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The Park Mom

There’s something I love about park moms.


I didn’t think “park mom” would appreciate pictures of herself on the blog, so I opted to include pictures of my kids instead.

I don’t know any of them. I (usually) never see them again. And yet, they’re some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

They always look the same as me: their hair in a messy ponytail, wearing jeans or sweats, with sunglasses hiding their tired eyes. They always talk the same as me: “Rosie, be careful on the swing!” “Sam, don’t run! I don’t want you to fall!” “Jacob, take turns. You have to let that little boy go first.”

I love it. I feel like I’m part of some special club. I’ll be standing at the bottom of a slide, waiting for one of my kids to go down and, together, “park mom” and I will watch my kid and her kid vie to go first. “Brayden, let the little girl go,” I’ll direct, while she chimes in with, “Samantha, that little boy was in front of you.” Then, “park mom” and I will exchange a knowing smile and launch into some tried-and-true conversation about how difficult the toddler years can be, which, of course, always ends with one of our kids running away from us and one of us running after him, rolling our eyes and shouting goodbye as we turn to go.

I can honestly say I’ve never met a park mom who wasn’t friendly. I’ll be pushing Anna on the swing, “park mom” will lift her son or daughter into the swing next to ours, and we’ll immediately strike up a conversation, exchanging our kids’ ages, birth weights, clothing sizes and school names as we push.

“Your son is going to turn 2 next month? How funny! My daughter just turned 2 over the summer!”

“Your son likes cars and trucks? How funny! So does mine!”

“Your daughter is wearing a princess shirt! How funny! My daughter loves princesses!”

It’s comical when I think about it. Of course, “park mom” looks the same as me. We both have young kids! We’re both exhausted from days spent wrangling kids who don’t want to be wrangled and from entire days spent hearing the word “why” every five seconds. Of course, our young kids are going to like cars and trucks and princesses. We both have young kids! And of course, “park mom” talks the same as me. We. both. have. young. kids.

IMG_20130929_105128“You like to drink a glass of wine every night to keep yourself sane? How funny! So do I!”

It’s not rocket science. “Park mom” and I are both in the same boat. She is me and I am her and all that jazz. I’m just glad I can always count on meeting a new friend every time I go to a park. And I’m glad she’s in the boat with me.

I always leave parks wishing I’d gotten “park mom’s” name and number. “We should be friends!” I think. “How nice was she?!” I’ll rejoice. “Hooray for all the good people in the world!”

But I never have.

Maybe it’s because I like the anonymity “park mom” provides. We can chat, we can share stories and empathy, but whatever I share with her stays with her and vice versa. I never have to worry about judgment because, odds are, I’ll never see her again. Or maybe it’s because I’m just too lazy. Or, the most likely of the three, maybe it’s because when I leave, eye rolling and shouting goodbye all the way, I’m usually trying to discipline kids who aren’t listening or to bribe them with suckers to get into the car.

As long as “park mom” is there, though, and accepts me as part of the “park mom” club, I’m glad I have a friend in her. And I hope she sticks around to talk me through the rest of these difficult toddler years.




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