I am The Invisible Mom

I’m standing here again to pick up my son from school at the end of the day. Except I’m looking around from the outside, in. I’m here everyday, yet I know no one. I quietly watch all the other parents chat, laugh and make plans. I’m always observing, and hoping someone notices me, except not really. I wouldn’t know what to say if someone did, and my words would fail me, like usual. And I hate it. 

All my life I’ve been that shy kid.

The one who got called on in class and then would completely freeze. I always thought it would get better as I got older. And it did, kind of, but not really. I’ve always been the outsider, watching safely from a distance. But, I’ve always wanted to be the one who gets in there and is carefree and outgoing, but I just can’t. I’m awkward, and quiet. No matter how hard I try, or don’t try. Things never really change. And even though I know all this, it’s never easy, even today.

Before having kids, my crippling shy-ness only affected me. It was something I hated, but I just dealt with it the best I could. And I always thought that once I became a mom, things would get socially easier for me. Moms just naturally become friends with one another and we all live happily ever after, right? Well, to no surprise, that’s not true.

And making “mom” friends, or hell, any friends in general, only seems to get harder for me, the older I get. Now, not only am I trying to make friends by having people like me, I’m also trying to get them to like my crazy kid too. 

A few months ago, I went to an event where I was going to have to mingle with a lot of people I didn’t know well: aka my nightmare. Beforehand, I was stressing out. My fears must have been pretty transparent, because when I came home that evening, my 6 year son sweetly said to me, “Mama, how did it go? Did you make some new friends?” I started tearing up and told him “yes.” But in reality, it was awful. I stood around awkwardly trying to start conversations, but ended up quietly leaving while fighting back tears. Just another failed experiment to put on the books. And my confidence takes a little hit each time. 

This event was especially painful, because it was the first time I realized that even my young son can see how hard I struggle with making friends. I felt foolish and weak. Which are things no mom ever wants to feel. I want to be seen as a strong and confident woman, especially to my 2 young boys. And I hate knowing that no matter how hard I try, I can’t change how awkward I am. Will my kids be embarrassed of me some day? Is my social awkwardness now affecting them too?

invisible mom

School pickup has become a daily reminder of my shortcomings.

It’s like a little bit of torture I have to live out every day. I’m usually in the back corner, watching everyone and wondering if people actually do see me? Am I this invisible mom that I think I am? Surely, no one would notice if I wasn’t there, because I haven’t formed any relationships with these parents I see every day. And I know what you’re thinking: “Why don’t you just go up to someone and say hi?” Well, I have tried time and time again. Some people have endured the awkward small talk with me (bless their souls) and others have flat out ignored me. Rejection wears on a person, especially introverts. I feel like I’m forever the “new kid.” People I’m around every day don’t know me at all, but they see me around a lot. I’m always struggling to connect with these people I don’t know. 

So, here I am. The invisible mom.

And I’m here to tell you that: yes, I am quiet and awkward and I keep to myself. But, you shouldn’t interpret that as me being “mean” or “stuck up” (both things people have assumed about me before talking to me) I want you to know that if I give you a one-word answer, it’s not because I’m uninterested, I’m probably desperately thinking of a million things to say in my mind, but none of those things are forming into actual sentences. And now I’m sweating.

But, I am real, not invisible. I am struggling. 

Photo Credit :: The Nesting Tree Photography & Family Films

I know I’ll never be outgoing and I try to be ok with that. But it’s hard, and it’s painful to look back on all the prospective new friends I’ve encountered and inadvertently turned off. It’s embarrassing to admit that I’m still nervous to talk to people, even though I’m a 30-something grown up who owns her own business, and should be better at this by now. I just hope that my kids can someday see that even though I’m an awkward mess, I still go out into the world every day and try. I try, even though I know I’m likely going to fail. And even though my failures are embarrassing, I always am able to laugh at myself. That’s gotta count for something, right?

So, if you see me out in public, and I’m adjusting my glasses like a huge nerd, and I look like I’ll probably pee myself if you talk to me. Just know that I’m nervous as hell, but I swear I’m a really funny and cool-ish mom. And if you’d like to listen, I have some hilarious stories to tell about all my adventures in the world of being an awkward and invisible mom.

, , ,

8 Responses to I am The Invisible Mom

  1. Lori June 28, 2017 at 8:47 am #

    Great post! Thanks for sharing this deeply personal story, which I’m sure wasn’t easy. I wish I could have read it years ago when my boys were younger (now 17 and 20), so I would have known I wasn’t the only one feeling this way 😉

    • Tara Scheuerman
      Tara Scheuerman July 2, 2017 at 1:43 pm #

      Thanks Lori ❤️

  2. Lindsay Brewer June 28, 2017 at 11:07 am #

    Let’s be awkward and funny together! I live in Greenfield near Hales Corners! And I’m so painfully shy and I hate small talk lol. Talking to school moms is so hard!

    • Tara Scheuerman
      Tara Scheuerman July 2, 2017 at 1:47 pm #

      Awesome!!! I too hate small talk and feel as though it should be banned 🤔 But yes, I live in muskego, which isn’t too far at all! I always joke,(but also not really joke) that there should be a support group for shy awkward moms, where we can all just get together and embrace our awkwardness. 😬

  3. Rachel June 28, 2017 at 9:54 pm #

    I feel this way too very often! I hate small talk (cause I suck at it) and often feel like an idiot when trying to make friends with parents of my kids friends. Thanks for this insightful and honest post! Refreshing to know others struggle. Kudos to you for sharing.

  4. Janis July 1, 2017 at 8:03 am #

    As the mom who is probably literally the polar opposite of you (I actually go up to complete strangers on the daily and say hello), can I offer one possibility (it may not work, depending on your school / your time / your lifestyle)? Join the PTO/PTA. Don’t try to run for president, or do anything crazy like be the chair of a giant dance or party, just ask if/how you can volunteer. There are many little things that need doing, and are a great ice breaker for mingling with just a few folks at a time. There’s box top to cut and count, home rooms to collect things from, endless meetings discussing the new school T shirt design… I personally feel more able to connect with people if I have a job to do (like man the drink counter at a school PTO function). This may not work for your levels of personal comfort, and this may not in any way be something you’re down with, just wanted to toss it out there <3

    • Tara Scheuerman
      Tara Scheuerman July 2, 2017 at 1:49 pm #

      Thanks Janis! That’s a great suggestion and I should definitely try to volunteer more. I’ve done a little in the past, but probably not enough.

  5. April July 2, 2017 at 8:04 am #

    I feel the same way! I feel I’m the only one who doesn’t know the other parents at my son’s school!! And at social events it’s so hard to talk to other parents- I’ve never been good at small talk!

Leave a Reply

HTML Snippets Powered By : XYZScripts.com