Forget romantic dates with actual real life men. Now that you’re a mom, you’re facing something even more terrifying: mom dates. A first-time mom date can be even more fraught with anxiety than a romantic date. Although hanky-panky is off the table, the potential for mom shaming, guilt, and the hopes that you just may be meeting the love of your mommy-friend life abounds.
By subjecting myself to a constant barrage of mom-dates I’ve found some serious mommy-friend keepers, and have fallen victim to cringe-worthy fails, many of them my own fault.
Here’s what I’ve learned in the trenches:
1. Wear yoga pants.
There is a certain je ne sais quoi about yoga pants that allows everyone to take a big sigh of relief, our butt included (everyone’s butt looks awesome in yoga pants.) Seeing you in the official mom uniform will remind your date that you’re just like her, you’re in it together, and there is no need to compete. Unless of course you’re discussing the best brand of yoga pants at Target.
2. Research your date ahead of time.
Get on the good ole Book of Faces to remind yourself what the heck your date looks like. This will help prevent you from needing to ask every poor mother who enters the park (because you’ll probably be at a park,) whether she’s there to hang out with you.
3. Don’t forget the essentials.
I get so nervous before first dates, I inevitably forget the diaper-bag 60% of the time, and my son does a bust-out-of-the-diaper poop 100% of the time. If you’re on a date with an awesome mom, she will happily hand over a few wipes, a diaper, and even a changing pad if she is truly saintly. The essentials may also include items like water, Goldfish, shoes, and your child.
4. Thou shall not utter the word “vaccinations.”
Just don’t do it.
5. Be honest, but not too honest (that’s for date number 6).
You want to share enough of yourself to take the initial step into bonding, but not so much that she wonders whether or not you should be spending this time in therapy; and let’s be honest, we could all use some therapy. Let her know about the funny mishap you had with your in-laws last week, but leave out the part about you being convinced your mother-in-law secretly feeds your children soda and is out to ruin your life.
6. Wear makeup, but not too much.
The uniform mom look for mom dates: you should look pretty, tired, and only partially put together. Therefore, you want to look pretty, but not too pretty. You want to look tired, but not too tired. You want to look like you tried, but not like you tried too hard.
7. Meet on neutral territory (aka, the park).
There is nothing like meeting at one’s home to make them crazy-pants. When a new mom-date is coming to your home, or vice versa, there will be immense stress sparked days in advance in regards to the GMO-full food that needs to be hidden, urine soaked bathroom mats that need to washed, and electronic toys that need to be stashed and replaced with the latest-and-greatest in developmentally appropriate wooden toys. When/if she becomes your best-mom-friend-for-life, you can invite her over, serve her a pop tart, laugh about the splatter marks of your kid’s pee on the bathroom wall, and ask her to help you program the electronic tablet you just bought for your kids. But for now, meet at the park.
8. If you run out of things to say, DON’T gossip about other moms.
It will come back to bite you. If you get nervous and start rambling about the judegy-mom in your Wednesday baby-betterment class, your date will inevitably be the half-sister of judgey-mom’s best friend.
9. If necessary, don’t be afraid to ditch the date.
If all she wants to do is talk about why you’re making the wrong choice in regards to vaccinations, gives you an impromptu baby sleep training lecture, admonishes your toddler for not using proper grammar, asks you if you “allow” your child to eat gluten and other such “poison,” and chastises you for having that tiny hole in the butt of your yoga pants, RUN.
10. Remember, you may be too cool for her.
If she doesn’t ask you on a second date, she’s so not cool enough for you, and there are oodles of other rad fish in the sea that have mated and created offspring a similar age to your own.
While writing this, I found myself lamenting the fact that there’s not an official “Mommy Match Site,” but then I remembered that Facebook existed.