Even my girlfriends were like, “What are you talking about? What exactly is mom dating?” I’m not sure if I heard this term somewhere before or if it just hit me one day… either way, mom dating is a thing… but more than likely it’s just me being a little dramatic. Nothing new here. Let’s dig into this.
I joined the mom dating pool around August of 2017. I was a little late to the game because the human child wasn’t in daycare or school until he was 3. We hadn’t experienced snack days, dress-up days, field trips, play-dates, birthday parties, or class parties… yet. The first day of school I was a complete nervous wreck. I was ironing his shirt and shorts… adding accessories, packing and repacking his book bag, re-reading the packet from open house, double checking to see if we had everything on his list, writing his name in everything… I was nervous because I wanted him to have a great day. I was nervous because I wanted him to love all of the other kiddos. I was nervous because this was a first for both of us. The majority of my friends have been in my circle of trust for a while… and to be honest, I wasn’t really throwing out friendship applications. I think the older I get the tighter I keep my group… possibly a character flaw but we will keep rolling here.
Who were my new mom friends going to be? A lot of these moms were already friends and they do play-dates and hangout on the weekends. Davis was 3 years old and we’d never had one of those… how do you even initiate that? Or do you just wait until your kid arranges it and go with the flow? All of my seasoned mom friends have told me that it just works itself out. They tell me that you will find your mom tribe. That when your kids make connections you get to know their parents and what not. And just because your kids are friends it doesn’t mean that you have to both buy campers and start spending weekends together. This isn’t rocket science but apparently I overthink things at times and they have to bring me back to down to earth.
His first day of school felt like my first day of school. It was like I had moved to a new town and was going to a new school … not really knowing what to expect. Remember on the first day of school you were like… What desk will my name be on.. and who will be sitting beside me this year? What was I doing at open house? Scanning the class roster matching kids to moms. Why? I guess I was trying to see who my potential play-date moms would be? Who knows.
Let me just go ahead and throw it out there… I’m awkward. If I think it… it comes out. If I think it… (and it’s been a while since I’ve had Botox) it’s all over my face. I don’t know why I’m awkward… but I am. I think my close friends just get it and roll with it. But when I meet new moms… I immediately feel like I’m dating again. When you’ve been in a relationship for a while… you’re comfortable. It’s like sliding your feet into a comfy pair of bedroom shoes. When you enter the dating pool and it’s been a while… it’s like wearing pointy toe heels. And in my case you have chubby toes… and you have to wear them all day all while trying to look like you know what you’re doing … when all you want to do is put on your flip flops.
Moms come in all different shapes and sizes. There are the moms that really do have it all together… and for the record I love watching these moms hit grand slams. I watch from the bleachers and take notes. My mom was one of those. The mom that had the matching outfits for both kids. That did the fun birthday parties. That just seemed to do it right. And did it as a single mom. I now have a new respect for single moms. I recently watched her put a towel in the dryer so that it would be warm when Davis got out of the tub (now this is new… she didn’t do this with us). But it’s the moms that do the little things. And they just love doing it. My friend Dwan is like that. She is THE Pinterest mom. The mom that likes turning fruit cups into these things that look like little Valentine monsters. They’re cute, right? (If you want more info on these, I’m sure she would be happy to be a guest and do a tutorial). She’s crafty like that.
So I asked her one day, “Do you seriously enjoy doing that?” And she does. Not only does she enjoy it… she LOVES it. Why? Because she said her kids get so excited. My mom enjoyed dressing us in matching watermelon dresses. Not to impress other people.. but because she just really liked doing it. So I had to quit mom judging. I was doing what I hate… I was mom shaming the moms that were over there doing what they love and more importantly.. they enjoy!
It’s not about how well you can turn a fruit cup into an animal for whatever holiday party you have or if you wear yoga pants every day, or if you go pick up Ritz Crackers and Oreo’s (something salty and something sweet) for snack day and tie it up in the grocery store bag and drop it off like a boss. I’m almost a year into this mom dating gig and I’m completely winging it. It’s really not that bad… it’s just something new. It’s throwing you outside of your comfort zone and I think that’s what makes it scary. But it doesn’t have to be a pair of pointy toe heels either… if flip flops are your thing… own it.
Comparison is the thief of joy. The older I get the more that I see this in everything I do. Marriage, parenting, friendships, business… it’s everywhere. There will always be moms that just seem to get it… like it’s their niche in life. So what I’ve started doing is paying attention and pulling different things from different moms along the way. I think about leadership and what I think it means to be a good leader and how you get there. You can read books and listen to podcasts and YouTube videos all day from different experts… but you can’t just follow that one person and end up where they are. Every journey is different. You learn from several people and mold it into something messy, unique and beautiful that makes you who you were intended to be all along. It doesn’t matter what it is in life… we all have unique talents and gifts inside of us that we just haven’t tapped into yet. Every mom is capable of doing Pinterest projects. But some moms just don’t want to do it. And even the most perfect mom (like mine… in my eyes she’s perfect… and she just did it right… a lot) there were things she didn’t want to do… One day we were sitting in the drop off line.. somewhere around 5th grade… I said, “Mom, why don’t you drive a minivan like all of the other moms. Everyone else drives minivans. Why don’t you go to tennis lessons like all the other moms?” She didn’t skip a beat and said, “Because I don’t want to.” I get that now. Not everyone will drive minivans. Not everyone will play tennis and walk their kid to school. Not every mom will make the perfect lunch with handwritten notes or birthday pancakes.
So what’s my goal with being a mom? To just love my kid. To teach him to love people and to be the nice kid and always make new friends. It’s really pretty simple when we stop overreacting and just focus on what’s important. All of the other things are distractions. And mom dating? Well, I’ve actually enjoyed it. I’ve met some really cool people… and I’ve learned that we don’t all “have it together….” There are other moms that are winging it just like me.