I’m totally a fan of mom dating.
It might sound absurd – I sure thought so a few years ago. But not anymore.
It all started last summer when a newly-acquired mom friend invited me and the kids on an outing to the zoo. While she toted her baby girl, I wore Speedy and corralled Zoom as we wandered through the grounds. That was the day it clicked: mom dating is a thing.
And if you’re a mom, it’s something you should be doing.
As much as I liked to think my friendships wouldn’t change once I started having kids, I was glaringly wrong. The dynamic changes in even the deepest friendships. A lot.
There’s no more “I’m free all day!” because my schedule is dictated by miniature tyrants.
With a hyperactive boy, meeting at coffee shops (or anywhere involving sitting down, being relatively quiet or not decimating everything in sight) is a thing of the past.
And checking the weather actually matters — no more hiking on rainy days, snowshoeing in snow storms or riding horses in tornado-like winds.
All of that isn’t even considering the amount of stuff I have to carry to go anywhere. For a woman who normally loathes toting a small purse, carrying around a diaper bag, stroller and baby carriers is just plain insanity. All just to have a little bit of conversation fragmented by constant parenting.
As I’m jotting this down, part of my brain is even wondering “Is mom dating worth it? Can’t we just stay home?”
And the other part is screaming, “No! No we can’t!”
But why mom dating?
I’ve got three reasons. Consider these with me:
As an introvert, I don’t normally have an issue with seclusion. But there’s something very special about the seclusion we experience as new moms: there’s a whole lot of it. Enough to push even this extreme introvert into finding an outlet of some kind. To *gasp* want to see other people.
I gotta be honest, I get bored. Pretty easily.
And I used to feel guilty about it, which I admitted to my older sisters and mother of 4. She rolled her eyes – in the loving way only a sister can – and coined it perfectly for me: raising babies is tiring, but not necessarily mentally stimulating.
I can color only so many dinosaurs, build so many block towers (that are instantly knocked down) or play with toy trucks in the sand so much before I need another outlet. This isn’t bad, it’s actually necessary.
That boredom drives me to break away and make time to use my special talents and gifts. In the meantime, my kid gets a break from me and gets interaction with other playmates. Win-win.
Community is synonymous with support. Even though making new friends can be incredibly awkward, having some kind of community is so incredibly necessary.
I love getting together with other like-minded moms. I think I get half my parenting ideas from them, and nothing tops the relief I feel when I share a personal struggle and they say “I’ve been there, I get it.”
So we branch out to the big ocean and try to find other fish in the sea.
All I gotta say is: thank goodness for local “mom and baby” activities. I’m talking things like story time at the library, mall play-places, playgrounds and even community bible studies with childcare. Those are great places to get to know other moms on a semi-surface level (because really, I’ve never been to one of those things without intimate subjects like labor and delivery coming up in the conversation) before committing to “an actual” date.
And in the big world of dating, here’s one of my favorite perks to mom dating: I don’t have to dress up. And because I’m hauling around two kids, I’m actually less put together than usual. Even though it can be a little uncomfortable, it’s also rewarding because there are no fronts – new people get to see me in the middle of my mess.
Mom dating can be scary, but totally worth it.
I get it, it’s tough. Just like dating men, there’s a certain amount of effort and finesse required to find that magical relationship. But in this case the magic happens when you like each other, your schedules align just right and your kids play (relatively) well together.
That may sound like a lot; even though it takes persistence and vulnerability, don’t let it intimidate you. Frankly, if you can handle an outing while multitasking young children, being social with another parent, and you still like each other at the end, they are a friend worth keeping.
And all kidding aside, being a mom is hard enough. Sometimes we just need someone to meet us in the middle of our mess, look us in the eye without judgement and just say, “I get it.”
Maybe today, you get to be that person.