So… I have finally joined the world of online dating – well not in the traditional sense, its mum dating, and I love it!
To this day I don’t know what made me open the app store on my phone in the middle of the night and search for baby groups -maybe it was my frazzled sleepy brain. What ever it was I was pleasantly surprised when up popped MUSH – aka tinder for mums!
I flirted with it to start with, just flicking through from time to time, but I kept putting it down. I didn’t have the confidence to take the plunge, what if my profile picture makes me look desperate, or no one connected with me…. oh the irrational worries of an over-tired mum who has swapped her perfume for the sweet smell of baby sick. I guess it’s a barrier that a lot of mums have experienced, especially if they are feeling a touch vulnerable, but it finally dawned on me that everybody on MUSH would be in the same boat, every one would have been through almost exactly the same as myself at some point.
I had met some lovely new friends during our NCT classes and they were such a great support network – the whatsapp messages that flew back and forwards at all hours during the first few months were invaluable. But I felt I needed something or someone locally that I could chat to, moan about baby poo, day dream (of having money again), go for walks and generally enjoy my maternity leave with. So one night, when it felt like I was the only person in the world still awake, I bit the bullet and composed a short profile. I found a half-decent picture and clicked upload. I felt a little nervous as I haven’t done anything like this before, never internet dated (hijacking my younger sister’s phone and tinder account doesn’t count) never really had to court new friends or fill lots of time before, but maternity leave when all your pals are out at work and living their lives can be a pretty lonely place.
To my surprise it wasn’t long before I received a message – I couldn’t believe it! With bubbles of excitement and a good dollop of nerves and I clicked on the envelope, a friendly message saying hi awaited from a really normal looking lady with a baby girl who is just two weeks younger than my son, living just meters (yes meters!) away – who would have known it!
We arrange to go for a stroll down to the next village for a coffee. A nice low key first date – yes it felt like a first date, what was I going to wear, what was Arthur going to wear, was I interesting enough ahhhhh it was like being a teenager again!
I think I went back to the house 3 times before finally making the 2 minute stroll across the road to Dani’s house and knocked on the door. When Dani opened the door with such a welcoming smile and a slightly frantic hello, I knew then that this was going to be okay!
We immediately started chatting and found we had quite a lot in common, clumsiness being one obvious one as we kept bumping into things and each other – Dani falling off the pavement into the busy main road with her push chair trying to avoid a road sign was the ultimate ice breaker! My son screamed all the way to the tea rooms and then Dani’s daughter cried most of the way back, inside I was thinking yay, a mum with a normal baby! The only group I had been to everyone seemed to have quiet babies, that napped and didn’t have poo frequently exploding through their baby grows. What really cemented our friendship on this sunny afternoon was the shared frustration and annoyance towards the owner of our local tea rooms, and our decision to boycott this place forever – but in a strange way we actually probably have her to thank for our blossoming friendship. Our ‘date’ ended with Dani inviting me in for coffee – forward I know but hey we had come this far, joking about how well our first mum date had gone!
Our friendship has blossomed and we have shared many a time laughing, putting the world to right, baby raving with a sequinned Santa and hosting our own baby Halloween party. Our husbands have also had dad dates to the football so I am really glad I eventually took the plunge and uploaded that profile!
Dani is a warm and caring person who is passionate and driven, she is a control freak just like me – we both love a list! She has taken me out of my sloth like comfort zone and encouraged me to meet lots of lovely people including her NCT crew and even more great neighbours. Sometimes I am not sure how she manages to juggle a busy family life with her many creative projects which have included whipping up a amazing felt rocket headband the night before a space-themed baby sensory class – amazing! Our babies squeal with delight each time they see each other, they clearly love each other and have become firm partners in crime. It has been a pleasure to share the majority of my maternity leave with Dani, we have shared lots of adventures and I am looking forward to the adventures still to come.
So go on take the plunge and MUSH your maternity leave/mum friends up!