There are many reasons to make friends with someone. Some are there because you share values. Some are there because they make you laugh. Some are there for reasons of just plain proximity. There are also those friends that are there just to be used. You know who I’m talking about, that guy with the boat that you hate but his personality flaws are outweighed by the fact that he owns a boat. They are what I would like to call “Friends with Benefits….but not those benefits, sicko” or “FWBbntbs’s”.
Everyone needs these people and parents are no exception. In a perfect world these people wouldn’t need you to hang-out or even talk unless you needed something. Here are six people who ALL parents need:
1) Nurse friend
This one is pretty self-explanatory. You need a friend to call when your kid decides to down that bottle of Pepto-Bismol (I actually did this as a kid, said it was candy). A friend that is knowledgable enough to tell you that your child will be fine but discrete enough not to call protective services after you call them for the tenth time in a week about separate incidents of child negligence.
2) Parent Friend with a child of babysitting age
I was originally going to call this the “Parent Friend with a Teenage Daughter with nothing to do on a Saturday night” but that sounded rather statutor-ish. Anyway, you need to have a friend with a child that can babysit in a pinch. Preferably not an attractive one though for a couple of reasons. First of all you don’t want your kids to learn the birds and the bees from your babysitter and her quarterback boyfriend. Secondly, you don’t want your son being pushed into premature puberty by the heart-throb girl-next-door. It also doesn’t hurt if they are poor too because then you won’t have to pay as much for babysitting duties because, well, they don’t know any better.
3) Home Improvement Guy
Let’s face facts: Your house will break. Even without kids, houses will break down from weather, earthquakes, rodents, and the good ol’ fashioned wrath of God. Add kids to that and you also have balls kicked through windows, forks stuck in outlets, carpets that need replaced every year and a half due to melted crayons and the toilet that won’t flush anymore due the fact that it’s now choking on your car keys.
The home improvement guy will come to the rescue here. Word of warning here though, a home improvement guy is NOT the guy who works at the home improvement store. That’s the high school dropout friend that you don’t need.
4) Parent With Kids of Similar Age (but are much uglier than your kids)
In the decades of parenting ahead you will need a guinea pig and a confidant. This is that person for you. You need only ask them what they did with their kids and act accordingly. If their kid is a straight A student who supports charities with his/her allowances, follow their example. If their kid is the spawn of Satan who starts fires with a pile of dry tinder and a deep stare, then steer clear of whatever advice Mr. and Mrs. Beelzebub have to give. Easy as that. I mention uglier kids because if you ever get duped into the occasional “playdate” or BBQ you don’t want to be the parent of the kids with the bronze medal in the cute kid contest.
5) Crazy Animal Owner
Kids love animals and I love my kid. Standard SAT tests may disagree but just because those statements are true, I don’t love animals. They stink and poop and they need constant attention. I already have a little kid that does all those things and I don’t need hairy seconds. There are some people however that are willing to destroy their home with several dogs, cats, rodents, birds, iguanas and snakes. More power to them but not in my house. These people though have these animals so you don’t have to. Make a friend, send over your kid and just make sure to give them a “panic button” just in case things get creepy. What can I say, I’ve never trusted a man with a ferret.
6) Aspiring Writer/Financial Aid Planner
I make for a good friend, I promise. I don’t need your conversation but I may need your experiences and stories to steal as my own in this blog. Oh, and I have DirecTV Sunday Ticket. That’s all you need in a friend.
If you can coax one of these people into the outer edge of your circle of friends, you win at life and parenting. And if they happen to inch into the center of your circle despite your arms outstretched attempting to push them out at least you’re doing it for your kids. Listen to their dumb stories and fake a laugh. You may need them someday to teach you the Heimlich and if that doesn’t work, keep a secret. On that note, it also helps to have a friend that can take a bribe and vouch for an alibi.