Why, as moms, must we be stuck in a perpetual world of "dating?"
I'm talking about our desperate need for interaction, companionship, camaraderie, and most importantly, validation. We need our mom friends if we want to survive this motherhood gig...seriously.
Why, though, must the pool of mothers be so vast? It makes the process of TRULY becoming friends with them so gosh darn difficult and frustrating! We're seriously on what feels like a lifelong series of speed dates and it's got us questioning every moment of it. Yes, we both have children. Does this automatically mean that we are compatible? Who knows?! It's the vetting process and this quest to find out if our similarities run deeper than the fact that tiny humans exist in our homes. At least with guys, we all have a "type". I used to be able to tell if a guy was worth dating after a five minute conversation, but there is no such preconceived "type" when it comes to mom friends. My current besties certainly didn't come to be because they are tall, dark, and handsome...
The truth about motherhood is that from the time we stepped through our front doors with brand new babies in our arms, our social world morphed. If you've ever found yourself willing the cashier at Target to strike up some sort of friendly conversation with you...any conversation at all...just because you want human interaction and the ability to exchange something besides babbles, then you are our people and this post is for you.
It's not always simple though, you know? There are some "mom dates" that leave us running for the hills! Others leave us questioning things about ourselves, feeling pressure, wondering what "they" think of us, and most of all (of course) wondering if we measure up. We all do it, but why?
Together we have compiled a list of what we are affectionately calling "the many reasons why mom-dating is too damn difficult these days."
In no particular order, here they are:
1) Needy mamas. They're the ones who need you to compromise your schedule and your comfort zone to best fit thier needs and thier schedule. You do all the leg work. You walk a tightrope when you show up at the park at a super inconvienient time and you try to juggle getting to know this new mom all while making sure your kids don't die. This one obviously only ends with resentment. Somethings gotta give. Our people pleasing habits need to die here, ASAP!
2) Judgy mamas. No one wants a hawk eye on them when you're meeting up with your littles in tow. These mamas make you question every little thing you're doing. Is that squeeze pouch organic? It clearly seems like you spank them at home... Oh I see he's not potty trained yet. This mama may not even be saying these things out loud, but you feel them. Yep, bye Felicia.
3) Clingy mamas. Your first "date" went well and you both feel like the kids played nicely together. You enjoyed each others' company enough to warrant a "second date." You text her to thank her for such a nice afternoon and you send her a "We should definitely do this again soon!" Your phone then forgets what silence feels like. You feel like you need to be wearing camouflage because, God forbid you venture out to her neck of the woods without inviting her along. Why must you be so damn fun to be around?
4) Adrenaline mamas. You know, the adventerous types... Their suggestion is always to meet up to go swimming, hiking, biking, or pogo-stick bouncing because HECK NO to sitting down when it's THIS nice out. You're all "How about we just go to Chick-Fil-A and lock everyone inside the playroom so I can suck down three refills of my Coke Zero, thank you very much." Dude, I'm tired. I'm a mom. What are you on and where can I get some?
5) Too much too fast mamas. Bless their hearts...they're just as desperate for a gal pal as you once were during some of those "dark days." They come out of the gate a little too fast and furious with nicknames for you and your kids, forced inside jokes, and way too much of the kissy face emoji. Ya just met and for heavens sake, I JUST CAN'T BREATHE. AIR! I NEED AIR!
6) The #blessed mamas. Lord knows I love my children, but if I am going to have a friend, I need someone who can handle the truth and the truth is that I always love the little ankle biters, but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, I don't always like them. Some days I just need to vent, so if we are going to be spending time together, I don't want to run the risk of a tooth ache because you can't stop talking about how freaking sweet it is to be a mom. I don't want to hear about how precious the wee hours of the night are with your "little man" whilst I am three coffees deep with toothpicks keeping both my eyes propped open because Junior just wasn't in the mood the night before. Furthermore, breaks are my best friend, so if you are going to utilize our time together to discuss the latest study on homeschooling or co-sleeping in that judgmental tone moms have a tendency to take on, then this relationship doesn't have a #prayer.
7) The wine in the coffee cup mamas. We will be soul mates. That is all.
