A playdate is a glorious thing. You put out some pirate's booty and apple slices, and your child is occupied until the playdate is over. The kids have a great time, and you get a moment to complete a thought or task or eat some of the kids' candy while they're not looking. There is, however, a little known fact that a playdate is also a great way for parents (mostly moms, but there are a few dads) to cruise for new friends.
You'll never get to know someone as quickly, or as well, as you do when they are being pulled by a toddler while nursing their infant and making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It brings out their true colors. Do they scream the whole time? Are they amazingly patient? Do they ask for help? If you're the person making the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you learn a lot about the other person too, based on how they react. If they offer to make the sandwich or fend off the toddler or both, you know they're a keeper.
I've made some incredibly good friend around the sand box over the years. When the Play Doh hits the fan, I know I can call them for help. If one of us gets sick or has another child, we're there to pick up each other's kids, or drop off a dinner, or at the very least say "you can do it." I've heard some groups call it their Momtourage. Whatever you call it, you need one.
There's nothing like the support of another parent to get you through the hurdles of raising your children. With enough parent friends, you can get answers to every question from how to react to kids playing "doctor" to what to do about a persistent cough. Sometimes playdate conversations can be fabulous therapy for all involved and other times it's just sitting around and laughing.
When you've found your parent friends, you've found your war buddies. You've made it through insurmountable odds and survived through sheer determination and blind luck, and along the way you've had some pretty great times. So get out there and find some able bodied recruits. You'll never regret it.
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