My Mom Survival Guide & Why I Don’t Talk To My Neighbors

For those of you who read my last blog, you know that I became a mom (stepmom really, but I hate that word) to two beautiful children in 2008. My entire life changed that year, and I moved from Chicago (crazy single life) to Westlake, OH and became a mother overnight. The change was drastic.

The odd thing was, I never struggled with the kid part. My children immediately became mine and we took to each other like glue. That’s a blessing I never take for granted.

But I did struggle in a major way – with other moms.  There were tiffs, spats, arguments and flat out screaming matches for a while. Until I was able to take a step back and be honest with myself and them about who I was NOT going to be.

It took a few years for me to come to terms with it – and take the blame. But once I was able to clearly understand what I couldn’t do – life as a new, suburban mom became manageable.

So here goes (hold your breath because you may not like what you read). This is what I learned about myself and finally embraced about seven years ago.

Amy’s Guide to Surviving Motherhood:

  • PTA was out of the question. Yep, this is the one that will cause the most hate mail but it’s true. I would get calls, emails and texts in the middle of the day asking questions and for sign-ups for events. Don’t get me wrong, I cherish the women who do this – they make my kids’ educational experience better, but it just isn’t for me. My professional life is extremely stressful and I work long hours and I’m a driven person. I couldn’t handle both. And when I tried, I got nasty with women who didn’t deserve it and they got nasty with me.
  • I don’t really talk to my neighbors. Yep, you read that right. I know this doesn’t sound very “nice.” But again, I would get home from a long day of work, and all I wanted to do was spend time with my kids and focus on homework and play time. My doorbell would ring with neighbors wanting to update me on the latest “incident” in the neighborhood (typically involving two families going at it). I couldn’t handle it. I just wanted to get my suit off and snuggle with my kids.

*Side Note: Yes, I know you need to know your neighbors in order to keep your kids safe. My husband took that role and is popular with all the families.

  • I don’t do book clubs, wine clubs or anything else remotely close to that. Can’t do it right now. Again, not because these aren’t awesome outlets for moms – they just don’t work for me. I tried to go to a few, and I was always the one faking that I read the book and then finding myself daydreaming when the conversation switched to whether or not the new principal of the school was stern enough. My mind just doesn’t work that way.
  • I’m not going to answer your calls. Texts are the best. And if you send me really long emails, I won’t read them. But if you send me a quick text about something that I can get done quickly, I will get it done. Yep, I know if all moms operated this way, the world would be a scary place and our kids would all be in prison.

So maybe this makes me sound like an awful person. And maybe I am – but it’s how I need to survive in this role. I had to simply come to terms with the person I am.

But somewhere along the way…something amazing happened.

The women who should despise me, ended up accepting me. It was quite astonishing. Once I was able to be really honest with myself and them – wouldn’t you know, these women embraced me!

  • My PTA and Boosters’ moms stopped getting annoyed with me and realized I just wasn’t coming to the meetings. They knew I would always write the check and they thank me for it sincerely.
  • My neighbors stopped coming over and just wave with a giggle as I drive by their house (no, I typically don’t wave back only because I am not paying attention and they have also learned not to take that personally). They make sure my husband knows all the important stuff and let me walk by with my headphones on uninterrupted.
  • The other moms stopped inviting me to book and wine clubs but will sit by me at my kids’ games and we catch up quickly and swiftly. We connect in a different way and I’m thrilled that I have them in my life.
  • All the moms text me and give me the important details about mandatory kid events. They don’t call me anymore. But they use cute emojis that let me know the text is a friendly one.

Just like I realized many years ago that I couldn’t quite fit into the mom community the way I thought I had to, I realized that doesn’t mean I would be a pariah in my town. These moms practiced what they preached to their children – and they didn’t judge me.

And make no mistake about it – I know that without them, my kids wouldn’t live in a safe community and our schools wouldn’t be so highly rated. They make Westlake an amazing place to live!

I’m so thankful for them.

And they know me well enough never to call and thank me for writing this blog.

I still won’t answer.

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Amy Martin

Amy Martin is an avid conversationalist and insomniac (averages about four hours a night) who craves engagement online and off. She’s often blogging or speaking about ways to develop your personal brand to companies and leaders in Cleveland. When she isn’t focused on her day job, she is running her own consulting agency, Hyperthink! She is passionate about mentoring other women and hugging her kids (who are too old to appreciate the affection) and she resides in Westlake with her husband, who still cannot fully explain what she does for a living. Amy is usually smiling and has an awkward obsession with “Murder, She Wrote” and incredibly unrealistic mystery shows.

7 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Dear Amy,
    Yes. Can we be friends? We never have to call, sign up together, see each other, or heck, even wave at each other… unless the extreme extrovert inside says we have to.

  • Amy,
    you inspire me to be more comfortable saying no! I think a lot of times we try and keep up with the mom that others want us to be instead of the moms we know we are. I think the most important thing is that we love our kids and we are doing the best we can for them and our family, but also ourselves I know you don’t respond and I love you anyways…

    you are my momma mentor…

  • Love that you haved defined the “mom” role for yourself, figured out how it works. This post resonated with me because I’ve been two different types of mom. 1.) married, homemaker, school volunteer, women’s groups 2.) divorced, single parent, on a career path-struggling to catch up from years at home. When I switched to the #2 mom role, I employed your methods. Felt bad at first, but everybody accepted it. Treated me the same as they always had. As women, we’re good as long as we value/appreciate each other, our differences. Awesome post!

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