Mom Dating: Finding our Village the Old Way in the Digital Age

Somehow in the age of social media and the ability to be constantly connected, we moms are losing our village. 60 years ago, mothers would connect while hanging out the wash or popping next door for a “cup of sugar.” (I’m convinced that’s just a clever way to say “adult conversation.”) It feels like we’re far more lonely now, despite being connected to an average of 500 other people via various social media platforms. There is something isolating about having access to people online, but not in those moments where you need a hot minute to sit with a cup of whatever (I don’t judge) with an actual person and just do life together. 

There is an actual Tinder-like app called Peanut in which you can indeed “mom-date.”  It uses the same basic algorithms to match women up on common traits, interests, and locations.  Now this contraption sounds like it would be right up my ambivert alley. 

Mom-Dating: Finding our Village the Old Way in the Digital Age

But then, I would have missed her. We are mis-matched in just about every area of motherhood, but have become great friends.  

Last year, our daughters were in the same Kindergarten class. After a Facebook friend saw a picture of our daughters together and told her who I was, she reached out to me. We set up a play-date and have been friends ever since. Oh, what I would have missed had I gone the mom-Tinder route! She and I would be terribly incompatible according to an algorithm:

  • She home-birthed all her children. I had 2 c-sections.
  • I could only nurse one of my children. She did extended breastfeeding for all.
  • I vaccinate. She does not
  • She cloth diapers. I dirty and dispose
  • She home-schools. I do not.
  • I am not a minivan kind of girl. She’s all about that life.
  • Her children have health conditions that require constant monitoring. By the grace of God, I do not.
  • She hates coffee. I can’t adult without it.

You know what? We share the same faith, our husbands are saints, our kids are loud, and we are nuts. We spend every Friday afternoon in stretchy pants and talk grown-folk talk while the kids play. It’s risky to reach out to another human being, but it can be oh-so-worth it.  

Our own insecurities can be limiting.

What if she doesn’t like me? What if her house is always clean?  The “what ifs” pile up in our heads. We convince ourselves we’d rather stay inside our isolated comfort zones than risk the vulnerability required to live in community.   

I recently stepped out of my own isolated comfort zone and trudged the deep waters of  the “play group.” Sweet sassafrass, I felt like a 9th grade girl walking into group that first day. I had visions of other moms in their athleisure wear, perfect make-up, Starbucks, and friends. They’d look me over and ask if I was lost.  It would be like the movie Mean Girls, except we’re all in our thirties and (hallelujah) velour track suits are no longer a thing. 

You know what? They were all just like me.

Stretchy pants, snot on the shirt, and trying to keep our kids from putting all the things in their mouth.  All hoping said kid is tired enough to take a nap, but not so tired that they take the dreaded car nap. There is something about connecting with another person in the flesh, if even for an hour, that is good for a mama’s soul. It’s good to see that someone else’s kid eats floor cheerios like they’re going to the electric chair and think the world is ending when you hand them the wrong-colored spoon. These are things I would miss out on if I stuck to online mom-dating.    

Technology is connecting people from all corners of the globe. We can observe and involve ourselves in a variety of cultures and causes without ever leaving home. We can almost hand-pick our friends by a list of attributes on an iPhone.  This lessens the chance that we’ll have to do that weird friend break-up bit. However, when it comes to doing life and changing diapers; we all need a cup of sugar.

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  1. I love this!! I miss my old friends I moved away from…my neighbors and I would get together and enjoy tea or coffee, look at magazines and watch our kids run around. I had no idea how good I had it until I had to move away. Mom friends are the best! I am so grateful to have had friends like that! I miss them dearly, but am so grateful for those years of raising our kids together and memories of laughter and tears.

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