Parenting and being among other parents in a social setting often feels like the first week of college. Trying to figure your life alongside a bunch of strangers and wanting to make friends, but cautious you don’t end up with the weirdos. (Sidenote, I landed with the best damn bunch of weirdos after all, much love friends).
Almost every time I’m with my kids and there’s potential to connect with other parents socially, I’m at a loss. All of the non-verbals that make you accessible: keep your arms at your sides, smile, sit beside not across, make eye contact that, are second nature at work literally invert and suddenly I am only capable of connecting with my children. J is pretty chatty for a 2.5 year old, so he keeps the conversation going despite it being a bit circular.
Every Saturday we head to the pool for J’s swimming lessons and each time I watch on the sidelines and chat up T. He’s babbling back now so I’m excited for the talkative company. There are plenty of other support parents around, but none of us are talking to each other. Last class a parent had two she was wrangling while she attempted to watch the other that was in a lesson. She had her hands full and I wanted to help without overstepping, but I just couldn’t navigate it. So there I stayed, chatting with T (who was almost asleep) keeping an eye on him and C&J as they did back floats and sang twinkle twinkle in the water.
I can’t be the only one this happens to. How do we break the cycle? It takes a village, but shoot, I don’t even know all my neighbors.