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I had a good date

I just had a super fun playdate. Okay, technically it wasn’t my playdate – it was Baby #2’s – but the kid’s mom was so cool that I think I might have had more fun than the kids. In fairness, she didn’t try to play with any of my toys, so it was easier to get along. For moms, a first playdate is a bit like a blind date. Sure my friend Beth said she was really nice, I’d chatted with her outside of school, and we’d exchanged e-mails planning the playdate, but now was the moment of truth – how would two hours of idle chit-chat go? It can be kind of hit and miss.

With Baby #1 at the “drop off” playdate age (which causes me anxiety for separate reasons), I had almost forgotten when Baby #2 started nursery school this year that playdates for him once again meant playdates for me. For a finite amount of time, you can select your child’s friends based on which moms you’d like to hang out with…but then kids start developing relationships of their own and you find yourself having to chat uncomfortably for hours with people you have little or nothing in common with (except obviously having kids the same age). It reminds me of a piece I read in the New Yorker years ago about what it would be like if adults were subjected to the same injustices as children. Basically the article joked about how adults would feel if their children forced them to spend time with people who were simply the same age, or if their children forced them to let someone else drive their brand new Mercedes because you have to share. The article suggests that being forced to spend time with people you don’t share anything in common with and sharing your belongings only happened to children – but let me tell you, when you have a two year old, it happens to you too! There are lots of moms out there, and sometimes the single commonality of having given birth around the same time is not enough to carry you through.

There are the “nice” moms, but “nice” turns into boring about twenty minutes in. Although, I’ll take a “nice” mom any day over a nanny. Showing up for a playdate that turns out to be with the nanny is even worse – especially if the nanny doesn’t speak English. A friend of mine is Haitian, with medium dark skin. She once took her son to a playdate where the nanny thought she was Puerto Rican and spoke Spanish to her the entire time. My friend doesn’t speak Spanish.

There are the “super busy” moms who spend the playdate on their phones or computers. But who can blame them…they are super busy.

There are the “perfect moms.” Obviously they are nice, but they are more stressful than the plain old nice moms because they are perfect. They are dressed to the nines – we’re talking hair and make-up – like they must be going somewhere other than the nursery school drop off and the market. Their houses are spotless – they don’t have dogs and shoes must be left at the bottom of the driveway. They offer delectable homemade snacks. They don’t have a single fault so they give me a complex. How do they do it all? Does their day have more than 24 hours? I certainly don’t have time to wash my hair and bake whole grain muffins in the same day.

There are the “over-sharers.” I’m not saying they make their kid share toys more than anyone else…I’m saying when you leave there, you know their financial situation, how their marriage is, what their kid’s morning poop looked like. You get it, it’s classic TMI.

But once in a golden while, there is a “cool mom.” She’s the best, taking little bits from all the other mom types and wrapping them up in a nice package. She’s nice without being boring – good sense of humor is a must. She’s busy in that she doesn’t stay forever because she has places to go and people to see, but she politely puts it aside for a couple of hours. She’s dressed in cute jeans and sneakers with hair in a ponytail and little or no make-up because who are we kidding, a playdate isn’t a night on the town. She shares enough to make you feel comfortable, but thankfully you have no idea when her last period was. This mom is a rare jewel.

What a great surprise that this morning’s playdate was so much fun. It’s like a blind date where you feel a spark. A kind of “oh my goodness, there could be a friendship here,” feeling. But now, like any blind date, as I sit here envisioning future playdates at the park…maybe the zoo?!?…in the back of my head is a distant worry. Will she call again? What if she doesn’t think I’m a cool mom too?

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