By Michelle Adkins Hulse
For the first time in 13 years, I'm ready to date someone other than my husband. No, we aren't getting a divorce. I'm looking for a mom date. You see, I've spent most of the last few years taking care of a new baby and a school-age child. I have also eliminated several toxic relationships from my life. And while I don't regret that decision, doing so left me feeling empty and alone. I knew I needed to rebuild my support system, but where should I begin?
Unfortunately, making new mom-friends can feel a lot like dating, filling even the most competent of us with fear, excitement and anxiety. Plus, when you’re searching for a friend, you have to find a match for yourself, as well as a match for your child. Add in the possibility of double dates with the husbands, and the math would cause any good matchmaker's head to spin out of control.
You might be tempted to throw your hands up and say it isn't worth the trouble! But just like those singles on the dating scene, moms yearn for a connection. So we take our children to activities and group meetings, and we make polite conversation, keeping everything on an easy, safe surface level.
It can be hard to push your anxieties aside, especially if you've been burned by friendships before. But developing fun, supportive healthy relationships with other moms can be the best gift you give yourself and your child. Here are some tips to help you overcome your fears and take your mom acquaintances to the next level:
Get a pick-up line. You'll find it much easier to approach another mom if you have a few openers prepared ahead of time. Try asking how old their child is or compliment their child's appearance or behavior.
Give out the digits. There's no easy way to do it. Just take a deep breath and offer up your phone number or email address. Print some simple business cards with your name, phone number and email address.
Choose wisely. Don't chase after that seemingly perfect mom if there are long awkward pauses in your conversations. If you don't have a lot to talk about when things are new and fresh, think of how bored you'll be in a few weeks or months.
Become a serial dater. While the goal is to develop closer relationships, you may have to shop around a bit first. The more people you interact with, the more you increase the odds of finding moms you really click with.
Don't take it personally. Not all moms have great chemistry, and not all kids will either. If your mom-friend doesn't call you back, shrug it off and move on. It's true what they say about men and moms: There really are plenty of fish in the sea!
Michelle Adkins Hulse is a freelance writer and parenting columnist who lives in Lafayette, Louisiana, with her husband and their two girls.