How Making Mom Friends Feels Just Like Dating

by Darcy Shapiro
Originally Published: 

We met at a park. We exchanged glances, checked each other out a little bit, moved closer to each other, exchanged some pleasantries and witty banter, and eventually our phone numbers. We began some casual texting, and later admitted to running quick internet searches on each other. We perused each other’s Facebook profiles. Oh man, I liked this one. I really really liked this one. Eventually we went out. Nothing too committal like dinner- just drinks. And the evening concluded with us closing down the hotel lobby bar over cocktails and endless conversation about our backgrounds, our families, our likes and dislikes. We were officially in a relationship.

This is a love story of sorts, I suppose, but the person in question is not my husband or some other guy from my past. She is, in fact, one of my closest mom friends. And if the above story looks familiar in its similarities to how you might have ended up with your partner, it’s because making mom friends is almost exactly like dating…

There Is A Pick-Up Scene. Gym classes, music classes, dance classes, Library Rhyme Times, and nursery and daycare drop off and pick up can feel just like a singles bar in the Hamptons. You try to look stylish (but also like you’re not trying too hard), scope out the field, make snap judgments on how another woman dresses or interacts with her child to decide if you’d be compatible, and start fantasizing about the beautiful friendship with the “cool” mom in class (there’s always at least one)- all the coffee dates, and stroller exercise classes you will go to together.

There Are Pick-Up Lines. So how do you strike up a conversation with that mom you’ve had your eye on? Try a couple of these on for size:

  • “I’ve been thinking about getting that stroller, how do you like it?”
  • “Do you know of any good children’s music classes around here?”
  • “Where did you get your baby’s boots? They’re so adorable!”

Next time a woman asks you a question tapping into your mom expertise, she might really want to know the answer to the question. But, it’s also the tell-tale sign that you’re being picked up. “Nice stroller,” is the mom equivalent of “nice ass.”

Rejection Hurts! (Even If It Is Pure Ego…) I once met a fellow pregnant woman in an exercise class. We kept running into each other at various places in the City, so we finally exchanged contact details. While we were both on maternity leave, we decided to meet up. I thought she was nice, though maybe not exactly “my type.” After our coffee date, I sent her an email following up on some items we were discussing on our date. I never heard from her again. Whomp whomp. I must admit I often wondered what happened over the course of that hour. Was she busy with her colicky baby? Was I not funny enough? Did she really like me but lose my contact information? Did she ask those mutual friends we figured out we had about me and find out something she didn’t like? Whhhhhhhhhhhy doesn’t she like meeeeee? I guess she just wasn’t that into me. Yup, rejection still sucks.

Momentum Needs To Keep Going. So you’ve met a fellow mom, and you guys have really hit it off, and you seem to really like each other. But schedules get busy, and two months after your first hang out together, you still haven’t managed to schedule that play date you had been promising. Just like dating, forging these new mom relationships requires momentum to keep going, or the relationship will fall flat before it ever gets off the ground. A wise friend once told me about the rule of threes- that is, she always makes sure when she likes someone (male, female, friend or date), she makes a point of hanging out with that person three times in quick succession, thereby never letting the momentum lull. After three times, a level of comfort is generally established whereby it becomes acceptable once again to take things for granted and get lazy. I fully ascribe to this strategy.

Sometimes Relationships Happen Where You Least Expect. After meeting the fellow moms in my son’s nursery class, I must admit my snap judgments were completely wrong. The woman who I thought I would be galloping off into the sunset with our jogging strollers? We barely talk. The one I thought I would never hit it off with? She’s one of my favorite people. Don’t judge a book by its cover, and all that.

Successful Mom Dating Can Lead To The Joining Of Two Families. So why do people date in the first place? Most people are eventually looking for a lifelong mate, someone to share a future with and unite their lives and families together. It’s not all that different in the mom friend world. The dream of many of us moms on the prowl for other moms is that the friendship we forge will lead to the melding of two families- our husbands become best friends, our kids become like cousins, our families go on ski and beach vacations together, and our futures are united. Sure, it makes hanging out with your girlfriend and gossiping over wine a lot easier when the husbands and kids are entertained. But, for me, some of my fondest childhood memories are from vacations and holidays we shared with my parents’ best friends and their kids.

The truth is I want my children to have that experience and those lifelong friends. Because when it comes down to it, it’s really all about the kids, isn’t it?

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