Back Off Moms, I'm Not Trying To Steal Your Husband
When you are one of the few single parents in the schoolyard, becoming friends with other dads as a young female can feel a bit weird. But is that reason enough to avoid it completely?
I have always gotten along well with both men and women. Having male friends is important to me as it adds a different and immensely valuable perspective to my life. As my daughter gets older, I have naturally bonded more with dads than with my single male friends, simply because we have more in common when it comes to our kids. When planning a playdate, I generally prefer hanging out with dads. I feel more relaxed and less judged when I'm on a playdate with men—perhaps it has something to do with me being younger than most of the moms at my daughter’s school or perhaps my ‘single’ status appears to be a mild threat to the females.
Whatever the reasoning behind it, it feels odd that some parents take issue with a mom from one family and a dad from another hanging out platonically. A few moms have been hesitant about me having a playdate with their husbands. It seems that whatever strides we make towards equality between the sexes when it comes to other women hanging out with their man—hell to the no!
Once someone is married, it seems to be more difficult for them to have friends of the opposite sex. This mystifies me—an eternal single woman with a child—yet it seems to make sense to most married couples. But why? If two people get along, irrespective of their genders, they should be able to stay friends and get together with their kids.
So decidedly, I refuse to back off when I sense judgement for hanging out with the dads of the group. Instead, if I sense a discomfort on the part of the mom, I make a point of meeting and talking with her as well. This often helps clear the air because then everyone is included in the parenting friendship. Once a fellow mom can size me up and understand I’m not a threat at all, but simply an overgrown tomboy, any previous issues seem to settle.
I haven’t been directly approached by someone’s wife for wanting to be friends with their husband, but in the case that this happens, I intend to be firm in stating my intentions. I believe that a vital part of equal rights for women and men involves having friendships across different genders. It's the 21st century and it's about time we knock the expectations of traditional marriage and parenting out of the park.
Enough with the days of men smoking cigars in the lounge while the moms cook in the kitchen. We would all be much happier if parents learned to mix it up a little and make friends based on personalities and not antiquated gender roles. Let’s practice what we preach to our children and simply be friends with everybody.