Calling extroverts and SAH parents

Now that school is starting, you guys (whether you're an extrovert or a SAH parent or both) have the chance to do a really good deed.

If you're a SAH parent, you could buddy up with a WOH parent to make sure s/he knows what's going on in the classroom. Yes, you're supposed to get all the same notifications and stuff sent home, but any SAH who's been in any school for a few weeks know that the ones who can put in face time know lots more about what's coming up and what's really going on than they ever send home.

If, perhaps, a WOH mom should hand you her business card with contact info, it means she really wants to be in the loop and wants to be your friend, and you'd be doing a super-good deed by keeping her connected about what's going on.

(I'd like to give a super-special thanks to Brandy, Kim, and Amy for telling me what was going on all last year.)

If you're an extrovert like me, please be aware that there are introverted and/or shy parents in your class that would love to be your friend but won't make the first move. They are fabulous, interesting, funny, snarky, trustworthy people who just aren't hard-wired to approach you. You'd be doing them and the world in general a big favor by approaching them and including them so they can give what they have to offer. Because they're not as enthusiastic about meeting a zillion new people as I am you are, don't give up if your first two volleys aren't accepted.

Thank you.

0 thoughts on “Calling extroverts and SAH parents”

  1. What an awesome endeavor!And as the mom as an introvert, your description of them almost made me cry. Very nice of you. Thanks.

  2. Great reminder, thanks – just in time for back-to-school night for B (yes, after school starts… odd, but :shrug: ).I’ll keep my eye out. (I have one SAH mom from last year to keep me in the loop with G… and she’s WAY in the loop, super-volunteer mom.)

  3. I wish I knew how to take all those parents I recognize and chat with and make them into friends. I need them but if I make an attempt and I don’t get a reply then I back off. I’m just enough of an extrovert to need people, but enough of an introvert to not really know how to go about it.I’m going to volunteer at the school one morning a week and see if that might help. I’ll try to remember to keep other moms in the loop. Good advice.

  4. Amen! I’m that introvert and your description is spot-on. We WANT to be included and involved but just have a hard time approaching others.

  5. Great post! DH is currently the one to pick up DS at school and being an extrovert and WOH mom, I do miss having that opportunity to hang out by the playground fence with the other parents at the end of the day when picking up our kids.December will bring a new work schedule and I hope I can get back into picking up my little guy.

  6. Thank you for this, as an introvert mother of 1 1/2 year old in desperate need of friends who are similar. I was at the playground this morning, trying to think of how to approach a mom there who looked nice and had a similar aged little girl. She left before I could and I could just kick myself.

  7. First time to post a comment b/c I think this is such a brilliant idea – the SAH parent helping to keep the WOH parent in the loop. I stay at home and have trouble keeping everything straight – can’t imagine what it’s like for a working parent. And while I wouldn’t categorize myself as an introvert I am easily intimidated by very outgoing people and tend to feel “out of it” easily. We’re all in this parenting gig together and anything to help us feel more connected is great. Thanks Moxie!

  8. I’ll be the Devil’s advocate here: I’m a SAH mom, and I DO work.It’s simply not my job to be a secretary to those parents that can’t get to the school.
    Nor is it my job to be sure your kid gets on the bus, or gets in the house when you are late getting home.
    I also send in extra school supplies, chaperone field trips, and help during school parties.
    But I do; because it isn’t the child’s fault. That’s what “It takes a village” means.
    Wail away, folks.

  9. I don’t expect to win a popularity contest here, Moxie; I’m giving you another perspective.If you approach me seeking camaraderie and child rearing commiseration, I am your lady. If you approach me asking me to call you when something of import might be happening, then you have the wrong person.
    I speak from experience. I have had a mother blatantly tell me that she knew she was too busy and scatterbrained to keep all her plates spinning and would I keep her up to date? That’s insulting and assuming I have nothing better to do.
    Um. No.

