Warning: this is a full-fledged Dad Rant. Reader discretion is advised.
I created this comic a few days ago, and after just returning from a day at the park, I still feel it holds up.
Look, I’m not taking the kid to the park to make friends, interact and form lifelong relationships with other parents. I’m not against the idea, but I understand that parents want to stick with their kids, or other parents they know. It’s human nature: not everyone can be super outgoing social beings that have no problems interacting with new people. Some are also not interested in meeting new people, which is unfortunate, but understanding.
It’s the looks and attitude that bug me. Talking about your amazing Mommy achievements just a little too loudly in your circle of fellow moms, while your kids run around the park, at times only being noticed last minute just before they get to the street, finish hitting another kid or almost falling off a slide. My kid will come up to yours, interact, and you’ll calmly redirect your kid or smile and quickly get back to your circle of hens. I try to be social, make small talk, chat about kids and you say the bare minimum and make your way back to your safety net.
I get that people will want to hang out with their friends, and it isn’t my delicate fragile emotions that are getting stepped on. I just feel like I see Dads at a park, while it is indeed a rare site, seemingly ostricized as bizarre flukes in the parenting world. Like we don’t know what we’re doing, like we’re somehow inferior. All of this combined with either the chatty circle of hens, barely watching their own kids or lined up on the benches, phones whipped out, reading or texting away. I know I can be a bit of a hoverer, partly because the kid is younger, but I usually end up seeing other dads doing the same thing. I don’t know, PLAYING with their kids at the park instead of just letting them wander around, barely aware of where they are/what’s happening to them.
For the record, this isn’t a slam aimed at all moms. You parents, both male and female know the moms I’m talking about. I’ve had plenty of conversations with some really cool moms that are totally open to chatting, being friendly and talking about our kids interacting. When it happens, I love it. I’m sure there are plenty of moms out there who are just as frustrated as I am with these clique-y groups. Feels somehow like high school all over again.
I’m sure this one will get me in trouble, but based on the limited conversations I’ve had with other Dads, I know there are more of us out there that feel this way. Dads, are you out there?