Moms "Dating" Moms

One of the hardest things for Moms is to make NEW friends as Moms ... it kind of feels like Junior High all over again.

By Lisa Barr

A few weeks ago I was fighting a traffic ticket in traffic court. I haven't had a ticket in years -- and I was nervous. I drove there (why are traffic courts always in the most remote locations and at the worst times, during the day). Anyway, I was early, and waited (and waited).

A woman in the court house bathroom came up to me, and said, "Hey, great boots." I responded, "Hey, thanks."  We then had a discussion of boots (my hands-down fave fashion accessory), and I gave her the name of the store and directions to get there. It was all very girlie, and I made my first "traffic court" friend.

My case was called, and I looked across the room -- and guess who was my prosecutor -- you got it -- my new BFF. The ticket was dismissed, and I truly believe the "boots bonding" may have had a little something to do with it. And it got me thinking ... Over the years, handing out compliments about shoes, clothes, jewelry, hair -- have been my way to meet and connect with women. Even Moms need a "pick-up" line to meet other Moms.

Especially when you are the New Mom on the Block.

Several years ago, after I remarried, my husband and newly-blended family moved from one town to another -- my daughters entered their new elementary school in third and first grades respectively. I had missed out on pre-school Mommy bonding, and the beginnings of elementary school Getting-To-Know-You's (when everyone is in the same boat). In other words, I came to town WITHOUT a group, or a friend.

Drop-off was fine. But picking up from school was tough. I would wait on the sidelines alone for my daughters. All the mommy groups had been formed and they were locked in various small circles. I would hear airborne commentary about their days, and making plans. I would spend those 15 minutes desperately trying to look busy. I had my five best "history friends" -- but everyone lived out of town, or not locally. I pretended that my solo-ship didn't bother me -- but inside, it did. I was now a Stay-At-Home Mommy -- having left my full-time position at a newspaper to freelance from home, and build my new family.

By nature, I'm very social -- but Girls being Girls, Women being Women -- I knew making new friends at (then) almost-40 was going to be a tough nut to crack.

How do I do this? How do I break into the suburban clique-dom? I knew no one was just going to let me in because I was nice.

I had no other choice but to start "dating."

Dating Moms is suburban-speak for making new friends, and it usually comes with a catch: You become dependent on YOUR kids to break the ice for you.

It's an odd concept -- banking on your 9 year old to help you make friends. But it all comes down to developing Mommy Friends through their friends. I began to make play-dates for my girls, and little by little, Moms got to know me. But the process was slow, and I was lonely.

I was a bit scared to make the first move -- not wanting to be rejected. So when the moment came and a certain Mom asked me for coffee, it honestly felt like the hottest guy in high school had just asked me out.

I know it all sounds so silly, but at that time -- everything was so new -- my home, my family, our kids blending, new school, new lifestyle  -- everything was still in its wrapper -- and I was vulnerable.

So a simple coffee date with a potential new friend felt like a life-changer.

One coffee led to lunch, lunch led to being invited to meet her group of friends, eventually a couples dinner, and the big score after several months -- I was invited to a Girls Night Out.

But "Dating" in suburbia requires more than just meeting Moms. It also requires getting involved in the school -- taking initiative. So I became the Great Books "teacher" once a week, I volunteered on field trips, and headed the Valentine's Day party, among other "connectors."

"Dating" to make new (real) friends took almost three years of searching, I kid you not, until I found my women -- those who I could call on and have coffee or lunch, laugh, go for a walk, a workout, text splices of life, save me a seat at various school functions -- and also go out as couples.

And then comes the tricky part.

If your Mommy friendships are solely based on the fact that your kids are close friends -- it can be shaky ground. Many women I know discuss tough scenarios when their kid have "moved on" to another group of friends -- and their Mommy friendships begin to fall apart.  This "co-dependency" is exposed, and your kid's action causes a "pink elephant" to enter your relationship.

We've all been on both sides of that coin -- my kid stops being friends with yours/or your kid stops being friends with mine. If this happens, there is only one solution to weather that storm:

Don't pretend the kids' dwindling friendship does not affect yours. Talk about it, tackle it, and discuss with your friend/s how you can rise above this.

