I’ve never been “one of the guys.” I’ve always found women and girlfriends easier to relate with. So when I became a mom, it seemed natural to find a group of women who had also made the decision to stay at home with their young kids. Fortunately, I had resources – my aunt was highly involved in a MOPS group in her hometown and I knew that would be a good place to start looking. It paid off – I have met amazing women who have taught me so much about motherhood.
Melanie Dale writes about the challenges of making mom friends, or as she calls them, “momlationships” in her book, Women are Scary. Full of humor and honesty, Dale walks the reader through her years as a new mom, navigating the world of playdates and comparisons. Part memoir, part how-to, Dale gives practical advice and tips for forming relationships beyond a casual activities-based encounter.
While the idea of relationship “bases” felt a bit forced, I appreciated the idea of taking the risk to be vulnerable and go deeper with other women in this same phase of life. It is so easy to have a great conversation once a week and not ever form lasting bonds. Dale stresses the importance of having other mom friends – women who can share advice, who understand messy houses and cranky toddlers, and who know how to have constantly interrupted conversations.
This book made me reflect about my own levels of vulnerability, especially with women I have met since becoming a mother. Most of my closest friends are ones who I knew before marriage and kids. They are still vital people in my life and I tend to rely on them for my deep conversations and kid-free interactions. However, I know there are moms who I can connect with on those levels, too. It just takes a bit more intention and coordination to make “mom dates” happen.
My favorite parts were the pieces of practical advice. Dale suggests coming together as moms to gather clothing or supply donations for a local shelter, to pack Christmas boxes for kids who may not receive presents, and other service ideas that take playdates to a more meaningful level.
There are times when I felt that Dale relied a bit too heavily on slapstick humor to carry the book. I had trouble believing someone is actually that clumsy and socially awkward. While I liked that she was honest with her awkward sides, the references started to feel more like a funny mask and less like vulnerability.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and feel that it gives good, solid advice to moms who feel lonely or who are having trouble connecting with other women in the same life phase.
What advice would you give to new moms looking for friendships?
GIVEAWAY! I am giving away my copy of Women are Scary. To enter, leave a comment about one of your most successful “momlationships.” I’ll randomly select a winner on Friday, March 27, 2015. (United States addresses only.)