“On Wednesdays We Wear Pink” :: My Thoughts on Mom Cliques

PMJI moved to New Orleans in 2008, not knowing anyone but my husband. I met a few of his co-workers, but I had no friends or family to hang out with. I quickly found out the difficulty of making friends in New Orleans. I was considered an outsider because I had no idea why people were asking me, “Where did you go to school?” I mean why would anyone care where I went to high school? But in New Orleans this question is standard fare. It helps place you in a certain clique. I felt left out because I didn’t have a proper answer about high school and I didn’t know anyone. I felt like I didn’t fit in. I was a Jersey girl trying to adapt to a Southern city with totally different customs, traditions and way of life. It took a while, but I soon found a job and some friends who accepted me even though I wasn’t a native. Then I had a baby. Navigating new motherhood is hard enough. But then at some point you realize you actually never left high school and the cliquishness that existed then is still around now.

I found out quickly that when I went back to work, I would never be able to participate in all the awesome activities and music classes that started at 10:00am. I tried to join a playgroup but realized that they only met during the hours I was at work. I asked about weekend meet-ups, but I was dismissed. The Parenting Center was also for the stay-at-home crowd. I tried making mom friends at the park, but everyone already seemed to know each other. Here I was, feeling like the new girl in high school. It wasn’t until I met another working mom, who also happened to live a block away and had a son in my daughter’s class, that I made another mom friend. Alas, this was short-lived as she recently moved away. We remain friends, and my daughter still asks for, “my Max.” But it means that I have one less friend in town.

When my daughter turned 2 she started in a new school. I was just as excited as she was about the opportunity to meet new friends. But once again, this felt like breaking into a clique. I was not a legacy at this school, and I wasn’t from this city. I also work full-time, which makes me less accessible than if I was home all day and able to schedule after school activities. I learned that you become friends with the parents of  your child’s friends. Thankfully, the majority of these ladies also worked. Playdates were scheduled for Friday evenings or the weekend. We went out for ladies nights. We Facebook friended each other. We texted and talked and became a group. I’m not sure at what point it was, but I POArealized I was part of a clique. There were people being left out, and I didn’t want people to intentionally be excluded. I decided to reach out to other moms I didn’t know as well and make an effort to include them in activities. Some were open to this gesture but others were not as receptive. And, that is alright.

These days, I find myself hanging out with a nice group of ladies. Some are from my daughter’s school. Others are from the neighborhood. There are friends I see only at the park, where our children have played together since they were small. I am still not a true New Orleanian, as I will never have a good answer as to where I went to school, and I probably won’t ever join the Junior League (just not my thing). But with my friends, we have started some great traditions. Friday nights in the Spring are for playing in the backyard with neighbors while the moms have a chance to catch up. Random afternoons off mean I can take both kids to the Parenting Center with some other moms from my daughter’s school. There are times where I still feel left out of the “cool mom” clique. But I’m confident in the network of friends that I’ve built. And if someone doesn’t think I am good enough for their group, then that is their loss.

Did you move to New Orleans? Do you find it hard to make friends?

23 Responses to “On Wednesdays We Wear Pink” :: My Thoughts on Mom Cliques

  1. carla g April 11, 2014 at 9:13 am #

    I hear ya! I currently have zero local friends. I didn’t grow up here since I am an Army brat, but my family is from Baton Rouge. After graduating high school in Germany, I moved to the Baton Rouge area. I have/had friends there that I met through awesome playgroups, but I haven’t had the same luck down here. I’ve tried to make friends in playgroups here, but they all have established cliques and there is no breaking in when you are shy and reserved like myself. I live all the way in Kenner and most playgroups I’ve found all meet in the city. Since I don’t work, I can’t even meet moms that way.

    • Myndee April 11, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

      I do hope you’ll consider coming to our next family event (or mom’s night)- check your emails for updates because I would LOVE to meet you. I live in Jefferson Parish too, and don’t venture to the city too often, so I totally know what you mean. I hope to see you soon. 🙂

    • Ashley September 23, 2014 at 11:32 pm #

      i hear Ya! I’m on the westbank but we just put an offer on a house in Kenner.

  2. Lisa April 11, 2014 at 9:25 am #

    Great post. I’ve found the issue more complex as I moved here with a then 20 month old. I work at home too so getting out and meeting others has been extremely difficult. Then when you do meet people, finding similar interests, etc! Not so easy

  3. Jessie April 11, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    I had some of those same encounters and experiences.

    Fantastic photo, by the way. 🙂

  4. Emily April 11, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    Hi Megan! The family and I just secured our rental for June and we’re just a couple of blocks from Danneel Park. :). Hope to run into you sometime!

  5. Megan Albritton April 11, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    Emily- Hope to run into you there! I usually don’t get there during the week until later afternoon. On weekends, its usually morning. If you see me, please introduce yourself.

    Jessie- I didn’t think you would mind. 🙂

    Glad I’m not the only one who has gone through this.

  6. Jessica April 11, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    I completely get it. And I’m a native. I’ve held on to the same group of friends since hs; some have children, some do not. I’ve made new friends through school and NOMB. Despite my best efforts to invite to things all the time I think the day to day busy life and social media makes it really easy to forget the in person communication. And frankly, it’s lonely.

  7. Carrie April 11, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    I am from here and I still feel lonely sometimes. This is such a friendly city it makes me sad to hear the moms out there who are lonely too. I feel like other moms are constantly judging me, probably because I read too many mom blogs and things like “what you should never say to a special needs mom” that sometimes I clam up. Going to a church is a great place to find a sense of community and make some new friends. It’s free!

    The giant birthday party trend is also a great way to make new mom friends, assuming your child is in daycare or preschool. I have become closer with other moms just by seeing them at birthday parties, but it does take time.