8) The overdressed mamas. These are the mamas who are never caught dead without makeup, a cute pair of flats, and a chiffon scarf. She's the mom you compliment, but swears she just threw it all on in the twenty spare minutes she had between packing the bento lunch box and pressing the embroidered polos with matching seersucker shorts that "ohhhemmmgeee" she just had to have because she is #obsessed with stripes. Why does she always look so damn put together and why does that same twenty minutes leave me looking like I just took the walk of shame Sunday morning after a rager?
9) The mamas who love to double date. This sounds so great in theory. I like you, you like me, so of course our husbands will get along, right? WRONG. You may have married the class clown or the student body president, but I married the loner...the guy who on our first date spoke ten words and left me wishing I had brought a handful of notecards with discussion prompts on them because I ran out of things to talk about...and I NEVER run out of things to talk about. So, dinner with the four of us sounds excruciatingly painful. My husband will probably offend your husband at one point during the dinner and you'll go home wondering why the heck my husband is so rude... further making you question me as a human being and all of my life choices. Let's save each other from the horrific sense of humor he has and just be friends while the fellas are at work, ok?
10) The "one up ya" mamas. You bring something that's weighing heavy on your heart to her, or even something you just need a minute to vent about, and like clockwork she meets you with, "Oh yea? Well when I blah blah blah..." She listens to respond and to..."one up you." Big picture, she's probably harboring a lot of insecurity and this is really not about you at all...Or she's attempting to alleviate your stress/anxiety...but she just sucks at it. Find another person. She ain't it.
11) The perpetual spouse-basher. You make time for one another and she spends the entirety of the visit mulling over the million and one ways her partner has done her wrong today. Don't get me wrong, we all need to "let the evil out somewhere," but when I begin to know more about your hubby than I know about you, it makes coming over for dinner kind of awkward...I'm not your therapist.
12) The germaphobic mamas. These are the mamas who travel with a Costco sized bottle of hand sanitizer everywhere they go and their bag of wipes is so damn big they could change a million diapers before having to restock. While my monsters are eating fries off the floor, you Miss Lady are busy trying to get that sticky plastic placemat down just right so that all the food stays germ free. Furthermore, my kids are ALWAYS the ones with the runny nose and questionable cough that I am certain are just allergies, so put the hazmat suit away and let the kids play. And I swear to God, if you bring that hand sewn cloth cart cover that you purchased on ETSY to our #targetrun I will make you walk alone.
The thing is, we all complain about how isolating motherhood can be, but serial dating moms can often leave an already stressed out mama longing for the imaginary friend she had when she was four. Man, was she the greatest! Is there a checklist we can just all fill out so that we can wear a little sign on our backs that decode who we are and what we are looking for in the "perfect mate?" I'm thinking something along the lines of a Meyers Briggs test...just a few letters that give us a little more insight into who we all are.
The mom pool is NOT changing. The battle over "breast is best" (sadly) still wages on. Cloth diapers are getting even cuter. You can buy just about anything and everything organic these days (I'm looking at you, Goldfish). Homeschooling is becoming more and more on trend and almost everyone has their opinion on the best disciplinary tactics...or lack thereof. The list goes on and these things aren't going away. Hot button topics swarm the playgrounds, preschool drop-offs, and even the privacy of your own home from behind your laptop screen. These are not what our "talking points" should be focused on while we all "date" each other, ladies. We're trying to escape them and just do the best we can. Let's just do that, what do you say?
Moms are going to keep being moms and despite our best efforts to #uniteinmotherhood, facts are facts. There are a lot of moms out there that we just don't "fit" with. We can't change these people, but we can change how we interact with them. Judging others moms in not what we're about here at RHM, and I know we've had some fun with this post, but our resounding message is this: "Stand in your integrity."
We are both working hard on the following 1) be honest 2) stop being a chameleon 3) understand that eveyone is doing the best they can with what they've got 4) be unappologetically "you" and let the right ones stick. 5) don't stretch yourself thin unless it's your decison to do so.
Keep seeking out the MOPS groups, join up with Stroller Strides, get together with the gals in your neighborhood, and join up with your work friends. Heck, strike up that conversation with that mom in the pediatrician's office because God knows it could lead to a lifelong friendship and a kickass blog. Just remember to own your greatness and love yourself enough to set appropriate boundaries. Social situations shouldn't stretch us thin, they should fuel us up. Let's hold space for "our people," be kind to everyone, and stop letting "mom dates" sink our ships.
Phew! And we thought finding a man was hard work...