One woman I know says, "I've learned the hard way, and I keep my distance from my kids' friends' parents ... Not only that, I focus only on those women who have the opposite sex kid as mine in the same class. Truthfully, I cannot deal with the drama."

We all deal with the drama, I told her. You can't hide from it. Moms in the 'burbs have a lot going on -- juggling carpools, activities, kids' demands, house, hubby, work, projects, bar mitzvahs, sweet 16s, birthday parties, church, synagogue, perhaps caregiving to their own parents -- Mom bonding becomes not only precious time, but also a lifeline of support.

Most Mommy friendships are hard to come by -- and I believe it's worth it to make them work.

Here's the advice I tell my daughters... and perhaps, it trickles UPWARD: If you find a few good friends who you can trust, with whom you feel good about yourself, with whom you can laugh and share your secrets, who give you good advice and who tell you which dress actually DOES look prettier  -- hold on to them with two hands.

The mark of true friends -- new and old --  is not the good times when all your ducks are in a row, but how you move past a conflict if say your 'duckling' should happen to go rogue.

The key and (the lock) to sustaining Mommy Friendships is to take them out of the "Mommy" Zone (based on the kids) -- and really get to know each other as women (based on You) -- and then those friendships will stand up on their very own.

Lisa Barr is the editor of GIRLilla Warfare: A Mom's Guide to Surviving the Suburban Jungle (www.girlillawarfare.com) and the author of "Fugitive Colors" (historical supsense, available on Amazon).

