For all the gretching about moms on the playground I do (and believe me, there's even more I could do), sometimes I actually LIKE other people.
There's a mom I have seen several times at the playground who has two children and frequently watches two others. Hers are 5 and 2, and she is so calm. She's younger than me but I know I could learn a lot from her just from what little I've seen of her parenting.
I love the way she speaks to her kids -- never disrespectfully but always clear she's the mom in charge. She gives them choices -- "we're not playing in the sand today, but you can choose what you'd like to play with next. do you want to swing? or slide? or ...?" It's just much better than my reaction of "NO SAND! ARGH! DIRTY! UGH!" She also plays WITH her kids and moves from pushing one to getting water for another, etc.
I don't even know her name (although I do know her kids' names), but I have gleaned some things about her, both in direct conversation and via eavesdropping (ask Shawn -- I pick up lots of info about strangers wherever we go). I know I just see a small slice of her life, but she seems pretty awesome in that slice.
Related: on Twitter someone sent me a link to a story about how making mom friends is like dating. I'm not sure if that Twitter friend reads this blog, but it would make sense, as she sent it after my mom gripe post. In any case, I haven't made it past first base with any mom friend, but I can't say I've actually tried either. Making friends is hard.