My husband and I are in that unique phase of parenting; we have emerged from the haze of newborn parenting and are preparing to have our oldest enter kindergarten this fall. This leads to a whole new world that we have yet to adjust to. Friending. Remember your first day of freshman year at college? Desperately wanting to seem cool, knowing no one, and none of the rules? Yeah … tune into that feeling. How do you make friends as an adult/parent/couple?
My husband and I are very different – he is smart, laid back, fairly quiet at first. I, on the other hand, have been referred to as “an acquired taste.” Finding folks who want to hang out with BOTH of us AND our kids – no small feat. We both work full-time, and so during our free time, we like to spend time together – wouldn’t it be nice to have other “couple friends” with kids?
When I graduated from college, I noticed that my parents no longer hung out with the parents of my high school friends. I asked Mom about this once – and she filled me in that the only thing that they had in common with the other parents were, well, us. So once we were out of the house – they all felt free to find new friends. Is this what it comes to? Identifying folks you’ll spend the next 18 years hanging out with at soccer tournaments, ballet recitals, and band concerts? How do you identify which ones are going to be the fun ones – you know, sneaking beer into the auditorium in sippy cups?
I’ve found that it isn’t easy to make friends with parents. I’ve tried to chat people up at birthday parties, soccer practice, gymnastics practice, mommy and me groups – I’m not shy. But often it turns into a parenting competition “my kids only eat organic, unprocessed, fair-trade food,” “my kids are in Montessori and can already play a concerto,” “I don’t believe in sarcasm – it stunts emotional growth.” SERIOUSLY PEOPLE? I usually don’t let my kids eat the Cheerios off the floor. That’s the best I can say with a straight face. And the thought of hanging with sanctimonious uber-moms for the next 18 years makes me roll my eyes uncontrollably.
I HAVE been incredibly fortunate to meet a couple of fabulous like-minded other moms in the parenting circuit – thankfully. And COUPLE friends? – it brings back the nightmare of dating all over again … ”Do they like me?” “Is it too soon to call?” “Should I friend them on facebook?” This is more stressful than choosing a daycare!
Get out there folks – make some friends!