Saturday, April 30, 2011


    I absolutely hate them.

    Now, don't get me wrong .. my kids get plenty of socialisation, and basically, I think about 70% of my life is dedicated to making them happy .. as opposed to simply fed, clothed and cleaned.

    It's the ME factor. Yep, despite the fact about 1% .. ok, maybe 2% of my life being dedicated to me being happy .. I still feel like a horrible old shrew with every playdate I turn down.



    I'm tired. real tired.

    I work, mother, do all the cooking and cleaning ( got a great husband, but he's always working too .. lately, he was overseas for a month ).
    Recently a pair of my pants disintegrated and we realised I was wearing them in images of my firstborn at 6months old.
    I don't go shopping for me. I have a 3yr old. When I get babysitters, it's so I can work, not flit around shopping.
    It's not much fun at the moment, but I figure my time will come ( I look forward to being alone in a changing room again )


    Every day after school, I let my kids play with other kids for on average an hour, in a park near the school. Let them run, climb, have fun.
    On Saturdays there's birthday parties, and Sunday is my husband's day off, so that's family day.. if i'm not working.

    On top of this, they want playdates.
    Other parents want playdates.
    After school.
    In that impossibly small window where I have to prep dinner.


    I mean, the park is easy, it's on the way home, so it's a no brainer to stop in and play.
    There's a variety of other parents if I fancy a chat, but not the one-on-one pressure of a stranger, over tea or coffee and biscuits.
    I'm not good at small talk with people I don't know well. And I don't really enjoy tea & biscuits. At the park, if i'm not chatting I can watch the trees change colour, think pleasant thoughts, enjoy the waning sunshine and actually rest my mind.

    So lovely. So rare.

    Playdates are for holidays. Blocks of time unbroken by school, by swimming lessons, by birthday parties.
    Blocks of time when the trampoline gets boring and you want to fight with someone other than your brother over Lego.
    Blocks of time where your mother doesn't have to get everyone dressed and make lunches and do the school run every single day by 8.30am, so maybe, just maybe she will feel a teeny bit more refreshed and welcome a change to routine.

    But not after school.

    Give this mother a break.


    Stacey said...

    How about a playdate at the park? "I take the kids to the park after school, happy to take your kid along and drop them home after?" I'm a big fan of the "I'll drop your kid home because I have to got the shops anyway" line cos then I don't have to do the tea / biscuits with a relative stranger.
    I'm not much of a fan of the after school playdate, but at least it can be short and sharp.

    h&b said...

    Good points, but these requests are coming from people at the park already ( isn't the park enough ? )

    Apparently kids like going to other people's HOMES - I know my kids do.. I guess they like sussing out what toys and stuff other kids have? But yeah, then there's the extra 20minutes of trying to get them to leave when time is up.. and instead of my mind relaxing, it revs into MUST KEEP INTERESTING CONVERSATION GOING .. MUST AVOID AWKWARD SILENCE .. at the same time battling OH MY LORD, SO MUCH TO DO, WHY AM I HERE, DID I GET THE CHICKEN OUT TO DEFROST THIS MORNING, ARE WE OUT OF TOILET PAPER, DID I SHUT THE GUINEA PIG CAGE, WHAT IS THIS LADY'S NAME AGAIN?

    Natalie said...

    Playdates after school? Are you kidding? Dont these kids have readers to do, activities to attend, siblings and parents to catch up with? Playdates are fun things you do on the school holidays when the kids are bored.
    Kids see each other enough at school.

    Melody said...

    Shit, I hate other people's kids and when Monet wants a playdate I groan. I do. Hate them. If it *must* happen I always suggest I'll do the drop-off of the other child who is at my place, or the pick up of Monet from the other child's house so then I am the one in control. It is especially hard when I have a 19 month old in the picture too.

    School holiday ones work better with me too - a 4 hour block in the middle of the day. Better than the 2 hour after school rush-rush one. Yuck.

    h&b said...

    Agree Natalie .. every day when I pick him up it's "Pleeeeeasse can I go to {child's} name's house, Pleaaassssseeeee..." , and i'm like 'you've just been with him ALL day, AND you'll see him tomorrow!' ...

    And yes, his brother loves to see and play with him at the end of the day too.

    So glad i'm not alone on this, I hear playdates being organised everywhere, and think I must be the only witchy-poo mum that says no...

    muser said...

    I don't do after school playdates, and I cringe at the thought of proper full day playdates at my house. I'm on edge all day because it's someone else's kid and I need to make sure they're returned alive. I know it's easier now that we're dealing with 7 year olds. but still. I'm with you.

    h&b said...

    Ok .. so how do you all say NO without being weird or not overtly overly overly busy ( you know the type - it seems to be ok if you say No - well Monday is Cello, and Tuesdays are Gym/Soccer .. Wednesdays are Swimming Lessons, Thursday Piano and Friday we write letters to disadvantaged children in poor countries... )

    Simply needing to chillax without hovering over a visting, possibly accident prone child makes me seem a lazy person ...

    muser said...

    I think it's incredibly rude that people are suggesting playdates at YOUR house. I always, always wait for an invitation. I do not say "can F come for a play at your house?"

    Anyway, with these rude people, I would say "oh that would be nice some time, give me your number and I'll give you a call when we have an afternoon at our disposal." Then it becomes, don't call us, we'll call you. ;)

    Louise said...

    Oh I am also witchy poo snarky pants when it comes to play dates. I really just don't get the need to see each other when they have just seen each other all day!! I have friends who LOVE them and see it as an opportunity to check out people's houses! Me, I prefer to keep to myself and get on with stuff. I would just be honest - "no thanks, we just like time to ourselves after school, but maybe during the holidays." I'm lucky as with 3 kids we are busy doing something most days but Friday is our come straight home from school day and I LOVE it! So... you're pretty normal and wise and cool in my books!!! :)

    Melinda said...

    Not much else to add, but I love that you are saying exactly what i've been thinking ( and feeling guilty about too ) - yes, what is it with playdates after being together all day? Reading the comments has given me strength - i'm not weird! I'm smart! And normal! Such a relief! :D


    62cherry said...

    lea you up for a playdate after school tomorrow? :)
    tagged ya here
    tagged you here

    rental elf said...

    Nice article, thanks for the information.

    Meggie said...

    I soo relate to this, even though I am well past the age of having to deal with it all. My daughter is the same, and the last thing she wants is having to cope with other people's kids after school.

    velcro said...

    I hate and love playdates. Two of my kids are at the age where you don't have to accompany them on playdates past the front door. Just drop them off, wave goodbye and pick them back up later. The idea of staying with them and having to sit and make polite chitchat while stopping Ig from climbing on all their furniture is not fun. So getting rid of two kids for a few hours is fab.

    Lanne said...

    I am the worst parent ever then. I don't do playmates... I don't even manage them in the holidays!! I see MY friends and their kids with my son. He is an only child and can fight with me about Lego ;) I do not have time to watch your kid and we can swap later .. Or sit and make conversation. The park? That is awesome and generous and GO you. The other parents need to get a life ...the park is heaps!!!

    ellabellabooblog said...

    If I remember rightly lady, when we first met you initiated a play....
    now I know why it never eventuated. haha

    I have absolutely no problem saying to someone that we have only a couple of afternoons free and we spend that time chilling out.

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