Favorites, Parenting, Relationships

Dating for Moms: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

parkdate

The way she packs her own GMO-free lunches when she meets you and the kids at McDonalds.

The way she tongue-kisses her dog.

The way she texts “your” when she means “you’re.”

The way the air freshener in her kitchen makes your sinuses twitch.

The way she keeps asking you to run 5K races with her.

The way she drinks decaf coffee at 8am.

Whatever the reason, it’s just time.  It’s time to break up.

As with romantic dating relationships, mommy breakups get harder the longer you’ve been together, the further you’ve gone, the more bases you’ve rounded.  (For a recap of the “Dating for Moms” bases, click here.)

After first base, the relationship can just naturally peter out as the activity wraps up.  Or you can start standing on the other side of the soccer field until they get the hint.  A wayward toddler is also handy at this point.  If the mom in question sidles over to strike up another conversation about her heirloom tomatoes, simply let the little one loose, then throw an apologetic look over your shoulder as you chase Baby Eddie off the field.  You can also plant the idea in your potty training daughter’s mind that she needs to go tee-tee, then spend the remainder of the game in the bathroom with her, scraping soggy toilet paper off her rear and trying to find a soap dispenser that works.  Problem solved.

If you’ve already made it to second or third base, you have some options.  Start with busy mode.  You’re just too busy, which is true.  You have a limited amount of time for play dates, so they have to be fairly spectacular to warrant donning actual pants, jimmying kids into sticky five-point harnesses, and risking wood chip splinters between your toes at the park.  If the friend keeps calling, then you might have to throw your kid under the bus.  “Myrtle is really struggling with sharing.  For the safety of your child, we’re going to have to cool things off a bit.  Don’t call us.  We’ll call you.”

Here are some seasonal excuses that should give you a pass and keep you friend-free year-round:

FALL

1. We’re still adjusting to the new school schedule.

2. We’re still adjusting to the time change.

3. My child is very sensitive and we’re holding a funeral for each leaf that falls.

4. Who are you?  I got hit in the head by a pumpkin.

5. I’m lost in a corn maze.

6. We have a stuffing and pumpkin pie hangover.

7. Allergies.

WINTER

(I was going to upload this photo of a child with major boogers here, but I started dry-heaving as I clicked on it, so I thought better of it.  I’m not making this up.  You’re welcome.)

1. The end of the year is just crazy.

2. We have the flu/bronchitis/bad cold/green boogers oozing amoeba-like from nostril to mouth in a steady stream.

3. We have a big family.  One kid got the flu in December and we’ve been passing it around for two months.

4. Seasonal depression.

5. Valentine’s Day depression.

6. I’m not talking to anyone until after January, when everyone finally shuts up about resolutions and realizes that they aren’t going to the gym, they aren’t giving up chocolate, and they can’t read the whole Bible in one month.

7. Allergies.

SPRING

(This is pine pollen.  These freakin’ gonads spray their yellow sex powder all over the state of Georgia.  Contact wearers shouldn’t even bother to get out of bed during the month of April.)

1. We’re packing for spring break.

2. We’re on spring break.

3. We’re unpacking from spring break.

4. We’ve given up play dates for Lent.

5. Allergies.

6. Allergies.

7. Allergies.

SUMMER

1. Oh, oops, did I not tell you which pool to go to?  I was in the water and couldn’t check my phone.

2. I dropped my phone in the pool.

3. We rented an RV and are touring all the national parks.

4. We went camping and I was mauled by a family of bears.

5. Don’t invite us.  My kids pee in the pool.

6. I suffer from reverse seasonal depression.  I’m angry when I’m sweaty (Uh, this one is actually true for me.  I could write a whole series on this.).

7. Mosquitoes.

Vomit is a great excuse, too.  Any season, any time, just mention that someone vomited and no one will want to play with you.  Heck, I don’t even like the idea that we’re connected through the internet if you’ve just puked.  You can cancel any date, guilt-free, no questions asked, if you just text your friend that someone barfed.  I’m pretty lax about germs.  You have to be if you have more than one kid and ever want to leave the house and see other humans.  You have a cold?  Fine, we just won’t mouth kiss.  Your kid has a low-grade fever?  Meh, let’s risk it and just lube up with hand sanitizer.  Your baby barfed last week?  Ugh, let’s give it another three weeks just to be safe.  Don’t breathe on me.  Full body shudder.

All Most kidding aside, for those of you who have to break up with fourth basers, yowza.  Just yowch.  I don’t know if she keeps crashing your dates with your husband, showing up at your house late at night, or tried to taser one of your kids, but it must be bad.  Fourthers are not easy to come by, and they’re painful to lose.  If you have to be the one to cut it off, you have two basic options:

It’s not you, it’s me.

It’s not me, it’s definitely you.

And if you’re on the receiving end?  Someone who’s seen the real you and says no…it’s excruciating.  And you wasted a whole kid-free night on that broad, too.  If you’ve been dumped by your mom-date, I prescribe chocolate frosting right out of the can and three-month-old Peeps.  Wallow, baby.

