The (Play)dating Game

“I’m so glad you’re normal, like me!” Emily, my new local mom friend and mother of three said with a huge sigh of relief. We were in the barn while the kids rubbed their hands all over the sheep and crawled through the stalls.

After leaving the corporate world to work as a part-time copywriter and most-of-the time mama, it has been painful to find new friends. But when your longtime friends live 45-minutes away on the east side, it’s important to connect with moms in your community.

Moms with kids that your kids will go to school with and play soccer with, and-if you’re lucky-become lifelong friends too. But for me, I’m also looking for kids with moms who play nice. Sounds easy, right? Nope.

I’ve had lots of (play) dates since I quit, but making new mom friends at almost 40 is exhausting. So in the spirit of online dating, I’ve been working on my profile to share a little bit of what I’m looking for in my perfect playdate.

No helicopters allowed. My kids are tough. The didn’t get that way by me hovering over their every move. I can only warn them so many times, “don’t go head first on the slide,” before they have to find out for themselves it was a bad idea. So if you can’t stand at least ten feet away from your kid, we probably won’t get past snack time.

The dirtier the better. We live on a farm. We have animals and land and lots of poop everywhere. Sometimes my kids don’t wear shoes because they go from the trampoline to the cabin, and I’m okay with that. They pick up worms, pet chickens, play with our tortoise, T. I don’t carry around antibacterial gel, but I make sure they wash their hands before they eat. (Most of the time.) But if you are a germaphobe, you’re going to hate being here after ten minutes.

Must like noise. I’m not a shoosher, so please leave yours at home. I yell a lot because my kids don’t always listen to me. They are in the moment and typically quite a few steps ahead of me. They jump and scream and throw stuff and get really excited when other kids come over. They bang the giant drum next to the teepee and pretend they’re monsters. They make forts and pillow slides out of my custom Arhaus sofa. Because—they are kids. Like their mom, they’re a little rough around the edges.

Bathrooms are optional. Ever tried to round up three kids under the age of six that are waist deep in lake water, just so you can take one of them inside to pee? Me neither! We have five really nice bathrooms. But when you gotta go, you gotta go. Even if you’re outside. That’s what those big oak trees are for. Just don’t wipe with poison ivy. So if bare bums is a little too hillbilly for your taste, we probably aren’t your jam.

If you’re hungry, eat it. I feed my kids organic produce and fresh-cut everything just as much as I possibly can. But when you have a house full of hungry kids things can go downhill pretty fast. We have a walk-in pantry with bins full of snacks at kid-eye level. Help yourself. Just don’t eat in the family room because I hate vacuuming. AND, if it falls on the floor (or the grass), we have an eight-second rule. It’s also called “immune system building.”

And last but oh-so-not least, forget the whine. Unless it’s red and comes out of a bottle, put a cork in it. Being a mom is tough. I get it. You get it. Let’s talk about something else like shoes or some celebrity I’ve never heard of. But over here the glass is half full (usually with wine). There are people with real problems and life is too short to sweat the small stuff. So slap on a smile, grab a change of clothes and hop on over.

Who’s up for a play date?




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(Non) Stay-at-home mama raising my three screaming cubs while restoring our 35-acres of wilderness just outside of Cleveland. Copywriter, sheep herder and fixer upper. I live in muck boots, jeans and wear dangling toddlers as accessories.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • OMG could not agree more. I let my just-walking baby walk around without shoes on and sometimes she – gasps! – sits on the floor in public, and people think I am CRAZY.

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