How To Make New Parent Friends

I’m no longer playing the field. But I’m finding that making friends with other parents feels a lot like dating.

From the outside it looks like we zookeepers-for-little-people have a lot in common: car seats, sleep deprivation, hundreds of pounds of goldfish crackers. But that’s like assuming classmates in high school can be friends.

Have you seen Mean Girls? Did you go to high school? There are groups, and it’s important to know which one you’re part of. 

Now, I hated cliques in high school and I was not cool.

So I was bummed to find out that making friends in parent-land can occasionally feel like getting a date to the prom or chatting up a hot prospect at a bar. But it does. And here’s how it goes down.

You see a mom or dad chasing a toddler-pet across the bark chips. The parent appears to have showered (or not, whichever you prefer), and might have a personality. You bring your child to play nearby. Then, in the time it takes for your child to go down the slide or fall off the climbing structure, you try to figure out a few key things that will determine your compatibility.

If you’re introverted, you might just hand the other parent a quiz card. It could look something like this:

Hi! Maybe we could, like, get together for a play date at a mutually-agreed-upon-central-location sometime. First, let’s see if we’re a good match. Please just answer honestly below!

Choose the answer that best fits you…

Your discipline style is more like: A) A tour of the Tower of London, or B) Four hours at an Ani di Franco concert.

Your baby sleeps: A) In bed with you till college, or B) Get yo’ own room, little mo’fo’.

You think sugar is… A) The antichrist, or B) Delightful! I carry it raw in a pouch in my diaper bag.

Your baby generally wears: A) Ralph Lauren or baby Chanel, or B) It’s hard to decide between organic tie-dye and hand-woven hemp.

Thanks for your candor! I’ll be back (or not) after I tally your score. 

I’m an extrovert, so I generally talk through this stuff. I can usually get to the end of the play-date-mating-dance by the time K-Pants has paraded around on his toddler bike a few times.

But some days a potential parent-friend arrives just as you’re leaving the park.

This calls for a different strategy: I roll K-Pants around in the sawdust and see if our maybe-new-friend looks on in horror or picks up a handful of chips and gives a thumbs up. In that case, this promance* is on!

*Promance=parent romance, which is definitely a term I got from Kourtney Kardashian or Christina Aguilera or one of my other BFFs/role models. 
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18 responses to “How To Make New Parent Friends

  1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I can’t say I completely relate (dog parks are far more fickle) but this got me laughing out loud ❤

  2. I was just talking to one of my old friends about how hard it is to make friends in general when you’re a grownup, much less a parent. And as an upcoming parent, I’m a little nervous about developing relationships with parents of babies/kids. I’m thinking that speed dating adapted to this situation might be necessary. And yeah, those questions would be perfect!

  3. It totally feels like speed dating! Will be excited to hear where you develop your best parent friendships. Mine have come from either old friends who have kids, our hospital’s moms group, or Baby Boot Camp (my mom’s exercise class).

  4. Love this. Truly. I think in my early days, I gave my digits to someone and desperately said: “Please call me. Anytime. Really. Like tomorrow.” Needless to say, she never called. Did I come on too strong? I’ve learned to feign indifference now. You know. To protect my heart.

  5. When we find the perfect parents, err, I mean a perfect play date baby, we just wanna’ take them home. “I got some home made cheesecake in my fridge if you’d like”. The offer usually doesn’t linger much in the air before somebody caves in and accepts an invitation from a total, radical looking, immigrant stranger lady.

  6. Love the blog post today – so true and it made me chuckle…sometimes I think dating is easier…at least you don’t have to worry about compatible nap times and a 3rd party not cooperating. 🙂

  7. Things get so much more dicey AFTER the kids have become friends and you become friends with the parents. Then what do you do once the kids start fighting all the time or settle instead for “frenemies” while you want to remain friends with the parents, but can’t stand watching her son pick on your child? Of course that didn’t happen to me or anything, just a friend of a friend *cough, cough*……

    Baby Boot Camp rocks, by the way.

    • No, of course that didn’t happen to you! And I’m sure it won’t happen to me, either! 😉 Things just get so freakin’ complicated, don’t they? Glad you love Baby Boot Camp!

  8. Bonus points if the mom still stays when your kid EATS the wood chips and you still shrug.

  9. Ev, you never fail to crack me up! Love this updated version of the dating quiz. Brings back memories of the original classic.

  10. Love your card idea. You should totally print those and sell them at a hippy-chi-chi baby shop. Could have used it when we moved a few years ago (see http://myconvertiblelife.blogspot.com/2010/07/dating-women-sucks.html).

    And happy for you that you’re not playing the field anymore!

  11. I never thought of it like that, but you’ve got a point! I got a kick out of that card idea! I was laughing too…I think grandparents should catch on to this too! I’m going to be a grandma! Just found out on my birthday! Now that’s going to be a trip!

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