I have a million reasons to not host a play date. My house is never (legit NEVER) immaculate. I am weird about the foods my kids eat. My first inclination is strong introversion. And I have just a touch of social anxiety that tells me, “No one will come. It will be stupid. You are stupid. Everything’s stupid. Put your pajamas back on, lady.”
Once upon a time, I even took a survey at church that was supposed to help you determine where you are naturally gifted or passionate, and I got a big fat ZERO for hospitality. It doesn’t come naturally to me. I feel like someone should revoke my Southern Hospitality card as a born-and-bred Tennessean.
But here’s what I’ve learned about that:
Hospitality is a skill that can be cultivated.
You know what happened the first time I hosted a play date after my oldest was born? People showed up. Children played. We had a great time. All of my anxiety was for nothing. The more I’ve hosted things, the easier it has been to open my home to others. As in most things, you can practice hospitality in your home until it feels a little more comfortable.
Most people are waiting for someone else to make the first move.
I honestly can’t even count the times someone has confided in me that they are struggling to make mom friends. This is such a common thing. So the first thing I want to point out is: You are not alone. There are so many moms who are dying to make new friends. We move states or cities, start in new school districts, transition to working motherhood or stay-at-home-mom life or something in the middle. There’s always a new reason to feel isolated, and there are always 100 other moms who are in the same position. Hence all the hilarious videos or memes about mom dating.
So the problem isn’t a lack of potential friends nearly everywhere you go. The problem is usually pretty simple: It’s hard to be the first one to move the friendship forward. But when you do, it’s almost always worth it.
People are more important than pretty houses.
Some of you keep incredibly gorgeous homes. One of my dear friends is like this, and while I can’t relate in the least, I am in awe of her dedication to organization, decluttering and classic décor. Here’s the thing that becomes more and more evident each year of my life: I can respect what another woman brings to the table without feeling like I have to meet the same standard.
I don’t have to be the crafty mom, the foodie mom, the fit mom, the home decorator mom, the fashionable mom, or whatever label the world recommends that day. I just have to be the mom who says, “Hey, do you want to come over and drink coffee while our kids destroy the playroom?”
So, recently, I did just that. I put out an open invitation on Facebook and invited several local moms to hang out at my house. There was some vacuuming and purchasing of pre-packaged snacks, but otherwise prep was very low key. It wasn’t any pre-organized group of friends, and many of us met at least a couple of people for the very first time.
I can’t speak for everyone else, but for me? It was a lovely Friday watching strangers become known to each other and sharing life together.
Take the first step, mamas. The whole mommy world is at your door waiting to come in.