I have my girls. The ones I can call or text anytime. The ones I can send a strange emoji and they know exactly how I’m feeling. We can go 4 hours or 4 days or 4 weeks without talking and it’s ok. They know me and still love me, for that, they are my girls.
After high school, friends dropped off the planet. After college, besties moved on. After marriage and kids and a several year bubble-living hiatus, it’s a whole new experience. I’m now living in a weird mom-friend dating world.
I’m still not sure how to feel about it.
I’ve loved years of mostly staying home with my babies and watching them grow. They were my life. They still are, but then, no joke… they grew up. They grew up and they do things on their own and the last one is about to go to school. They grew up and they made their own little friends, I mean the nerve!
I knew it would happen.
I did. I just thought it would be in the future… and I didn’t think the future would happen so fast. Now here we are and I’m suddenly thrown into the make new friends den.
Hi, it’s me. Awkward table for one please.
I’ve discovered it’s a lot like dating.
Way back in time, when I had time, I could afford to take my time. That time’s up. Now it’s, walk into the crowded party or soccer field and assess in 13.6 seconds who I might be comfortable, capable and compatible to talk to.
It’s side-eye stalking the cool mom at the grocery and finding the nerve to speak. Ok, that never actually happens, but maybe one day.
It’s an art. It also fails a lot.
Once an actual conversation is initiated and continues beyond a fake smile and hello, I know it’s time to hold on.
Girl, do not let go of that line.
This is where the hard stuff begins. The questioning. The wondering. The dreaded dating flashbacks.
There’s the invite to lunch. Who me? Immediately I begin to wonder what she wants to sell me. Is she just pushing the next school event into my lap? Could she actually just want to chew food together at the same table?
The lunch goes well. Nothing is sold or pushed. It was good. Right? Do I text her? Wait a few days? Did she think I was funny or dorky? Did I talk too much?
Was I too…boring?
Afterall, I mostly speak to kids. They’re cool with a goofy voice and silly faces. Beyond that, my communication skills are rusty.
Will she care that I stuff receipts in my purse and check my nose 3 times for boogers? Does she also feel like she’ll never have it all together?
Suddenly, there’s a first playdate scheduled with another mom. See, mom dating. Can I actually juggle all this? The nerves start to pace in circles around the unfolded pile of laundry.
Should I clean or be real? Will she judge me for that line of egg yolk racing down the trash can? Does a full sink of dirty dishes scream, make yourself at home or I can’t deal?
Will my kid be mean to hers? I wonder if she’d be up for taking turns napping instead of conversation? What if she isn’t a coffee person? Can I even live with that?
Why can’t we ever talk about having to suck in tummy pooches or plucking strange hairs? Why can’t we share tips on how to poop in peace for once?
Then comes the follow through. Should I text her to schedule another playdate? Is it her turn to initiate? What if she never does? Will I ever survive the unknown?
Why is this so hard?
Then, I have pizza with my girl. I talk without question. I laugh without hesitation I speak my fears without regret.
I am me.
Maybe the other mom-friends will get to this point someday.
Maybe they won’t.
Maybe I’ll keep trying because mom-friend dating is hard and it’s good to try hard things and comfort zones needs stretching and maybe, just maybe I’ll find another receipt stuffer along the way.