Not all playdates end in disaster but for a mom who overthinks everything, navigating social protocol in these situations can get complicated. Every mom has different rules and philosophies, and there is no time this becomes more glaringly obvious than when you have to parallel parent.
Here are eight ways your mom friendship can be put to the challenge on a play date:
1) The Gourmet Picnic for One
Your friend packs the perfect picnic. The only problem is— it’s just for her kid. Your child then turns into a drooling psycho stalking the other kid’s colorful containers filled with whole grain pretzels, homemade hummus and turkey pita sushi. You nervously giggle it off, while kicking yourself for not being as together as your friend. And then realize THIS IS ALL HER FAULT. Our children eat together or STARVE together! What happened to SOLIDARITY?! You’re about to tell her just that when suddenly your kid tackles your friend’s kid to the ground and starts eating the cheddar bunny crackers right out of her mouth. Then you get booted from the playground. Dignity score: zero
2) Sharing Politics
Your friend’s kid doesn’t like to share and suddenly you’re stuck trying to do right by your kid while hopefully not offending the other mom’s parenting. Or your kid is the one with the sharing issue and you don’t know whether to protect his “very special toy” or force him to hand it over. Friendships have ended over poor sharing etiquette. Do you let the kids sort it out? Or play referee? Sometimes you sit back and wait to see what the other parent will do, only to realize they are totally judging you for not stepping in. I suggest inviting your friend into the kitchen for a drink, like you didn’t see a thing.
3) Slidegate 2.0
You are at the playground and everything is going just fine when your kid attempts to climb the slide. The other mom steps in and tells your kid the slide is only for going down. Then your kid says, “My mom says I can go up the slide.” And then that friend looks at you like your kid is lying and references an awful post from a lunatic arguing going up the slide is good for kids when obviously it’s actually the gateway to becoming a criminal and you’re like— I WROTE THAT POST. And then you never play together again.
4) It’s Hard to Say I’m Sorry
Two seconds after walking through the door, your kid shoves your friend’s kid and then refuses to say he’s sorry. You say, “If you don’t say you’re sorry than we’ll have to go home.” Your kid still doesn’t say sorry. Then you have two options: 1) Follow through and leave the playdate two seconds after it began; or 2) Let your kid walk all over you so you can have the first grown-up contact you’ve had in weeks. One way makes you look too strict and the other way makes you look too lenient. Awww… crap. Can we get together without the kids next time?
5) the accidental Drop-off date
You’re excited to get together with your new mom friend and prep some grown-up snacks along with some stuff for the kiddos. You even chill a bottle of wine. Surely, your new best friend wants to share a drink on your first official playdate? The doorbell rings, your friend shoves her kid inside and asks when she should come back to pick her up. Wait… WHAT??? I’m babysitting? Two kids instead of just one????? FUUUUUUCK.
6) You Break the Dietary Rules
You know that awkward moment when you serve a child a hot dog and then later you realize the reason she scarfed that thing down like candy is because she’s actually vegetarian? OOPS. If the mom isn’t present, just keep that one to yourself. If she finds out why little Susie suddenly thinks veggie dogs SUCK, play dumb. What? Susie is vegetarian? She has been since birth? You told me five times when you dropped her off? Oh. I guess I was too busy drinking wine BY MYSELF.
7) The Unwelcome Binkie
Out of pure habit, you pop a pacifier in your friend’s baby’s mouth to see if it will soothe her, but the baby’s mom doesn’t believe in pacifiers because she’s afraid her child will become totally dependent on it and use it until she is five when it will have to be forcibly removed from her mouth by a team of child psychologists and should she just charge you for the extensive orthodontic surgery now or later? Uhhh…later?
8) Photo Sharing Issues
You snap a really cute picture of the kids playing together and immediately start editing it on your phone to post on Instagram. Then your new friend leans over and says she he has a strict policy of not posting pics of her kid on social media. She doesn’t understand those parents who don’t respect their children’s right to privacy. What kind of monsters would thoughtlessly violate their kids like that, you know? Ummm… this is awkward.
Everyone parents differently so let’s all agree on one thing. When it comes to play dates and mom friends— NO JUDGEMENTS.
Did I leave anything out? How else can you screw up a play date?
This post was written in collaboration with Lindsey from Days of Our Shitty Lives.