  10. You come out with guns blazing on my site and I’ll call you out for it.I’m sorry you’ve had bad experiences with one wackadoodle woman. That doesn’t mean the rest of us WOHs are like that. (And, um, what if she’d been a SAH who asked you to keep track of her stuff for her? That happened to me when I was a SAH, but I didn’t go all Rambo about how horrible SAHs were.) Sounds like you may be buying into the SAH vs. WOH “war” that’s largely media created. In my world, and on my site, we try to support each other. Hang together or hang separately.
    Please show a little respect for the people who come to my site. If you want to engage in the SAH vs. WOH bashing, you can find that anywhere. We’re a little more nuanced and considerate here.

  11. @Moxie, I’m also a SAHM. I have had occasional encounters with the rudeness the previous poster mentioned, and am myself consequently wary of something being asked of me because of my being home, but I didn’t read that in your post.I’m not insulted, but I am perplexed by the suggestion, likely because my son is in preschool, where they still put giant signs up on the door saying PICTURE DAY TOMORROW or NO SCHOOL ON TUESSAY.
    It seems odd to me to take on the role of liason between teacher and another parent that I’m not friends with. Whether she is at home or not. What exactly am I privy to that a working parent misses? I don’t mean to be snarky. I am genuinely trying to imagine and not succeeding. Even picking up my kid at preschool I don’t get much of a report on his day, and I don’t figure I’m much more in the loop in elementary.

  12. I don’t ever get to pick up my kid at all.If it doesn’t go home by email or in a packet, there’s no way for me to get that information. There’s no way for me to see that sign. And if my babysitter doesn’t see it, or is too distracted by something else, or it gets lost somewhere between her being relieved by my kids’ dad and my getting home from work two hours later and not seeing her until the next morning, there’s no way for me to know.
    Back when I was a SAHM I realized that there is just no substitute for being there in terms of knowing what happened. Kids aren’t reliable narrators until they’re a certain age, so the next best thing is to hear it from another adult.
    If you don’t get it, or are insulted by being asked, then please don’t do it. The vast majority of WOH parents I know twist themselves in knots to make sure no one ever has to help them out with their kids, and we can keep going just the way we have been. I just remember being a SAH and dropping an email once a week or so to another mom in the class (who I’d met face-to-face only once) just to keep her up on stuff. Often I was the only way she’d heard about whatever it was that was going on.

  13. “It’s simply not my job to be a secretary to those parents that can’t get to the school. Nor is it my job to be sure your kid gets on the bus, or gets in the house when you are late getting home. I also send in extra school supplies, chaperone field trips, and help during school parties.”Wow. I didn’t read these sorts of requests in Moxie’s original shout-out at all. I’m a WOH mama who really relied on those moms who were able to volunteer or spend more time in the classroom than I could just to clue me in on the subtleties of the social dynamics. Last year, a child’s mom left (deserted) the family for England, and another one had chicken pox and no health insurance. I wouldn’t ever had known this if SAH moms who volunteered on the playground in the afternoons hadn’t clued me in. Now, that doesn’t mean that I had to step in and take complete responsibility for those children. But, it did mean that I talked with my then 2-year-old about what was going on in the class, that I was able to call the parents and actually *ask* how I might help, and that I could talk to his teacher about what she needed.
    I couldn’t do much because of my own schedule, but sometimes other parents just need to know that others are aware of their situation and are thinking of them…..

  14. @elisa,I’m also an introvert, and I know I’ve been off-putting to extroverts in my life. I didn’t mean to and I didn’t realize I had been until later. When I traced my behavior, I discovered it was because I was often surprised and confused by a person wanting to talk to me. Confident and outgoing manner from someone who didn’t know me? Where did that come from? … Oh. Right! Not everyone feels awkward meeting new people like I do. I forgot again and missed a great opportunity. Again. Thanks for the reminder, just in time to meet new parents at school. 🙂
    There are some grouchy responses to this call, and I’m confused by that. I read the call and, rather than see it limited to SAH and WOH parents, I took it as a reminder that there are good reasons to make friends with other parents whose children go to my daughter’s preschool. If I make connections, maybe there are play dates or childcare swapping in my future. Or, maybe I can help another parent out with the gift of information or even commiseration. Maybe someone will help me, and maybe it’ll simply make drop off and pick up more pleasant. I didn’t feel compelled to save the world, here, just to consider how I might improve my life – if I felt like it.

