Hah, gotcha! Did the title make you super curious what I was going to write about? Now to those of you who may find this article while searching the internet for advice on dating after having kids, I am sorry that this might have been misleading, but keep reading because you might still get something out of this!
I realized that the last blog I wrote was about a year ago. Last year was yet another giant motherhood learning curve, something I will touch on in a separate article, but I figured I would start off my re-entry into the blogosphere with something short and hopefully encouraging!
Now when I said postpartum dating, I was not referring to the romantic type of dating, whether it is to find a partner or to learn to date your current partner again after having kids. I am talking about when you are at the library or on the playground, and you find yourself giving the other parent their the once-over. Maybe your kids are playing together, or at least near each other, and you start to make small talk. And after you go through the typical exchange of your children’s statistics, age, developmental milestones (talking, walking, crawling etc) and find out you live pretty near each other, or you both frequent Whole Foods, you think maybe you should exchange numbers, but you aren’t quite sure if the other person is as into it as you are. Or what if you do exchange numbers and they turn out to be a completely different person than you thought!
This my friend, is what I call mom dating. Whether you are working full time, part time or find yourself currently full time at home, you may find yourself craving a friendship with someone who is going through the same stuff you are, someone who gets you. Because you know there are moments of joy, sorrow, frustration, anger, wonder, amusement and desperation in parenthood, usually all in the same day. And to be able to share that with someone, to be able to reach out to each other for advice or just a listening ear, is priceless. But it goes beyond just the fact that you have kids of a similar age. If your child is going to be meeting up to play together, you are going to be sitting with that other mom for a good while, and trust me, you can only talk about your kids for so long! So don’t be afraid to ask questions that go beyond your kids, ask about what their previous life was, where they work, what are their hobbies. You may find deeper commonalities or interests that can result in a lifelong friendship.
Now maybe you already have good friends that have kids which is great. I was one of the first to have kids in my friend circle, so I found myself starting conversations with other parents wherever Sim and I were. And through those conversations I found some really great friends. Friends that go beyond just kids. I mean friends that feed my soul, that I can have “laugh until you almost pee in your pants” moments with, friends that can put a smile on my face when I am having a rough day. Friends that make me remember who I was before I was a mom, that encourage me to use my talents and to pursue my interests. Friends that make me think about things in a different way.
Whether you are working full time, part-time or find yourself currently staying home with your child, you can benefit from these relationships. Don’t be afraid to spark that conversation with the person you are standing next to by the swings. Ask questions beyond the realm of children and parenthood, because you will need to be reminded at times that you are more than just mom or dad, you are your own person with struggles and talents and dreams.
Some of these friendships might just be for a season, and some might be for life. I hope I am not sounding to serious, because I have mom friends where we just meet for the kids and talk kid stuff and its great! Not every relationship can or even should be at the level I was writing about earlier. But those few deep mom friendships that I have found in these last few years have added such richness to my life. So many more things are possible when you have a friend that you can tag team with! Beach trips, hiking, or just going to the park become so much more fun when you have another adult that you can share that with. Another great side effect, the other person will almost always have the one thing that you forgot to pack into your back before you left the house!
So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, start a conversation the next time you find yourself around other parents. Whether it turns into a friendship or is just a passing conversation with another person, its worth it.
P.s These pictures were taken after our daughters refused to cooperate in taking the perfect “leaves falling around them while they smile angelically” photo. Well fine then, we will have our own photo shoot!