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Diving in to the “Mom Friend” dating pool

Categories: Hacking Life, Parenting, Uncategorized, Working? Living?

9 comments

I went on a date last week. Without my husband.

It was a playdate for my 4-year-old daughter and her best friend from school, but truth be told, I was as excited as she was. I was going to be able to hang out with another working mom! In public! Without having to dash home with cranky kids in tow to make dinner and wrestle them into bed before sitting down to do more work!

I know, I know… it doesn’t sound that momentous. But it really is. Making new “mom friends” is hard in general, but I think it’s exponentially harder when you’re a mom who is also juggling a full-time job.

In the nearly two years that my 4-year-old had been at her preschool, I had tried to attend pot-luck suppers and early-morning sing-a-longs, hoping to connect with the parents of some of her friends — but no luck. No one could really chat, since we were all wrangling our kids and either trying to coax food into them while they were surrounded by toys or trying to keep up with the updated lyrics of old songs we thought we knew (did you know that Little Bunny Foo-Foo no longer gets bopped on the head? I had no idea). After each event, we all either had to rush home to put our kids to bed or rush to the office and get to work. I didn’t even have a chance to exchange phone numbers.

So, about a month ago, when I ran into the mom of my daughter’s best buddy in the parking lot, I swallowed my nerves and took a chance. She was heading into the school to pick up her child; I was buckling my youngest two into their car seats. I waved her down and told her how happy I was that our daughters were so close, and asked if maybe we could get the girls together some weekend. She thought that was a great idea, so we exchanged info.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? I’m not a shy person, but I was a bundle of nerves. Our kids adore each other, but what if we don’t hit it off? What if we can’t find time to get the girls together? What if we’re both just too busy to follow through?

Anyway, so that’s how I dipped my toe into the Mom Friend Dating Pool. And, last weekend, I dove all the way in: A playdate last Saturday, for which I left my 2-year-old home with my husband and spent several hours talking with another working mom and watching our daughters proudly paint plaster fawns all sorts of unnatural, day-glo colors. This weekend, I went to two birthday parties, and actually stopped hovering around my kids — my usual kid-party mode — long enough to really talk with some of the other parents and plan a few future playdates.

And you know what? I liked it. A lot. Maybe this mom friend dating thing gets easier as the kids get older; maybe it was so hard for me years ago because I was a new step parent and I felt awkward explaining how I was related to my kids.

Or maybe I’m just ready to try harder.



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9 comments so far...

  • You go girl! I KNOW how hard it is . . . I spent years trying to make that connection. Ultimately I found Kate, who is now my BFF, and our kids adore each other. It makes ALL the difference to have that kind of relationship . . . and it REALLY helps to have it with another working mom when most of those around us are SAHMs. Keep following up!

    Elaine at Lipstickdaily  |  March 9th, 2009 at 8:03 am

  • i’d love to meet other women like myself in my area. but somehow, if it’s a working mom, she is usually at least 7 years older, or if I meet a women my age, she got no kids.

    Through my networking events I meet many incredible women, moms, working or entrepreneurs. But of course, most of the time I am the baby.

    Actually I connected with Miss Britt here and we have so much in common it’s unbelievable.

    vera babayeva  |  March 9th, 2009 at 8:07 am

  • Well, from pretty much moment one, when Kiddo was just a teeny-tiny preemie in the NICU, I’ve been on the hunt for mom friends. I’ve been known to approach other women with similarly-aged kids in their shopping carts in the middle of the grocery store, and I have routinely struck up conversations at playgrounds, swimming lessons, Gymboree, etc. Basically, my thinking has been “Hey, you’ve got a kid and I’ve got a kid, so we’ve got at least ONE thing in common…. let’s see what else there might be!” One of my BMFs is also the mom of Kiddo’s best friends (sister and brother) and we met in Gymboree before the girls could walk or really talk. I even did the morphing from Mom Friends to Couple Friends and now we occasionally get together for either double-family outings or (gasp, shock, no way) adults-only outings…. Woot!

