Park Etiquette and Picking Up Mom Friends

It’s one of those things there should be a book about.  In the hospital, they show you how to get a good latch and change a diaper, but they don’t say boo about the challenges you’ll be met with as you and your little one venture out to the local park.

First off there are the basic questions.  Are you a dirty hippie if you let your kid take their shoes off in the sandbox?  What about discarded sand toys?  If you forget your bucket, are they fair game to let your little play with?

But moving on…your kid starts chasing another around the swing set, and BOOM – you’ve got a new parent to chat up.  But when the kiddos click, what is your obligation to reach out for a play date?  Do you have one?  Are you psychotic if you do it?   Will you look like a loon if you offer up a phone number or email address so that you kids can continue to connect?  What about a Mom you click with?  Or a Dad?  How do you take that park meeting to the next level?  And should you?

To be clear, I have no answers here.  I’m kind of hoping you guys can enlighten me.  It’s happened a few times now where Dee and I will meet a lovely Mama daughter duo at the park and I feel my palms start to sweat like I’ve been cornered by my Jr. High crush.

To date, I’ve exchanged names with a couple of Moms, but never taken it further – hoping that perhaps we’ll bump into each other again.  No such luck.  But I’m a WAHM with limited childcare (thank moses for Grandmas!).  My kid has NO FRIENDS.  Okay she has two friends, who we are eternally grateful for, but beyond that, I feel like I’m failing her big time.  {I know, I know…it’s time for some Mommy and Me. We do do a music class, so she’s not a complete recluse.}

So yesterday, Dee and I are at the park and she finally gets up the nerve to approach “that purple gril” who she’s been eying across the park.  And turns out the little girl’s Mom is lovely, we were chatting easily by the time Dee climbed up into the swing next to her new friend.

…And then she says it:  “So, do you guys live around here?”  We do, and the conversation turns to other parks in the area, and which ones we frequent.  We exchange names.  And I’m still on my Alt Summit high where it’s totally normal to slip someone your business card, so OMG I did just that.  “Well, let me give you my email if you ever want to meet up at XXX park.”  She seemed receptive, but I couldn’t help feeling like a total dingus as I handed over a card with my social media addictions scrawled all over it.  I mean…the damn thing heralds my twitter handle and says “wordsmith / gal friday” on it.  W.T.F.?

So am I a freak?  Do you think she’ll call?  Do you think she would have called but then she got curious and came to my blog and saw this post and now she definitely won’t? 

I think I need a drink.

Feed Me Seymour

  31 comments for “Park Etiquette and Picking Up Mom Friends

  1. luckystars54
    January 25, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I took my little guy to the park a lot as soon as he was of walking age in hopes of finding a playmate the same age as him, and another SAHM. I would talk to some moms and always leave with, “Maybe I’ll see you again here sometime. We live just down the street.” I am not good with initiating behaviors like this, I too have sweaty palm syndrome :) However, last May I met a wonderful friend with a little boy 3 weeks older than mine, by the same name as mine. We hit it off instantly and exchanged phone numbers so we could text each other the next time we planned to go to the park. That worked lovely for a while as we got to sniff each other out. Then summer came around and we took the boys swimming and to the Childrens Museum. It has turned out to be a beautiful friendship. We now help each other with the boys so we can have some momma time, but still get together to hang out with the boys, or occasionally kidless for a glass of wine. I am so thankful to have found her! Ease into it and don’t commit to anything that makes you feel iffy. Good luck!

  2. bebehblog
    January 25, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    I was at Michael’s one day and my kid fell into an instant best-friendship with another toddler in the cake aisle. By the time we checked out they were straight up hugging and holding hands and Evan cried when I said we had to go. The mom looked really nice, close to my age, and had a baby the same age as my baby too. It felt like FATE and I was so excited that we might have just made some new best friends. I decided to risk it and I gave her my business card – the ones I used at BlogHer – and said “I know this is weird but my email is on there, let me know if you want to let the kids play together some time”. She said “That’s not weird, that’s great!”

    It’s been 4 months. I have not heard from her.

    • January 25, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      @bebehblog Oh man. I knew the blog card was a mistake. Guess who just figured out what to do with 100 free moo cards?!

  3. cassiesartin
    January 25, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    It obviously had your blog url on it? Maybe she’s reading this right. now. Quick! Try to act nonchalant! ;) And we seriously need to get into some mommy and me stuff too, or my kid is doomed socially.

