Monday, August 4, 2014

I Have a Love-Hate Relationship with Playdates

When I was growing up, I’d walk outside and see one of the neighbor kids and say “Hey do you want to play hand ball” or “ride bikes.”  When I got a little older, I’d pick up my piano phone (yes, I had one of those and it was awesome) and see if one of my friends wanted to walk with me to get some candy.  The word playdate was never used.

However nowadays, at least in the suburbs of Southern California, it’s all parents ever hear.    

Mom can we have a playdate with ___________!
Let’s get the kids together for a playdate. 
Do you want to join our playdate group?

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’d love to have a playdate with you.  I just think playdate is a loaded word.  For me, a playdate means I spend an hour cleaning my house and then an hour cleaning it up after the playdate.  I usually make a special trip to the store to purchase snacks for the playdate.  I plan on the snacks looking something like this:

Photo credit: .morguefile.com/creative/mconnors


However, usually, they look something like this:

Image credit:  morguefile.com/creative/xandert

I suppose  part of the problem with playdates is that I put too much pressure on myself.  I feel like I have to do x,y and z.  However, I think there are a lot of other moms out there who do the same thing.  You see, I’d like to take it down a notch because the word playdate has become too big of an event for me.  Perhaps, we could just go back to saying, Hey do you want to come over or let’s meet at the park.  We can talk and the kids can make mud pies and look for roly polies.  As for my involvement, I’ll come along because my kids are still little.  Heck, I’ll even bring a box of crackers and some juice boxes, in case anyone gets hungry.

I actually love it when the kids across the street are home because they usually come out and play.  Unfortunately, they are quite a bit older than my kids and busy with sports and homework.  However, when they do come out and play, it reminds me a bit of my childhood, the good ole’ days.  Yet, in a few years, the youngest neighbor boy, the one my daughter enjoys playing with, will be moving on to junior high.  I have a feeling he might not be riding his bike around the cul-de-sac as frequently.

I’m not willing to ban playdates from my social agenda.  My daughter craves social interaction, and my son likes playing too.  And, I love a change of setting. After all, there are new toys and fun friends to play with.   I can talk about potty training woes and anything with my mommy friends.   I notice that I become less frustrated with my children when I’m in the company of others.  This has to be good for my blood pressure.  

I wonder if there is anyone else out there who has a love-hate relationship with playdates?  Maybe we could start a support group.  

Before school starts, I’m planning on having a playdate or two. However, I’m not going to call it that….I hope my friends understand.