  8. Jane April 11, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

    I just moved from Long Island to New Orleans in October, and truth be told I haven’t even tried to make new friends yet because it just seems too daunting. I too have experienced the push out when I take my 2 1/2 year old son to the park.

  9. Tricia April 11, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

    I know how you feel. I have a teenager and two more wonderful little boys at home. I live in the Slidell area and have lived here for 8 years. It’s so true and so hard to fit in I struggle with this every day. I have met some really wonderful people , but I never seem to quite fit in to their kind of groups. Not feeling sorry for myself just haven’t found my nitch.

  10. Stephanie Galliano April 11, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    I live in Metairie and wish there were more playgroups out here. I’d go “all the way to Kenner” but I rarely hang out in the city. I’m also not a morning person so 9am meet ups make me cringe. I know what you mean about the cliques. I’m from NOLA but I don’t subscribe to the city life as I don’t find it as family friendly and affordable.

  11. Jamie April 11, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

    I am local and I have a great group of friends that I grew up with but when it comes to being friends with the parents of the kids at my son’s school. I have felt left out because a few things. I am single mom and I had my son when I was really young so a majority of his school mates parents a good 10 year older than me. I think it is more of the age gap between myself and the parents because when they were graduating high school, I was 8 years old. But I always reach out to parents and try to be the first one to say hello. Sometimes I get accepted and sometimes I get rebuffed but I have learned my not to take the rejections personally because in the end there is nothing I can do about it.

    But I really wonder if it is just a thing with people with children? Like are we more judgmental of other mothers and less likely to let them into our circle of friends?

    I feel like I meet single people who a new to NOLA and have no problem making friends. Obviously they don’t have the time constraints and trying to find a baby sitter.

  12. Andie April 14, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    Megan, kudos to you for writing this. you know my feelings on this! You already know this, but I’m glad we’re friends! 🙂

  13. Lena G April 14, 2014 at 11:48 am #

    I’m also originally from NJ and have many of the same issues with scheduling. While I had been down here for some time before having my little guy and had made some friends prior to that, I’ve been trying to find more interaction for D and having a lot of trouble because I work full time. He doesn’t go to daycare because his dad works nights, and we do have some friends with kids who we try to schedule regular playdates with. But larger groups, moms day/night out, playgroups, Parenting Center, etc. just don’t seem accessible to a working mom.

  14. Susan April 15, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

    I am from here but live on the westbank. I to struggle with making friends as I work full time. I wish there were playground that would meet in the evenings or weekends and not always uptown

  15. Anu July 7, 2014 at 5:26 am #

    We just moved here 1 month ago. I knew one other family here who is also from our Midwest city. My two daughters are older – a teen and a tween. The teen who will be a freshman this fall mentioned about the cliques from middle school and how hard it is for her to break into it. And she sees that I also struggle with meeting and making friends coz I too work full-time. People at woke are great but not many moms there and none with my kids age… But despite that, I do like New Orleans! I haven’t encountered any “where did you go to school” …. Maybe coz I look so out of place it’s a given that I’m not from around here!

  16. Kristin B. July 7, 2014 at 6:35 pm #

    Great article! I moved to NOLA from Alabama in 2010 with my husband and our then 9 month old daughter, not knowing anyone else. As a stay at home mom I had no idea how I would ever make friends. I was lucky enough to find a playgroup at a local church and have met some great ladies through that. That group keeps expanding and I have made some great friends! I now find myself in the dilemma of where to send my daughter to school. I don’t have much to go on because all of my friends are in New Orleans, and we now live in Metairie. I read another article on this site talking about the exact same thing. It can be confusing and overwhelming.

  17. Cali mommy August 28, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

    Thank you for posting this- I’ve been feeling really left out of my mothers club lately. I joined the board, volunteer my time– but I’m still not a part of the cool mom club. They post pics on FB of extra events they do on the side 1:1 or they all get together for drinks or someone’s birthday and I am never invited. I asked my husband what he thought it was and he said the only thing he could thing of is that I am younger, and better looking (nice hubby)– but I don’t know…I think I’m dive trying to figure it out after reading your article and will start to build new relationships on my own. So, thank you.

  18. mindy September 24, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

    I have been here since July 3rd. And between work and 4 kids haven’t had time to meet anyone, especially when I have older kids girls age 12 and 11 and then the youngest a boy 2 1/2. We spend our weekends at Lafreniere Park or the zoo.. or just being lazy at home. We moved here from Dallas. I work where my toddler goes to school and it seems most of the moms are stay at home or come from money so I feel I have no connection bc I am not either. We live paycheck to pay check and with 4 kids even I cheap outing gets expensive quick.

  19. Rebecca March 3, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

    Megan,

    I work during the day, too, and found that it was hard to make it to many of the mommy events around town. My friend and I started Sleepy Mom, a mommy group that meets in the evenings. We have a great group of moms and we would love to have you (any any other moms out there) at our meet-ups. Our next meeting is March 31st at 6:00 pm at La Petite Tea Room in Metairie. Check us out on Facebook for more info!

  20. wattage March 3, 2016 at 10:05 pm #

    I’m also a Jersey transplant! I’ve also encountered the cliquish attitude described but, in my experience, it seems pretty localized to Uptown. Don’t take it too personal… entitled snobs aren’t known for their friendliness, New Orleans no less than, say, the Upper East Side.

  21. Sonya March 7, 2016 at 12:52 am #

    so true! I moved here in 2009 & found it hard just as hard to meet new friends at 35 with no kids. We moved to NS in 2012 & now have 2 kids & still only have a few mom friends!!
    Love your articles & would love to run into in NOLA!

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