Every now and then, I have lunch with one or two mothers whose children are Caitlin's peers at school. We see one another at school when we are there to pick up our kids and chat a bit while we wait. Recently, we came up with the idea of lunching together as and when we're able since we are around the school vicinity at about the same time. It is a good change from having to eat leftovers at home, eating in the car while waiting, or eating alone outside. And there are relatively nice and affordable 'makan' places in the school neighbourhood.
Connecting with other mothers is good when the mothers are of the same wavelength and have healthy conversations. We can share parenting ideas and tips and encourage one another along our rollercoaster journey as parents. It works when the mothers are open to one another's opinions, and have no-holds-barred discussions and banter. It is fun when we can just let loose and spill out whatever is on our minds and let the conversation jump randomly from one topic to another - about life in general, current news and happenings around us, children, parenting, food, cooking and 'women' stuff. We can learn from one another when we approach conversations positively and objectively.
It is not healthy when conversations are one-sided, with one more-talkative person dominating and steering the discussion. It is not healthy when the mothers start comparing notes about their kids with the intention to feel 'one up' and put others down. That is so 'kiasu'. It is also not healthy when mothers get together to gossip about other parents or children, or complain about the school and teachers unconstructively. I simply feel uncomfortable when around such mothers. I don't like it when mothers ask me questions about my kid, or what she's learning at school or outside, and then clam up after I share my info with them. It feels like they are 'processing' the info and forming judgmental opinions and keeping it to themselves. Yuks.