I got married before the dawn of the Tinder era, so online dating is something I never had experience with. Until now that is. But alas, I’m not swiping right on potential romantic suitors, instead I’m on the hunt for something much more elusive. The mom friend!
You guys, the struggle is seriously so real. I’m not originally from the Bay Area and all my close friends live back East. Since moving to California seven years ago I never made the kind of close relationships that I’d had back home. It’s well documented that it isn’t easy making friends as an adult and that’s certainly been the case for me. But mom friends. Man, that is a whole other level.
When you become a mom, all of a sudden you’re thrust into this whole new world. And if you’re like me, with no local mama friends in the area, and everyone else in your life either has older kids or no kids, next thing you know you are looking for anyone who would want to chat baby stuff with you. And I mean anyone. I overshared with many a well-meaning barista/stylist/maintenance worker/ aka anyone within range of me in my early days of parenthood. (Trust me, people without kids do not want to hear about your kids poop. But mom friends, ahhh, they just might listen. ha)
I tried mom dating the conventional way. Striking up conversations in parks, coffee shops, etc. I’d find a mom across the playground and smile, quietly honing in till I was close enough to start chatting. I’d ask the regular stuff. Number of kids, age, occupation. Maybe make a joke somewhere in there. These convos always went swimmingly but alas, I just couldn’t close and seal the deal so to speak. I’m a great meet-cute person (meet somewhere, hit it off, etc.) But getting those digits just never happened for me. And trust me not for lack of trying. In hindsight, maybe my overeagerness to connect showed, kind of like the nerdy guy at the party trying desperately to impress the cool girl. haha. Regardless, I persevered.
I’d taken a natural birthing class and I tried to secure forever friendships with the moms I’d met in the class. We have seen each other every couple of months since but I only truly made that mom love connection with one of my fellow classmates. I’m honored to say she’s moved past mom friend territory into simply friend territory. But once our honeymoon period was over aka when she went back to work (insert sad face here ) and I was trying to find adults to hang with during the day, I was on the hunt once again. Enter Peanut, a dating-like app designed for like-minded moms to connect.
I was at a conference for entrepreneurial moms when I heard the pitch and immediately signed up. Encouraged by all the cool moms I’d met at the conference I uploaded a picture, wrote a bio and got to mom dating. At first, I would carefully read every word of the mom’s bio, scan her pics and decide if we were destined to be mom friends. But then, taking the advice of my 21-year-old brother and Tinder aficionado I realized it’s a numbers game. No time to waste reading profiles, I just needed to make friends and potential playmates for my daughter damnit! haha So I swiped up to my heart’s content and then played the waiting game. (Users swipe up to wave if they want to connect and swipe down to move on to the next mama, if both users wave, it’s a match.) As I swiped, I couldn’t help but wonder, would I match with any compatible mamas? Or would my overeagerness once again thwart my attempts at genuine friendships.
Luckily, I started connecting with mamas right away. It turns out, the mamas on the app were just like me: looking to connect and make friendships. I was no longer the overeager one because we were all in the same boat. Some had just moved to town, while others simply were searching for someone with similar age children. I struck up a conversation with each match in the hopes of taking our online meeting into an offline playdate. One of my first connections was like a match made in mom friend heaven. Her name was also Kasia with a daughter named Amelia and a career in marketing. “Is this real life?” I thought!? My husband even joked if I was sure I wasn’t looking at my own profile. But alas the other Kasia/Amelia duo were very much real and we met shortly thereafter. We’ve already made plans for a repeat playdate. Finally, the first (play)date I’d longed for is now a reality. And I even got the digits 😉
Since then, I’ve been messaging with several other moms in my area. Chatting about our kids/jobs/parks and activities and more. The mom convos of my dreams basically, haha I already have plans for two more dates and am optimistic about my chances of developing a true mom friendship(s). I’d always said that if I were to be single in today’s day and age, I’d absolutely use the technology at hand. I have no intention of being back on the romantic dating scene but I’ll happily frolick in the online world of mom dating any day of the week. I may meet these mamas and their littles online but my hope is that these online connections turn into real life friendships. At least a mom can dream <3
Photo via Unsplash