So school has started up again. That means waking up early, making lunches the night before (or at least planning on doing that and then rushing around first thing in the morning actually doing it), helping with homework and…dun dun dun dun…those dreaded playdates.
There’s something about the start of school that drives everyone into a playdate frenzy. We step into the school yard and my 8-year old is bombarded with requests for playdates. I realize she hasn’t seen many of her friends all summer and everyone is excited to get together but I sweat over the thought of the playdate question.
Many parents do it; some are organized enough to have scheduled dates with the same kids every week. How they do it is another story, not the scheduling part but the physical kids over to their house or over to a friend’s house act. Who has time? I know school has just started but here’s what happened when I relented to my 8-year old having a playdate:
- 3:30 – 4:00 pick-up at school and negotiate the whole playdate plan (where, when, who, including having to explain to the 6 and 3-year old that they can’t partake). Walking home the very distraught siblings and playing some sort of negotiation game on when they can have their own playdate.
- 4:00-4:15 provide a quick snack to try to subdued the distraught siblings. And since one of the distraught siblings is a 3-year old you know there’s nothing quick about anything. She changed her mind 6 times before reluctantly eating a quarter of something and complaining later how she’s starving.
- 4:15-5:00 work on any homework assignments and reading skills all while trying to distract and entertain (read ‘try not to kill’) the tantrum tossing 3-year old in the background. This makes it hard for the 6-year old to get his homework done and he makes that very clear with big sighs and saying loudly ‘I can’t concentrate’
- 5:00 realize that I’m suppose to be at the playdate house to pick my 8-year old daughter up and we’re still in mid-homework kerfuffle.
- 5:00-5:15 (though it sure felt like it was much longer than that) try go shove a pair of shoes on my reluctant 3-year old for our walk to the playdate house. I explain for the 800th time why we can’t drive there and have to walk. I’m forced to pull out the old stroller from the backroom since that’s the only way I’m sure we’ll get to the playdate house before school tomorrow.
- 5:15-5:30 We make the long walk with the tired 6 and 3-year old fighting for most of the way there. I can’t be bothered to stop the squabbling and tune it out to the joy of my neighhbours and those walking by (Mother of the Year award nomination flushed down the toilet at this point).
- 5:30-5:40 Work hard to extract my 8-year old daughter and her friend from each other so we can make the walk back home.
- 5:40-5:55 Explain over and over (and over) again why we will no longer be having playdates during the school year.
And with every playdate at a friend’s house you know you’re expected to return the favour. It may not be said out right, but you know the thought is lurking in the back of the parents head. I know because I’ve been there, hosting one particular friend many times and never receiving the invitation in return.
Nope the whole playdate thing is way over-rated in my book; they’re stressful, time-consuming and extra work that I just don’t need. My kids may think I’m a terrible mother for not allowing them out on playdates but believe me it’s better than dealing with me when I get stressed out about the whole ordeal.
Am I the only one who feels this way?