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.