You know who your sister-wife (if you had to choose) would be, and she knows who she is. Her kids and yours are more like siblings than friends, and you adore them more than blood relatives (outside of grandma) ever could. She’s not just your bestie, she and her littles are the kind of family you never seem to tire of.
You showed up at your last duty station, and everything seemed to fall in place. First you met one mom, then another, and to top it off, you had a handful of not-as-close-but-still-awesome stand-ins.
Soon, you had your village.
One kid has the stomach flu and the other needs to be picked up at school. Your friend is not just on your pick-up list. She is the pick-up list. You forgot to get glow sticks for Halloween? She has already outfitted your whole tribe. No socks for bowling? Your kid is wearing the spares she keeps in the car. She outfitted him while you were consoling her little about that mean girl at school. She gets what you can’t stand about your MIL, and you commiserate with her when she’s solo parenting for the third time in as many months. You can’t imagine how you ever did this mil-life without each other.
Then one day, like all dreams do, it ends. Thanks to PCS season, there are too many miles and county, state, and country borders between you to count.
You still have your village, but village-by-text isn’t the same as a cup of coffee after a rough night with your little insomniac. You both know it’s time. Time to start mom-dating.
All. Over. Again.
You start with the neighborhood moms, looking for one who treats your kid as well as hers. That one seems nice, then you find out she’s been here two years. She’s not looking for a new village. Why are the good ones always taken?
You see one at the park, but is that her kid? The one cackling maniacally as he smears dog feces all over that other kid, who is obviously not into dog feces? Pass.
Let’s try the mom at drop-off. She and her kids seem normal. You approach her with your morning coffee after the kids meander into the school building. OMG! Did she just say that? To you? A complete stranger? Who tells a complete stranger that?! You wouldn’t tell your grandmother who adores every messed up part of your life that on her deathbed. Moving on…
Mom dating. It’s hard. Harder than you remember real dating to have been.
Then one day, you meet her. She says something and waits. You say something back … and on and on it goes. So, painful! But, you smile and pretend it’s normal as you look for signs of utter lack of sanity in her or her kids. She seems OK. The kids seem to like each other. Should you ask for her number? Should you text or call? Is it too soon? On and on it goes until you think, is this a friend? A real friend? Someone real you can put on the pick-up list to replace that name and number you created on the spot? Deep breath … should you introduce the husbands? Should you see if she wants to get coffee, without the kids?
So. Much. Stress.
Just think, in just three short years, you get to get back out there All. Over. Again.
Perhaps they’ll have a mom-dating app set up by then.