Illustration: Jos? Luis Merino
Gymboree and Kindermusik used to be our cover-ups. Carefree, child-centered tumbling and music-making served as our smokescreen for the real action: moms forging friendships with other moms. The babies were our ticket of admission to the ultimate mom pickup joint. Once inside, it was up to us to work the room. Effectively executed, the mom schmooze routine (casually compliment another mom; drop the name of a pediatrician or local resource; share a parenting tip; repeat) landed us one step closer to the bond we craved.
Today's moms are dispensing with the pretense altogether. We brazenly beeline toward other moms via countless organized mothers' groups and Internet parenting communities. The first generation of 21st-century parents, we're shameless in our need to talk about the at-once daunting, empowering, and humbling experience of being a parent. And dads, more forthcoming than ever before about their commitment to their kids, are also forging new alliances.