asking a Mom on a date [meeting mom friends and organizing a mom's group]

I've always held the opinion that the guy should be the one to ask the girl out (and basically make the first moves in every regard). It may sound old fashioned (and that can be a post for another day), but common', what girl doesn't love being pursued? It's lovely! So colour me clueless when I started having to "make the first moves" in the world of  play dates. It literally felt and still feels like I'm asking each mother and her child that I meet ON A DATE. And I suppose I am, in a way. Most recently, I started a weekly group play date at my house made up entirely of women I didn't know AT ALL. Here's my experience on this very potentially awkward social situation.

I assumed (correctly) a few things before being so brash as to walk over to a mom at the park and start up a conversation.
  • Most moms in my city have a full year off work (love maternity leave!), so if the baby they're with is under one year old, that mom is very available.
  • Said available mom is probably used to a much more structured day (the work day), and staying at home with a baby all day may feel isolating and lonely.
  • Most women (really, most people) in the city don't have a huge social network. I have talked to a lot of my neighbours about this, and my common experience is that most of them have a few close friends (and maybe family) in the city and that's it. 
  • The majority of adult women in my city opt out of having children altogether, so if I see a mom with a child, chances are she doesn't have a hundred other friends in the same boat.
  • People love meeting peers in the same life stage. It's natural. We gravitate to those we understand. Moms get moms. If you see a mom, you automatically have something in common with her.
So at parks, that's what I do. Based on those assumptions (which have never been wrong), I know walking up to a mom and saying "Hi" and going from there isn't as awkward as it feels. But it does feel oh so awkward. But just push past that. You need mom friends in your neighbourhood and your kids need kiddie friends in your neighbourhood. Press on!

It usually goes something like this:

Hi/ Salut! 

See what language she replies in and go from there. For the sake of everyone here, I'll pretend said park mama is Anglophone. 

Your child is adorable! How old is he/she?

And then the rest ... just ... happens! Like I said, moms have SO much in common! I met Marie, a francophone first time mom at a park nearby us the other week and even with the language barrier we had a lovely conversation. In my broken French we asked about one another's kids, fluttered in and out of conversation as my children ran away and returned (her child is an infant), discussed the glories of congé maternité (maternity leave) and city living, and made plans for her to join my Mom's Group.

Now, about my Mom's Group, because many of you have inquired about how to start your own. Tomorrow is the 2nd week I've hosted it and I LOVE IT. Since I'm the only mom with two children and my apartment is fairly settled (some of these moms are new in town), it's the location indefinitely, which is perfect for me. I love hosting people, and it's easier than bundling two kids in snowsuits and walking somewhere.

It's really casual. It's 8:30am-10:30am and ends right when most of our kids go down for a nap. SO perfect. The moms arrive, we guzzle coffee, and someone brings a treat to share. Last week one mom brought fresh croissants (oh, Montreal) and tomorrow I'm serving the cinnamon buns from today. We eat and drink and our children play and socialize and wander. We talk about anything, which is easy because by virtue of the fact that we're all city-dwelling mothers living within 10 city blocks of one another, chances are we all have a great deal in common.

So other than the park, how did I meet these women?

We all joked about how impossible it can be to meet other moms organically. Sure, the park scenario can work (as I've said), but oftentimes the park is empty depending on the time of day you go. On top of that, with winter coming, the parks are more vacant than ever and the swings are even gone (Lily would write the city a feisty letter if disapproval if she could). One afternoon I sat in Starbucks and watched several moms with strollers pass by through the window. I was literally PRAYING one would come in for a coffee, but none did. Just because there are moms out there, doesn't mean it's easy or organic to become friends.

But it's the 21st century and if adults can meet their spouses online, we can sure plan a play group there! The website meetup.com is an incredible resource to meet people when you share an affinity and live in the same city. I heard about a Montreal Parents Group from a local cloth diaper retailer and checked it out. I attended one mom's Meet Up that was near me and met 4 great women. Some have continued in my Mom's Group, while other's schedules have changes and they couldn't join. Check that website out and see if there is anything for your city. If there's not, start one!

From there I also learned about an online group called the Plateau Play Group (my neighbourhood!) where parents discuss in a forum but it's not actually a play group. From the Plateau Play Group someone (genius woman) suggested we make a Facebook group, which immediately had over 100 members. Now it was my turn to step out. I made an event for a weekly mom's group, and the rest is history! I had all the moms as Facebook friends before giving them my address and felt like I knew what I was getting into so it wasn't scary at all.

I hear a lot of women say they want community with other moms in their neighbourhood. I know a lot of women (myself included) who like to stay in their comfort zone. For me, it was church friends. I had so many and most of them had children, so why meet new people? Firstly, none of my other friends with kids lived within walking distance. I'm passionate about being a part of my community so driving 20 minutes several times a week to see friends for play dates isn't ideal. Once every 2 weeks or so, I love to because I love those friends, but local is so key. Secondly, I desire a diverse group of friends for myself and my children. Making friends in my community and not from a preexisting affinity group (such as faith) has given me both.

My suggestion is if you want to meet local moms and have play dates for your child, get out of your comfort zone and make it happen. It's awkward and hard and you might feel super forward at times, but asking a mom (and their child) on a date isn't as weird as it feels :) And don't be afraid to check out online resources. There may be things happening in your neighbourhood or at your local community centre that you don't even know about. Happy dating, friends!


  1. Anonymous5.12.12

    I love this post so much! It is so inspiring to hear of other Christians taking leaps of faith and building community where so many people lack it and desire it (read: Cities!). I love love love this!

  2. Em this is awesome! Props to you for getting out of your comfort zone {not easy, but SO worthwhile!}.

    I know I like to think that C4C really helped me prepare for the real world {ie. being a leader, running events and taking initiative}. I don't think I'd be where I am in the business world without my experiences. That's for sure.

    Really excited for you and your mom's group. What a great ministry opp and all around great way to meet some lovely Montreal mom's :)

    Bless you!

  3. Love it! I wrote a similar post last week ("Picking up Chicks") and can TOTALLY identify with how tough it is to meet other mom friends! I hope you make some good ones :)

    1. I haven't seen that one yet, Sam, will have to check it out!

  4. Good for you! So happy for you :)

  5. I met one of my current best friends (also a mom, and our husbands are also now good friends) by initiating a conversation with her at the local wading pool 2 summers ago. I totally stalked her: I noticed our kids must be exactly the same age based on their developmental skills (just starting to learn to walk). She just LOOKED like my kinda girl (you can be "attracted" to friends too!) and I wanted to get to know her, so I strategically got closer to her (led on by toddling Andreas) and struck up conversation. Turns out she and her husband had just moved to our neighbourhood a week or so before from China, and she was definitely in need of friends. Our whole families "clicked" and the rest is history :-) Germans tend to be very reserved with strangers and would rarely strike up conversation in public, however I find other parents very happy when I am outgoing. This was really hard for me when I was new to Germany and thought THEY should welcome ME, but I had to accept that this would never happen and if I wanted to have friends I learned I HAD to make the first move myself (as much as I don't naturally like to do that).

    By the way - do all Montreal kids take naps in the morning?! This really surprised me. In Germany it is standard for kids to take naps right after lunch. (Except babies, of course, who sleep more than once a day.) Our son who is almost three still needs a big nap every day, usually after 1 pm.