In-frikkin’-visible

by doodaddy on May 6, 2008

ThePlay

Please, if you would, imagine the rest of this post in a sportscaster voice.

Yesterday’s playground snub was so complicated it needs one of those football play diagrams.

I ran into a mom today, someone I’d met only once at a market months ago. (We’ll call her “Mom A” — start at the upper left of the diagram.)

When I first met Mom A she seemed like a true stay-at-home mom, in the sense that she rarely left the house. I would go batshit crazy if I didn’t get Boo out of the house every day, so I encouraged her to come to the playground with us, but she demurred and we never connected afterward.

Fast forward to yesterday: Mom A is not only a confident park-goer but they have a huge circle of friends. Mom A rounds up her peeps and brings them over to meet her friendly stay-at-home dad friend. (Notice how happy I am in the picture! Surrounded by moms and kids!)

I feel like I’m totally holding my own in this housemom conversation. I nod appreciatively at pregnancy stories. I toss in wry, humorous observations. I share raisins. I get that feeling so rare for me at the playground of being, y’know, included.

Then, and right in front of me, the ladies start planning a beach playdate. At first I think, “Wow, they’re already including me in their circle!” Soon, though, it becomes clear that I’m not invited. I suppose it doesn’t occur to them that I am sitting right there, another at-home parent in the market for daytime activities. But remember the old rule not to invite people to something in the presence of people who aren’t invited? Well, they didn’t.

It was the dads of mystery who anti-invited me to something last time. And just like that time, I don’t think the omission was malicious — more like I’m not even there to invite.

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in sadness,surrounded by mommies ·

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

mep May 6, 2008 at 5:41 am

Thanks for the helpful diagram but so sorry about the snub. I have become obsessed with trying to understand why a group of women whose children (the same age as my child) have been taking the same park district classes as mine for two years now seemingly refuse to acknowledge my existence. I’ve made all the overtures I can — How old is she? Oh, I love that little shirt! When is your second due? and etc., but I literally get one-word answers in return.

The thing is I know that I am cool and fun to be around. Really.

Now I am convinced I don’t want to be friends with them, but the attempt to draw one of these moms into conversation has become a sort of social experiment.

Perhaps Mom A is a Doodaddy reader?

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GoaldeeBug May 6, 2008 at 6:12 am

Oh, dear God, that’s appaulling! I cannot believe that they could be so damned callous.

What’s their problem?

Sheesh! 🙁

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cryitout May 6, 2008 at 8:07 am

You’ve got to be kidding me!

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Jane Huber May 6, 2008 at 9:08 am

I have had the exact same thing happen to me over and over at the playground. Just like mep says — I have tried to break the ice and say nice things about their kids, etc., with minimal, at best, results.

I don’t understand it at all. Some of these moms won’t even make eye contact!

Who knew having a child would be like a trip back in time to high school….

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Xbox4NappyRash May 6, 2008 at 9:39 am

you should just turn up, in your trunks.

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doodaddy May 6, 2008 at 10:16 am

Not a bad thought… except it was at a private beach club one of them belongs to. I’d probably get tossed in the brig.

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sugarplumsmom May 6, 2008 at 10:28 am

That is just so shitty… I’m amazed at the complete lack of social skills people seem to have.. what the hell?

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doodaddy May 6, 2008 at 11:15 am

Thanks. Although it strikes me that in all these social interactions where I come off under someone’s shoe… the common factor is me.

Hmmm…

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Audubon Ron May 6, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Hey know what, forget those females man, let’s go fishing and they can’t come.

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Jonathon Morgan May 6, 2008 at 6:43 pm

LAME. I’m still surprised at how standoffish moms are at the park. Maybe it’s because whenever someone speaks to me I’m so overwhelmed that I become ridiculously effusive. 🙂

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doodaddy May 6, 2008 at 7:20 pm

I have a goofy response, too. Maybe that does explain a lot…

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Ophelia Rising May 6, 2008 at 8:18 pm

I’m sorry that you had to endure that. It’s awful to feel invisible.

I will never, for the life of me, figure out why people snub others – especially parents. I’ve had my share of snubbery (is that a word? I don’t think so) from other moms, and it ain’t pretty.

Wish we could meet at the playground. I think we’d be great friends! 🙂

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doodaddy May 6, 2008 at 9:04 pm

The weird thing is, I don’t think it was an intentional snub… they were just not really thinking of me as being there.

Which maybe is worse…

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Vini May 6, 2008 at 10:28 pm

Did you ever think that they may be self conscious about their body especially in front of a man. If this is a beach/bikini thing then they most likeley don’t want a guy checking out their mommy bodies. They probably are self conscious in front of their own men. So, don’t take it too personal.

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doodaddy May 6, 2008 at 10:36 pm

Hee, hee. Northern California beach days are usually long-sleeved affairs. Apart from open-toed shoes, I wouldn’t be witness to any forbidden flesh! Besides, that wouldn’t make it OK to talk about in front of me… Interesting thought, though!

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Kelley May 7, 2008 at 3:26 am

You just experienced high school girls. Some of those biatches never EVER grow up.

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Jessica May 9, 2008 at 2:00 pm

I’m sorry. You are totally right in that they were probably not meaning anything ill toward you they just didn’t get it.

I bet if they were to read this they would feel like total heals when the light bulb came on.

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Erin May 12, 2008 at 1:00 pm

Hi – new reader here! I’m sorry this happened to you – but I really don’t think it’s because you’re a dad. I’ve been on both the inside and the outside of these mom’s groups, and the dynamics are sometimes very complex! I think that, after introductions and small talk were exchanged, it’s unrealistic to expect these busy moms not to continue to discuss and schedule events as they normally would just because you happened to be there. You could have been a little more assertive (“Hey, we love Beach X!”), or privately asked Mom A later if you could tag along. But mostly, I think you could recognize that for most of the moms, you were likely seen there as “Mom A’s friend” and they wouldn’t presume to invite you outright without clearing it with her first. Weird, I know.

I hope you will forgive the group this one-time snub and try and get to know some of them. I bet you will find that though they may sometimes forget their manners, they are actually very nice and willing to make new friends!

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doodaddy May 12, 2008 at 2:47 pm

I totally get that you make certain invitations to your own group only — I do the same thing, natch! — but right in front of other people? That’s tacky no matter what my gender… at least, y’know, wait until I step away or something!

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creative-type dad May 12, 2008 at 3:00 pm

Wow, it’s like Jr. Hight all over again.

By the way – nice diagram

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doodaddy May 12, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Thanks! I never wanted to play football, but I always wanted to be the coach, drawing all those cool lines. I also liked Venn diagrams — I would make them for fun.

Freak, I know.

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