Friday, July 13, 2012

WTF is a playdate?

Seriously, y'all. What is it?

As most of you know, I have three kids. I think, so far, I've done a pretty good job with them. They're relatively well-rounded and well-mannered. I mean, I guess Bug could stand to see sunlight a little more often, but he's my oldest and therefore my practice kid. I'm entitled to a little bit of screw up with him, right?

We have never had a playdate. I don't think we have anyway. I'm not really sure what it is exactly.

My kids have friends and they play with other kids. They have friends from our neighborhood, they have friends from scouts and other activities, they have friends they met at school, they have friends by proxy because I am friends with their parents, and they have cousins. Occasionally they ask to go over to someone else's house and hang out for a while or spend the night.

They've spent lots of afternoons over at one or another of my friends houses playing with my friends kids because I wanted to go see my friend.

But have I ever met another mom at the park and exchanged numbers so my little darlings and her little darlings can have a playdate? Ummm... no. Do people really do that?

What happens at these "playdates" anyway? Do the mom's hang out with each other and make painful small talk while the kids do crafts? Or do I get to drop my kid off at your house for two hours and go read a book in the park?

Maybe the ultimate question is actually why? Why do mothers feel the need to arrange play for their children when, based on my personal experience, kids do a great job of arranging play for themselves?

When my kids were younger, before school and activities where they met other kids, we just went to the playground to play. There were always other kids there and they made friends in all of 30 seconds. Sure, they never say Billy or Sally again, but I'm fairly sure the lack of long-lasting bonded friendships at age 3 isn't causing my kids any stress.

Bug, Munchkin, and Goober are pros at making friends at any random place. The beach, the park, the library, wherever. I've never once felt like I had to arrange a playtime for them with another mom. But I hear about it so much. Like it's the norm.

It is a mystery to me.


Jennifer said...[Reply to comment]

Honestly, I think a playdate is for parents to get to know each other more than kids. When I was a kid, my mom didn't have to be friends with my friends' moms, but now it almost seems mandatory. Now I am all for getting to know who will be caring for your kids when you are not around, so I'm not saying don't meet the parents and do "due diligence" to make sure your kids will be safe, but I don't think it is necessary that I have to be buddies with another mom in order for our kids to be friends. Though for moms like me who are relative loners, it might not be a bad thing to have a play date every once in a while.