BetsyLee

The parenting plunge

“Should I ask for her number?” I thought to myself.

From the moment I spotted her, I knew she had potential.

She was near my age and was sporting activewear, reflecting my own personal style.

Now, at this point, we’d found some commonalities and even shared a laugh or two.

Would it be weird, now? To ask if I could call her?

I put my butterflies aside, asked for her number, and just like that — I found my first mom friend.

The first of my friends to have children, I felt quite alone as a work-from-home parent. I knew I needed someone to talk with about the trials and tribulations of being a new mom, but I just didn’t know how to find that special someone.

It felt exactly like dating, except I’d traded cocktails for sippy cups and the bar scene for the playground.

I’d look for a fellow mom who seemed about my age and who, ideally, had a kid about the same age as my son. Then, I’d strike up a conversation about the weather or their adorable child’s rain boots.

The hardest part, of course, was advancing the relationship from idle playground convo to a full-on texting, talking, play-date-planning relationship.

And, just like in romance, mom-dating can go terribly, terribly wrong.

You accidentally engage with a stage-IV clinger mom, who suddenly can’t change her toddler’s diaper without texting you a picture of the poo.

You can feel like the relationship is going well, and then suddenly be ghosted.

Or, perhaps worse, you can find yourself stuck in a lackluster relationship with no forward movement — but you keep on meeting up, simply because you’re lonely and you just can’t face another afternoon, in your house, alone with your kid.

But you keep deciding to risk it.

Because there is this magical potential — this idea that you might find someone who understands.

The ultimate mom friendship is rare and is (sorry, honey) just as exciting and enlivening as the ideal romantic relationship.

When you find your perfect mom friend, you have someone to laugh with when your babe poops all over you at the park ... on your birthday.

You have someone who will let you cry over a ruined first birthday cake and will never remind you that your toddler won’t even notice.

You have someone who, when you call to complain about your partner, will listen and commiserate — but won’t glare at them the next time you have a barbecue.

You might even have someone who you can totally lose your cool on but will forgive you as quickly as a sigh.

Even though your friend likely doesn’t live with you and share in the physical parenting load, you have someone willing to help you carry the emotional one.

And, in the most magical of situations, you have someone else who loves your kids.

Someone who will let you boast about their accomplishments and never feel slighted.

Someone who will acknowledge their challenges and love them anyway — just like you do.

Someone else who your kids can cuddle, talk to and love.

You have someone who isn’t just a mom friend.

You have a sister by choice.

If we’re lucky, I think we find one or two of these friends in our lifetimes.

These are the relationships that anchor us and will continue to help us grow, no matter where our journeys take us.