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No, for real. I’ve been married for over 10 years, so it’s been a while since I’ve dated, but from what I remember of trying to find a partner or someone I generally wanted to spend my time with, finding good mom friends is pretty much the same process.

I left California a few months ago, and just this week realized I needed to branch out and make some mom friends. With my older kids in school, it’s not as easy to meet other parents; unless, of course, I’m that mom who walks up to random groups of moms at the park and strikes up a shallow convo, only to get rejected. I’m not that mom. That’s like being the girl at the bar who walks up and offers the guy a drink. I just don’t have that much confidence.

Anyway, my hubs suggested I join some local Facebook groups for moms in my area before I go completely crazy being around only our little humans. As soon as I was accepted to some groups, I sucked it up and posted on the wall about myself and what I was looking for —um, online mom dating anyone? I wasn’t expecting much in return, maybe a few responses for playgroups or parks in the area. Instead, I was overwhelmed with sweet replies, offers for playgroups and playdates, local activities and welcomes. I’m still receiving messages. No one was more surprised than I at the niceness the moms in my new town offered.

So here comes the finding mom friends is like dating part. I’ve read through some of the messages and reviewed Facebook profiles to gain some superficial insight as to who I’m going to meet up with in real life. I mean, no one goes on blind dates blind anymore, do they? We instant message each other, discuss neutral meeting spots, and ask questions. At this point, we don’t exchange phone numbers but keep things simple and do everything through Facebook.

Then the time comes where we meet in person. It’s weird. It’s like walking into a restaurant and looking for the guy holding the red rose. Only this time I have three little people with me who think the whole thing is weird. We meet. And I swear to you, after a few seconds I know if this person is someone I’m going to be friends with or not. It’s like when you know, you know. And depending on the type of play date you’ve set up helps to shape the way the date is going to go. Have you ever watched the Bachelorette and thought to yourself, how is anyone suppose to fall in love on a date like that? Or, how could they not have a connection in a place like that? Well, mom dating is very similar.

So, the playdate/mom date ends the same way any traditional date would end –minus kissing and or whatever else. We say our goodbyes and say we’ll connect together again. Only, I’m wondering if that’s really the case. I go over every conversation, take a closer look at what I’m wearing, wonder if my kids were well enough behaved or got along with the other kids, and seriously question every decision I’ve made in the last hour or so. It’s so stressful!

Then I wait. I wait for a follow-up message. I can tell you, it feels exactly the same way as when I dated all those years ago. And let me just say, out of three mom dates this week, I had three different experiences and follow-ups. With one, I knew right away that I wanted to get to know this woman I met through a mom’s group more but got the feeling that she just wasn’t feeling it. She even left the meeting sooner than expected. But about two hours later, she messaged me saying her kids were just having a hard afternoon, and she really enjoyed our meeting and wanted to get together again, just our two families. With another mom, we connected right away and I can see a friendship in the future. However, with another mom, not so much. But that’s okay, I’m not expecting to be besties with everyone.

So even though I’ve been off the market romantically for over a decade, this mama is single and ready to mom mingle… at least with my kids. Enjoy the friend-making, mom-dating process moms, because it’s not easy.