The Pain Of Playdates


I sit in the car at the school pick up queue and brace for the inevitable tap tap on the window.

“Mum! Can we have a playdate?!”

Inevitably it is my 9yo socialite, with a willing accomplice in tow, eagerly awaiting my approval.

Every. Single. Day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely against playdates – I just prefer ones that involve a mum I get on with, copious amounts of coffee and a good debriefing. But these impromptu after school ones just add so much more chaos to our already chaotic afternoons.

If it is at our house I need to feed them, make sure they aren’t doing anything they aren’t supposed to and hope they don’t trash the place. If it is at someone else’s place I stress about the burden of my child’s dietary needs and hope they don’t trash the place. Plus I really hate the drawn out extraction process when I pick him up. “Just 5 more minutes….puhleeeaase?”

Then it is a rush home to get dinner on, organise the other kids and do the dreaded bath/bed routine before falling into a heap on the couch.

You can forget about homework or bedtime reading because we are all well and truly spent.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Occasionally, my school mum friends get stuck and I help them out by picking their kids up.  That is a totally different scenario and the kids just happen to benefit.

But this daily tapping on the window for a play date thing has got to stop.

So this term, I’m putting my foot down. Here are my future playdate rules:

  1. No more than one playdate a fortnight.
  2. Said playdate must be organised in advance between parents(What’s with kids making plans and expecting the rest of the world to fall into line?)
  3. When it’s time to go, we go. Any stalling will result in cancellation of future playdates.
  4. I will not be providing a deluxe smorgasbord for afternoon tea. Whatever my kids normally get is what’s on offer.
  5. If you want friends over, you do the damage control. Any mess made is a mess you are cleaning up!

Yes, I understand this all must make me sound like a grouchy killjoy, but with 3 highly social kids, I’ve come to realise some boundaries need to be set to preserve my sanity!

How do you feel about playdates? Are you happy to accept an impromptu arrangement or would you like a little advance warning?



About Author

Renee Meier

Renée is a freelance writer, perpetual student and aspiring novelist. In her spare time she's the sole parent to 3 rambunctious little people. She survives predominantly on coffee and squishy hugs.

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