  15. Whoa kidsmom . . . take a breath will ya? No one is saying SAHM don’t work (and due to a very flexible job I do a little both so I know that they do). I think all Moxie was saying is to let’s ALL try and be a little more helpful toward one another . . . not just SAHM v. WOHM but also extroverts v. introverts, etc. and so on.Hopefully, you never run into the sort of attitude you’re conveying on her when you really need some help. . . . karma can be a tough thing.

  16. Thank you Moxie for an interesting post and certainly some interesting comments on being an introvert. I’m a SAHM and an introvert, and I can just imagine myself hiding in some corner wanting to help out another parent in need but then unsure I can get any words out of my mouth in time. Thanks for the boost.

  17. I am an extrovert SAHM and new to preschool this year. I think your suggestion was a good one, especially about making new friends. I am going to try to chat with each of the parents I meet, not just the one other mom I am already friends with in that class.

  18. Thank you, thank you, thank you! My daughter is not school age yet, but maybe people will remember this in a few years.I am so far on the introvert scale you can’t even see me from there, but I would LOVE if you (or any other cool adults) approched me first. Thanks for pointing out that just because I would rather chew off my own arm than approcah a stranger, it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t welcome it from someone else.
    And yes, I would be happy to be snarky with anyone.
    Thanks again!

  19. Extrovert Mama here who’s been burned and ignored by other moms after trying to be friendly. Not all the time, but I often feel like I’ve come off too strong, too excited to see another Mom of a baby around the same age as mine. I’ll start chatting about the babies and I either get short answers or the distinct feeling that I’m intruding on their space. Not all the time, but enough to make me think twice about approaching new Mommas. Not sure if it’s because I’m not actually from here or maybe it’s because I’m younger than most moms I’ve met. Not sure. But for you introverts, please be nice to us friendly extroverts. We’re out there, sure, but it can still hurt when we are thwarted again and again.

  20. I’m the introvert and the freaky foreigner which is a double whammy. Add in that my son started kinder 6 months after the rest of the 3 year olds (here if there are places and your child is born before the end of January, you can get in when the child turns 3)and you have a brutal combination. Fortunately a few lovely mothers have persisted and now we are on fairly friendly terms, but some don’t even look sideways at you, and they are the ones whose kids are in the same class. Oh well.

  21. I have a book group that needs a few members who are not sisters in law or women we went to high school with. I spent all of last year trying to get one of the ballet school moms to join us (becasue she is *always* reading at ballet while waiting for the girls, and she loves to talk about what she is reading.) I didn’t want to be a pest, so I promised myself I would only invite her three times all year and then wait til next year (the girls have been together in ballet three years already now.) First, I told her verbally. She was nice but noncomittal– her husband is in Iraq and she is busy with no childcare. The next time I gave her a note with my contact info, the name of the book, and the offer to bring her daughter to the next meeting which would be at my house– I offered to have her daughter have dinner with mine and then watch a video together during book group (remember– the girls have known each other three years and so its not like its a first time play date.) And… she emailed me!!! It was to decline, but that was cool. The third time, I emailed her, and she emailed back with the happy news that her husband was back from deployment that week and so she obviously would not be going anywhere. BUT she asked to be included once we started meeting again in fall. I would like to add that she never said “No way” or gave any verbal or nonverbal cues that I was being pesty. She just said she wished she could but was too overwhelmed. And, I get that. I saw her last week buying ballet shoes and she mentioned that she really appreciated that I and my sister in law (also with a daughter in the ballet class) had reached out to her and offered play dates and book group last year while her husband was away– she just didn’t feel comfortable accepting what she couldn’t reciprocate and her daughter was really struggling, so she didn’t feel comfortable accepting the invites. But since her DH has been back she said her daughter is a new kid and they are more than ready to take on the world. I am sad that we couldn’t have helped them out last year– because obviously they had a tough time. But I am also glad we didn’t necessarily give up, or assume that she was a snob.

