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Parenting: Dealing with unreliable moms

Published: July 30, 2014 | By | 3 Replies Continue Reading
A mom says her kids are disappointed when their friends are no-shows because they have unreliable moms.


Hi there! I’m having an ongoing problem. I moved to a small town about ten years ago, got married and had two kids. Now they’re 7 and 4-years-old.

My husband is originally from here. He’s slowly disconnected from the local community—friends from school who turned out not to be the friends you wanna have in your life—and I’ve been having problems making new ones. I’m rather an introvert, and I’m okay with it but having kids and finding friends for us as a family is a true challenge.

My kids are liked and people want them around. While they make friends at school it’s almost impossible to create a life for them beyond school. I try to make connections so that these friends come over after school and hang out, and everyone always is nice and promises to call or text. They say all the right things and then nothing. No follow up, and if I call they always promise things and plan… and then nothing again. It’s heartbreaking for me to explain to my kids that obviously not everyone’s word means something.

They’re great kids, and I’m always politically correct and say the right things and I’m getting good feedback right away, but that’s as far as it goes. It’s a small town and I’m having a hard time blending in. People still look at me like I’m from a different planet. How do I go about getting these women to call me back and actually enable my kids to have a life beyond school?

Signed, Vee


Hi Vee,

Small towns can be tough socially, both on parents and kids. One idea that pops to mind is enrolling your kids in whatever sports teams, lessons or other activities in the community might be available after school or on weekends. Then they would have a schedule of things they can count upon and a buffer against the disappointment of broken play dates and unreliable moms. At the same time, this might give you the opportunity to slowly make some new acquaintances by seeing the same parents week after week.

Your children are still young and the older one especially will soon be engineering his own play dates. You might also consult with the older child’s teacher to see if she has any thoughts or ideas.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

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Category: Child and adolescent friendships

Comments (3)

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  1. Soryaha says:

    How interesting. I understand your frustration. Where I grew up people kept their word and wouldn’t say things they didn’t mean. After moving to a new area, I learned that it is common to say here “Let’s have lunch together soon”. While I was grabbing my calendar to pick a date, I noticed the other party made no effort to do the same. It’s was uncomfortable to say the least, and the first times this happened I was completely baffled. Now I know that these “invites” don’t mean anything. People just say it to come across as nice, I guess. I hope you find your way into that community. Do you think that is still going to happen after 10 years? I actually am wondering why you’re still living there. You write that your husband doesn’t have any friends there either. Your children are still young enough that a move might not have that much impact on them. Why not consider a move to a larger city?

  2. Laura says:

    Have you specifically invited the other children over to your house for a specific date and time? I find that much more effective than a general “Let’s get together.” When my kids were younger other moms LOVED this because it meant free time for them and then they would usually reciprocate and invite my kids over. Also, another thing I did with couple moms friends when my kids were young and I was a stay at home mom, was trade babysitting. Like, one week I would take the other mom’s kids for morning and then the following week the other mom would take mine. In these instances these were mom’s from my older child’s preschool class and both boys had younger sisters close to my daughter’s age so it worked out great for everyone. It was also common after preschool or morning day camp for a group of moms and kids to go to lunch. Just a few ideas. Hope they help! I guess the key is to be specific and initiate. Hope this was helpful.

  3. Amy F says:

    I like Irene’s idea of extracurricular activities. I wonder if being direct might be an easier way to arrange playmates. “Jimmy would like to play either Max this weekend. If he doesn’t have other plans I can pick him up at noon on satudsy, take the kids to the playground, then bring them back to our house for lunch and you can get him some time during the afternoon.”
    You never know if the other mom is also introverted, or maybe she’s just busy with life. Offering to pick up the child would probably solve the problem and nice the kids have played together a few times a routine might develop.

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