I know I often post about why I dislike some (not all) other parents but today, this post is dedicated towards the parents I do like or can tolerate.
I can still be defensive when meeting other parents.I am concerned about not having any common interests with them aside from the fact that we have kids (which is unfortunately true most of the time) and I hate having to look for things to talk about. I am also slightly worried about any pre-conceived judgements others may have towards me.
So far, I have had many positive experiences. I learned the best way to talk to anyone and get people to open up to you is to get them to talk about their kids. If you notice that the kid has something in common with your child, point it out and share experiences. For example, we recently found out my son has vision problems and he now wears glasses. If the other kid is wearing glasses too, I would ask the parent how they discovered their kid needed glasses, etc.
I think it is extremely important to set a positive example for your child. I am not always a social person. I can be introverted and to be honest, when I take my kid to the playground or any other child friendly places, the last thing I want to do is talk to other parents but you know something? This actually surprised me: They want to talk to me. Out of all the other parents there, they approach me and talk to me. They are the ones initiating conversation. Sometimes they ask me about my tattoo, my hair color or how old my son (Philip) is.
Being a mother is the best thing that ever happened to me.
They say it takes a village to raise a child and seeing all these
people put aside their personal interests, to give a helping hand and bond over the miracles
that we created is nice. It restores my faith in humanity.
I guess the point of this post is:if you have kids and dress alternative, don't let it hold you back. Let your kid watch you interact with others. Some of them are probably going to be a bunch of jerks but you will eventually learn how to deal with those in a polite manner. Sometimes, some people are just curious and always wanted to talk to someone like
us and now they found an opportunity to do so. I was told this recently
and I laughed. The questions that are asked are always the same and repetitive. I know I am tired of answering them but I try to have patience. I understand, it is the first time these people are hearing those answers, despite us being able to answer them in our sleep!
In my experiences, thanks to living in a large multi cultural city and in this day and age, most people are more open minded. A lot of times, the way I dress or the fact that I personally have
zero things in common with the other person seems to disappear. We have
kids and we share experiences. The fact that we procreated gave us something in common.
I learned to politely tell someone to eff off whenever they over stepped personal boundaries and I learned to open up to other people. It also shows Philip that yes, his mom might be weird but it doesn't stop her from talking with everyone else. I often catch people staring at me, especially from the other kids grandparents and sometimes a polite smile turns an annoying situation into a pleasant one. Sometimes, it does the opposite. I often smile and wave at people who stare because it is amusing. They either turn away embarrassed because you caught them in the act or they approach you. I know if I had my way, I wouldn't talk to these people yet there has been many situations, these people sort of got to know me and know that I am Philip's mom so they help me look after my son too. I got so much great advice and a sympathetic ear whenever I mention a parenting struggle. From colic to potty training issues, it is nice to know that some parents got your back and are willing to offer advice or a means for you to vent to. Your kids accomplishments are no longer praised by you or members of your family, they are also praised by these other parents. In fact, I do the same. I want to know how so and so made out with their potty training or whatever issue they are going through at this stage of their child's development.
We recently ran into a group of parents from my son's daycare at Mcdonalds the other day. We all ate together and the kids played happily with one and other. It was a great time. While we were there eating, I mentioned that Philip is an only child and how I am trying to encourage him to share. When he shared his happy meal toy with the other kids, it wasn't just me praising it. All the other parents chimed in too. It was nice that they were so willing to help. The more people who chimed in, the more he was encouraged to let the other kids see which toy he got. One dad even reassured Philip "Don't worry, I will make sure they will give it right back to you"
I spent a good portion of Philip's early life alienating myself from other parents and wished I knew alternative ones. Now, I just don't care. In fact, I am scheduling play dates with some of them! The next big step for me is having them come to my house for a play date. I am unsure how they will react with our choice of decorations. On the other hand, I sure feel uncomfortable in their houses with all their stuff so it might be interesting to watch their reactions.