A speed dating event to meet like-minded mums. Would you go?
Being a new mum is amazing, but it can also be lonely at times; especially when you don’t have other like-minded mums around for support.
Attending baby classes and groups helped me back when I was a newbie – it felt great just to get out of the house and mingle – but even then I found it difficult to exchange digits with someone I didn't really know. Sometimes, there was nobody I really gelled with, but often it was down to the fact that the opportunity didn’t present itself. Feeding babies and changing nappies would get in the way of chatting, or I would feel kinda awkward about asking someone to, essentially, be my friend when I wasn't sure if they were bothered about finding a MFF (Mum Friend Forever) – maybe they already had their quota filled?
But what if there was an event that was specifically designed to help mums find their new MFF? A place where we all knew what we were there for. Would you go? I can safely say, back in the early days, when I felt isolated because most of my friends were in a different country (we relocated from the UK to Ireland when I was pregnant), I would have been the first person to sign up to 'mum speed dating'.
Hillary Frank, host and creator of the Longest Shortest Time podcast, organised a mum speed dating event in New York in October. Advertising the event, the podcast's site said Speed Dating for Mom Friends was for "any and all mamas, no matter how long you’ve been one". When calling all mums to attend, it said, "Because you’ve been complaining about not being able to find mama friends you really click with." Bingo. The event offered mums treats, free drinks, a night away from the children, as well as the opportunity to "get matched up with your next BFF".
If you’ve ever been speed dating, you'll know the set up and it's likely to be a blast from your relationship past. It works pretty much the same as regular speed dating (minus the romance), where mums are seated at tables and given several minutes to talk to each partner before moving on to the next.
In fact, mom speed dating events have been popping up all over the US. Robin Hieatt, a mum of two from Manor, Texas, started Moms Matched last year after growing tired of awkward and failed attempts at connecting with other mums at play dates and parks.
She told Today Parents, “I thought dating was over once you find your life partner, but that’s not the case. You go to these playgrounds and play dates looking for moms you can spend your time with – someone who’s going through the same hellish-but-wonderful time as you are – but there’s embarrassment and anxiety about reaching out and trying to connect with other moms.”
I think mum speed dating is genius. In a short space of time, mums have an opportunity to meet others who match their own personalities, parenting styles and interests, but without all the hassle and awkwardness.
Here's hoping it takes off in Ireland sometime soon.