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Danette Hayes November 30, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Fun read - per the above comments why is it men and apparently uptight women always jump to the "lesbian" thing when women hang with women? I know its a secret fantasy of many men but Lisa makes a really good argument about the power of friendship. She did this with humor and some good sounding advice.
Walter White November 30, 2012 at 11:22 PM
We know you guys do it. Just wish you'd include some of us daddys once in awhile.
Stevie Janowski November 30, 2012 at 11:42 PM
LOL you walked right into that one McCracken!
Oliver P. McCracken December 01, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Mrs. Barr, Your article WAS rather insightful. You needn't pay heed to the hooligans tossing their chicanery this way and that; there is most certainly a severe lack of coition in their lives, and they should beware that the only remedy to such a dearth of intimacy (for obnoxious lads who have not to offer the fairer sex) often has the nasty side effects of blindness and pileous palms. And if said rapscallions think this is the first time I have heard that joke regarding my given name, then my great-grandfather's wasn't O. Philipus McCracken.... I know that the matriarchs in my own fair village also find themselves sharing many enjoyable entertainments -- pie-bakes, quilting circles, hymn-sings, the brining of onions, turnips, parsnips, cucumbers, dandelion leaves, and the like. Perhaps those mothers in your berg would care to try these diversions.
Beth December 01, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Shows your true calibur - creepy
Walter White December 01, 2012 at 02:34 AM
And yours - scummy.
Walter White December 01, 2012 at 02:36 AM
C'mon some of those DYBA moms are HOT.
Beth December 01, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Walter white why do you even bother writing on the patch- you don't bring anything positive to the table. As soon as you are called out on or someone knows more then you : you're like a 5 year old who starts calling names. And your degrading comments about woman in this community and woman as a whole is disgusting. It makes you appear small minded and focused on the superficial aspects of life. Shame on you. What's cowardly is that you use an ananamous name. Typical.
Walter White December 01, 2012 at 04:02 PM
I know you are but what am I?
Stevie Janowski December 01, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Dan, I received emails from many patch editors and even the person in charge of the all of the midwest patch sites ( too my understanding) and they all said to take the P away. Travesty. So i now need a disclaimer, I do not work for patch...
Stevie Janowski December 01, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Walter white is a real name. He even has his last name. He lives in New Mexico, I know walter very well hes a good guy, big gambler and he recently got a new car!
Walter White December 01, 2012 at 08:06 PM
I'm in the empire business.
Just Sayin December 01, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Beth... Your comment(s) above does more of a disservice to women than anything Walter has written. You can't spell, punctuate or engage the use of capital letters when appropriate. Your sentence structure is poor. Your comments scold yet you try to sound enlightened. Those two states are diametrically opposed. Get it together fair lady...or stop embarrassing yourself.
RonnieTheLimoDriver December 02, 2012 at 02:28 PM
I think the use of the term "shame on you" should be banned on patch.
Beth December 02, 2012 at 07:37 PM
I think it's funny that those who speak of my so-called disservice, are not only men but put the same importance of punctuation as making statements of threesomes and bondage. Just sayin'.... And a father, no-less! Good example you are setting. "just sayin'" You Sir are correct- I was scolding because what he wrote about was a degrading comment(s) to women. I also think its funny that you scold me by saying, " get it together" And in the same comment you tell me I'm scolding. "Just sayin". I use to think this public forum was for the public. Now, after rethinking and experiencing what all you "regulars" write- its so not worth it.
Walter White December 02, 2012 at 07:52 PM
So you feel bisexuality and/or homosexuality is degrading? I don't find it degrading at all. Maybe you need to change your thinking with the times.
Beth December 02, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Walter White oops I mean Bree, I've read your comments and as disturbing as they are, I feel this overwhelming feeling of pitty for you. Idiot - maybe I am . Only fools claim to be superior. Have a nice negative life all you patch regulars.
Stevie Janowski December 03, 2012 at 01:20 AM
Beth please stop, your making a fool of yourself.
Moe @ the Buck December 03, 2012 at 03:34 PM
I think the the problem started with the title of the story, and the picture of the two ladies sitting close to one another gazing into each others eyes. People just assume that this is a story of two lesbians. However, it is a privilege and not a right that we are able to comment on the patch. We all will never have the same views, but the best part is we have rights to our opinions, however they may stink. I invite Beth,Stevie,Walter,Bree,Ronnie,just sayin,Danette, and Phil McCrackins brother up to the Silver Dollar Tavern tonight so we can argue about sports or how awful a bartender Moe is( Moe knows nothing about sports so you can definitely win that one). Thanks again to "the Buckleys" for those two awsome shows this weekend. Hi Tims Brother!
Jack Straw December 03, 2012 at 04:01 PM
I must admit the title did draw me in; my teenage mentality was creating pictures that had me grinning like a Cheshire Cat. But honestly folk the strings you post under Lisa blogs are simple childish and mean, I’m not sure but I think you are not her intended audience. Lisa’s points are very plausible and real for many.
Stevie Janowski December 03, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Sliver dollar tavern is a bit low rent...
Walter White December 03, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Yes I would imagine north shore soccer mom liasons to happen at much more upscale locales.
Moe @ the Buck December 03, 2012 at 09:55 PM
I know of some other upscale local Highwood establishments where uptight folks gather to bicker about their ideals. Let me know if you need directions.
richard fitswell December 03, 2012 at 11:30 PM
I thought the term MILF was a mans term. guess not
Stevie Janowski December 04, 2012 at 01:07 AM
You want to know what I found to be an interesting bar in highwood, Tap House, they have a lot of good beers there. I have been drunk there many times, good times good times
Moe @ the Buck December 04, 2012 at 07:45 AM
Love the Tap House Stevie. It's right down the street from the Buck. Try the Italian beef + gard pizza appitizer. How about their rootbeer with alcohol in it. Tell them Moe from the Buck sent you and I heard you may get a discount. West sides the best side!
Stevie Janowski December 04, 2012 at 05:34 PM
I will, maybe if i order that $23 beer they will knock it down. You ever had that thing
Lisa Barr December 14, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Hi, Lisa Barr writer of this blog, and I must say Moe, your posts about food are great. Contact me if you want to do a blog! -Lisa Barr
richard fitswell December 25, 2012 at 05:33 PM
b.c. ?
Jennifer Wilson February 22, 2013 at 03:02 AM
Thanks so much for this! It took me 4 kids and 10 years of schooling to make mommy friends. Glad I wasn't alone...


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