A “Play Date Mom” No More

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As I helped my son climb down a play structure, I saw her. From the back, she looked adorable: ankle socks, leggings, a baggy sweater, and a matching snow hat, complete with a pompon. However, when she began chasing her daughter in my direction, I recognized her flustered facial expression and could basically feel her sweat forming on my face.

You see, I used to be a “Play Date Mom.” In fact, I had a couple-year stint where I could not wait to get together with other moms and give my daughter the opportunity to “socialize” with other kids.

Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t all bad. I met a handful of awesome mothers, many of whom I still remain close with today. However, watching this particular mama wrestle and bribe her obviously exhausted little one into returning to the group circle for “snack time,” I was reminded of why I now try to avoid them. At all costs.

No, I’m NOT “skipping naps” today, Susan.

The only thing I love more than my husband and coffee is 1 p.m. It’s the part of my day where I get to drink water, eat lunch (and usually my breakfast, too), go “potty” in peace, scroll Instagram with zero guilt, cook dairy-free/gluten-free/onion-free/garlic-free (yes, I’m being serious) meals for the fam, and even possibly make a minor dent in my work-work. I need the time, and I require the silence to recharge.

In order to guarantee a successful naptime though, my son CANNOT fall asleep on the drive home since he’s infamous for his transfer wakeup. I can’t tell you how many play dates we’ve been on that we’ve agreed on a 10 a.m. meet-up, and the other playmates are late. So, not only is my daughter obnoxiously awaiting everyone’s arrival (think Stewie in Family Guy), but everything planned gets pushed back, forcing an early exit complete with tantrums, of course or a tragic interference with “sacred time.”

Yes, Barb, I do organize my playroom bins every day.

Ah, the typical proposed “solution” to my nap excuse: “Since your kids are on a strict nap schedule, why don’t we come to you?” My response (that used to only exist in my head but lately tends to be verbalized): “Since I love spending my kid-free time cleaning your son’s pee off my floor, your daughter’s leaking sippy cup of juice from my couch, and your half-booty attempt at my ‘one toy at a time rule,’ how about no?”

I am as anal retentive as they come; therefore, I view most in-home play dates as sheer punishment. Having lived (but barely survived) through dozens of these literal toy and snack tornadoes, I get anxiety watching other moms experience them, most often resulting in me passing on others’ at-home play date offers, as well.

I can’t control when my children need to eat, Donna.

It never fails: while my kids are eating their lunches, the other kids on the play date are still playing; the second those kids get hungry, mine are ready to play again. So much for the “date” part of “play date,” eh?

When I take my kids out alone, we are not constantly socializing with others per se, but at least I do not have to feel guilty about not socializing while not socializing…#amiright or #amiright? PS: No play dates equals no “snack fights.” Need I say more?

Yeah, so I just don’t feel like small talk today, Theresa.

If a miracle happens, and the moms on a play date do get a minute to chat, the conversations are never about how to get back in the career world when our kids are all in school full-time, what’s causing our low libidos, or our fears concerning our children growing up with today’s technology like this introvert would actually love to discuss.

Instead, I have to suffer through constantly interrupted and therefore repeatedly paused snippets of nothingness, later leading to my typical post-play date text to the hubby that reads, “Never again.”

Listen Annie, my kid just doesn’t like your kid, OK? 

The absolute WORST play dates are those where the kiddos don’t mesh well. And only one of the two moms notices it. These play dates are always followed up with the “OMG! ‘So-and-so’ had SO much fun today!” Facebook message. And I think to myself, What play date were you on? Even my three-year-old is refusing a do-over!

Will I ever attend a play date again? Yes. Will I ever initiate one? It depends. At my children’s current ages (3 and 1), I would much rather spend my days actually enjoying them and grab dinner or drinks with my mom friends some other time.

Are you a “Play Date Mom/Dad,” or do you prefer alone time with your kiddos?
What do you love or hate about play dates?

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