When I was single, hunting for dates was a major pastime. I went out to the bars, met guys, and got some numbers. The most success I had at acquiring first dates and that elusive second date was through online dating. Scanning through profiles, sending out messages, and coordinating those first meetups was both exciting and nerve wracking!
Then there were the first dates themselves. Sitting there trying to figure out how much to share. You wonder what questions to ask, and you hope to make some kind of connection. Sometimes conversation flows easily, while other times… not so much. I met my husband through an online dating site. While it wasn’t exactly love at first sight, there was so much we connected on that I knew we had to meet again. Once it was clear that I would be spending the rest of my life with this wonderful man, I was happy to leave the awkward uncertainty of single life behind me.
Little did I know that all the anxiety of the dating world would come crashing back into my life after I became a mom.
I am somewhat lucky that I had friends who were pregnant with me or had young babies. Even with those connections into motherhood friends, there was still a part of me that was looking for the one. Except “the one” in this case referred to a tribe to join or start, rather than a man to marry.
I felt like I was a single girl again, putting myself out there; only instead of bars to meet guys, I was going to parks to meet moms (Though sometimes I wonder why we don’t meet at bars!). Instead of online dating sites, I joined Facebook mom groups. Rather than venturing out to single’s events, I showed up at library reading times and other events guaranteeing the presence of other mommas. Just like my singles years, I strike up conversation, hoping I don’t come on too strong. Then there is the tentative request to exchange phone numbers. Mirroring the days before diapers, I find myself wondering how long I should wait to text or call!
Mommy Dating Apprehensions
I have had more success securing the “mommy” first date, than I ever did acquiring the single gal first date. However, the same hopes and insecurities bubble up on that first planned meeting. First there is the opening small talk: “how are you?” “fine,” and “some weather we are having!” Then there is the talk about what we did or still do for a living. On a mommy date, though, conversation inevitably ends up revolving around our little ones.
Throughout the talking and helping the kids play nicely, the internal monologue is running like any other first date: “Do they like me? Do I like them? This is going well, right? Will we get together again soon?” The nice thing about mommy dating is that if things aren’t going well, you can use your kids as an excuse to leave. The hard thing about mommy dating is that you may be hitting it off with the other mom, but the kids are ready to go! If things go well, we try to meet up again.
Sometimes I wonder if I am trying to force a relationship.
When I was single I would try to force a connection with someone who was nice enough, but I needed to just let go. I wonder if I am holding on too tight for fear of being alone. Because being a mom has an isolating factor unlike any any other phase in my life. Luckily I have found some wonderful moms, whose tribes I am blessed to be a part of, but I keep my eyes and heart open to new friends. I am always down to go on another mommy date, and I welcome any new members into our pack!