My palms are sweaty, the butterflies in my stomach are having a riot, and I seriously might throw up any second now. I keep going over and over in my head how this could go down, always going to worse case scenario.
“Well, she’s probably going to be nothing like me, it’s going to be so awkward, super weird. We’ll have nothing to talk about. I can just tell her I have to go do something, I’m not sure what, but something.
What could I be doing in the middle of the day on a Wednesday? Doctor’s appointment? No, that’s stupid, why would I schedule a play date if I have a doctor’s appointment? Maybe my husband can rescue-text me. I should text him so he knows the code word. If I text him “avocado” he’ll know to call and say there’s an emergency. She’ll probably hate me anyway, so what does it matter? I bet she gets a rescue text from HER husband…”
And on and on and on. All those voices in my head, telling me just to turn around and go home, save everyone the trouble of an awkward meeting.
I’m going on a mom date. A blind-mom-date. And I’m FREAKING OUT.
It’s kind of surreal, really. I don’t know this person, but a few mutual friends thought we’d get along – like a straight-up blind date. So here we go, I’m going to her house. Taking my kids. “Hey, stranger, nice to meet you, will you be my friend?” It’s half desperate, half funny. But, isn’t that the way, when you’re making friends as an adult?
It’s hard, meeting people. You see other moms at the park or the grocery store, maybe the library, but what do you say, how do you initiate the conversation? You look for tells that they are similar to you, someone you might get along with. “She’s wearing her baby, maybe we could be friends,” or “She’s got food on her shirt, maybe her baby spit up on her, too,” or “She’s nursing in public! She’s my people!” You scope out her kids, check ages, and gauge their behavior. Are they running around like barbarians or picking the wings off of grasshoppers? No?
You catch her eye across the playground equipment, grin, try not to seem like an insane person, nonchalant, cool, not needy and desperate for companionship. You drop a, “How old are your kids?” “Your baby is adorable” “I love your carrier!” Any generic icebreaker or small talk starter.
And then, before you know it, you’re chatting. It’s uncomfortable, your both feeling the other out for any weirdo vibes. It’s tentative and unsure, but you’re totally doing it! And in your mind, you keep asking, “Is she the one? Am I making a friend? What next? Do I ask for her number? Tell her to look me up on Facebook? If I look her up on Facebook, will she think I’m a stalker? WHAT DO I DO NEXT???”
And usually, unfortunately, you don’t do anything. Your three-year-old pees on himself or the baby has an up-the-back explosion and you have to leave. You say goodbye, nice chatting with you, maybe I’ll see you around, and that’s it. You don’t see her again at the park. Even though you go every day at the exact same time as that day, but she’s never there again.
Now you’re super bummed and even lonelier.
And if you DO follow up and exchange numbers, what do you do then? When is it okay to text? You don’t want to seem anxious or creepy, but if you wait too long she may not even remember you, right? What if she just gave you her number to be polite and doesn’t really want to meet up with you again. What if she’s the crazy stalker? OMG, what have you done?!?!
Why is it so hard, y’all? What’s wrong with all of us that we can’t just walk up to someone, have a conversation without second-guessing everything, make a friend, keep in touch, go to lunch, schedule a playdate? Why can’t it be easy like it was before kids? It seems so unfair, like a cruel trick of fate, that the time in your life when you need people more than any other time is the time it’s hardest to make friends.
I don’t have a solution or advice or inspiration. I have one friend and can’t even figure out where she came from or why she stuck around. Just know, mamas, that it IS hard and it’s not just you. We’re all freaking crazy. We’re all tired and we’re all dirty and we all get spit up on and most of us probably smell a little strange. But, we have to be brave, right? If we want it badly enough – that village they talk about so much in the parenting magazines – we have to be brave and go find it. And if we can’t find it, we build it ourselves.