Best friends forever

Why is making parent friends so tough?

Hello hello hello! So…I’m a sucker for a good farmer’s market, especially when we’re in the thick of the best produce season of the year—the end of summer. As I unpacked my bounty of fairytale eggplant Saturday morning, I thought to myself, now here’s a vegetable with a made-up backstory to rival Rapunzel’s. Why my parents never served me Barbie Princess Fairytale Eggplant? The world may never know.

With that, two things: 1) Hit reply with your favorite eat-your-veggies trick (I might feature your idea in a future edition!) and 2) get ready to get real. Because today, we’re exploring a part of parenthood we don’t talk about often enough…


Making Parent Friends Is Really Hard…But it Doesn’t Have to Be

No matter what phase of it you’re in, building a family can feel so isolating. You might be surrounded by doctors, partners, doting in-laws, or small humans 24 hours a day and still feel as if no one really sees you.

That’s why cultivating and nurturing friendships with compassionate, understanding people who do see you is so important for both your mental and physical health (Did you know? Having strong social connections can reduce your risk of depression, high blood pressure, and unhealthy BMI, according to Mayo Clinic).

But that doesn’t mean finding your circle is easy. “As a parent with young children, with naps and carseats and food,” Andrew told me, “you just get out of the house less.” That can obliterate anyone’s social life. But it doesn’t have to—you just have to rewire your thinking a little...

Think like your kid. Shawn and Andrew told me that maintaining a childlike spirit has helped them forge new connections in this season of life. Drew and Jett are so willing to go up to someone, say hi, and start playing…can’t we learn from that openness to new experiences?

Think like Ina Garten. The queen of the at-home dinner party knows that sometimes the best way to make and keep friends is by inviting them to come to you, and Shawn agreed. Kids make it hard to get out of the house? Invite a friend or two over for some charcuterie (store-bought is fine) and accept that your house might not be perfect but no one’s ever is. How easy is that?

Think like a fan. The camaraderie of saying “Hey! Go Commodores!” to a fellow Vandy fan is a magnetic force. Why not apply that logic to your kids’ favorite activities? “Lean into being a parent and immerse yourself into things for your kid,” Shawn told me. You can meet tons of other parents by showing up to as many of your child’s activities as possible.

In fact, Shawn and Andrew said they’ve met most of their friends at playgrounds, zoos, trampoline parks, volunteering opportunities, and daycare pickup. Just being where your kids are can be enough to find a kindred spirit.

Side note: Think about something like baby yoga. Those classes aren’t for the babies. They’re not becoming nine-month-old yogis. They’re for the parents. So don’t be afraid to make a move!

Think like a bachelor or bachelorette. “A lot of times with dating, people say you’ll meet people by getting involved in the things you’re passionate about,” Andrew said. “It’s kind of the same with kids. You’ll meet people by getting involved in the things your kids are passionate about.”

The bottom line: Making friends as an adult is hard. Making friends when your schedule and maybe even body isn’t just yours is even harder. But with a little effort and a lot of humility, it’s possible. And hey—you’ve always got me as a friend. I’m just an email away.

Today in Dads With Range: Actor and mom-to-be Gina Rodriguez (from Jane the Virgin and Someone Great) said her husband, MMA fighter Joe LoCicero, is “training” to be her doula. I see your “can I get you some ice chips” and raise you that.

And Moms With Range, too: I see TikToker Lindsey Gurk on my For You Page so often that I feel like we’re *actually* friends. Her style and motherhood tips are fantastic, but her impersonations of her kids are Oscar-worthy.

What do you think? In talking about traveling tips with Shawn and Andrew recently, the topic of screen time came up. The East fam tries to limit screen time most days, but travel days are different—sometimes you just need some Hey Bear. So what do you think…is there a “right” amount of screen time for your kids, and does that “right” amount change day to day? Hit respond and let me know.

That’s all for today! See you back here Friday for some Q&A. To get ahead on the question I know you’ll ask—no, it’s not too soon to watch Hocus Pocus. 49 days ’til Halloween. Not that I’m counting or anything…