Is she going to think I’m crazy if I ask for her number?
Am I trying too hard to get her to like me?
Do I call her or will she call me?
Am I texting her too much?
I’m bugging her, I definitely think I’m bugging her.
“The thoughts of a teenage boy?” You ask. Nope, just the thoughts of a Mom trying to make friends.
You know what I’m talking about, it’s Mom dating, and it’s the worst.
Mom dating is wondering if you’ll ever find someone to connect with. It’s taking your kids to the park, seeing a group of women chatting, and hoping that just one will notice you and ask you where you’re from or how old your kid is. It’s asking for a strangers number, it’s being turned down for a playdate, but mostly,
it’s just loneliness.
Why is that? I think most of us made friends easily enough before we had kids. It’s like our kids ages and ours got added and divided and suddenly we are all the median age of 15 and in junior high again wondering if we’ll ever get asked to the school dance, despising any other girl that does. Maybe because now instead of puberty to be embarrassed about we have kids who freak out at inconvenient and horrible moments. And maybe because like in junior high, we are all new to this world of growing up and figuring out who we are, who we want to be and what it means to have an all encompassing label we have been given, this time it being “mom”.
Both in Junior high and the dating world, there are so many lies we tell ourselves, ones we can’t see the truth of until we step back and out of the world. It’s the exact same story with Mom-dating. I’ve now stepped back, taken a look at the last year and a half I’ve spent Mom-dating and here are the truths I’ve come to realize:
1. We all feel awkward and out of place.
Oh, you thought you were the only one? The only one who says things at the wrong time, who laughs at the wrong things, who constantly feels like the weird one? Sorry to burst your excuse bubble but we ALL feel like that. It might not look like it, some of us are better at hiding it than others and some of us might not feel it as much as others but we do all indeed feel it. Doesn’t it feel better knowing that you’re not the only one?
2. There is always someone who is lonelier than you.
This great realization came from my aunt who told me to “go out and find some one lonelier than yourself and brighten her day.” As I wallowed in the dark Seattle overcast it never dawned on me that there just might be someone out there who was looking for friends as well. So many of us are feeling out of place, eager for more support, and praying nightly for a dear friend to come into our lives. The biggest boost you could possibly get to your self confidence is serving others, so go ahead, find someone lonelier than yourself and brighten her day, it will brighten yours as well.
3. The “click” more often comes as a “clllllliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick”.
I’ve been in Seattle for a little more than a year, and NOT ONE of my friends here do I feel like I “clicked” with right off the bat. Clicking instantly in friendships is much like the idea of love at first sight. Some people might argue that it happens but even if it does it’s so rare that you can’t wait or count on it to happen, if you did you’d possibly miss out on so many great relationships! So trudge along, invite that person that’s hard to read over for play-dates over and over again. You’ll might just eventually click.
4. You can’t make friends at home.
Being a mother can easily give you the excuse to stay in, making it really difficult to make friends while sitting in front of FB or reading “Where the Wild Things Are” for the 10th time. There are so many great resources for us to find one another. Storytimes, community playgroups, church, mom support groups, book clubs. Google some, ask around, or better yet, just start one something on your own and invite any mom you meet. You can’t find friends if you don’t leave the house, so leave the house.
5. Being bold is always better than playing the game.
Who likes the dating game? No one, and those that do you probably don’t want to date anyway. Be bold! Ask for numbers, ask to schedule playdates, walk up to that group in the park and say “Hi, mind if I join in on your conversation?” IT IS TERRIFYING. But It works. I hear the excuse, “I’m just shy” or “that’s just not easy for me to do” when people are complaining about not having friends. Well, we already addressed that, it’s not easy for anyone! It’s hard, and scary, and you sometimes get turned down but being bold will get you further than sitting back and hoping someone asks you for your number.
6. It is our personal responsibility to make friends and to make ourselves welcome, not anyone else’s.
We can throw pity parties for ourselves and wonder why no one is extending a hand of friendship and blame others for not seeing we are in dire need of friends OR we can realize that most mothers are busy trying to keep themselves afloat, struggling with their own problems, and wondering if they too fit in anywhere. It is out job to make our selves friends, no one else’s.
7. Friends come in all shapes and sizes.
You don’t have to just be friends with other moms, moms your age, moms with kids your kid’s age, moms that dress the same, moms with the same faith… etc. Have an open mind and welcome women of all ages and of all backgrounds into your life. You will be astonished what kinds of friendships can grow between what seems like completely different women.
and of course….
8. You can’t judge a book by her cover.
Or by what a friends friend had to say about her, or how her kid is acting at the playground, or her political party, or what kind of look you think she threw you that one time you were late to story time. We have absolutely NO idea what is going on in people’s privates world. Let’s give each other the benefit of the doubt and at least give friendship a chance.
So, can we be a little easier on each other and make this dating game less like a dating game and more like a giant and huggable support group?
Some of us are established in our communities and not seeking to make a lot of friends quickly, others of us are brand new to communities and need friends fast, and even more of us have been living in a community for a long time but are still struggling to feel like we belong and feel like we have a good foundation of support. Let’s try and make this mom-friend dating a lot easier on all of us, can we? We get so wrapped up in our busy lives as moms that sometimes we forget that we could be walking this journey of motherhood with amazing women by our sides. Let’s be the answer to one another’s prayers. Let’s strive a little harder to be friendly, to support each other in this crazy thing called motherhood and to extend a hand of friendship.