In partnership with the staple Vitamin brand, Rolling Stone Australia have teamed up to create content that celebrates mum’s advice, in the name of dating (and good health).
We often don’t want to admit it, but mums give the best advice.
Who do you call when you’re having a bad day? When you feel a little claustrophobic on the train? When you have an argument with your best friend, or the guy you’re into hasn’t texted you back?
I don’t know about you, but I call my mum. Sometimes, it’s not even about the actual advice; it’s just nice to hear her soothing voice at the other end of the line giving me a telepathic hug or a remedy to calm my nerves.
Beloved Vitamin brand Cenovis agrees: having been part of the right kind of mum advice for generations. From health remedies to dating, the mum in our lives always seems to know best.
Mums are also great at timing. It’s like they have this sixth sense of when the exact right time to say or hear something is; sometimes before we know ourselves. This is especially useful when it comes to dating.
“Is he worth it?” my mum asked me at the end of my last relationship. She could sense that I was changing and feeling exhausted by the change, so the question came at an extremely poignant time.
Now, I take that question with me throughout my dating life; no matter who I’m dating. Are they worth it? And further still, is anyone worth changing for? My mum doesn’t think so and I’m inclined to believe her.
I think we often cast aside our mums’ dating advice because dating was very different a generation ago. There were no dating apps or social media in general and the world was much less connected in a surface-level way. Things like marriage and having kids were more at the forefront of #relationshipgoals and traditional gender roles were rife.
Mums’ view of relationships tends to be more realistic and less romantic and maybe we don’t want to hear that. But I think we should. Because regardless of if you want to get married and have kids, casually date, engage in non-monogamy or even a friends-with-benefits arrangement — they might actually know what’s best.
So, I asked three mums I trust for their best dating advice. This is what they said.
Janet, mum of three
What’s the most important thing in a relationship for you?
I believe the most important thing is to become best friends first. My husband and I were great friends for 6 months, sharing an interest in ballroom and rock and roll dancing before we started dating. During that time we both gained trust, honesty, respect, companionship and learned to communicate with each other, which are all essential for an intimate long-term relationship.
Having all of these qualities in place — trust in particular — allows you to feel safe and secure in airing your thoughts, feelings and beliefs openly with each other through difficult times.
When the excitement of a fresh new love subsides and the pressures of day-to-day life creep in, it’s the foundation of being best friends that withstands all.
How do you keep a relationship exciting?
After 31 years, we still always keep things fun and exciting: date nights, quality time, exploring together, holidays, going out with friends — but also allowing space for each other to spend time apart doing our own individual hobbies.
Having common interests, values and beliefs are really important in building a strong foundation, as well as healthy communication and a willingness to compromise. This combination creates an environment where resentfulness cannot take hold.
If you can find a balance in common values, healthy communication and a willingness to compromise from both sides, you’ll have a beautiful foundation and love for each other that keeps you intimate on a deep and sustainable level.
To this day, my husband and I are still the keepers of each other’s hearts.
I think diane keaton said it first but still #datingadvice #datinghack #fyp
♬ original sound – Fia James
Jess, mum of two
What are your best pieces of dating advice?
If something doesn’t feel right or add up, you’re probably right – trust your instinct.
Date the bad boys. Have fun but always maintain your own boundaries. Don’t let a narcissistic hot boy crush your world when he doesn’t call back – ditch him first.
Would these have been different before motherhood?
Yes, probably! Life changes so much when kids come into the world and a stable household and parents who work together respectfully with a solid foundation of trust is everything.
I spent so much of my younger years crying over the ones who never treated me well, who didn’t show up for me and the situations that were so fast and furious and ended just as quickly.
Hindsight is a brilliant thing, upon reflection, most of my past loves would have made terrible partners and fathers. It’s not that they’re bad people — but you live and learn in life and grow as a person. Dating is such an important aspect of life, it allows you to decipher what you like, what you don’t, what traits work with you and who and what you’re willing to put up with.
I dated for all of my 20’s and 30’s and met my husband when I was 32 – I’d done the work and dated, travelled and lived a LOT. I knew what I wanted when I met my hubby and he ticked almost every box. There’s no rush.
The years crying over the ones that got away weren’t a waste of time either. I hold a special place in my heart for all the people I have shared experiences with, and just as Ariana Grande says, ‘thank you, next’.
Danae, mum of two
What was the dating advice when you were single and dating?
When I was young and dating, the advice was to ‘let the guy take the lead’, ‘be available’, ‘be positive and encouraging’. Also, advice from my Grandfather (bless him) ‘Be careful, no man will buy a book if they can get one from the library’.
Thank goodness times have changed!
What has your dating life, marriages and motherhood taught you about dating?
Other people (regardless of who they are) will only value us if we value ourselves.
Take yourself on dates, don’t sit around waiting for ‘someone’. After moving to a new state where I knew no one, on several occasions I went to the local cinema by myself watching a great film.
Take yourself out for dinner. Read a good book if you feel unsure about sitting in a restaurant alone. It’s such a positive thing to value our own company, and how can we expect someone else to value spending time with us if we don’t enjoy that ourselves?
Take the lead – why shouldn’t women invite men to do things? Surely this is an important aspect of equality. When I first saw my now-husband, he smiled at me across a bar. After a few minutes I went to stand next to him, as he was looking around the venue. He saw me and said, ‘Oh! I was just looking for you!’
I later realised he would have approached me, but I didn’t want to take the chance at the time as we had an instant connection just at a glance.
Don’t settle. Don’t settle for less than you deserve. Don’t settle for someone who you’re not truly compatible with. Don’t settle for someone who isn’t prepared to make an effort. Again, you’re worth whatever value you place on yourself.
Shop around! In the past, girls in particular have been shamed for casually dating, but, continuing the book analogy, you can’t tell a book by its cover, and many people enjoy browsing through bookshops, reading blurbs, reviews etc before choosing. And then, once we’ve read that one, we pick up another. We can have several books we read at once, or dip into. We don’t have to have an all-time favourite. Or, we might.
Don’t move in with each other straightaway. Even if you’re completely compatible with someone, the whole notion of creating time for one another and the logistics of that, planning dates that he/she will enjoy is an important element of getting to know someone deeply. Living together is a totally different ball game – you no longer need to consciously make the time to catch up. Yes, it’s the next important step perhaps, but it can lose a little of the magic.
Be upfront with what you value – shared values are an important part of compatibility.
Be with someone who makes you laugh. This is so important. Laughter can help us to overcome so many things. Plus, it’s joyful and dating should be fun!
If you’re not feeling a little wiser than you were before clicking on this article, you must already have amazing mum figures (and advice) in your life. I do, but even I feel revitalised with fresh mum perspectives.
It’s a reminder that the mum in your life really does know best, about almost everything. While things like mini meltdowns and vitamin recommendations feel like pretty standard daily mum hacks, they’re pretty darn good when it comes to dating too.
So, whether you want some Cenovis Vitamins in your life or the perfect piece of empowering dating advice, look to the mum figure in your life. I promise they know you (and the world of dating) better than you think.
Keep an eye out for the Cenovis Mother Matchmaker series, coming soon.