The way she packs her own GMO-free lunches when she meets you and the kids at McDonalds.
The way she tongue-kisses her dog.
The way she texts “your” when she means “you’re.”
The way the air freshener in her kitchen makes your sinuses twitch.
The way she keeps asking you to run 5K races with her.
The way she drinks decaf coffee at 8am.
Whatever the reason, it’s just time. It’s time to break up.
As with romantic dating relationships, mommy breakups get harder the longer you’ve been together, the further you’ve gone, the more bases you’ve rounded. (For a recap of the “Dating for Moms” bases, click here.)
After first base, the relationship can just naturally peter out as the activity wraps up. Or you can start standing on the other side of the soccer field until they get the hint. A wayward toddler is also handy at this point. If the mom in question sidles over to strike up another conversation about her heirloom tomatoes, simply let the little one loose, then throw an apologetic look over your shoulder as you chase Baby Eddie off the field. You can also plant the idea in your potty training daughter’s mind that she needs to go tee-tee, then spend the remainder of the game in the bathroom with her, scraping soggy toilet paper off her rear and trying to find a soap dispenser that works. Problem solved.
If you’ve already made it to second or third base, you have some options. Start with busy mode. You’re just too busy, which is true. You have a limited amount of time for play dates, so they have to be fairly spectacular to warrant donning actual pants, jimmying kids into sticky five-point harnesses, and risking wood chip splinters between your toes at the park. If the friend keeps calling, then you might have to throw your kid under the bus. “Myrtle is really struggling with sharing. For the safety of your child, we’re going to have to cool things off a bit. Don’t call us. We’ll call you.”
Here are some seasonal excuses that should give you a pass and keep you friend-free year-round:
1. We’re still adjusting to the new school schedule.
2. We’re still adjusting to the time change.
3. My child is very sensitive and we’re holding a funeral for each leaf that falls.
4. Who are you? I got hit in the head by a pumpkin.
5. I’m lost in a corn maze.
6. We have a stuffing and pumpkin pie hangover.
(I was going to upload this photo of a child with major boogers here, but I started dry-heaving as I clicked on it, so I thought better of it. I’m not making this up. You’re welcome.)
1. The end of the year is just crazy.
2. We have the flu/bronchitis/bad cold/green boogers oozing amoeba-like from nostril to mouth in a steady stream.
3. We have a big family. One kid got the flu in December and we’ve been passing it around for two months.
4. Seasonal depression.
5. Valentine’s Day depression.
6. I’m not talking to anyone until after January, when everyone finally shuts up about resolutions and realizes that they aren’t going to the gym, they aren’t giving up chocolate, and they can’t read the whole Bible in one month.
(This is pine pollen. These freakin’ gonads spray their yellow sex powder all over the state of Georgia. Contact wearers shouldn’t even bother to get out of bed during the month of April.)
1. We’re packing for spring break.
2. We’re on spring break.
3. We’re unpacking from spring break.
4. We’ve given up play dates for Lent.
1. Oh, oops, did I not tell you which pool to go to? I was in the water and couldn’t check my phone.
2. I dropped my phone in the pool.
3. We rented an RV and are touring all the national parks.
4. We went camping and I was mauled by a family of bears.
5. Don’t invite us. My kids pee in the pool.
6. I suffer from reverse seasonal depression. I’m angry when I’m sweaty (Uh, this one is actually true for me. I could write a whole series on this.).
Vomit is a great excuse, too. Any season, any time, just mention that someone vomited and no one will want to play with you. Heck, I don’t even like the idea that we’re connected through the internet if you’ve just puked. You can cancel any date, guilt-free, no questions asked, if you just text your friend that someone barfed. I’m pretty lax about germs. You have to be if you have more than one kid and ever want to leave the house and see other humans. You have a cold? Fine, we just won’t mouth kiss. Your kid has a low-grade fever? Meh, let’s risk it and just lube up with hand sanitizer. Your baby barfed last week? Ugh, let’s give it another three weeks just to be safe. Don’t breathe on me. Full body shudder.
All Most kidding aside, for those of you who have to break up with fourth basers, yowza. Just yowch. I don’t know if she keeps crashing your dates with your husband, showing up at your house late at night, or tried to taser one of your kids, but it must be bad. Fourthers are not easy to come by, and they’re painful to lose. If you have to be the one to cut it off, you have two basic options:
It’s not you, it’s me.
It’s not me, it’s definitely you.
And if you’re on the receiving end? Someone who’s seen the real you and says no…it’s excruciating. And you wasted a whole kid-free night on that broad, too. If you’ve been dumped by your mom-date, I prescribe chocolate frosting right out of the can and three-month-old Peeps. Wallow, baby.
One of the toughest breakups I’ve had was with a friend whom I truly liked. We’d made it to third base and it was working great for both of us. We really liked each other, but our parenting styles were different. Which is fine. Unless she felt the need to instruct me and criticize. Which she did. When we adopted our daughter and all our poop hit a massive fan, things got messy. Daily life got hard. The screaming. So much screaming. So many behaviors erupting out of our traumatized little girl, and out of me. I quickly learned about my own inadequacies to parent a child from a hard place, and all of us were just a mess. We needed to be around safe people. We needed friends who wouldn’t judge, wouldn’t lecture. We needed people who would just love us as we learned to love each other. So my critical third base friend had to go. At that point in our relationship, our kids didn’t have any shared activities, so we just phased out.
But what about the ones you have to see every week? And what about when you’re the one who got dumped and you run into your former mom-date at the park with – gasp – another mom? And her stroller is better than yours and she’s wearing a baby like a champ and whips out her fancy stainless steel monogrammed water bottle while you’re taking drags off your daughter’s sippy cup from two days ago? Ouch. Refrain from whacking her with your overstuffed diaper bag. Now is a good time to pull out your phone. She doesn’t need to know that you’re playing Star Wars Angry Birds. You could be texting your hot new mom date. Cuz she’s out there. Waiting for you.
If you’ve been recently dumped or had to phase someone out, persevere, woman, persevere. And if you’re a little frustrated and put out by a particularly weird mama, may I speak for the weirdos? I am a full-fledged, socially awkward weirdo, and we are worth the investment. I’m sorry for that time I made a sci-fi reference when everyone else was talking about The Bachelor. I’m sorry for snort-laughing when we went to the movies together. I’m sorry for correcting you when you mixed up Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. I’m sorry for not knowing who Adele was. Hug? Please don’t phase me out. I may be weird, but I’m so flipping loyal. And I’ll create a safe environment in which you also can snort-laugh. Feel free.
So ladies, I have to know. What are your worst “Dating for Moms” breakup stories?
images from naplesnews.com, tumblr.com, and adventure.howstuffworks.com