5 places to meet mom friends in Oak Park/River Forest

Planning playdates is the key to Mom’s sanity. Admit it, you’ll be thankful when the kids mess up someone else’s house for a change. But what happens when you don’t know that many parents? Or the ones you love either live too far away or have a lot of excuses … er, are too busy?

Check out these five spots in OPRF to land a mommy BFF.

The library

The River Forest Public Library has a small play area, more suitable for parents of babies and toddlers. The Oak Park Public Library is equipped with iPads, an interactive play area, toddler rooms and tables to enjoy your coffee or snack.

Possible pick-up line: “We love that book, too!” Discuss said book and muster up the courage to say, “You know, the library has a great storytime for the kids. We should meet at the next one!”

Maybe don’t say: That “Us Weekly” is only thing you’ve read in six years (and your oldest is three). That’s third date material.

The salon

Especially during pedicures. The row seating is perfect for striking up conversations. Some nail salons have individual nail tables, so try to find ones with larger communal tables. The new Pink Nail Studio on Marion St. has conversation-friendly mani& pedi tables. I realize this is not exactly a “family-friendly” option, but you can tell your husband or wife that it’s research–nay, an investment, on your well being.

Possible pick-up line: “That color looks great on you, you have excellent taste. Now that I mention it, there’s a new tasting menu across the street! Would you want to grab a bite after the top coat dries?”

Maybe don’t say: “My favorite color is by OPI. It’s called “You’re My New Mommy BFF And We’ll Be Friends 4-EVER.” Again, third date material.

Family-friendly restaurants

Delia’s Kitchen is the perfect place to bond with other parents whose children tend to throw their pancakes … and spoons … and jelly. Family restaurants are good bonding experiences for parents you can relate to, or even offer help to. The Junction Diner in Forest Park gets an honorable mention here as it is a kids’ restaurant, and is parent-friendly.

Possible pick-up line: “We should get together and have coffee again soon! I’ll host if you’d like a change of scenery.”

Maybe don’t say: “Gasp! We would never waste pancakes like that. As a matter of fact, will you be eating those? 10 second rule!”

Play places with a more intimate setting

While those large jump house venues are great fun for kids, it’s easy to be preoccupied with keeping your eye on them. Smaller settings like Peekaboo Playroom in Oak Park, has landed me at least two numbers (Awww, snap). The kids play in a colorful room full of toys, blocks and dress-up clothes, and the parents sit on a super comfy couches with tea and coffee options.

Possible pick-up line: “Our kids play so nicely together! We should meet here again next week!”

Maybe don’t say: “While we are just sitting around … mind if I leave the kids and go run some errands? These cuticles aren’t going to cut themselves!”

Running/walking or other active local groups

Walking or running in a group setting is a positive experience altogether. You burn calories and catch up with other parents in the meantime. BFF (Best Foot Forward) is a mommy running group in OPRF that welcomes runners and walkers of all speeds. I went on a Saturday morning “jog” and it was perfect meeting several moms who were more my speed. See what I did there? This group also meets all winter, so no excuses.

Possible pick-up line: “You’re just my speed. You run here often?” Then get your butt in shape and make friends.

Maybe don’t say: “Running makes me gassy. Hopefully I don’t crop dust you when I pass.”

Remember, this is only a guideline. You have to seek out your favorite things to do and pursue groups doing those things. Soccer, painting, knitting, cycling, kung-fu nunchucking … you can find like-minded people if you put yourself out there.

I hope you have a lot of fun meeting new BFF’s. Where are your favorite places to meet parents in your community?

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