How Can I Help An Unfamiliar Mother?

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?