Remember when you were in high school and it was cool to hang out with your friend and her boyfriend if your boyfriend was there, too -- but if you and your friend's boyfriend happened to go to the movies or something without your significant others, everybody would be all like, "That's weird" and suspect something was "going on" even if you were legitimately just friends? Well, the same thing happens when you're grown up and taking your own kids on playdates with other parents of the opposite sex -- if, that is, you're divorced.
And that sucks, because, here's a confession: Back when my kids were little and playdates always required the presence of at least one "caregiver" per child, I always secretly preferred it when those other parents were dads.
Which is not to say that I didn't absolutely value and appreciate the time I spent having hushed heart-to-heart chats with fellow moms over tea while our toddlers busied themselves with playdough and cookie cutters or whatever else; it's just that, well, I've always been one of those women who had more male friends than female, and hanging out at the playground with a dad (or two) was actually fun -- and funny. The dads I knew didn't hover over their little ones with bottles of sunblock and bags of goldfish crackers, they sat back under the nearest shady tree and cracked jokes (while still supervising their children from a safe distance, of course).
They talked about rock bands and comic books and took everything way less seriously, in general, than the moms I knew. Which was a welcome change. Of course, back then, I was married -- as were most of my friends. So there was never that moment of hesitation: "Hmm, would it be weird or inappropriate for me and so-and-so's dad to have a playdate?" Now that I'm divorced, it's different. Thankfully, my kids are also into the drop-off playdate phase, so these situations don't come up all that often. But they do, just the same. And honestly, whenever I get the sense that some married parent is sizing me up as a potential threat based simply on my status as a single mom, it hurts my feelings. Like there isn't enough of a stigma associated with my lifestyle already.
Are you a single parent? Do you feel tension about playdates with parents of the opposite sex?
Image via Rain0975/Flickr