If, back in the day, you thought dating was difficult, finding a mom to spend time with sometimes feels impossible. Between juggling schedules, managing your kids, and surviving on little sleep, the last thing you need is a mom who judges your every parenting decision. However, the exhausting job of parenting is made less tedious by sharing a park bench (or a bar stool) with a mom who understands what it's like to call "taking a shower" an accomplishment.
As a frequent runner and obstacle course tackler, I've conveniently listed the obstacles a parent has to get over, under or through in order to find a terrific mom friend.
The Parenting Style Hurdles: While dating only involves finding one person, when it comes to finding a mom buddy, their personality as well as their parenting style has to be either very in sync or very tolerant of yours. If you're into free range parenting and they're hovering like helicopters, a friendship is unlikely to bloom. If a potential buddy prefers attachment parenting but understands why you're, say, less attached, then there is hope.
The "Their Kids" Dash: One you've figured out you have similar parenting styles, you have to watch their kids in action. Are they too whiny? Too boring? Too bossy? Too physical? If, after accommodating for teething, a cold or just a bad day, your pals' kids are more annoying than the average snot-nosed-two-year-old, then you probably won't want to spend time with them and that mom won't survive the 50-yard dash.
The "Your Kids" Gladiator Battle: Though unimportant the first year, eventually the kids have to get along. If the kids don't enjoy playing soccer together outdoors, can't seem to co-exist peacefully or even just chase each other gleefully around the room, you'll have to bonk the kids on the head, gladiator style, and send them on their way.
The Discipline Hoops: Discipline, which is different from the aforementioned parenting style, is very important. All kids have days (or years) of not listening, hitting or claiming every single toy to emphatically be, "Mine!" What matters is how the parent reacts. Do they brush off the behavior? Do they acknowledge that your kid was hurt or saddened by their child? Even if the kid won't apologize for bad behavior, knowing that your child is always fairly treated leaves room for a slam-dunk friendship.
Geography & Schedules Dodgeball: Herein lies the final obstacle to finding a parenting buddy. I know a number of terrific moms who live too far from me to hang out with regularly. How far away? About two miles. Yet, with Munchkin's nap falling in the middle of the day and Monkey's school drop-offs & pick-ups, it's hard to find time for playdates without finding myself dodging puddles, strollers and red lights in a dash to pick up Monkey on time. Finding moms that frequent your favorite haunts makes finding a buddy much easier.
If, by some miracle, you can find a mom who can surpass every obstacle, has your sense of humor and maybe even likes the same Friday evening cocktail, you've won the race and are on your way to a Whine & Wine happy hour. Some of my best memories are of evenings at home shared with my closest friends, our favorite beverage and our crazy kids.