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.