How Can I Help An Unfamiliar Mother?

by doodaddy on September 28, 2007

O— is a 20-month old boy whose mom I know, although not too well. She stands out as one of the first people who was nice to me (the stay-at-home dad, after all) at the playground back when I started coming. So it would be fair to say that we’re familiar with each other from a year’s occasional encounters, but not friends.

Well, she’s pregnant again, and unpleasantly so: frequently sick, exhausted, and suffering under the simultaneous demands of raising a young toddler.

I really wanted to offer to take O— for a few hours some day to give his mom a bit of a rest (and to enjoy the challenge of playing with two kids at once). Maybe if I’d been cooler or more confident — or a mom — I would have followed through on that impulse.

As a stay-at-home dad, though, I felt weird about the very idea of suggesting I take over someone else’s child. I’m trying to be unbiased here, but I doubt I would assent to a similar offer from a dad. (A mom, maybe, although even then I’d have to know her well.)

I know people watch each other’s kids all the time — entire communities where my wife was raised in the Midwest are based on little more. But, nonetheless, I didn’t offer.

But I really want to.

Would that be weird?

Would it be weirder if I do offer, and then she turns me down?

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in friends,playground,stay-at-home dad,surrounded by mommies ·

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn September 28, 2007 at 10:41 am

Offer sometime when you are with Dean Mama, and offer for a time it would be both of you….

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Manda September 28, 2007 at 1:15 pm

Maybe you could offer to let her rest while you’re both at the playground & tend to the kids. That way she’s still there and it wont seem so weird. Off up some small talk and get to know her, than offer to take her child without her there. I know personally if some man I’ve only seen but didn’t know offered to take my kids, I would be appreciative but would say no. Good luck. You can never have too many friends.

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Kelley September 28, 2007 at 5:25 pm

Oh how I wish you were here in Australia! I would take up your offer in a heartbeat.
I was going to say something similar to Manda. Offer to take over at the park so she can rest, let her see that you are just another mum with a little extra in her pants… *giggle*
Once she gets to know you I am sure that she would be touched by your concern and would love a hand from a fellow parent.

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MileHiDad September 29, 2007 at 9:18 am

Next time you head to the playground, just offer to take the kid for a while and see how she responds, plus give her your card so if she ever needs help she can call, she will then have your address and phone number. She might not take you up right away, but she eventually will know you are always around, focused on kids.
Put your offer on the table, and then it is in her ballpark to accept or decline.

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