Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dating Moms

We've moved a lot in the last several years, and each time we kind of have to start over in the friends department. It's frustrating that each time we start to get to know people, we end up moving. And neither my husband nor I are very outgoing, so this is a huge effort.

Lately, I've been really going out of my way to try to meet other moms. It's occurred to me that there's something about the several-step process that's disturbingly like dating....

Step 1: Getting the digits

Whenever I'm at our local community center or a birthday party, I try to strike up a conversation with another mom. This involves scoping out the moms, seeing someone who looks like they're someone I could get along with and is around my age. Then if we can successfully chat for a minute, I have to work up my nerve to get her phone number and/or email address.

Step 2: Trying to figure out when to make first contact

According to Swingers, you're supposed to wait three days, right? But in that time, I could easily wash the jeans that I put her phone number into. And I'm eager to make first contact before being forgotten.

Step 3: Trying to set up a (play)date

Seems like it shouldn't be that hard, but it is! Do we do it at their place, ours, or a neutral location? I don't want to impose, yet our apartment is small and I don't want to drag someone over here. And do just I go to the playdate? Or is it better for both me and my husband go?

Step 4: Impressing the Mom on the (play)date

You want your kid to be on good behavior, of course, but sometimes you can't control that. Then you have to socialize with the mom (and/or dad) as well. You have to make stimulating conversation. Should you bring flowers.... er, snacks?

Step 5: Waiting for her to call you back

For me, this has been the hardest part of playdating. If the other mom doesn't seem to want to set up another playdate, I feel like I did something horribly wrong. I said the wrong thing, was impolite, etc. When you don't have a lot of friends, you start to doubt yourself and wonder if there's something intrinsically wrong with you. It's a blow to the old self esteem.

Step 6: Dealing with rejection

Last year, there was a mom whose daughter went to daycare with mine, and most days, we would walk home together and talk the whole way. I liked talking to her and she seemed to like it too. The walks would last sometimes an hour, despite living two blocks away, because our kids would get sidetracked on the way home.

But every time I called her to hang out on the weekend, either at one of our houses or a kiddie event, she would come up with some excuse and say no. The excuses were incredibly lame, akin to needing to wash her hair. After a while, I got the hint and stopped asking. I felt really embarrassed and rejected though. I guess she just wasn't that into me.

In summary, I hate (play)dating. I can't wait to settle down.


  1. Fizzy, your stories about motherhood give me hope as a future physician. I'm always worried about being an MIA-mother, but I'm glad to see you have time for your children--and for those things in life I keep thinking physician mom's never have time to think about, such as play-dating.

  2. What's really fun is when you are a med student with a stay-at-home dad hubby you are trying to find playgroups for. He's often the only guy! But he still gets to have conversations with the women about how I come home and ask him what he's been doing all day (as if he sits on the couch eating bon bons etc. etc.) The moms he hangs out with get a kick out of the role reversal! Play-dating mom-to-mom is a trip, but trying to find stay-at-home dads for my husband...I wish someone had pointers for that one!

  3. Don't care too much about the parents unless they're really odd, but sorry, if the kid is rude, wild, smart-mouthed or destructive, she's not invited again.

  4. I'm not very outgoing and definitely don't make friends easily. At this point I figure the small conversations I get in the time I watch my son at football practice will have to suffice. I've just come to terms that I won't have BFF's like I did before I moved.

  5. Anon #1: I chose my field and my job carefully to make sure I'd have enough time at home.

    Anon #2: My husband is way worse at playdating than I am. He says it's because I'm a woman, but I think he was also worse at regular dating ;)

    Anon #3: That's comforting. I'm pretty sure my kid has never done anything unacceptable in anyone else's home. She's very well behaved around strangers.

    ForeverRhonda: I've amazingly managed to make some good friends in the short time I've lived here, but none with kids. So that's frustrating.

  6. Oh fizzy - you are so lucky you are just courting moms. I am just about ready to jump back into the dating world and the idea nauseates me. Just think, it could be worse!

  7. Giz: God, I know the dating game kind of sucks. That's why any reminders of it (such as this) are unpleasant. Of course, back when i was still dating, I had tons of friends.

  8. Thanks Fizzy for putting into words exactly how I feel. Why things could not be more natural and easier? I gave up on the play(dating) scene, and my 5 years old daughter is also going into that direction because in her words:"my friends always come to my home for playdates but they never invite me back... Why????"
    What can I say?
    And after tons of non-returned phone calls/emails, lame excuses, etc... I stopped asking for playdates!

  9. Ugh. This sounds awful. I'm going to wait until my kid is old enough to invite people over herself. I refuse to be involved in playdating. Note: I also have never planned a birthday party for my kid. She's five and we've just done cake and presents with the family. When she's older, and IF she wants to, she can plan it herself and invite her own friends. I'll just pay for it.

  10. It's a relief to hear that other kids aren't inundated with playdates. I always assumed that all other kids were having nonstop playdates.

  11. We actually do some of that ourselves, trying to set up playdates so that us parents can make new friends too. Sometimes it works out, sometimes not. My approach is to "woo" multiple parents so that I get at least one hit! :)

  12. I am a resident and we just moved to an area that seems inundated with the old old (>80) and street folks. Yes, it is't the greatest neighbourhood but it is walking distance to the clinic and hospital. Making mom friends has been BRUTAL and I am glad to hear I am not the only one who longs to settle down, make friends AND (here's the clincher) keep them!


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