How often do you feel like you don’t fit in, mama?
I’m not talking about feeling excluded...that’s a whole other can of worms all together, and it’s an entirely different blog post, which I’ve linked below.
I mean you legit feel like you don’t fit in; like you feel as if you’ve found other moms who are your people, but at least half the time you feel like there’s something off...with you, not with them.
If you’re new here, WELCOME! I LOVE that you’re taking the time to peruse the blogs and everything else on the site. I have another blog post that I think you may like, I’ve linked it below.
Obviously you fit in at home. And you probably fit in when you’re with family...most of the time anyway. And you fit in at work with co-workers...those who have kids and those who don’t.
So...what’s the problem with other moms? Why can’t you seem to find your tribe?
You know the moms of at least ten of your kids’ friends and no matter what you do, you feel like you’re out of place. Like something just doesn’t jive. It always starts out fine, but then ends up with you feeling like you could just walk off and no one would even notice.
You don’t fit in with the PTO moms
You REALLY wanted to participate in the PTO. For a couple of reasons...
You wanted to be involved in as many school sponsored activities for the kids as you could. You have so much knowledge and creativity that can be tapped into. And the ideas you have for events and fundraisers, along with your business knowledge, could help them raise SO MUCH MONEY.
You wanted to be able to dispel the myth that the PTO was cliquey and narrow minded. Because, honestly, you think better of them than most people.
You are grateful for all the energy they put forth organizing all the events, but you are so uncomfortable in conversations with them. Even just suggesting some of your ideas makes you want to crawl into a hole.
It’s quite possible that a friend of yours who participates in the PTO advised your against it because of the different personalities of the contributors.
(I think that’s a whole other blog post, don’t you? How to handle friends who think they’re helping or protecting you and whatever they said is really a back-handed compliment ...hmmm...maybe!)
You’ve pretty much come to terms with the fact that they aren’t your tribe. You will do what you can to support their events, but all the ideas and extra effort that you are just dying to suggest will have to wait and be a part of some other thing you want to do.
You don’t fit in with the other working moms
You can’t quite pinpoint it, but the conversations with the other working moms are uncomfortable too.
Maybe it’s just because you all work and you don’t see each other enough to have that camaraderie, or maybe it’s because you’re in such wildly different fields of business that you can’t relate to each other.
There seem to be a lot of moms with flex schedules, but not you. You’re an 8-5 or 9-6 in the office gal. And, if you’re not working on the weekend, you’re at least on call awaiting some sort of catastrophe to materialize.
Any way you look at this situation, you really don’t feel like you’re in your environment with them either.
You don’t fit in with the stay at home moms
As much as you have in common, kids in the same class, living just down the street from each other, husbands in similar fields or with similar hobbies...you still very often feel like you’re the puzzle piece that has to be forced in order to fit.
Your schedules are so different that it’s damn near impossible to coordinate anything and, on the off occasion that you can coordinate something with a group once every couple of months, many of the topics of conversation are unfamiliar to you just because you’re not as “in-touch” with the group as the rest of them are.
You love all these gals and you really wish you felt more comfortable. And you hope that they don’t notice how uncomfortable you really are. Because you feel like you fit in with them better than any other group, but there’s just something within you that you can’t pinpoint that’s making you feel off.
You don’t fit in with the work at home moms
The work at home moms have a entirely different world all together. They have to manage work while taking care of the kids.
Kids don’t understand that when mom’s home she’s working and, let’s face it, they’re needy. So, she’s splitting her time between kids and work all day long.
She’s the mom who gets criticized for not being able to “peel away” from her phone while waiting for her kids at pickup...she’s probably finishing something up so she can clock in to mom-time once everyone is home.
She seems to always have work on her mind, at least she always seems to be talking about time strategies of how she gets everything split up and completed throughout the day.
But, since you have “standard” working hours, you really can’t empathize with her when you guys talk. You’re home by six-ish and you turn off work as much as you can, at least until the kids go to bed.
