Misfit moms, unite

Eli gives the best advice. Sometimes it’s about what I’m wearing, the color combo for our kitchen, when I need to take a break, or simply “No, mom, you can’t adopt a bunny. We already have too many pets.” She delivers it like a grown-up, which makes it sound even more wise. 

Before I left for the gala to support her new school, she took me aside and said, “Mom, just try to make friends.” 

This wasn’t just an ask for me, but for us all. Me making friends pays dividends for the family. Their dad and Paul are never gonna be the playdate planners or social invite rainmakers. And Eli has always relied on me being her wingwoman. It’s why I started volunteering at her schools in pre-school. Parents will frequently invite parents they like, whether their kids are friends or not. 

But I’m bad at doing things part-way. My relationship with their former school got so deep, Paul once worried I would start taking the school to events as my plus-one instead of him. I needed a break. Also it was heartbreaking to leave. I had to mourn. 

When we moved to this school, it was a good time for a reset. But almost a full school year in, I feel like we don’t fit in. After chaperoning a field trip that ended in tears, I decided I needed to make an effort. Eli was exactly right. 

I tried a few school events, but people tended to cluster with folks they knew. 

So, OK, a bigger effort. 

And so I started a “Misfit Moms Group.” I had two mom friends I knew before I came here. There had to be more of us. I met one on that field trip. I met another at a birthday party. Another mom in the group found another one. 

We aren’t being cliquey. It’s open to everyone. And on the contrary, we’re all moms who moved here post-pandemic, mostly from bigger cities, and feel some combination of homesickness, left out, and culture shock. We were all the ones on the edges. 

We are about to have our second “meeting” and we’ve gone from four to six. Even a handful of friends can be night and day in these situations. The chit-chat in the parking lot. Someone to sit next to at the gala. We’re gonna be here (best case) for another nine years. We’ve gotta start building alliances. 

I can’t wait until there are too many of us to fit around my dining room table. 

If you are feeling the same way, maybe in a new school where you feel like the misfit, I strongly recommend starting a Misfit Moms Club. It’s a tiny amount of work and you’ll find folks ready for someone to do something like this. All you need is a few people and a monthly time to sit and eat dinner and connect. It grows once you start it on its own. You see that parent who also looks like, “What have I done?” or “Who are all these people?” at a school event and you invite them in. The group invites others in. 

It feels like roots — and roots can be scary if you have mixed feelings about where you live. But they also anchor you. And anchoring is never a bad thing.

What advice or support can you offer fellow members today?