What Happens When a Mom Steps Out of Her Comfort Zone

Making mom friends is kind of like dating, isn’t it? Effortful and awkward, but oh so worth it if you meet the right person. Forrest and I recently had a blind date at an indoor playspace. I had been chatting with another mom online for a few months after we met in a Facebook group. We share similar interests, similar careers, and have high-needs baby boys born 3 weeks apart.

The morning of our mom date, I intended to style my hair and put on makeup for the first time in 2017. Alas, I did none of this and hurriedly pulled on my favorite (maternity) leggings while Forrest cried at my feet. I said, “do NOT cancel on her!” aloud to keep myself focused. I was sweaty and nervous but determined to meet someone with whom I was sure I’d get along. When I arrived at the playspace, I entered upon dozens of gazing eyes. Remember walking into a bar in your early twenties? It kind of felt like that, except this time I was being sized up by a bunch of moms. Moms who were studying my clothes, my kid’s clothes, my diaper bag, and its contents; assessing my parenting style as I reacted and responded to Forrest. Or maybe they weren’t sizing me up at all, but simply attempting to discern me as their own blind date, whom they were hoping to recognize from a tiny thumbnail photo on Facebook or Instagram.

After about 15 minutes of awkwardly forced conversation with another mom whose baby was also interested in the rocking boat, my date finally arrived. We instantly clicked and so did our boys. I felt so relieved and incredibly glad that I didn’t cancel, as I had considered doing several times earlier in the morning. We talked and played and drank coffee for 2 hours. We laughed and commiserated heavily about the struggles of mothering high needs babies. As the playspace was closing, she mentioned that her husband was working late and she planned to grab a beer alone at a nearby microbrewery. My husband was working late too, so I asked to join her. We strapped our babies in their Tula carriers and off we went. By the end of the night it was clear I had made a friend for life (and so did Forrest!). I also learned that I enjoy a pint of stout.

That Friday evening was one of the best dates I have ever been on. It was actually the first Friday night I’ve spent out of the house since Forrest’s birth. I still think about the importance of our date and how risky it felt for us both. How much easier it would have been to remain “friends” online. You know, no showering or uncomfortable mingling at the playspace required. The pull of the new mom comfort zone is so strong. There is so much self-doubt, so much perceived judgment, so much sheer exhaustion. But I learned that stepping of my comfort zone was worth so much more than staying in it, no matter how cozy I may get. Now I have a friendship with someone who understands me, supports me, guides me, and makes me laugh. I have someone I can vent to via emojis at 2:00am because I know she’s awake and nursing too. I can’t wait to see where our friendship takes us, and I hope that our boys remain playmates for many years to come. I am so excited to watch this motherlovin’ friendship grow.

When you step out of your momma comfort zone, what impact has this had on your life? Venturing outside of the comfort zone can be daunting - what encourages you to make this leap in order to love on yourself more?