by Andrea Rhoades
There’s this inevitable shift that happens when you have kids. You start to befriend complete strangers because you share the same common denominator: creating human life.
Maybe it’s at the weekly play date. Or the mom you see every morning at daycare drop off. You see the same parents all the time and you realize that even though you don’t know them, you feel like you do know them on a deeper level. Because raising kids is hard AF and you happen to be in the same war zone together.
So you give them a knowing nod in support as they corral their screaming kids in the car. Or maybe you make small talk with a mom at the park. These conversations are always the same. Obligatory “he/she is so cute!’ intro. Obligatory age comparison, etc. etc.
And then you suddenly find yourself in an awkward silence. Your palms get sweaty and you frantically look at your phone to give the impression that you are terribly busy and just can’t continue the conversation.
I hate small talk. Despise it is a better description. Feigning interest in what recent milestone this acquaintance-mom shares about their child is exhausting. I’m nice. Nice AF actually. But I just can’t with the small talk. But it seems most of my interactions with new moms are consumed by interactions that feel forced. So I decided to do something different.
I asked a mom out on a blind date.
I sent an email (seemed less risky than a text) to a mom who was newer to my town just to say hello and offered to chat or grab drinks sometime. I had never met her before and had no clue if we would have anything in common other than being a nine-month incubator. She emailed back and we settled on having dinner at a Mexican restaurant the next week.
I have to admit, the day of the mom date I was oddly excited. For one, there would be margaritas, so that alone was worth celebrating. But the thought of getting to know someone new at a deeper level than the typical small talk allows was kind of appealing.
It’s been forever since I dated, but oddly all those first date jitters came flying back. What should I wear? What should we talk about? What if she hates that I curse like a sailor? Maybe I should have an escape plan if the whole night is a disaster? I can always use my kids as an excuse…
We arrived at the restaurant at the same time and sat down. We both ordered drinks and I was never more thankful that we chose a Mexican restaurant since there was a basket of tortilla chips to keep me busy during the always weird first ten minutes of the mom date.
We asked each other the obligatory ‘Where are you from? What do you do?’ type questions and our first awkward pause happened. I decided to break the ice a bit by joking that what we were doing was so much like a real blind date and how my husband wished me luck just like a college roommate would. She laughed and we eased back in to conversation.
Turns out we had a lot in common. I loved hearing about her journey to our town, her ridiculously big family, and I genuinely enjoyed hearing about her adorable son. Making that personal connection with someone makes such a big difference.
There was no need for an SOS text to my husband. We stayed for almost two hours, added each other on Snapchat, and bemoaned about pumping at work.
This mom date was a success!
Meeting new people is hard when you’ve had an established friend group for so long. And it’s even harder when you are a busy mom. But if the opportunity ever presents itself, put yourself out there!
At least go out for a margarita and get out of bedtime duty for the night if nothing else.
Andrea Rhoades is the creator of Selfies to Selfless, a site for Millennial parents. She is passionate about empowering the newest generation of parents to find their sweet spot in their new journey. @ selfiestoselfless on IG and FB.