  22. RE: the keeping each other in the loop thing– Its not about letting you know there are pictures tomorrow– but the little things like, “Hey– Kaylee’s mom is 100% anti-Hannah Montana, did you know? So– maybe no Hannah Montana birthday gifts.” Or, “Miss Tanya is really having a bad week, her teenager has mono.” These are little info-bites that helped me out a lot and I was glad to have them– from other WOH moms at our preschool who happened to do the pick up and got more scoop than I did (who only did drop off.) When was this info shared? If important– in an email or text. If peripheral (like the present suggestion) at a mutual play date or another birthday party.

  23. I was initially a little put off by this post (sort of along the lines of what kidsmom said). I wish that wasn’t my original reaction, and that I had focused more on the good deed aspect of it. I think it’s easy in our society today to react strongly against anything that might make us feel taken advantage of…”if I’m going to do this for you, you better be doing something for me!” type thinking. A sad way to live.On a related note, Moxie, and I don’t know how to say this without sounding bitchy, but I hope if you have problems with either of your sons’ teachers this year that you’ll air them in a slightly more respectful fashion. As a former teacher myself, I was really disappointed last year with how you spoke about the teacher you disliked. You don’t have to agree with them, but they definitely deserve a basic helping of “safe, respectful, and kind.” After you told us about your divorce I chalked it up to that being a really stressful time for you which is totally understandable. I hope you’ll keep in mind that what you say about teachers and school is influencing the attitudes of a LOT of parents out there!

  24. @MaggieO, you’re right. I shouldn’t have said anything about it. I truly do not think this teacher should be teaching any grade level, and if I’d not been in the middle of the divorce I would have brought charges against her through the Board of Ed, but I shouldn’t have put it the way I did.Do my posts sound disrespectful of teachers? I hope not. Everyone in my family is a teacher (including my mom), and one of my best friends is a NYC public school teacher. Maybe that’s why I have such a high standard for teachers.
    Hmmm. “Safe, respectful, and kind.” Again, you’re right. If I didn’t have the time and energy to pursue disciplinary action against her, I should have just kept my mouth shut. Because complaining about her on the internet didn’t actually help the kids she’s hurting.

  25. As both an introvert and a WAH mother, I’m pretty much screwed on both ends, aren’t I?Know what? I’m so afraid of reactions like Kidsmom’s that I have never, ever reached out to any of the SAH moms of my kids’ friends for anything. Never. I’m an introvert already, and I’m so afraid that any overture of mine is going to be seen as asking for some kind of special favors that I have struggled with stuff alone a lot — all the while seeing SAHMs doing for each other exactly what you accuse the working moms of asking for.
    I only work part time, and I’ve gladly done what you describe for SAHM friends – watched their kids during appointments, met their buses when they’re running late. But there’s such a Mommy War stigma against asking for that same assistance if it allows one to pursue a for-pay job that I just have not been able to do it.
    It’s hard enough, as an introvert, to walk into a PTA meeting that is a group of women who all know each other from church and are busy chatting about exactly the kind of info described above (what’s been going on in class other than the curriculum, etc). It’s harder still when they’re judging you for not participating as nuch as they do.

  26. Perhaps it’s a matter of intent: if you approach someone looking to make friends so you have an “in” with the daily doings of the school, then you are setting yourself up for failure.If your intent is to make a friend, then the rest will follow.
    Don’t hand out business cards. Write your number on a piece of construction paper, preferrably one that is a scrap from the floor.
    Most people can sniff out false fronts rather easily.
    I don’t think it is a matter of “If I do for you, whadya gonna do for me?” I think it is a matter of if you want a friend, be a friend.
    I’ll also tell you that having kids in preschool will be the easiest time to make those friends. As your kids get older, you won’t spend time in the parking lot or playground visiting with the parents. You’ll be dropping off, or handing over keys.
    Furthermore, be careful about relying on your kids to make your friends. Kids get in arguments, and then the parents don’t talk to one another.
    Ask yourself why you are wanting to be friends with the person: for that which means Friends, or for convenience?
    I don’t need a business card from a friend.

  27. Um, kidsmom, my business cards (actually I have separate personal ones since I keep my contact info separate) are ready to hand and have my email address on them–what’s wrong with a shortcut?

