In last Monday’s post my over-energetic-smile gets a friendly smile in return and the raised eye brow lift of acknowledgment
Was this some hot new guy I was waiting on, for a date? ….
Well they were really lovely … but no … it wasn’t a guy … and it wasn’t a date … well not in the traditional sense of the word ⇒.
This part of Parenting ‘wasn’t in the manual’!
How did I get there…
…what was I doing there…
…just WHO was I meeting?
Well it starts with … Last year Miss 14 started High School at a School were none of her friends were going.
So both her and I were starting the year from scratch.
Miss 14 was making new friends left right and centre in the classroom. Which meant I also needed to meet all her new friends Parents, Teachers and Coaches some how, some other way.
You see, at her previous School she had been there for 7 years, so we knew pretty much EVERYONE (at least by association) and everyone eventually knew us too.
Yes it took time to get to know everyone in the beginning there, but when the kids are only 5+ years old even as a working Mom, I was still up at School alot and made an effort to get to know the other kids parents, not just her friends.
So when it came to inviting them to our house or Miss 14 getting invited to theirs, I already knew them and knew if I was happy for her to go, or because they were only little you were ‘dropping them off’ so would be invited in for Coffee etc…
Yes, new kids arrived at the School, but in no time at all you ran into them at School, or when you were picking up or dropping off at another friends house or at Sports Practice. In no time you knew them too.
Cut to starting High School, you hardly go INTO the School for anything anymore.
You don’t stand outside the classroom waiting for them to come out at the end of the day (they would love that wouldn’t they!!!). So you miss all those normal opportunities to meet parents.
There is so much more simply ‘dropping off and picking up’ that happens and the kids are even more independent getting themselves around more places.
If Sport is played during the week after School, not many parents are able to get there to watch. So you don’t meet them there either.
Did you notice a huge shift in Parent involvement once your kid went to High School? I would love to hear about it in the comments below what changed for you.
Even weekend sport, I have found less parents on the sidelines watching. With High School being bigger, there was also less of a chance Miss 14 was in a team with any of her close friends anyway.
But she was busy making so many NEW friends (which is nice) with Teenagers I didn’t know and where I didn’t even know what their Parents looked like, let alone had had a conversation with them.
Then the invites started to roll in and especially the Sleepover invites.
Miss 14 would ask, “Can I go to Regina’s house for her Party and Sleepover”. ⇐
I would like to be able to say Yes, but the Trouble is, I haven’t met Regina yet and have no idea where she lives or who her parents are.
I want Miss 14 to have great friends, have lots of fun and to get chances to relax and let her hair down with her friends, so of course I WANT to let her go.
BUT, how can I agree to letting her go when I’m completely blind.
In true Teenager fashion she assures me “They are not Axe murderers or anything and their Grandmother lives with them, so they must be ‘fine”!
Yes, you could take a chance and meet the Teenager and the Parents ‘when you drop them off’…but if something doesn’t sit right, it’s a bit late then to have ‘reasons’ to turn around and leave again.
Also with many of the girls living quite a distance from School they mostly are all together catching Buses/Trains home anyway, so your not taking them there.
So, what’s a Mom to do…..?
Cue … “Man Up” (or Mom up in this case) and make a phone call to say Hi and arrange to meet them, the parent, first.
(NB: I’m writing a post on roughly what I might say when making a Cold call/Phone call to a New Friends Parent – eeekk!! and will post that when it’s ready.)
Even though I have worked in industries for years dealing with new people all the time and worked in the new Guests area of church making conversation with complete strangers…actively making it happen to meet these new friends parents is still a huge step out of my comfort zone.
I can be such a scardy cat about stuff like that!
Can you relate?
But, whats my other options?:
• Say no you just cant go – that’s not fun!
• Wait for the new parent to come to me, not so likely. (and that’s also just a cop-out)
• Say yes to a huge unknown and feel really uneasy about it, potentially putting Miss 14 into a situation that may not be good and that I wouldn’t be happy with.
So, I may be wrong, but arranging to meet with the Parent first is the only way I could see forward.
What do you think? Was this the right idea?
I make a point to introduce myself to Teachers, Coaches, Tutors and parents whenever reasonably possible. So that those people know that I am involved in Miss 14′s life and that I give a damn and that opens up those avenues for if they ever need to talk to me about anything that there is one less barrier of not knowing me.
I have now had NFP ‘New Friends Parent’ dates with many Moms now (and often met the Dad’s, siblings through them latter).
They have all gone really-really well and I have really enjoyed getting to know them. They have also been mostly really appreciative that I had made this happen as it put them at ease too.
I also mention to all the Mum’s that I meet, that they are welcome to call/text to check the plans/details the girls make with me anytime, I don’t mind at all.
One, because organising Teenage Girls is incredibly difficult to lock down (like herding cats) and two, because again that further helps to open those avenues of communication.
So, how did THIS particular NFP date go? …
With my over-energetic-smiling and my eye brow lift of acknowledgment?
Even though I was strangely really nervous and picking imaginary fluff off my dress, fidgeting around and over-energetically-smiling every single person that rocked in that door.
We had a great chat, got on really well, worked out we had an unbelievable amount of stuff in common and both her and I left comfortable that we now knew each other and were happy for the girls to keep spending more time together.
It also gives me 1 more person, who now isn’t any longer an un-familiar face, to chat with when we go to School events when I feel like a Fish out of Water ⇓ !
Do you allow your Child/Teen to go to Parties or Sleepovers when you haven’t met the Teen or the Parent/family yet?
What have you done to work around this in your family?
Did I do the right thing?
⇐ Regina, fictional friend name based on Mean Girls
Our real *Regina was actually really nice, I like her alot and she is nothing like Mean Girls Regina!
⇓ That’s another Post – How to handle School Events as a Single Parent…for those of you who have been there, it’s not easy.
⇒ Sorry to disappoint those of you that really thought it might have been a date with some hot new guy…even though I wrote it like that, on purpose, to make it sound really unambiguous…but it was fun writing it like that…
It is weird though as the nerves were of a similar vein that I remember from the last time I had a first Date…some 13+ years ago…OK, that’s just a little shocking adding that up just how long it’s been since I have been on an actual date!!!!