Breaking Up Is (n’tso) Hard To Do

Cindy from Colorado writes:
“I loved your post ‘How You DoinҒ on how meeting other moms is like dating – it’s so true! Have you ever had a Mom ‘breakup’? I just did, and it was pretty uglyŔ

Oh, Cindy, I’m feelin’ you, girl.

As previously written, when you’re a new mom, you’ll soon realize that the process of meeting other moms is much like dating. You want to meet others in your situation because it’s nice to be around others sharing your “What the hell just happened to my life?” experience, not to mention others who are cool with your needing to schedule plans around napping and feeding times. Just like when you date, meeting other moms is often arranged through friends. However, as it was in my case, it happens through Mommy and Me groups and even in the Nordstrom bathroom. Oh yes, the Nordstrom bathroom.

The dark underbelly of meeting other moms/dating correlation is that much like the ritual of courting members of the opposite sex when things go awry, there’s got to be a breakup.

The simplest Mom breakups are much like those between two people who thought the other one was nice, but they didn’t meet at the right time. It’s like meeting a great guy just before you move to a new city; you like him, but the timing isn’t conducive to making a relationship work. I once met another Mom who was a perfectly nice person, but soon after we met, she went back to work full-time. I didn’t, and as a result, our schedules didn’t match up. I liked her fine, but not enough to devote precious weekend time to see her. We never really talked about it; it just sort of died a natural death when we slowly stopped seeing each other. I knew she’d go on to find other Mom friends who wanted the same thing she did; for us, the timing just wasn’t right. Had we met at another time in our lives, it may have worked. I wish her all the best; she’s a great lady. One day, she’ll make another Mom friend very happy. Truly. Sigh.

Other Mom breakups are not so mutual. Sometimes, one party is into it, but the other, not so much. This also once happened to me. The other Mom was a perfectly nice person, but not my “type”. It’s a situation much like, say when your Mom’s best friend sets you up with a sweet guy, yet is way too into Dungeons and Dragons for a 28-year-old (and let’s be honest, that wasn’t even that cool when we were 8). Check, please. Because we only went out on a few dates, there isn’t a full-scale breakup or “I need multiple pints of Ben and Jerry’s” evening(s?) of healing. Instead, it petty much ends when one party says, “Yeah, let’s do this again,” but doesn’t follow-up. With both Moms and men, the process is nearly identical.

I’ve also had a Mom breakup that occurred because, after multiple “dates”, I realized the other Mom was a complete and total nutcase. A nice person, but an utter nutcase. This Mom breakup was the equivalent to ending things with the guy who you think is cool, but despite being out of college for nearly 10 years, he still gets shitfaced every weekend. Like, dude, I like you, but seriously, can you get it together? Not surprisingly, much like Mr. Drunky McDrunkenstein, I am not sure this mom even realizes the breakup happened.

All of those breakups, of course, are relatively innocent and involve minimal – if any – hurt feelings. On other occasions, however, Mom breakups can involve more drama than an episode of “Lost”. Akin to cheating on your boyfriend or girlfriend, sometimes a Mom commits an act worthy of a Grand Canyon-Esque schism. Perhaps it’s because both parties are women. I mean, it’s usually the woman in the relationship who is responsible for most of the emotional theatrics, right? Regardless, when a mom’s friendship goes wrong, the fallout can be nuclear.

So happened a few months ago with one (now former) member of the ModdedMomma. Despite many of us recall that our initial impression of this Mom wasn’t entirely favorable, we became all became friends. It was much like a situation where you’re in a new city, you’re lonely, and you get introduced to a guy. He may not totally be your type, but you go out, and actually kinda enjoy yourself because he’s not that bad, and it’s certainly better than sitting home and watching 90210 because it sucks now that there are all these lame new characters, not to mention the fact that the plot centers around Steve, Brandon and that Asian woman running some dumb-ass newspaper together. Bottom line: he may not be your dream guy, but he’s fine – nice, even, so why not keep hanging out with him? So was the case with her.

Before the big breakup, a series of events had proven her to be a less-than-flexible and understanding person (tough traits to display when seeing to maintain Mom friendships – seriously, name me one mom who’s never had to bag plans because her kid’s nap schedule got messed up?). This irked many, yet not yet to the point of a breakup. Anyway, one afternoon, she completely freaked out when, because our kids were sick with colds, 2 members of the ModdedMomma and I bowed out of a playgroup she was hosting. Now, honestly, if you’re a Mom, you know that when your mom friends think to spare your child from getting sick, you should bow down and thank them, because taking care of a sick baby is worse than listening to K-Fed’s new album on repeat (don’t quit your day job, Mr. Spears – what is that, anyway?). While her being unfathomably upset over such an incident shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise, considering her nature, it was her crazy actions that did. Mom’s friend lost it to the point of treating one member of the ModdedMomma (me) so cruelly that it – no kidding – elicited tears. With friends like theseŅyou get the picture.

To make a long story short, a series of equally odd, rude, and unfairly accusatory behaviors involving her and different members of the ModdedMomma followed, all of which she refused to apologize for. As you can imagine, these situations lead most of us to wonder why, at ages 30+ and with very little free time on our hands, we were continuing a friendship with someone who was not only unreasonably inflexible but had also proven herself to be a person who wasn’t exceptionally kind. I won’t speak for the rest of the ModdedMomma, but I am 100% cool with this Mom breakup, just as I am with ending things with my sucky former boyfriend. I knew nearly from the beginning that he was not the one for me, yet it took him treating me like crap for months before I realized that I was wasting my time – not to mention sacrificing a bit of my dignity – by putting up with his jerk behavior.

Such nasty Mom breakups aren’t rare. Recently, I’ve heard similar Mama-drama from friends who are not in my ModdedMomma. Over coffee the other day with a friend, she told me a few similar stories or fallouts within her ModdedMomma, one of which was oddly similar to mine. In trying to analyze the origin of these situations, we hypothesized that perhaps mom breakups – regardless of their scale – occur because, much like when dating guys, it takes a while to know another’s true colors. Initially, both moms and singles are brought together because of a common issue – in the case of moms, it’s the kids, and in the case of singles, it’s looking for a mate. It’s enough to maintain a relationship for a bit, but eventually, you have to discover if there are enough positives to sustain the relationship. In time, sometimes you learn that the answer is no.

I’ve realized that finding true Mom friends – just like finding your husband, life partner, or whatever, is a process that usually takes time. Of course, love at first sight/an instant connection between Mom friends can happen (like when someone grabs your enormous diamond ring and says, “Damn, your husband did a good job with that one!” and you just know you’ll love her). Most of the time, though, it takes a while to get to know another Mom and figure out if you’re truly compatible. More than anything, though, I’ve learned that the most significant similarity between dating guys and “dating” other Moms is that with both types of relationships, nothing’s worth sacrificing the way you know you deserve to be treated.

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