We are sitting on the couch after a long day away at a volleyball tournament. My daughter is in bed, and my husband is watching a football game. I’m scrolling Instagram when my phone buzzes in my hand.
I gasp a little, I can’t help it – I didn’t expect her to text so soon. I glance up nonchalantly at my husband, who hasn’t noticed anything yet. That’s probably good.
“It was great seeing you today. I’m so glad to be home on my couch drinking wine!”
I sit for a long time wondering how I should respond. I don’t want to respond too quickly, but I also don’t want to wait too long. What should I say?!
I finally come up with something I think is suitably witty, but also breezy – I don’t want to seem like I’m trying too hard. Something about how we obviously had the same idea this evening, haha. I finally hit send, and then I wait.
Three little dots come up on the screen… a response! I am fully flushed now, there is no denying it.
“I knew we were going to get along, ” it reads. “We should grab dinner soon!”
I can’t help it this time, I am smiling, and my husband takes notice.
“Honey,” I say, a little breathless, “she texted! And get this – THEY WANT TO HAVE DINNER WITH US!”
That, my dear friends, is a not actually very dramatic retelling of my most recent making of a mom-friend. I won’t lie to you: it was exactly like flirting. I laughed after the exchange ended and I admitted to my husband that I was taking “first-date levels of time” crafting responses. The stakes were high, after all!
It’s not that I’m lacking friends. I have great ladies in my life, and they’re some of the actual best humans. Many of them are mothers themselves, in the thick of it. They are my ride or dies.
But something happens when you move to a suburb, have neighbors with similar-aged children, are walking to a school every day – I am surrounded by my kid’s friends’ moms. I have friends nearby, yes; but my natural inclination is that it would be nice to have some friends in this new sphere, as well. I want to have someone to talk to at the bus stop, and while chaperoning field trips, and at volleyball games; someone to text with about whatever hot gossip there is to review for the 4th grade class that week.
I’m an extrovert, and these are my needs. I’ve made my peace with it.
We have been here, in the burbs, for coming up on 3 years. This past year, finally, we seem to be “clicking” with a few parents we meet at school, through activities, you know how it goes. And you guys, I’ll be darned if it is not just exactly the same as dating. Only maybe harder, because while you’re hoping your mom-crush is crushing on you back, you also hold out hope that their husband will be crushing on your husband, and vice versa, and you can all hang out and have dinner and drink wine while the kids play. It’s the dream guys. And the stars align only every so often.
So when you meet another mom at whatever activity you’re at today and you feel a little spark – maybe she laughed at a joke you made or you notice she’s funny, maybe you both read the same book last month – it’s exciting! So you exchange phone numbers, probably for something like carpooling, but one day one of you sends a text that’s not about the kids, and it’s game on from there. You try to sit together at choir concerts and sporting events; linger after play-dates; you make an effort to not look like a work-at-home bridge troll at pick up and drop off; and then, if you’re lucky, you up the ante to a full, planned, official date. And you don’t even have to get a babysitter, because glory glory hallelujah they live just down the street and those kids will entertain each other. That’s the dream.
And before you know it, fingers crossed, living in the burbs is a fun, even social experience. The tedium is alleviated from our kids’ day-to-day events [I don’t mean to be negative, but you know the ones I mean.] I find myself looking forward to things like trick-or-treating, all-day tournaments, and picking up from a play-date. A definite victory.
So next time you feel that familiar spark (you may remember it from back when you were dating), go with your gut, girls! Make the first move. Send a text. Invite her in for a glass of wine. And try not to overthink it too much… dating was hard enough! At the very least, you can rest easy knowing at least one other person is feeling like you do.
Recognizing that kindred spirit in another person can make a newer place feel more like home; and that is worth every initial awkward interaction and nervous text exchange in my book.