I recently moved to the wonderful city of Nashville, TN from our beautiful hometown of San Diego. My husband and I both grew up in San Diego and lived there up until about three years ago. We moved to northern California right before moving here to Nashville. We love Nashville, this city is beautiful in every way.
However moving away from many of my childhood friends has forced me to face an ugly reality... mom dating. Let me explain, when you have your "tribe" for so long and then move to a new place where you know no one, you are forced to venture out and try to rebuild or join an already existing tribe. And that can be very difficult.
When I dated it was so easy to find a date, I leaned on my looks, personality, friendly extroverted self to land me a date. I loved dating, I would go on blind dates, friend dates, regular dates, 'could he be the one' dates, and 'I love you like a brother' dates. Dating for me came rather easy with mild awkwardness that I usually just laughed at. But now I've entered the mom-dating world. I go to the neighborhood park like a pub in my twenties; on the prowl to find that one mom who just clicks. Or even better find that one group of moms that likes me as much as I like them. Here is what I have learned between the two worlds of dating:
1. We are all tired AF. Yep, that's right, I have to use that kind of language, why? Because it's true. When you are dating in your twenties you have energy and spunk, small talk is easy and enduring through difficult conversations is tolerable. As a mom, you don't have that kind of energy. I need to know right away that I can drink wine, eat a tub of ice cream in my sweats while watching The Mindy Project and you won't judge me, in fact, you'll bring your own bottle of wine. I need to know this fast... because my kid is about to face plant from the monkey bars.
2. The Mom squads are exclusive. Even if one mom in the squad likes you doesn't mean you're in. You know at the park, Chick-Fil-A, and even church there are those mom squads who do everything together. They brunch, work out, play dates and do mom nights... and no one is allowed in. They don't outright say it, but your invitation never comes.. plus you totally stalk them on Instagram so you know. You've tried to break through and join in on the conversation, but it's met with an awkward smile and nod, and if you're like me you take that cue and... oh I had to go anyways, my baby just ate a fly.
3. Which brings me to my next point Instagram/Facebook. When I dated, oh so long ago before Facebook and Instagram existed. I didn't know what my recent crush was doing. If he said he couldn't go out because he had to do laundry, I believed him. Now, when that mom tells you she can't go out because she has to do laundry, she's lying, we all know we don't "do" laundry.. we have two piles, dirty and clean. She's either hanging out with her "Squad", taking that much need alone time or she's like me and fell asleep on the couch at 7:45pm. Check her instastory that's the truth teller.
4. My next point is... wait... hold on... my kids screaming.... oh ya, KIDS! Playdates sound so fun, you see the awesome Pinterest posts of moms enjoying their coffee, while their littles play quietly with their all wooden toys, in a white room with blush accents. Meanwhile IRL, my coffee spilled for the fourth time as my child is heading with a sharpie to your white walls. All while your kid is yelling at you to wipe his butt. So ya, 'deep meaningful getting to know you' conversations happen over the course of 20 or so playdates. Shoot, this could be our tenth playdate and I still don't know what your name is.
5. There are no breakups. Unlike a normal dating relationship most of the time there is closure. It's not you, it's me speech is inserted at some point. You cry, burn pictures, and talk bad about your ex until you've moved on. But in the mom-dating scene, there are no breakups. Just awkward hell. If for some reason one of you doesn't like the other as much or maybe it's mutual, there's no conversation. There is just avoided text messages and awkward public sightings. They don't all end this way. I am all for an 'it's not you, it's me' conversation in the mom-dating scene, it may help my esteem more if I knew why we didn't work out... wait hold that thought, my kid just peed in the corner.
6. MLM's! That's right, Multi-Level-Marketing companies. I am in no way bashing them, we all do them. Heck, I'm part of like four right now. But when you're dating, you don't ever think, "I hope this guy isn't trying to get me to buy something or join his team". Which is pretty much what I think every time I meet a new mom. Because let's face it we love them and they work, but I just want you to be my friend. I won't sell you something If you don't sell me. Unless you want to trade kids, that might be an option.
7. Did I mention we are tired? I can't remember I haven't slept longer than 3 hours in 4 years.
8. My self-esteem can't handle it. When I dated there was always some tax on my esteem when I was rejected or it just didn't work out. But I bounced back pretty quickly. But mom-dating can be brutal. Why? Because sometimes moms are the worst critics. First off, the most common form of judgment used is passive aggressiveness. There are the moms, that think their kids are better than yours, the moms that know everything, the moms that are extremely healthy and pitty your McDonald's bag that fell out of your car and the moms who look amazing and their Instagram is perfect.. even though they don't say anything and are the absolute sweetest you judge yourself from their highlight reel. This is probably the worst because deep down we are all thinking the same. And unbeknownst to us, every other mom has similar insecurities and fears. And at the end of the day, we all love our littles so much we could burst. So really we are all the same.
9. I'll be offended if you don't invite me, but I probably wouldn't have gone anyway. Lets be real, at the end of a long day chasing my kids, I don't want to get dressed up and go out. And as a mom of three a coffee date with our kids sounds like too much work. So even though I'll probably say I can't make it, I still want the invitation. Real dating doesn't work like that, you don't just ask people on dates to make them feel good. So why should I want that in mom-dating... well... because...hormones.
10. I need you more than I need a man sometimes. Being a mom is the hardest thing and the most beautiful thing. No one understands the ups and downs of motherhood as much as another warrior mother. That's why I need you in my life. We can't do this alone. We need all the love, support, and glasses of wine we can get. Because when we get down on ourselves another mom knows exactly what to say to remind you that you are amazing! You pushed an entire human out of your body! That in itself is really badass. And we as moms need to be reminded of that constantly. Having your mom tribe is so important. So next time you see that new mom at the park standing by herself go talk to her. Ask her out to coffee so you both cannot drink anything and yell at your kids together. Because doing that together is better than doing it alone, at least you'll know you're not the only one who loses their shit sometimes.
And if you are that lonely mom, know this: there are more of you out there. Just go wander the aisles of Target until you find her. Your dream mom-friend will come. :)