Most of us have experienced the “mom dating” phenomenon — or at least heard of it. You meet a mom at the park or story-time at the library or gymnastics. She seems cool, and she’s baby-wearing with the Tula carrier that you’ve been drooling over. You figure that’s your chance for an opening line (eh-hem, or pick-up line) and go for it.
The two of you bond over baby-wearing techniques and decide to swap numbers with a promise to meet up again soon for a playdate. But then you don’t hear from her and wonder, “Should I text her or wait a few days? Will she think I’m clingy if I text now? What if she thinks I’m a flake if I wait too long? Does this text sound witty and fun or like I’m trying too hard?” After finally getting the nerve to shoot off a text, the waiting game begins. Boom – you’re transported back to the days of dating and trying not to check the phone every 5 minutes for a reply. Cat and Nat hilariously describe this experience in their “#MOMTRUTHS Mom-Dating” video.
But when we as moms struggle with anxiety of any kind, the normal mom-dating nerves are pumped-up like Hulk on steroids. Sometimes the concern is so big and so consuming that it affects how we make and maintain our friendships. As an anxious mom myself, my biggest fear is that I am not only isolating myself but also my children from good support systems and friend circles. Surprisingly, when I opened up about my own friend-making struggles, I was overwhelmed by the number of other women who battle these same fears and insecurities. Based on their feedback and my own experiences, here’s what you should know about us anxious moms if you are our friend — or a new potential friend:
- You may think us aloof or standoffish; in reality, we are hesitant to initiate conversation because we either feel awkward or wonder if you really want to talk to us.
- On the off-chance we actually get brave enough to start a conversation, we will probably say something cringe-worthy like, “Wow, I hope when I get my Tula carrier, it looks as good on me as it does you.” We will instantly regret this and do metaphorical face-palms the rest of the day.
- In the effort to curb above said gaff, we will usually have a mental ticker tape running of any possible word or topic that could offend you, and we’ll be censoring every word.
- We will worry about awkward silences and fill it with lots of chatter.
- We will also worry about talking too much and clam up, only to worry later about not saying enough.
- After a conversation, we will rehash the whole thing repeatedly. You can probably even expect an apology text for something between 1-3 hours later.
- We fear that we won’t fit in with you and will be judged for our physique, intelligence, lifestyle, parenting style, faith, and so on.
- We worry that you won’t like our kids.
- We will want to invite you and your kids over for playdates but probably won’t, because we’ll assume that you wouldn’t possibly want to come.
- On the off-chance we do invite you over, we will probably give you so many excuses as to why you shouldn’t come, that you’ll wonder if we really want you. The reality is that we are setting it up so that neither party feels bad if you say no.
The absolute most important thing you should know is that we want to be your friend, too. So, please give us anxious mamas some grace as we muddle through the awkward first stages of mom-dating. And to my fellow mamas who struggle with anxiety — in the words of a fictional fortune cookie, “Be true. Be YOU” (Everyone loves Cupcake, Kelly DiPucchio).