  28. kismom, I’ve been thinking about your posts for two days now. They just make me so sad. It seems like you must have been really hurt, and like maybe you’re not so happy with where you are in your life right now.I can’t figure out another reason that you’d post such hurtful things to a bunch of women you’ve never met, who’ve never done anything the slightest bit amiss to you. No one here has ever expressed any interest in “false fronts” or trying to somehow get something from other moms, so the fact that you’ve gotten this out of anyone’s comments is sad.
    It seems like you think that WOH moms are just jerks, across the board, waiting to use you. So business cards are a way to manipulate you, and someone who wants to know if two kids got in a fight at school or who’s collecting the raffle ticket money is somehow asking you to do something menial because she thinks you don’t work.
    In reality, I’ve missed the opportunity to connect with someone because there was no paper available one too many times, so I spent the $20 at Staples to get cards printed up with my name, email, and cell number. If I hand you my card, I can still make my train and slide into my desk chair before my boss yells at me for being late. Taking the time to find a scrounged piece of paper and borrow a pen and then write down my info in a scrawl that you might not be able to read makes it so I could get reamed out at work for being late.
    I hope that this year goes well for you, and that you find friends who fit your requirements. And that maybe you’ll see the WOH moms and realize that they are just like you, but in different circumstances. And that if your circumstances change you might be in this group that you dislike so much.
    But please don’t post attack comments that attribute bad motives to other parents here.

  29. I’ve been thinking also about the comments from kidsmom, and I wonder if there’s also a culture conflict here aside from the WOH/SAH one.What got me thinking about it was that in the note I left about handling the child with the monkey moving (disciplinary stuff at school), there was an obvious difference between the Montessori attitude (‘we’re all here to help each other even if we’re not friends’) and the standard school attitude (‘Each student is here for their own purposes and shall not be required to have any impact on any other student.’) It is the mutuality/group-effect vs the linearity of purpose culture.
    They can both be misused – for example, if a child is asked to be a teacher for another child or a teacher’s aide WHEN THIS IS NOT ASKED OF ALL KIDS, then you’ve got a problem. This is where the gifted kids get stuck, being asked to help others rather than learn stuff themselves – in a linear class structure (teacher-to-student line), that group-effect/mutuality application is not appropriate, because it asks specifically more of certain people by nature of their checklist of qualities. If you’re in a mutuality school, a child NOT helping another is just plain rude, and is coached out because everyone is expected to help everyone, just because that’s an appropriate thing to do, and it is also a given that it is a useful skill, and that it cements other skills.
    here, on this site, we’re pretty heavy on the mutuality thing. We each help each not because we need to be friends but because this is what we believe – that if we each lighten the load for someone else, to our best ability, we will all gain. It’s good parental citizenship, on Moxie’s planet.
    However, I can also see that in some school systems, the setup and expectations are vastly different. My child is here to learn what they can learn, and I do not need to look left or right and I do not expect them to look left or right, either. It is a one-way street and we don’t encourage pedestrians on our area of the road. PLEASE do not cross against the light, I will run you over and then we’ll both be unhappy. That’s how a lot of school communities run – the friendships are entirely separate. I’ve encountered people who said outright that they’d dump over their friendship to get their kid a prime spot (convincing a teacher to swap students so their kid is in a better class but by doing so placing a friend’s child at a disadvantage… everyone look out for yourself, pretty much), so it can get ugly if the culture is right (or wrong, really). But it can also work reasonably well for many parents, as they just plug themselves into the program, attend to the teachers but not the other parents, don’t bother about community building except where it already exists (or where it occurs as an extension of their decision to be involved in the classroom For My Child’s Benefit).
    So, it is possible that this is where kidsmom is coming from – every parent has only any authority or responsibility for themselves and their child, period. In that system, without an assumption of mutuality, it IS an excess burden to ask for help, because nobody is expecting any help back, and they never would consider asking for it, because it is just assumed that it isn’t available. Period.
    Swapping from Montessori to standard public is a lot like that. Now, we’re not in standard public anyway, but close enough… and the methodology is ‘make friends first, then see what the friendship brings in the way of insider information’. BUT, fortunately, the intentional overture of help for someone who might be struggling or not have access went over very well – with the teacher, anyway. At the same time, it was seen as highly unusual. Parents don’t just try to help each other out, around here, not just because the other person might need or want help in return.
    I still prefer the old school way – the assumption that my child will of course be teaching your child, coaching or leading or guiding in a skill they have mastered. And your child will of course be helping or teaching another child, just as my child was helped, taught, coached by others, and sometimes back and forth, and sometimes only down the age/grade levels… but the mutuality is a given, the responsibility for others simply because we CAN help, the willingness to reach out and not wait to be asked, to recognize when another might struggle and be willing to hold out a hand for them to grab onto – even if just once… that’s why I’m here. That’s what makes things good here. Someone struggles, and a dozen hands come out to steady them through the rough patch. I might never lean on that same person, but I will definitely lean on someone. It’s NON-random acts of kindness. Intentional helping hands, as an act of grace, kindness, respect, consideration, or even just plain manners. And it is a culture I’ll support any day of the week.
    Not that anyone is reading at this point. But it is possible that having come from the one culture, on the surface the expectations and actions of the other culture do.not.compute. – the motivations cannot be fathomed, so they are assigned to the only logical reasoning – that it is just another way to get ahead on my own personal track for my own child, with the least cost to me.
    So, kidsmom, if you’re still reading – any truth there? Because yes, I think you’ve been burned, and badly. But maybe your comments are just a reflection of a different culture (even though within the US culture, I suspect – where that culture of ‘every man for himself’ crossed with a clique approach (‘my friends are my friends first, everyone else can sink or swim on their own’) means anyone asking for help without first becoming part of the established clique/friend-group is suspect of being an emotional drain and resource leech.