    So, I say no more toe-dipping, jump on in! The worst thing that can happen is you find out you’ve got nothing in common, but at least you tried! :)

    Heather @ nobody but yourself  |  March 9th, 2009 at 4:10 pm

  • It’s kind of freeing, isn’t it?!!? I just started doing the same and WHOOHAA. It’s hard to keep up with many of the old friends but it sure is nice to make new ones who have kids my kids love.

    Mandy Nelson  |  March 9th, 2009 at 7:14 pm

  • Congratulations to you! I had to laugh because I’ve found myself feeling the same way so many times! Good for you!

    BlapherMJ  |  March 10th, 2009 at 10:19 am

  • This is a great post. I find it hard to find working mothers that have time to meet as well. My son has been in daycare since he was 8 weeks old and in the three years he has been in daycare, only one parent has tried to connect with me and then we moved!!! Even when the mother tried to setup a playdate with me and my son, we never committed. I blame myself mostly because I was the one holding back. We were so busy as it was and my house at the time was very humble that I didn’t want anyone seeing it! Now we have moved states and I so wish I could get to know the other parents, but I never even get to see them because I always pick up at different times than most of the other parents. It is frustrating and I can’t wait till my son gets old enough to join in activities and sports so that I can make those connections. So, I do believe that the older that kids get, the easier it gets, but I think I will still have to wait a couple of years…..unfortunately.

    Jen  |  March 10th, 2009 at 2:53 pm

  • THANK YOU for posting this. It is SUCH a relief to read your experience and identify with it.

    In my case, I am an expat living in a secluded area in Italy. I have tried and failed SO MANY times here. I think the cultural divide is too strong: Italian women tend to stick to family when they have kids, and the friendship network isn’t as strong as in North America.

    I try at work (which thankfully is at an International American School), but I work an hour’s drive away, and because it is a boarding school, my only options are boarding-school teachers: most work 7 days a week and don’t want to drive an hour to visit with me on their limited free time; and, most don’t have young children; and, for them socializing is taking 10 steps to visit with other child-free fun colleagues in their dormitories.

    Basically, I always thought that if I lived in a city, there would be more activities I can partake in w kids, that if I were back home, I could more easily relate to other moms and know the social etiquette, etc.

    Your email reminds me that the difficulty is universal, and that there will be light at the end fo the tunnel! (these online mom communities are so helpful!!!!)

    Natalie  |  March 11th, 2009 at 7:19 am

  • I think the “dating other Moms” thing is just hard. You make friends easily at work and at school because you see them everyday. The effort is much less. That’s why it’s easy for your daughter right now.

    As you grow older it’s much easier to keep those relationships than to make new ones - especially ones that will take some work because you don’t see each other regularly.

    I do agree it’s getting easier. At 3+ you no longer need to hover at events. The kids are more self sufficient and just need a wave now and then so they know you’re paying attention to them. But you can talk and wave at the same time…so it’s easier.

    I’m headed to a birthday party this weekend (our first preschool invite!) and I am kind of excited. I met people at the pot luck - but there was no follow through - even though I sent a text. So maybe this time I will make a connection and it will stick. Or maybe not. Uggghhh dating is hard - not matter what age, or what kind of date you’re looking for.

    Thanks for the article.

    Leanne C.  |  March 11th, 2009 at 8:02 am

  • Yay, you! It usually works out okay…and even if it doesn’t your kids can still be friends. I learned this during the year or so when I was staying at home…and I was DESPERATE for adult interaction. I literally clung to ANYONE who had kids that my kids even remotely liked. I’m a little more selective now, but the same routine still applies. “Oh, Nick loves playing with Zac at school…why don’t you guys come over sometime?” And I got some of those “free” cards from Vista Print…they are supposed to be business cards, but I put our personal information on them, so they are “Mom” cards. Just like at work, they help me introduce myself. And other Moms have my information handy if they need it.

    Karla E  |  March 11th, 2009 at 10:22 pm

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