One of the toughest breakups I’ve had was with a friend whom I truly liked.  We’d made it to third base and it was working great for both of us.  We really liked each other, but our parenting styles were different.  Which is fine.  Unless she felt the need to instruct me and criticize.  Which she did.  When we adopted our daughter and all our poop hit a massive fan, things got messy.  Daily life got hard.  The screaming.  So much screaming.  So many behaviors erupting out of our traumatized little girl, and out of me.  I quickly learned about my own inadequacies to parent a child from a hard place, and all of us were just a mess.  We needed to be around safe people.  We needed friends who wouldn’t judge, wouldn’t lecture.  We needed people who would just love us as we learned to love each other.  So my critical third base friend had to go.  At that point in our relationship, our kids didn’t have any shared activities, so we just phased out.

But what about the ones you have to see every week?  And what about when you’re the one who got dumped and you run into your former mom-date at the park with – gasp – another mom?  And her stroller is better than yours and she’s wearing a baby like a champ and whips out her fancy stainless steel monogrammed water bottle while you’re taking drags off your daughter’s sippy cup from two days ago?  Ouch.  Refrain from whacking her with your overstuffed diaper bag.  Now is a good time to pull out your phone.  She doesn’t need to know that you’re playing Star Wars Angry Birds.  You could be texting your hot new mom date.  Cuz she’s out there.  Waiting for you.

If you’ve been recently dumped or had to phase someone out, persevere, woman, persevere.  And if you’re a little frustrated and put out by a particularly weird mama, may I speak for the weirdos?  I am a full-fledged, socially awkward weirdo, and we are worth the investment.  I’m sorry for that time I made a sci-fi reference when everyone else was talking about The Bachelor.  I’m sorry for snort-laughing when we went to the movies together.  I’m sorry for correcting you when you mixed up Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  I’m sorry for not knowing who Adele was.  Hug?  Please don’t phase me out.  I may be weird, but I’m so flipping loyal.  And I’ll create a safe environment in which you also can snort-laugh.  Feel free.

So ladies, I have to know.  What are your worst “Dating for Moms” breakup stories?

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images from naplesnews.com, tumblr.com, and adventure.howstuffworks.com

Want to know more about mom dating?  Click here to order my new book “Women Are Scary: The Totally Awkward Adventure of Finding Mom Friends.”

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    • Leah

      I had something similar happen, where our husbands became friends too. We were also neighbors. The problems started when our husbands would get together for a few beers and mine would come home and want to tell me all the horrid things the guy said about his wife. It drove me crazy and was a huge negative in our marriage, I felt like the other guy probably wouldn’t be badmouthing his wife if my husband wasn’t encouraging it or reciprocating with his own stories. They were just toxic as a couple and would bicker constantly when we were all together. We ended the friendship and moved soon after but still run into them every now and then.

  • Tammy

    I had a 4th base friend that I had to break it off with about a year ago. I was a chameleon of a friend and I tried too hard to make her comfortable which resulted in conforming to her ideals too much. I wasn’t true to myself and I knew Inside I was being dishonest. I allowed her to spew her toxicity and her negative parenting and her pigeon holed ideas all over me and my kids each and every play date (all in the name of “at least I have a friend, and maybe I can positively rub off on her”) .She started pawning her son off on me so she could have some “free” time and it was hardly ever reciprocated. I knew that I didn’t want her watching my kids but I never could figure out why….On two of the three ocassions that she did offer to watch my two boys I later found out that her child was being overly sexually curious with my boys. I called her immediately to diplomatically tell her what my kids had told me and she told me I was “overreacting” and “boys would be boys.” Let’s just say I never talked to her again. She knew I was livid over the situation and she never tried to contact me again (not even to sincerely apologize for her sons very inappropriate behavior). The hard lesson I have learned through this situation is to always be true to the person God made me to be. If other potential friends learn early who I really am and what I reallly stand for then I won’t have to waste FIVE years of my life trying to be fourth base friends with women that don’t really have my best interests in mind. Conforming to a potential friend just to say that I have a friend is NOT a good enough reason to go to fourth base with anyone. I now have much healthier boundaries with potential mom friends and I’ve learned the hard way better to listen to and “fear” that little voice that tells me that something is amiss in a friendship than to fear what that mom will think of me if I break off the friendship.

    • Melanie Dale

      Tammy, wow. There’s a lot of wisdom here. I love how you said this: “If other potential friends learn early who I really am and what I really stand for then I won’t have to waste years of my life trying to be fourth base friends with women that don’t really have my best interests in mind.” Great insight about being yourself, not conforming, letting people see the real you up front. Thanks for sharing.

  • Carrie

    I want to be your friend – said one weirdo mom to the other weirdo mom. Love you already. Can we go directly to 4th base – I hate all the middle stuff. I know I already love you. Boob hug!!!

    • Melanie Dale

      Aww, yay I love new friends! Hugging you back!