  30. (Note, if you’re in one of the linearity-of-process schools, you CAN still work the culture toward mutuality, but expect to be noticed while you do so… and wear your ethical position on your sleeve openly, because motivations will be assigned if they’re not stated outright.)

  31. “Don’t stop believing, ever. I was a swimmer as a kid, and my sister and I would play in the pool and pretend we were at the Olympics. I got there—I just did it with a sport change. Be flexible and go for it!”— Caroline Lind, rowing

  32. It’s difficult for me to go and talk to poeple I don’t know.. I’m introvert and a little shy..But I want my son to have friends and learn to be a little bit different from me in that aspect.
    That’s way I went to some of Moxies’ meetings.. Myson is 26 months and very friendly.. It is good for him.

  33. Also love the Pink. Hadn’t really given her much of a litsen, as she’s not my style really, until Maggie used it for the Year Two video for Violence Unsilenced, of which I was a part. Went out and bought her Greatest Hits CD that day and it has been the driving soundtrack when the family takes a road trip since that day . . .Twitter Name:

  34. everyone looked surprised, they thought Cheap Air Jordans Man spotted belly 100,000 troops on the mountain, want to get 100,000 troops to achieve this goal, in the chaotic? Li a place on the planet, but, Wang Cheap Air Jordans ‘s require large out they were expecting. Cheap Air Jordans secretly smile, in fact, anxious to get these thousands of troops, and determined to win, but, with their understanding of the nature of some difference in terminology, in the final analysis, all aimed , requires that they willingly, not under the agreement in force. the crowd because Cheap Air Jordans does not show the strength of the people immediately believe the contrary, their eyes reveal the suspect is not difficult to imagine that there is not that a slave state, but the entire ? Li planet, nor is it an era, but for generations to come, because they experienced the pain of being a slave, the heart is extremely annoying that they are slaves, hate what they become slaves and aristocrats, like the wild days Sen positions so that the liberation of slaves in the Mountain Man belly is already very great, but they never thought to liberate all the slaves, Heaven has hundreds of thousands of troops were able to use Belly Man into fierce mountain terrain to reach the dragon the two countries do nothing, but he would not dare to attack a nearby town, and their shortage of troops, not to mention a country, of course, the whole? Li slaves on the planet that is more impossible, and would like to have not thought about. Cheap Air Jordans said management is now the world’s slaves, they understand what it means, that is, all countries with the world and against the nobility, on their belly Mountain Man this force, attack a town is hard, even as the capture of a town but also how, can be indifferent watching those noble slaves occupied the city, looked at them helplessly, of course, impossible, would discredit, this is all noble things, not that a state of things. easing their stress, wild days of storage Sen said: impressive, however

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