I Confess. I Hate “Playdates.”

Rules I wish I’d created to make these events more tolerable

Photo by Allen Taylor on Unsplash
Photo by Sven Scheuermeier on Unsplash
Photo by Jorge Ibanez on Unsplash

1. If your child is coming for a playdate at my house, please drop your child off, and kindly go away.

It’s one thing if it’s the first time our kids have ever gotten together and you want to come in for the obligatory first-playdate coffee to make sure I’m not drunk and sobbing in the corner. But after that? Please don’t stay. Especially if the kids are school age. The main reason I’m fine with this playdate in the first place is because my kid and her friend can entertain each other — without bothering me — that’s the point! So that I can use this time wisely and finally get around to all the dishes, laundry, cleaning, or cooking I haven’t had time to do yet.

Photo by Gades Photography on Unsplash

2. Don’t put me in a situation where I have to “discipline” your kid while you sit idly by.

If you’re going to insist on staying, then you absolutely must discipline your child. So be sure to learn what my house rules are. (For the record, I’m pretty laid-back, I’m liberal, my kids eat junk food and McDonalds sometimes, and I don’t micromanage their playtime.) Still, I have my limits. Please don’t sit idly by acting like you can’t hear it when your child screams and leaves my child alone so she can run up and down my stairway, cackling like a wild banshee. Don’t laugh like it’s cute when your child picks up my cat and screams in his face. Don’t think it’s just typical kid behavior when your kid plays so rough that he breaks things in my house— esepcially when you don’t offer to pay for or replace the broken things.

3. Don’t expect me to feed & entertain adults at my kids’ birthday parties.

When I was little, I don’t remember the parents of any kids lingering past drop off at my birthday parties — or anyone else’s. But today there seems to be a trend not only of a few parents lingering a bit here and there, but of every single parent staying the whole duration of every single party. Kinda like kids’ birthday parties are the new cocktail hour. And as I learned the hard way, if you’re the one parent who does “drop and go?” You tend to get judged and/or labeled as either the “snob” who can’t be bothered with staying, or worse, as a “neglectful,” bad parent.

4. Tell your kid to help clean up, or at least offer to help clean up yourself.

Yes, I know it’s a playdate and it’s going to get messy. But if you notice that my entire downstairs looks like a post-apocalyptic dystopian nightmare — especially if you don’t recall it looking that way before the playdate — you need to make your kid help my kid clean it up, or at least offer to help clean up yourself. No, I probably won’t take you up on either of those offers, but I need to at least hear you attempt to make an offer. It’s the polite thing to do, and if you fail to realize this, I’m going to make assumptions about you that may not be fair and kind. Enough said.

5. When adults are talking, please don’t accept your kid rudely interrupting (unless someone’s hurt or bleeding).

If your kid walks up and interrupts the adults who are clearly in mid-conversation, please don’t indulge their every whim. Especially when it’s the fourth time in five minutes. And when that’s the case, why are you and your child even here? It sounds like you enjoy each other’s company so much that you don’t need a playdate.

6. Your child doesn’t decide when the playdate is over. I do.

If we agreed upon a playdate from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m., then it ends at 4:00 p.m. Not 4:15, not 4:30, and certainly not 7:30. I chose 4:00 as the cutoff time for a reason. I totally don’t mind you running late if you’ve done the drop and go method; I understand traffic and whatnot. I’m way more lenient with time when I’m not having to feed and entertain you the adult, while my housework sits there, not getting done, again. But if you’re intent on staying for the duration of the playdate? Then you better be ready to scuttle at the designated cut off time. Set the alarm on your phone if you must.

Dismantler of gender norms. Political news junkie. TikTok aficionado. Mom of 3. Work seen/heard @ HuffPost, Scary Mommy, NPR, SiriusXM, LTYM, TIFO podcast, etc.

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