Making “mom friends”, a lot like dating

Remember in grade school when friendship meant exchanging those broken heart “best friends” necklaces or friendship bracelets? I can’t tell you how many “best friends forever” (BFF) jewelry I’ve swooned over, over the years. I’ve collected a few friendship tokens and trinkets in my time.

In the mom-eat-mom (and leftover kids’ meals) world, these outward displays of friendship still exist in a way. Isn’t collecting BFF jewelry similar to amassing “Friends” and “Followers” on social media? The more you have of something, e.g. friends or likes, the better you feel.

Making “mom friends” and “friend friends” is a lot like dating. You look for a connection with someone. Then, you’ve found her. Or so you think. You hit it off. Your kids hit it off. She seems to accept you and your children. Your values are aligned. Your parenting styles are in sync. Your children eat and drink the same things. Your children have the same nap schedules. Your children enjoy the same activities. And so you exchange numbers. But you don’t want to appear overeager. So you play the waiting game and don’t text her right away. What if she wonders why you’re so available?

You go out for the first time and those “butterflies in the stomach” feel more like bats. But eventually, maybe around the third or fourth playdate, the jitters wear off and you become cozy and comfortable with one another. I always say, if you can make it past playdate number three, then you’re in.

Will You Go Out With Me?

Remember in grade school when dating meant answering “yes” to the question: “will you go out with me?” – even if you’d never actually go anywhere. You might get a handwritten note (e.g. looseleaf paper or an Origami fortune teller) left in your desk from yours truly, a verbal query from a messenger as you exit the bathroom, or a landline phone call from a friend of a friend.

For every mom who goes out with her mom friend(s), there’s a mom who doesn’t actually go anywhere. I’m sure some mom friends do go out to the local coffee shop, diner, library, nature center, playground, zoo, etc. But it’s more fun to talk about going out than to actually go out, I say (and every other introvert). Maybe you do want to meet up, but your playdate plans, no matter how well intentioned, just fall through.

The grade school me hasn’t changed much from the stay-at-home mom (SAHM)/stay-in-bed mom (SIBM) me. Most of the time I don’t actually want to go out. But I like to be asked. Sometimes it’s too much effort to pack up the kids. I know socializing with others is good for me and good for my children. But, it’s so much easier to stay in bed.

What Should I Wear?

Mom dating adds a layer to wardrobing. You not only have to dress yourself; you have to dress your children too. I find it’s easier to dress my son than daughter. He simply needs a top and a bottom. His shirt can be rumpled, his hair crumpled. My daughter, on the other hand, is expected to wear a coordinated “outfit”, something girly. For those times I’m feeling lazy, I put a bow on her. It’s agony, at least for me, deciding what the family should wear out.

The effort required to assemble an ensemble for the playdate is just too much. Do I really have to put pants on for this? Never mind, that I wear the same thing on the bottom regardless of whether or not I want to “dress to impress”. The bottom of the outfit is almost always the same: black leggings, what I affectionately refer to as my SAHM uniform. There are rare times when I switch it up and wear jeans. The wash on the jeans is almost always no wash. The embellishments are almost always stamped on Cheerios (known in my house as “choo choo”). If I wear jeans out, than you or the occasion must be very special – or it’s laundry day!

It can be tricky dressing for your mom friends. You don’t want to dress too nice in case you make the other mom(s) feel bad. You want to look like you tried, but not that hard. What do you want your outfit to say about you? How will your outfit reveal the mom type or persona you wish to project to other moms?

Where Can I Find “Her”, “The One”?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been approached by other parents at mom frequented places, e.g. library storytimes, playgrounds, or play gyms, who complain about not having enough mom friends. These moms bashfully ask if I wouldn’t mind swapping numbers with them. “I never do this”, they say, “…but you seem nice. Maybe we could meet up for coffee sometime. Maybe we could get the kids together.” I smile on the outside (and on the inside too). “She likes me. She really does!”

I’m not trying to demonstrate my likability (even though I hope you like me). What I’m trying to establish is that other mothers feel the same way I do about making mom friends. I, too, am reluctant to enter the “mom desperately seeking a mom friend” dating scene. Moms have griped with me about not having met enough likable moms who admit to “being a disaster” and not “having it [parenthood] all figured out”. Well, guess what? You just met me. Go ahead, add me to your Contacts. Enter me into your phone as “Hot Mess Mom”.

I started writing this blog for a number of reasons. One of which was to make more “mom friends”. I’ll be honest, I don’t have many “mom friends” or just “friend friends” for that matter. If you’re one of my few genuine friends – you know who you are – I thank you. As far as I’m concerned, the best kind of friend is a “mom friend” by day and a “friend friend” by night.

A Final Thought – From the Pillow

Anything that’s worthwhile, like dating/making new friends, is difficult. 

So call or text back yours truly. Don’t wait. Don’t be afraid to look overeager. If she’s anything like me, she’d be thrilled to hear from you. Happy friendship-ing! XO

Do you think making “mom friends” is similar to dating? If so, how?

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