Playdate Expectations Vs. Reality.

Play Date

noun
noun: playdate
  1. a date and time set by parents for children to play together.
Actually it can be a little more then that. It can be an opportunity to meet and gather with other women like you who are tackling life as a stay-at-home-mom, or maybe you’re a work from home mom, whatever the case may be we get together joyfully while the kids play and gain the appropriate social skills needed to navigate through life. We vent or sometimes boast about our latest triumphs of motherhood. We chat about our newest must watch television obsessions, or what books we’re trying to read during naptime. Or maybe we sit in silence watching our children interact with like minded individuals while we sip our coffees and revel in the “alone” time.

Sounds like a slice of heaven, right? Well, I’m here to tell you some truths about play dates. I’ve been on three so far that didn’t consist of hanging out with a family member who may or may not have kids. So I’m kind of an expert. Here’s what I’ve experienced…


If you’re like me you’ve probably gone through the logistics of working out naps, and planning out nutritional lunches, before venturing out on your play date. If everything goes according to plan you will have a well rested, happy, toddler who is willing and ready to cooperate. Only things never go according to plan when dealing with the terrible twos so instead you get a screaming child, exhausted because he refused his nap earlier in the day, and literally wants nothing to do with you or that pile of yuck you call food. You might consider staying home at this point but the interaction with another adult who is not screaming for your attention seems nice.

 

Play dates in retrospect seem like bliss. You get out with other moms and get to be you for a brief moment. You get to have normal conversations about anything and everything so long as it doesn’t consist of poop or mickey mouse clubhouse, all while your little bundles of love and energy play and meet new kids. The reality is that it’s kind of a mad house. You have groups of kids who play well and groups of kids who want to rule that jungle gym. You are constantly watching, ducking, and weaving through the bodies of people to see where your child is. Did he fall? Is he crying in the corner? Is that him? No, oh there he is. He’s fine. You don’t get to chat long because your conversations are cut short by having to referee a dual that has somehow erupted in the middle of the play yard. It’s intense.

Let’s say you are able to rattle off a few anecdotes about life and the kids and all that fun stuff you soon realize that a meltdown is on the horizon. A full blown thrashing of oneself against any and everything is about to go down. Quickly you try to devise an escape route. How can I get out of this situation with as little trauma as possible. Only you’ve taken too long. Your brave little play yard hero has turned into a full blown villain and he’s wrecking havoc on everything. The other moms see the terror in your eyes. You try to regroup and confront the mad beast but the fangs are out. You try to pick him up for a quick and deliberate exit but he’s gone limp. It’s like every bone in his body has turned to slush and you look like you’re trying to pick up jello off the floor with chopsticks. Moms are watching now, some with a look of despair for what’s possibly in store for them, and others with a look of astonishment. Like they’ve never had to drag a child away from fun time while his 30 pound body suddenly feels like 600 pounds. You’re sweating and panting and wishing you’d never come out.

But then you get home, finally, and after a very quick change of pace and perhaps a nap for the both of you the fog has lifted and you realize that maybe it wasn’t so bad. You could probably do this again and with a little more preparation it might go even better. I say to you, good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.


Have you ever experienced a play date like this? Share in the comments. And as always don’t forget to wear that smile from ear to ear.
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2 Comments

  1. Everything in this post is so accurate! I think every mother has experienced this at least once with their children. Some have even experienced it every time they attempt a play date. It’s just life and I’m so glad you’re not giving up!

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