You may already know that I have recently moved to Miami and I have been dearly missing my friends around the world. In Jerusalem I left behind a tight knit group of deep, self aware, spiritual, fun loving women. My group of mom friends in New York set the bar extremely high for park acquaintances. I have slowly discovered that here in Miami the social rules are very different. I certainly have not figured out what they are, but it apparently doesn’t include much friendliness at the playground. The kids don’t want to play with my kid and the moms don’t want to chat with me. As far as I’m concerned, playing with other kids and chatting with other moms are THE ONLY REASONS I GO TO THE PARK. Needless to say, it has been a little frustrating trying to meet people here. What I have discovered, which I will share with you, is how to single out the moms who will talk to me, and hang out with me again. If this tactic reminds you of dating, you are correct, there are many similarities.
Here is a guide to dating, I mean finding a mom friend, in six easy steps.
Step 1: Choose your target
Find a mom who seems like she has similar interests. In my case, that cuts the playground population in about half because I don’t speak Spanish. After that I tend to avoid anyone who is talking on their cell phone (they don’t want to talk to me anyway), following their kids around telling them how to play, or yelling at their kids. This may leave a handful of moms who I think might be open to a conversation. If I see a mom with a baby in a carrier or breastfeeding I can skip all the previous steps and go right to her. She is almost definitely not from around here and is probably from New York or California. I’m not saying this to be snarky, I’m actually being serious! Moms who are not originally from this area seem to be much more open to chatting with me on the playground.
Step 2: Approach nonchalantly
Don’t stare, don’t walk over as soon as she gets to the playground, try a smile from afar first and see if she returns it.
Step 3: Opening statement
Time to dig into the memory bank and translate some good old pick up lines into mom language. I felt like I was hitting on someone in a bar when I went up to a mom at the park and asked her what kind of baby carrier she was wearing. Thankfully she responded kindly and we have met up several times since.
Step 4: Casual conversation
I try to start with something simple like, “How old is your son/daughter?” No guessing if you can’t tell the gender! Calling a baby by the wrong pronoun is the fastest way to turn someone off. Then maybe, “Do you live in the neighborhood?” By now you can probably tell if this person is interested in actually having a conversation with you. It may lean toward the basics such as whether they are crawling yet, or whether they are letting you sleep or not (almost always not). If you have something in common with this other mom it will come up, such as, “You’re not from around here? Me neither.” Then the hope is that the conversation continues smoothly without feeling forced.
Step 5: See if kids get along
This is a real deciding factor. A mom you can talk to is great, but if her kid is trying to rip your kid’s hair out or if your kid is knocking over her toddler, this relationship is over before it began.
Step 6: Say goodbye and hopefully exchange numbers
If you have made it through the first five steps, now is the time to put yourself out there and ask for the other mom’s contact info or offer yours. This can be tricky. You must look inside yourself and decide whether you think she is interested in seeing you again or not. I ask for emails or offer my own phone number because I just can’t bring myself to say, “Can I have your number?” I know we’re talking about dating here, but really, I’m married!
Now the fun part starts. If this were ten years ago and the new potential mom friend was a guy we just met, we would call our girlfriends. “Should I call? Is he going to call? Should I text him first or is that weird? Does he like me?” Instead, we call our husbands and have the same exact conversation! Then we wonder when we should set up plans, how often should we hang out, is it too much too fast? Should we introduce our families? What if I end up not liking her after a few dates? How do I break up with her? Should I just stop calling? O M G. This is exhausting! I don’t know about you but I am VERY glad to be married to the most wonderful man on the planet and out of the dating scene. However, I am proud to say that I am currently juggling three new lady friends. The best difference between this and dating is that I don’t have to choose which one to pursue, I can keep hanging out with all of them!