Favorites, Parenting, Relationships

Dating for Moms


You get married.  You conjure up some kids.  You’ve kissed dating goodbye.

Or have you?

When you show up at the park for the first time with your little ones spilling out of the van (along with a healthy amount of cups and dirty napkins, if you’re like me), scan the swingset for anyone you might recognize, and notice that all the other moms are already hanging out in pairs, you realize that your dating years have only just begun.

When you were dating your man, you ate dinners for which you didn’t pay and walked through doors that he opened for you.  When you date other moms, you pack extra baggies of healthy snacks and push doors open with your face while schlepping car seats.  When you were dating your man, you wore incredible outfits and said, “Oh this old thing?  I just threw it on last minute.”  When you date other moms, you wear tees and yoga pants and say, “Oh this old thing?  My toddler just threw up on it.”

I’ve recently met a new friend and I was thinking about our budding mom-lationship.  Our kids attend some of the same activities, and we’ve enjoyed chatting while they harass their various coaches.  I really like her, and I think she likes me, too.  It’s like dating for moms.  And just like the other kind of dating, there are bases.

First Base

First base is hanging out while your kids are in activities together.  You make encouraging comments about each others’ kids as they scream hysterically and hit each other with kick boards and pretend light sabers.  I like to go ahead and act a little weird on first base, just to give them a taste for where they’re headed if they stick with me.  I’m terrible at small talk, so if I survive this phase with another mom, then I know she’s either desperate for a friend or really into me.  I go too deep too soon, which scares off a mom just asking how many kids do I have.  “Do you mean in my home, or in orphanages around the world?  Here locally, or in a village in Uganda?  Have you ever considered sponsoring a child?  Wait, where are you going?  Wanna hear about malaria and deworming?”

Second Base

Second base is a park play date outside of scheduled activities.  At this point, you’re hanging out because you want to and you set it up ahead of time.  Your kids like each other.  You like each other.  This could be the start of something beautiful.  At the park, you’re still on neutral territory.  I usually throw in a snort laugh right around here.  The conversation could wade into deeper waters.  Someone might toss out an opinion or two.  Keep it loving, girls.  Keep it gracious.  If you love gluten-free, feel free to talk about it.  If you love Jesus, feel free to talk about Him.  Just don’t start talking in absolutes, making broad, generalizing statements, because you may never make it to third.

We do that sometimes, don’t we?

Overly-intense eye contact.  Never use while discussing homeschooling, gluten, gun control, breastfeeding, marriage, red dye number 40, infertility, or Jesus.  I may have left a few things out.  If there’s a subject that might cause you to stop blinking and/or breathing, save it for fourth base and don’t unleash it at the park.

They might feel like this:

Third Base

Third base is a play date at one of our houses.  This is a tricky base because your kids are now on home court and your new friend is going to see your daughter body slam her toddler to the ground and take back the toy that he just picked up.  She will see the layer of dried-on grime coating your kid’s chair at the table, and she will notice the unflushed dooky from your son’s morning dump.  Third base is not for the weak.  It’s about to get real up in here.  There could be laundry piles.  You better have the relational stamina for this kind of commitment.  By third base, I’m full frontal hugging, so prepare for that.  If you’re my third base friend, get ready for our boobs smashed up together while I ask how you’re doing right in your ear.  If you answer that with any kind of trauma, I’m a-gonna pull it right back together for another mash up, breathe some words of encouragement into your ear, then pull back for some heavy eye contact.  (Upon reading this, my husband informed me, “Who are you kidding?  You’re easy.  You go for full frontal hugging on first base.”  So I’m a hug-slut.  Bring it in, ladies.  I’m ready.  If this sounds appealing to you, click the “hug me” button on the right for some digital love.)

Fourth base

Fourth base is hanging out without the kids.  I know.  Whoa.  The kids have become optional.  You can actually meet at a restaurant, movie theater, coffee shop, or bookstore and talk.  Uninterrupted.  For hours.  Just because you want to, not because you’re killing time while your kids do their thing.  You have arrived.  This person is worth spraying on your fancy jeans.  Feel free to bust out your full-blown honk laugh, talk about how soy gives you diarrhea, and how you worry that you’re a crappy mom.  You’ve found your person.  She loves you for you.