You feel like you don’t even fit in with your husband’s friend’s wife
You absolutely ADORE her. When it’s one on one...your family and theirs...she’s your people. You get each other. You’re comfortable. You can talk about anything with her. It feels like you’ve known her since you were kids.
But throw a group setting in the mix or even just casual text messages, you feel out of place. You feel like everything you say is off in timing or misunderstood or just plain awkward. So you overcompensate with humor or by talking faster and it just makes it all that much worse...for you...honestly, she probably doesn’t even realize anything is wrong.
So, mama...what the frack do you do??
Option 1: Go all introverted and revert into your shell and just not participate in anything.
Let’s be honest, though...that’s not really an option. When this happens, and I can speak from personal experience, you end up just screwing your kids out of their friendships because you don’t want to chance having to actually participate in life.
And trust me, more often than not this is my first reaction to these things...because I’m inherently an introvert. People are usually shocked when I say this, but really...I prefer to stay home...if people want to come over, I’m cool with that, but I don’t want to actually GO anywhere, and I sure as hell don’t want to be in a large group. So...I get it.
But this isn’t really an ideal situation.
Option 2: Make a little more of an effort with these other moms. If you’ve tried before and it’s legit uncomfortable, then don’t pursue it. But if it’s one of those situations where sometimes it’s okay and you only feel “off” from time to time...GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE.
It’s only going to benefit you...and your kids...later. No one is judging you. And the ones who do, you don’t want them around anyway.
Let’s look at this a little differently. We’ve established you’re comfortable with people at work. Why is that? Because you’ve worked with them for long enough, you’ve gotten to know each other, you’ve built a relationship, and they’re kind of like an extended family.
Do that with these people. Invite a couple moms over, with their kids, of course. Make some snacks and just hang out. If you do it one mom at a time, that may just contribute later to your feeling of being left out.
How, you ask?
Because, with this group of people specifically, you’re already feeling like you don’t belong when there is more than just the two of you. So...make sure to invite a third or fourth person.
Trust me on this. The resulting comfort level from doing this will amaze you.
And the next time you’re with all or one or two of these wonderful mamas you will not feel awkward and left out because you all have spent time together already!
Option 3: Join a completely different group all together. Check out the library or the park district or local Facebook Mom groups for events related to something you like...and if there isn’t anything...CREATE ONE!
Trust me, if you feel this way, like you’re just not comfortable connecting with the moms you already know, I can guarantee other moms feel the same..create a book club or a walking group or a coffee group, or a group for anything else you’re interested in.
Figure out where you’re going to occasionally get together; rotate whose houses you go to, meet at a coffee shop, go out to dinner.
Basically, what I’m telling you is to get over yourself. And this isn’t me being harsh...I had to get over myself too...it’s me being real with you, mama. Because none of us have time for beating around the bush, right??
The whole feeling of not fitting in is crap...we’re all adults and we don’t need to impress each other.
We need to live our lives in a way where our families are going to be happy, where WE are going to be happy.
If we are feeling like we don’t “fit in” somewhere, that’s not the other people making us feel that way...that’s our own inner bullshit coming out and skewing our view of how other people see us.
Really...people are just acting the way they know how and none of it has anything to do with us.
So, accept that some people just aren’t your people. Accept that you need to make a bigger effort with other people. Accept that you may need new people all together.
Now, decide which of those three options you’re going to do (hopefully not option one) and DO IT!
Then let me know how it goes…
If you need help figuring out which of these is your best option...click below for my free Like/Dislike list. With this list you can put pen to paper and REALLY be true to yourself with who you need to connect with on a deeper level.
I would really love to connect with you, mama, and I've got 3 ways for you to do it!
1. Hop on over to The Working Mom Partnership over on Facebook and tell me your thoughts on this!
2. Comment on this post and let me know what you think.
3. Check out my IG post for this blog topic and comment there!
You can find me @natalieihde
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Hey, I'm Natalie and I'm an author, a wife, and mom of two kids and two dogs.
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