How cool mom does mom dates:
The social changes to being a mom happen quickly and to many moms who are uncomfortable with radical transition, it can feel overwhelming. Have no fear, Cool Mom is a professional New Kid. Thanks to a sports-broadcasting-pioneer mother and a multiple Emmy award winning sports-producer dad, multiple tv markets meant multiple schools for me. Along the way, I had to learn by trial and error how to survive when the rules felt like they were being rewritten between each school. Assimilation became a survival skill. As I got older my skills at being the new kid helped me navigate new sports teams, transferring colleges, joining a sorority, moving to a city I’d never even visited, job interviews, jobs at global corporations, pitches, dating and now Mom-life.
My favorite aspect of working in PR, talent agencies and in talent management was networking. I remember starting out in PR being encouraged even directed to seek out newspaper writers to get to know them. And I couldn’t believe my ears. Part of my job was going to be making friends? Sign me up! Later, in Hollywood it was like my dreams exploded: pretty much any job you take in this town will require you to attend post work drinks multiple nights a week. Holy crap, literally half my job is friend making! Dreams coming true! Alright you get it, I like meeting people. I don’t just like it, I’m good at it.
So what’s a gal to do if she’s shy? What does Cool Mom advise for those moms who don’t love extending themselves, risking rejection or saying something awkward, but still want to make friends? What’s a gal to do who wants to make friends but has not had successes in the past?
First of all, get your head right: the worst thing any PMF (Potential Mom Friend) is going to say to you is “no” to your plans. And, most of them don’t even have the ovaries to do that, they’ll just slow play you and push the plans far out and bail a lot. So the rejection fear needs to be handled because let’s face it, you can really only win here by asking the mom out. Any horror narrative you wrote in your head that has your target mocking you to other moms for asking her out are wildly dramatic and unrealistic. Also, most moms are in a social rut, feeling stuck at home just like you are feeling! They want to make plans, they’re often as afraid of rejection as you are, and when two people are afraid no one makes a move. Someone’s gotta make that move!
Ok, so you found you ovaries. Now let’s get to logistics.
There are many ways to meet other moms, you can meet them on the fly in passing, or you can meet them in structured environments like classes (or places of worship etc). But alas, meeting them isn’t your problem, it’s making a social plan that sticks you want to figure out … Well, the “where” is actually a great starting point. Asking someone out on the street takes a little more skill than the mom you’ve seen 8x in the same class does.
I’m gonna treat you like a complete novice, though I doubt anyone reading this has zero experience making friends. So the first thing you want to do is REMEMBER THEIR NAMES. Sound basic, sound too simple? I wouldn’t be typing this if it wasn’t something I witness all the time. How can you ask a mom out if you don’t remember her name or the kid’s name? Imagine if you were at a bar and the guy hitting on you couldn’t remember your name? Bye, Felicia. What I do in the group classes is say the kid’s name outloud for me and The Handful, then I re-address my PMF by her name and I try to say both of their names three times before the end of conversation. Three is a great number, it sticks in your memory and research shows people respond positively to hearing their name a lot. “I’m bad at names” is a lame excuse, you’re not bad at names you’re not trying. Use this rule of three and I promise you will never be bad at names again.
Ok so now we’re back to the where of where you’re meeting because again off the name trick you’re either going to start class or the activity OR, you’re going to need a transition so you don’t look like a weirdo with bad mom-game.
Let’s examine a structured environment first. You’ve said her name a few times, you said the kid’s name a few times, now class is starting. Don’t sit next to her. These classes all sit in a circle, sit where you can see her and her kid but with a person or two in between. This way you’re giving her space, you’re giving yourself space but you’re also facing her so you guys can interact throughout the class. Whatever attracted you to this PMF (both fans of Game of Thrones, kids like each other, shared love of corgis) use this as your icebreaker when there’s a chance to have side conversations. Make a reference to your shared thing and then offer a plan to do something with the kiddies the next week. Her enthusiasm will be your answer. She will probably ask for your number, if she doesn’t you can totally ask for hers. The sooner the plan, the more likely it is to stick but don’t get discouraged if you encounter a social mom with a full calendar. Social moms (a category I would put myself in) really love social activities and their calendars can fill up, they always want to make plans so don’t internalize any far date if it’s coming from a social mom. And, you can spot a social mom pretty easily, she probably talks loudly and knows everyone’s name. Actually, she’s probably a great first ask now that I type this. If you find a social mom in your cross hairs she will definitely say yes to your request to hang and probably do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to the details.
Now, maybe you were getting a latte and saw a PMF cruising by in the same stroller as you and something about her flawless ombre opposite her mismatched socks says soulmate to you. A good opener here is a self-deprecating joke about your own mismatched socks as you hike up your Lulus to expose them, or a compliment about her hair. Find out how old her mini is and her mini’s name. Say the mini’s name a few times to your baby and repeat your baby’s name for PMF. Now the trick here is the pivot. After this interaction you both feel a little ok where is this going … So what you do is, you get control here. Get PMF’s name and ask if they live in the area because you and your mini just love going to this one park. Make it clear you need to take off, but you’d love to meet up at that park so PMF’s baby [SAY NAME] and your kid can play together. Get her number or email, and you follow up the day before plans to make the plan stick.
Now, for both legitimate and lazy reasons, playdates reschedule. Sometimes babies get sick, sometimes Mommies aren’t in the mood, whatever it happens. What I like to do in this situation is go to a drop in class place, like a MyGym or an Outside The Box and take a class there with The Handful. Turn the cancellation into a chance to meet even more moms!