  4. alexandrawrote
    January 25, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    @the818 Mommy calling cards have become so popular. Thought about offering them, but not unless I do them differently. Don’t like what I see

    • the818
      January 25, 2012 at 4:42 pm

      @alexandrawrote Maybe we can come up with something un-embarassing?

      • alexandrawrote
        January 25, 2012 at 8:05 pm

        @the818 I’ve had some ideas, but as not yet a mother, I didn’t know if they were hit or miss. But don’t like what I’ve seen. Let’s talk!

  5. thePartyArtisan
    January 25, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    @the818 I don’t think it’s weird :) I do it all the time. When my oldest two were young I’d invite people home for coffee all the time :)

  6. kassie at actuarymom
    January 25, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    i feel like facebook makes this easier… although i’ve never tried to pick up a friend at the park, but a friend of a friend, then I’ll friend them on fb or just send them a fb message. if they ignore it, they ignore it. it kind of gives them the easy out anyhow.

  7. MrsWndr
    January 25, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    @the818 you did right! It’s hard making friends at the park. I did a mom group and still walked out friendless. If u were closer we’d play!

  8. JaneticsInk
    January 25, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    @the818 ditto

  9. PnPArtCourtney
    January 25, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    @the818 You’re not alone! Had great friends in NC, then we moved back to CA. It’s so hard!

  10. mamasmeals
    January 25, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    @the818 me either…

  11. MyBottlesUp
    January 26, 2012 at 7:33 am

    i *almost* did this recently with a mom/daughter duo i met in the park. i stopped myself though… can’t put my finger on the WHY i stopped myself, because in reading your experience, it doesn’t seem odd at all. and yet, i stopped myself. ugh! i need to grow some balls.

  12. postpartumprogr
    January 26, 2012 at 7:36 am

    @MyBottlesUp It’s why I’m alone most of the time. ;-)

  13. kathy74LA
    January 26, 2012 at 9:36 am

    @the818 we can b friends. I find it hard to find open & respectful friends.

  14. DEHausfrau
    January 26, 2012 at 9:37 am

    @the818 My old “pick up a boy” tricks fail me – drunk, come hither looks just don’t work on moms at the playground

    • the818
      January 26, 2012 at 10:27 am

      @DEHausfrau I did a mini spit take.

      • DEHausfrau
        January 26, 2012 at 10:52 am

        @the818 “Want to give me a tour of the upstairs of your house?” has a whole different meaning here in the burbs… ;o

  15. Farbrent
    January 26, 2012 at 11:09 am

    @MothersandMore @the818 Smile, greet everyone, everywhere you go, compliment genuinely, attend library kid events and join mothers and more!

    • the818
      January 26, 2012 at 11:20 am

      @Farbrent @mothersandmore thank you!

  16. alexcampbell11
    January 26, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Holy shit (can I say shit on your blog?) I think you stole the first few paragraphs write from my mind. And what is even weirder is that I was thinking those same thoughts precisely yesterday & the day before, both at the park. And I blogged about park & other kids today.

    I’m always wondering what the sand toy etiquette is. I’m that mom that doesn’t bring sand toys because I never think about it. The park itself is a toy, but my son always loves playing with the other toys. If you bring toys & your kids leaves them its ok for my own son to pick them up right?

    I never know.

    I also find myself occasionally wanting to throat punch the ids of washed up 90s actresses when they are mean to my kids, but I’m not sure that is part of the unspoken mom park rules.

  17. January 31, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Some moms make it looks so easy and have so many mommy friends! I am glad there are others who feel like me. By the way, did she call?

  18. February 6, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    I’m a little late to the party here, but I think you rock for giving her your card! I live in a small community, and I’m always kicking myself for not reaching out at the park/bookstore/gymnastics class. Instead I’m the shy junior high kid who worries that I’m not as cool as the other moms….so I’m gonna live vicariously through you. By giving her your card, YOU were the cool mom ;)

  19. February 10, 2012 at 8:37 am

    She totally did not call.

  20. momma23monkeys
    March 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    @the818 hilarious!

  21. MishLockwood
    March 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    @the818 oooooo the “discarded” bucket dilemma, that’s a tough one. Love the “pick up moms at playground” phrase

  22. PolPotPie
    March 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    @the818 I’m a WAHD and take Asher to two classes. I feel the same plus the “am i being creepy?” just because I’m in a room full of women

  23. AKAJaneRandom
    April 3, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    @the818 Well, they say content drives traffic…Hahaha

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