To my fourth-basers:  I love you more than words can say.  Let’s get our date on soon.  I’ll dust off my fancy jeans, we can eat Thai coconut soup and talk about not our kids.  We’re gonna get hot and heavy, mom-style.  Fourth base for moms is so much better than dating fourth base.  There’s dessert, staying out till the security guard kicks you out of the mall parking lot, and no walk of shame as you crawl into bed next to your racked out hubs.  One fourth-base mom date will last me for a couple of months.  It’s just that fulfilling.

Jump in, girls.  Dating for moms is super fun, and you just might get lucky.

Want to know more about mom dating and rounding the bases?  Click here to learn more about my new book “Women Are Scary: The Totally Awkward Adventure of Finding Mom Friends.”


Need to break up with a mom-date?  

Dating for Moms: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do is your guide to navigating the dicey world of mommy breakups.  Get educated and prepare yourself.  This post contains a seasonal guide to play date excuses.

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    • SeanP

      As another stay at home Dad, I know your world.

    • http://www.accidentallygreen.com Hilary Bernstein

      So, so true!

  • Sarabell

    I love this! I am signing up for your mailing list to learn more about your book!

  • Dennis Schroader

    This is funny. It’s not that way at all for dads. In fact, if we had to score dad relationships, we couldn’t use baseball terms. It’s just a different game.

    1st down is a handshake, followed by small talk most concerning what position your kid plays or will play, and a disclaimer about “as long as he/she loves the sport.”

    A kick return past midfield is a kid party (usually birthday), where you can now bitch about your boss, but praise your wife for keeping the family running, with an unstated (but understood) message that she and your boss have a lot in common. At this stage, unsolicited advice may be given to other dads, as long as it isn’t too intrusive.

    A field goal is getting invited to a barbecue, or watch a game, or any gathering where alcohol is consumed in a non-stuffy setting. The presence or absence of the kids is irrelevant, unless the host’s kid plays the sport you’re watching, in which case his/her unexcused absence is cause for an un-dad-like conduct penalty.

    A dinner party also qualifies as a field goal, but it also results in a 15 yard penalty imposed after the kick return (the hosting husband owes the other guys for having to put up with that shit, even though all of their wives are the responsible parties).

    A touchdown is scored when one dad allows another to borrow a tool. 6 points for a regular project. 8 points if the tool was needed for an emergency like auto repair, or last minute touch ups when the in-laws are coming over. This can result in a safety, however, if the tool is not returned in a reasonable time, or not returned in similar or better condition than when it was lent.

    A mutual touchdown is scored when the two dads allow their children to date each other. This, however, is more precarious than lending tools. The end of the relationship will not be cause for a penalty, unless one breaks the others heart in a particularly cruel way as determined by the ref (the mom of the broken hearted kid). This usually results in forfeiture of the game, and a potential reorganization of the teams into different conferences by league officials (the wives). There are, of course, ways to maintain things after a realignment, but if discovered will result in heavy penalties from the aforementioned officials.

    • Melanie Dale

      Hilarious. Thanks for the much-needed dad’s perspective. I need to know about hugging. Is there ever full-frontal hugging? Maybe on a wedding day with plenty of manly back-slapping?

      • Dennis Schroader

        Hugging is a manly activity, and can be done at any time after first down, provided of course that it follows manly hugging protocols. It must be proceeded by a handshake, which must continue during the hug. This necessitates the one armed hug. Back slapping is such a given that it needn’t be addressed. This is NOT an expression of any kind of emotion as you women know it.

        Full-frontal hugs, as you describe them, are rare. Births, wedding, and funerals MIGHT qualify, if and only if the event is especially significant to both parties. On the other hand, when your team wins a big game, it is just fine to “full frontal hug” total strangers.

        • Melanie Dale

          “Back slapping is such a given that it needn’t be addressed.” HA!

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