Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mom Dating

Today it was hot.  Muggy.  Intermittently rainy.  And the sky was filled with biting bugs... greenhead flies and misquitoes have invaded our beach haven.  The husband is gone on business.  The parents are gone to the mountains.  So, it was just me and this tiny fellow who doesn't talk (yet) knocking around the house, and I found myself going a bit crazy.  Had to get out.  A few minutes on the interwebs revealed a free children's story hour about to begin at Barnes & Noble (bless you, Barnes & Noble), so into the car we scrambled and off we went.  And it was here at our local corporate big box bookstore that I encountered my first experience with what I will call Mom Dating.  I haven't had much of a chance to meet moms I don't know since Baby J was born.  In Vermont, I was just head-spinningly, disgustingly, beside-myself busy once I went back to work.  If I wasn't commuting, pumping or working, I was vegging with the husband, trying to catch my breath. And here in Maine, I've been lucky to be hanging pretty tough with my cousin's clan, our sidekick Good Golly, and, of course, my immediate family.  It hasn't been often that I've been called upon to meet new moms.  Until today.

So, there we were at the "lapsit story time" and there were a bunch of other young moms, all with babies newborn to 20 months.  A perky B&N worker read 5 fabulous stories about monkeys, which was lovely.  Baby J loves monkeys.  But before and after the monkey tales, there was simply a quilt on the ground with dozens of age-appropriate toys for the taking and about 10 little ones tearing it up.  It is interesting trying to socialize as an adult in this situation.  For one thing, you have to keep a constant eye on your own child and make sure he isn't "hugging" someone much smaller than he is (Baby J is a hugger... what can I say?  He comes by it honestly.).  For another thing, children this age haven't learned any social boundaries, so you are just as likely to have someone else's child climbing all over you while you try to make sure your's doesn't mug someone for their stacking toy.  And, there are moms of all stripes there... quite young, on the older side, goth, sporty, exhausted, protective, absent... you name it.

However, there was one mom there who seemed like she was my peeps.  Her son and mine were at about the same level of development and digging eachother.  She was wearing a t-shirt from our local surf shop (which I am now coveting... so cute).  She was accessorized as I usually am (nondescript silver jewelry, flip-flops, long curly hair swept back), and she seemed really nice and not out of patience with her baby (as many of the other moms seemed).  Suddenly, I felt like I had seen a cute boy at a bar circa 1999.  What was my next move?  Go up and say hi?  Make conversation?  What witty one-liner would be my opener?  How did I look?  I mean honestly, I was shocked and appalled by how similar this suddenly felt to dating (and everything I ever hated about dating).  I didn't want to seem desperate, and at the same time, wanted to chat more with this person. I have to say, I feel slightly like a stalker even writing this, but I just had to share, as this is a situation I am sure to repeat as we get settled in a new town and start frequenting its playgrounds, storytimes and music classes, and I'd like very much to know how other women handle it.  Anyone? 

As it was, I got caught up in breaking up an almost-scuffle between Baby J and another toddler over a magic wand, and then she was gone.  And anyway, our time here is just about up, so I don't need to start dating meeting new mom friends at this particular Barnes & Noble anyway.  However, this experience and the shocking familiarity of the emotions around it gave me pause.  I suppose making new friends at any age is hard, because you are always kind of just putting yourself out there to be accepted or rejected, which is an emotional risk regardless if you are a mom or at any other station in life.  There is just something about having your most precious person along for the ride that makes the whole experience that much more fraught.  Who knew?
 Want to hang with us?  We're really fun... and we cook! :)
Well, sporty surf mom from B&N, you and I weren't meant to be, but you have introduced me to a whole new phenomenon in my life.  Just when you thought being married spared you from ever having another "come here often?" moment.  Life is full of surprises, no?


  1. Adorable, SMJ!!! Any fellow Mama would be lucky to date you. Just make sure to cyberstalk them and see if they are already engaged to a Syracuse basketball star. ;)

  2. I almost died laughing reading this Jane! Classic!

  3. I just love your blog, your honesty and your photos. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Thanks, Ladies! I love your support and am so grateful!

    Moss... how 'bout a playdate... or something of that nature? :)

  5. LOL at this one. Love the writing. My mom used to tell me that if I was feeling something about someone, they were probably feeling the same thing. This freed me to be the one who says, "Hi" and even at 63 I find myself being the one. I've met lots of my friends all over the world and country this way. The best thing about rejections is that my practice is not to remember them.

  6. You know, SMJ, your post really resonates with anyone trying to make new friends (as you acknowledged). I don't have a sidekick, but I find myself more or less friendless in this new, humongous city I've moved to. I have vowed over and over again to try to meet new people, but when I get to a situation where it's possible, I choke. I like to think that I'll just be myself, say hello, and see what happens from there!
    Also, if you do get to the point where you say hello and decide you want to get together some other time, I think having a personal contact card on hand would be so handy! That way you can just hand her the card, say "e-mail me sometime & check out my blog!" This might avoid the awkward "let me write down my number," find a pen & paper, handle Baby J, scramble that can feel awkward sometimes. I dunno, some people think personal contact cards are dorky, but I think they're handy, and some of them are really pretty & say a lot about yourself that you don't even have to say out loud!

  7. I guarantee you, my friend, that every other Momma at B&N was thinking the exact same thing about YOU! :) Including Ms. Surf Shop T-Shirt.

  8. I totally had (and still have) this same experience with other preschool moms. It's especially hard when you're the new girl in town, and figure the other moms have already got their social network in place. Probably true, though, that if you're feeling that mom connection, they are, too :-) .

  9. This post was AWESOME.
    That is all.