I can only be your friend if my wife meets you first.

by doodaddy on April 18, 2007

I had an interesting exchange with a new mom at the playground today.

New mom: “I bet you have a busy playdate calendar. You seem to know everyone!”

Doodaddy: “Oh, no, not really. Maybe once a week, if that.”

New mom: “Really? I just started coming to this playground and I have two playdates set up already!”

Doodaddy: “Well, it took me a long time to make friends. We really only started going on outings with people (subtext: one person) about two months ago.”

New mom: “But you’re so friendly!”

Which is true. I’m engagingly social, great at conversation, I play well with kids of all ages, and I do know just about everyone — at the park. When the playdates and groups get discussed, however, somehow I’m never in on the conversation. (Of course, maybe I’m not getting being invited on playdates because I’m so darned hot that it intimidates people.)

Before I made my Park Buddy, the only playdate I’d been on (yes, just one) was with a mom that my wife had already met, and we’d had the family over for brunch before I even considered planning an activity.

Even Park Buddy had gotten to know Working Mom before we did more than go for coffee. Even so, it felt a little like she was the first to brave the stigma of having a playdate with a dad. Maybe that’s why I keep writing about her, the one mom-friend I’ve got: I’m grateful to her for being a pioneer.

Nothing about this particularly surprises me. I wouldn’t invite over a random man from the park, either. I suppose it’s like the advice you get when responding to personal ads: make the first meeting in a public place, don’t exchange numbers and say only your first name. It’s interesting, though, as another point where SAHDs and SAHMs aren’t entirely mirror images of one another.

I can’t imagine how isolated a stay-at-home dad would be if he didn’t have some pretty honed social skills. Maybe that’s why so many of them turn to socializing with other dads, like the slightly odd dads’ group that meets at our playground. (They’re having a “dads’ movie night” this week. They’re going to see a Tarantino slasher movie. Does that explain why I don’t fit in well with them?)

But the parents I “get” best are mostly moms, so all I can do is have a thick hide to protect myself from occasional cold shoulder (or worse), always do my best to be friendly and welcoming, and, of course, make sure my wife meets anyone I’d like to get social with.

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in friends,stay-at-home dad,surrounded by mommies,Tips for Doodaddies ·

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

aimee/greeblemonkey April 18, 2007 at 4:36 pm

Totally totally totally Bryan. I wish he wasn’t so slammed right now, he will enjoy reading this when he gets a chance to catch up.


Jennifer April 18, 2007 at 5:29 pm

This is a really great post! I was thinking to myself when I was first reading that I’d DEFINITELY not have a problem with a playdate with a man. But you’re right, I think I would have reservations about inviting a man to my house. I guess meeting the wife would make it “better.” Hmmm.

First time commenting, but I’ve visited a few times before. I enjoy your writing and point of view.


CrankMama April 18, 2007 at 5:41 pm

Great post, but I think you’re missing something here. There are plenty of us LADIES who don’t get invited on playdates (thank CHRIST) either… in fact, I hate playdates and play groups cuz who needs all the vanilla BS when childless friends are more fun anyway.

But I digress. I’m linking you up from stroller derby tomorrow so get set to TALK.



doodaddy April 18, 2007 at 7:42 pm

Aw, Rachael, you know there’s almost nothing I love MORE than talking!

And just so I know what you’re suggesting: I should invite some childless, perhaps single young ladies over to hang out with me & the baby during the day while Working Mom is at work? Not sure that would fill the bill, either!

Seriously, though, I like my childless friends a lot — the big attraction to stay-at-home parents is that, well, they’re available during the day. (There’s a certain level of “They get it”, too, of course, but I can dispense with that pretty easily!)

Thanks for linking me. We’ll see what the derbyites make of me!



doodaddy April 18, 2007 at 7:49 pm

@jennifer~ Thanks for the vote of confidence! It just plain took me a long time, and I’m still at that point of having one friend whom I see outside the playground. When she’s busy (or on her babysitter day, Friday), I’m on my own.

Glad you’re enjoying the blog!

@aimee/greeblemonkey~ I know, stupid work. I wish we’d all win the lottery so we just didn’t have to!

Tell him hi for me.


Rebecca James April 18, 2007 at 10:06 pm

Hi doodaddy,

I followed the link here from moodswingingmommy’s blog and am already hooked!

Can’t wait to get the ‘at home’ perspective from the other side.

And, yes, I have sometimes felt shunned in mother’s groups too – I don’t think you need only be a man – it is that horrid cliquey schoolgirly type thing where you just ignore the new person – I think my hair was always too messy and my face too free of makeup. Although in your case it’s no doubt a bit more complicated – in fact worse – you’d be much more alien and frightening in such a setting!


doodaddy April 18, 2007 at 10:50 pm

Hey, Rebecca. Glad you made it over here!

I don’t know where you get the idea that my face is free of makeup, though. A little light foundation, maybe a hint of mascara… 🙂

See ya around!



Rebecca James April 18, 2007 at 11:39 pm

no no – the lack of makeup was MY problem.

I’m sure you had your makeup on. As you should. I really hate these blokes that get around without it – they should really put in more effort! Tsk tsk


Heather April 19, 2007 at 5:55 pm

Very interesting post! I think SAHD’s are cool but I can imagine it would be hard to find a playgroup you would feel comfortable with. It’s hard enough when your a mom with a bunch of other moms.


doodaddy April 20, 2007 at 8:07 am

@Heather~ Yep, that sums it up. I’ve done some classes, which is sort of like playgroup, but not really…

See ya!



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