Switching from working to staying at home with the kids is a drastic change for any parent. One of the biggest adjustments is finding other adults to socialize with as talking about toys and nursery rhymes can start to wear thin real fast. One stay-at-home dad, who goes by the Reddit username Pingachulo, described his trouble with socializing with other parents in a popular post.
Pingachulo explained that he’s been a stay-at-home dad with his 15-month-old and 4-year-old for around 10 months. He reiterated that it’s been very rewarding—and he’s extremely proud of his kids.
He also explained how his staying at home has helped his working mom wife:
“As a husband, I’ve been everything my wife could ask for, so she tells me. Her career has accelerated in ways that wouldn’t be possible if she stayed home.”
Despite the perks that being a SAHD has brought the OP and his family, he does have one issue: he’s feeling left out by other parents. Pingachulo said that when he brings his kids to the park and other play spaces, he’s excluded from conversations — specifically with other moms.
“I consider myself a social butterfly, I can talk to anyone about anything. Hold any conversation for as long as the other person feels comfortable. When I approach mothers and try starting a conversation (always about kids) I get shut down. My kids are always within eyesight so it’s not like I’m a rando creeper hitting on moms at parks,” the OP wrote.
Recently, Pingachulo tried to make small talk with a mom while their kids were playing together. Instead of engaging in conversation, she apologized and said she was “not interested.”
“That was one of many times I’ve been brushed off so I tend to stay to myself or just play with my kids. Some days are very long so having a conversation with an adult would be nice. Yes, I talk with my wife but the nights are usually occupied by bathing the kids, feeding them, reading to them, etc.,” the SAHD wrote.
We completely sympathize with the OP. Though it can be very amusing to chat with a 4-year-old, no one can blame him for wanting to mix it up by interacting with people his own age. It’d also be nice if he could find friends he could relate to, which brings us to Pingachulo’s next question:
“I’d just like to know if there’s something different I should say or do to make other mothers/parents less uncomfortable? Because that’s what it feels like. I’m normally the only man among 10-15 mothers.”
Other Redditors filled the comment section with similar stories plus solid advice pieces of advice.
One user, who goes by AgentPea on the forum, said that she usually tries not to make conversation with parents in public if she notices that they’re already socializing. But for those that look open to it, she talks about their kids to break the ice.
“Stupid crap like, ‘Omg I love her shoes’ or, ‘Haha my kid always wants to go up the slide too.’ Mine does blank, does yours? Whatever,” AgentPea shared her conversation starters.
Reddit mom, Odellia, said that even though she’s a mother, she’s had trouble fitting in with established social groups. She then gave the OP two practical suggestions:
“I’m not sure what your neighborhood is like, or what’s close to you, but I’ve noticed different libraries/parks/early years centers attract different crowds. There’s one drop-in play center in particular that seems to attract a more diverse parent community (more single parents, gay and lesbian couples and fathers).”
This suggestion recommends using social media to reach out to other parents:
“It also might be worth putting some feelers out to a local Facebook parents group or something similar. I see posts of, ‘Hey, going to be at the park tomorrow morning with my x-year-old, have a red stroller, would like to meet some other parents, feel free to come by and say hi’ and have taken parents up on it.”
Fellow Reddit dad, Strixnebulousa, said he went through what OP is going through and offered this piece of advice:
“When I went to the park or other kid venues I would spend the time with my kids and just enjoy being with them in that space. If you’re a regular, sooner or later, someone will get past themselves and strike it up with you, just be patient.”
That’s a positive and hopeful way to look at the OP’s current circumstance.
Redditor junebug_baby is a SAHM who said that she’d been able to make friends through “very mom-specific post-birth groups.” Like the OP, she hasn’t had much luck making friends at the park:
“I think the disconnect is that real friendships develop out of shared experiences and not just ‘we both have kids,’ and it takes a lot less effort to talk to friends than new acquaintances.”
Since his original post, Pingachulo has thanked the commenters and said he was looking into “Hike It Baby,” a program which brings groups of parents and kids together to go hiking. The OP said his family is big on hiking, so this might be the perfect solution for finding parent friends with similar interests.