Dating In The Motherhood
I'm dating. Mummy dating. It's sort of like actual dating but also not at all. For a start mummy dates tend to take place in daylight hours, be accompanied by socially uninhibited little people, and "coffee at my place?" isn't code for doing the deed. It really means coffee, lots and lots of coffee. There's still the nerves, the uncertainty of whether you'll click, the question mark over when is too soon to get into the gritty details of life, kids (or more kids, more accurately) and sex talk. Inevitably, with little ears out of the way or via the use of subtle code words (even Samantha from SATC had to succumb to saying "colouring" in front a little Lily), talk turns to vag-chat pretty quickly. It's a leveler knowing none of us can actually enjoy a bouncy castle with our kids entirely leak free anymore. So, where to start with Mummy dating?
Meeting "THE ONE"
There is no such thing as the one with Mummy dating. You might have a handful of close friends who know the intimate details of your post-birth stitches, but ultimately this time is for you. Spread the love and play the field. Also, don't limit yourself to where you're going to meet significant others, there are no hard and fast rules to this. For example, one of my most recent mother-loves was down to a chance encounter in the local library, sealing the deal with a champagne fueled evening out. So romantic, so old-school, so worthy of a Richard Curtis film, I know. But another was thanks to a casual Facebook hook up, discovering we know people who know people we know, and swapping numbers. Things move fast in the world of mum-dating so accept what offers you get. If waiting for mum-love to find you isn't enough, you can speed date very easily. There's tonnes of stay and play type sessions basically everywhere full of other knackered mums desperate for a luke warm cup of tea and ripe for adult conversation about anything. And, if you get chatting to someone you're not so keen on, swerve your mini human in another toy direction, make your excuses and move on. Magic. Online dating can be a little riskier, there's forums and groups on several internet sites but you know what it's like with the online world. People hide behind profiles, you never really know if the person is going to live up to the person you've created in your head, and it can all come crashing down around you before the first face to face hello. Please note I had a very happy first date yesterday thanks to an online connection, so I'm not being bitter and twisted here. When online dating works it REALLY works.
First Date Rules?
It's 2016. I don't know if rules exist anymore in any form of dating, but certainly not mummy dating. But then I wasn't planning on trying to pucker up as we said goodbye, so y'know, even if there are rules they're not exactly comparable. It is hard though, knowing when and what to say or do what in any blossoming relationship. Take my online date from yesterday. I gave her my number and arranged the date, although she set the time. And because mother-love is simple, we paid our own ways. But then yesterday evening, whilst thinking about what a lovely day I'd had and how much I'd enjoyed her company I had the second date panic. Do I message her or wait for her to message me? If I message first will I just come across as really pushy, or a complete loner, or, god forbid, desperate? This dating etiquette is a minefield. In the end she messaged me first after a poo-bomb from my 3 year old caused me a level of gagging and inability to function known only to other parents. But had that series of events not happened, I would have still been wondering how soon is too soon at bedtime still.
Only Talk About Polite Things
Just kidding. That's no fun. Polite chit chat is for taxi drivers and mothers in law. No one understands the need for you to discuss your vagina/stitches/periods/post-coital sex more than a mum date. For added hilarity make that mum dates (note the plural). I found myself sat with my library date and her mum date (who I have met before once already to be fair) on Monday, sipping from fresh coconuts and talking about tearing, stitch recovery and taking a peek down there. In was early afternoon, we hadn't needed alcohol, and we were in the very public surroundings of a hawker centre. But there we were, howling with laughter as we mouthed the word vagina, using our fingers to mimic a stitching action and crossing our legs tightly. We were just three ladies engrossed by a deeply entertaining conversation to everyone around us. By being entirely ourselves (some would say unladylike, I question that), and chatting about completely off-limit topics, the mother-love deal was sealed. Vag-chat did it for us, other mummy dates will be different. The point is, all those rules about things that you shouldn't share with an actual date until several months in are irrelevant with a mummy date. Be as open or as closed as you like, no one's judging.
Mum dates are fun. They are non-committal, easy going, coffee fueled and a great way to not only entertain kiddies but also build amazing friendships. You mum friends may not be the women who saw you through high school, or your first heartbreak, or even through pregnancy and childbirth, but they get it. When you want/need company but can't face getting dressed they will be there for you. They will probably even bring snacks, sometimes wine, sensing the unspoken. Nothing bonds women (apart from the impolite chat mentioned above), like another woman clutching cake/chocolate/wine to be shared, regardless of the time of day, or the state of the mess around them. When you can sit in someone else's kitchen, drinking their tea and eating their toast whilst your pyjama clad toddlers are plotting in the room next door, and they don't bat an eyelid, you know you probably have a friend for life. Mummy dating and making mum friends is a lifeline. Wherever you are. However close to home and family you are, or aren't, there's something about that friendship that can't be compared to any other. And do you know what, I'm right in the throes of dating again, and I'm loving it!
Tomorrow's date is a fancy dress house party. Sort of. It's a Diwali celebration, complete with sari's, husbands and children in tow. But it's in a home, there will be booze, and we will probably (definitely) end up huddled around the kitchen table eating cold curry and laughing. Not for the first time either. Ain't life great when you appreciate who you have around you?