You begin dating all over again when you have a child. Only the rules are slightly different.
There is a time when you pick up your child (somewhere between zero to six months) and think that you could gaze at him/her forever and nothing else matters. That feeling and that foolish rush of hormones quickly passes. You need company. Friends. And if you, like me, havent married your neighbour or are a decade late in settling down, you need new friends.
Location is key. Any friend who is not around is no good, even if she makes the best dips or can tell the best stories. My BFF, childhood friends, in-case-of-breakup-friends, hostel friends, work friends and the friends I made when I was on the prowl, had all been packed off to different corners of the universe. So there I was, all alone, with a child, faced with the ordeal of making new friends. Slim pickings attained a new meaning.
Enter the mommy date.
Mommy dates are actually play dates in disguise. You make it about the child, because its legit. But what you are really interested in, is the mother. Will you click, will there be laughs, conversation, wit, sharing, food, travel, sleepovers?
So you put yourself out in the market as someone who is dateable. You lurk. In schools. Parks. Book stores. Libraries. Twitter. Facebook. Luckily for me, Re is enough of an arm candy. But that puts additional pressure. I have to be nice.
Finding everything that you want in one mommy is as hard as finding all you want in one man. The only difference is, when you come close in the latter, you end up marrying the guy. Here, you can date forever.
Some mothers you have instant chemistry with. One has a sense of humour. One makes cupcakes. One knows the best deals. One can cook. One can paint. One is good with animals. I dont believe in playing hard to get. I invite them home, plan lunches and tea around them and bake cookies for their children. I make the move.
It takes work. It takes heart. It takes the ordinary. The extraordinary has issues. The ordinary listens. The ordinary has empathy. Like conventional dating, there are a few ground rules:
First you have to like her. Then your child has to like her child. If it goes to the next level, well, the husbands