Mommy Dating

This is an updated version of a post originally published in May 2010.

We moved to a new town the spring my son was 15-months-old. So began my adventures in mommy-dating. I hated mommy-dating, but without a job to go to I had no other way of meeting new people. If you’ve never had to mommy-date, consider yourself lucky.

Mommy-dating is just like real-dating, except the scene unfolds at the playground, (or supermarket, library, museum, etc,) instead of a bar. I paid a little more attention to my appearance, and Luke’s, making sure we were both at least mostly clean. Ever on the hunt, I’d scan my surroundings for “attractive” moms.

What makes a potential mom-friend attractive? First, her kid’s age – no matter how cool a mom of a 6-month-old seems, there’s no way she wants to hang out with my wild toddler. Next, she needs to look kind of like me (effort-wise) – I’m not going to be bffs with a fancy mom. Finally, the hover test – if she lets her child roam more than two steps away from her, game on. So, with my sights set on new mom friends, I hit the “singles” scene.

Just like real-dating, I had to put myself out there: I made eye contact; I was approachable; I was friendly; I visited the same places again and again, so I could see the same moms again and again; I made idle conversation with everyone; I introduced myself; I asked for phone numbers. All of this was entirely against my inherently unfriendly nature and I found it exhausting. Worst part: I had an unreliable wing-man. Luke could be completely disarming, or he could throw sand in your kid’s eyes. I never knew which Luke I’d get until it was too late.

In many ways, I think real-dating is less awkward than mommy-dating. With real-dating, the whole pick-up process is expected and normal. Between moms at the playground it’s odd. It’s weird to go from chatting idly about the kids in the sandbox to, “Sooo, maybe I can get your number and we can do this again sometime…?” Truly awful. I’d come home from the park depressed because I hadn’t plucked up the courage to get cool mom’s number, and she hadn’t ask for mine. I’d go weeks hoping to run into her again.

That first summer I was able to set up a number of second dates. You know, a time to see if there is any real chemistry. I was unsure how to navigate these second dates, and several of them were pretty uncomfortable. At what point in a potential new relationship do you show your real self, not the charming version who picked-up this mom? How do you release your real personality? All at once? Or slowly, over time?

I decided to ease it out. I quickly found that these new moms fell into one of two camps: those who thought I was funny, and those who thought I was horrible.

Through this process of dating and personality slow release, I was able to build a new circle of friends. My mom friends. And then I moved. Now with two kids, aged 7 and 4, I find myself in the lonely trenches as a “single mom” once again. Dating as an older mom is completely different from back when I had just one toddler in tow.

Gone are days filled with library story times and baby swings. Instead, my potential mom friends and I have busy schedules filled with school commitments, sports, and homework. The kids of my potential friends have friends of their own, whose moms I imagine always hanging out together. Before, I worried that a new friend’s child matched mine developmentally, so she wouldn’t be shocked by my kid’s 2-ishness. But now the kids have to actually connect and like one another. I have to date the entire family!

It’s a slow process, made slower by the fact that I’m not nearly as desperate as I was a few years ago as a lonely mom of a toddler. I don’t cruise the pick-up scene like I used to. I wouldn’t even know where to find it. But, if I meet you and like you, and your kids are of approximate age and sex as my kids, and our kids show any interest in playing together, you’d better believe that I’ll be asking for your digits and that I’ll be overly excited next time I run into you at Target!

Mommy Dating

How Summer Vacation is like a Zombie Apocalypse

Parents are feeling ill at ease and restless. It’s coming. The end is nigh. For some, it’s already here. It’s spreading across the nation. Soon we’ll all be swarmed and overrun by hungry hordes of (sanity) killers. Neighbor pitted against neighbor for survival, or at least for a parking spot in the shade. It’s summer, y’all. Otherwise known as The End of Days.

How Summer is like a Zombie Apocalypse


Mother’s Day gifts I didn’t want

It’s been eventful. First, on Saturday, this:Luke broke his arm

That’s Luke getting a cast on his broken arm. He fell off our slide in an ill-conceived attempt at slide surfing. Our swing set is clearly out to get us. Might be time for an exorcism. The poor child was so brave, but the cast makes him miserable. As he cried fresh tears at the news that he’d need a cast for 5-6 weeks, the first thing he said was, “Oh no! And just in time for Mother’s Day too!” He didn’t want to ruin my day.

But, of course, he didn’t ruin Mother’s Day. He didn’t sleep well because of his arm and he apparently gave up on it at some point during the four o’clock hour. But he didn’t wake us. He wanted to let me sleep in. And he wanted to make me breakfast in bed. With his left hand, he made me a Nutella sandwich, on a heel of bread.

He somehow carried it upstairs on our heavy wooden chopping board, one-handed and quietly. He sat in his room and waited. Around 5:30 we heard him whimpering. He tried to stifle his misery so as not to wake us, but he was just so sad that he broke his arm.

Mother's Day Breakfast in Bed

I ate my heel sandwich, which was accompanied by girl snuggles and boy reading me a story, and it was the best heel sandwich I ever had. (This is not a rave review of heel sandwiches.) As moms everywhere know, I ate that heel sandwich despite the fact that I know exactly how clean the hand is that made it. (Three cheers for a robust immune system!)

Afterwards, I came downstairs and found a beast. We’re trying to get rid of the groundhog that lives under our shed. But instead we keep catching other things. I’ve caught countless squirrels, the neighbor’s cat, and two raccoons.

So we piled in the car for a drive to a nearby, but not too nearby, non-residential area perfect for critter release.
Caught a raccoon in a have a heart trap

I got the priceless Mother’s Day gift of showing my kids that moms can be very brave.

Caught a beast!
Releasing from a have a heart trap

After all that excitement, I was happy to spend the rest of the day lazily hanging out and reminding Luke that his arm is broken so slide surfing is probably not a great idea.

It could be worse. Instead of an arm and a raccoon, it could have been a leg and a skunk.