  • Ladiebug

    Fourth base is the riskiest! A seven-year friendship of two whole families, down the tubes! Seems that sometimes you,re only safe as long as the kids are around. Once you get so close that potentially damaging secrets are being shared, it,s time to reassess the friendship. Do you really want to be playdate buddies with someone whose decision making you can,t respect? In my case the mom shared her thoughts about potentially cheating on her husband. We were having a girls night out.. dinner.. a couple of drinks… a bar with a live band playing. Turns out she had lied to her husband about her whereabouts. He kept wondering where she was…texting her… she kept lying to him. I don’t take lying lightly… I even said something to her about it. She thought it was awesome to get away with the lies! But, finally, she told him she was with me. When I went to the bathroom later, I noticed that he had sent me a bunch of nasty texts stating that I better tell him where we were or I was never bleeping welcome in their home again! He knows I,m an honest person. And, true to my morals, I told him the truth. I also told him that she,d had more drinks than was safe for driving home. I had only had two myself, but I wasn,t about to risk driving their boat of a vehicle and risk a DUI. He said to call a cab. So, when I returned to the bar where she was still sitting, she confronted me about telling her husband the truth regarding our location. I said, “Yes, I told him.” She was angry… Told me it was none of my business. She didn,t make a scene, just promptly left me stranded 37 miles from home! I called her husband and told him she drove off with 5 drinks in her. I was very upset that she drove like that!! He was too, although he seemed “whipped” by her. I say that because later when she wouldn,t speak to me, I texted him that I only was doing what I thought was the right thing. He said, “you did”. And, that was that! I texted her a few times to tell her that I cared about her and that I told the truth because I didn’t want to see her get a DUI. I also told her that despite my convictions to be honest, I would never tell her hubby about the other guy. That is not my place… they have 4 kids. Regarding my offer to forgive her and continue our friendship, she told me “Thanks, but no thanks”. This went down over two years ago. She still lives down the street and calls her kids inside whenever we walk by. So sad! There’s more to the story of our 7 years as friends, but the main moral of my story is this: Users of people are professionals at making you feel comfortable. Once there is no gain in it for them, you will be phased out. You may enjoy 3rd-base playdates with people like that, but you risk of getting your feelings hurt when they cut you off. Whatever you do… don,t make 4th-base friends with a lying cheater no matter how generous and friendly they are! They only share secrets with friends who are expendable!

    • Melanie Dale

      Fourth base is the riskiest, for sure. You’re right. Whew, what a story. I’m so sorry.

  • Memorie Frosland

    I just spent the last hour reading your blogs and I have to say, I would TOTALLY date you! You’re such a freak, we have a lot in common. If you didn’t live in Georgia, or I wasn’t in Oregon, I would definitely invite you for coffee :) Keep blogging sister, you’re AWESOME!

    • Melanie Dale

      “You’re such a freak.” BEST COMPLIMENT EVER. Thanks, Memorie, and give beautiful Oregon a hug for me.

  • JA

    When we adopted our daughter, we had a similar experience. Things were nutzo. I was nutzo. I didn’t even phase out this gal. I completely cut her out of my life. I’ve never done that before, with anyone. Prior to our daughter’s arrival on the scene, I was already spending a lot of time & emotional energy I didn’t have trying keep up the relationship. At that point, I didn’t realize its toxicity. But when our daughter came into our care, hospitalizations, therapy, new diagnoses, my preschooler son’s angry reaction to the “play date that never ended”, my husband’s work travel… it all picked up at the same time. l was unable to spend the time I had previously given and I was met with extreme criticism and ridicule. The best part was when I realized she was attempting a character assassination, mostly during the time I was staying at the hospital with my daughter. As a socially-awkward gal, I don’t fall into close relationships all that often. When things got hard for me, she was gone. She became the opposite of supportive, AND she was my neighbor. UGH. When I was trying to figure out what to do with it all, I kept making efforts here and there to keep up with her, until I realized that everything I said and every move I made was being called into question, shared with others and was twisted to make me seem like evil incarnate. So, I stopped. If I saw her, I was cordial, but I didn’t communicate beyond a greeting. In fact, I avoided her as much as possible. Not exactly a Christian response to someone who obviously needs Christ, but at that point, my sanity and the affect on my family trumped her and her feelings… even my own assurance that my “cutting her off” would play right into the germination of the seeds of doubt she was planting in our mutual friends’ minds. At one time, I prided myself on an uncanny ability to intuit the intentions/ motives of others. Wehhhlll, pride goeth before a plunge off a high cliff. This gal completely threw me for a loop. My own boundary issues played a huge part in this. That entire season of my life was a powerful teacher. I had vented with her. I had allowed some of the control she had over me. I tend to be vulnerable and honest about myself and my experiences. I don’t think that’s necessarily a character flaw, but that verse about being as shrewd as snakes and as gentle as doves (?) holds new meaning for me now. I’m sorry you experienced something similar. Thanks for the tips! I’ll probably be using them in the future, and checking to see if others are using them with me. ;o)

 

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