small town about a year and a half ago and we still haven’t found a friend. I keep winking at the hubbie and saying we just haven’t found the right people yet but I am beginning to wonder if it’s us! LOL
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  20. says

    Amen mama! My son transferred schools two years ago and I just can’t seem to break into the group of moms (although it may be that I haven’t really tried too hard). With everything else going on, it just takes so much time and effort to try to “fit in” with other moms. I wish it was different but at times it does feel a little like high school!
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    • TheHarriedMom says

      It does take so much time and effort and I feel like I lose any traction I gain on a Friday because i’m not there Monday – Thursday. It’s so frustrating….

  21. says

    Oh gosh! I feel like I just wrote that… I feel the EXACT same way when I go drop my daughter off at preschool and pick her up. I see the other Moms talking and wonder why I can’t just go up and start in on the conversation. I’m super shy, when it comes to that type of thing, which probably makes them think I’m stand-offish, but I’m not! Just like you, I need to try harder, I suppose and gain that confidence too!
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    • TheHarriedMom says

      I know, I’m not much of a small talker – and sometimes have a hard time starting a conversation with moms I don’t know.

    • TheHarriedMom says

      I totally know what you are saying! I hope to find a few good moms to become friends with and that our kids will be friends as well!

    • TheHarriedMom says

      Thanks for the encouragement! I just have to keep saying “hi” – I’ll find a group (or maybe start my own????).

  22. says

    I’m not yet a mom but first of all, stick to yourself and never doubt being a wonderful mom.
    I see many of my friends with kids and there are so many different mom types although we all have been friends for quite a while. I’m sure I will go along perfectly with some of them and for the others – who cares 😉
    As long as you are confident everything’s ok!
    Between being a working mum is a hard job and I believe that many stay at home moms have no clue how it really is and are quicker judging than thinking :-)
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  23. says

    It was so hard when I first became a mom because I was the first of my friends to have a baby. I found that by joining our local Moms Club and MOPS that I was able to connect with some amazing women that made parenting so much fun. Also, don’t be afraid to just go up to a mom at the park and say “hello” I have made some of my best friends by doing that.
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    • TheHarriedMom says

      What’s a MOPS – a mom’s group? I love the name. I’ve made it my mission to keep saying “Hi” until I find my tribe!

  24. says

    Sometimes it’s hard to get into mom cliques. I know when I pick my boys up from school (2x a week) there are a group of moms that all know each other, have play dates with their kids and coffee dates with each other while the kids are in school. Once those groups are formed, I think it’s hard to infiltrate them.
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    • TheHarriedMom says

      I agree, they are hard to get into once they’ve formed. But been stimulated to start my own mom group and see if I can get a few moms that I like from other groups to hang with me!

  25. says

    Do not second guess yourself for one second! You are a terrific mom. As for those Moms who aren’t so responsive….if they aren’t nice enough to engage you in conversation after you made the initial attempt, they don’t seem like ladies to be friends with. I made a number of good friends through the children’s activities. We connected while waiting for ballet lessons or soccer and many of us are similar in our home situations – working outside the home or telecommute and juggling. That was 6 years ago. We are still friends today and have each other’s back.
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    • TheHarriedMom says

      Thanks mama! I know you understand where I’m coming from as a working mom. I’ve found a few moms that I like, that I see at sports, scouts or church – maybe I need to encourage or start my own group?!

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