Posted by: Kate | June 9, 2009


Jacob and I are leaving shortly for a visit at a friend’s house; one of his friends, for a change, and the first time we’ve been to this friend’s house. We’ll stay for a few hours, and I’ll chat with the mom while he plays with the kid because Jacob’s not familiar with the house and the people yet.

There’s really no getting around it, is there? Even though I hate the word, that’s what it is: a playdate.

The word just smacks of all that is trendy and cute and modern about parenthood and child-rearing. Somehow even the use of the word “parent” as a verb doesn’t bother me as much. But, alas, one must call a spade a spade, and therefore we’re going on a playdate.

I have reasonably high hopes for this one, because the little boy plays t-ball with Jacob, and I’ve spent several evenings chatting with his mom already. I am a terrible, terrible clique-mom, not only bad at doing the whole-group chat but actively avoiding it. I traditionally find myself drawn to the other moms that sit a bit away from the group, either to sit near them in silent non-chirpy solidarity or to actually socialize a bit. This woman is certainly nice enough, smarter than a turnip, and can carry on a conversation naturally instead of it seeming like heavy physical labor to exchange a few sentences. We should be just fine.

But still. Not often, but every once in a while, I long for the days when parents largely ignored their kids’ social and emotional development and just let kids either pal around with the neighborhood barbarians or be loners until school kicks in and there are active requests to go play at a friend’s house. This deliberate establishment of social contacts is just one more bit of work, and while I don’t have much social anxiety and don’t dread the interactions, I certainly would prefer to spend a cool, rainy day curled up on the couch with my knitting.

At least it’s not a birthday party. Those, I despise. A group of parents standing around while a mass of 4-year-olds gets hopped up on sugar, and the only thing we have in common is that we all procreated within the same year? No, thanks, really, I’ll pass.

As an addendum: we went, and had a fabulous time. Really. Jacob and his new friend got on like a house afire, both immediately begging for a follow-up ASAP. The other mom and I chattered away like monkeys in a tree, and she’s of the ilk that I would happily hang out with her even without the whole my-kid-knows-your-kid thing.

So much for bitching… though maybe I should just bitch more, if it leads to a happy ending.



  1. I feel the same way about birthday parties, and I’m experiencing it more and more since Maggie started at a “you must invite the whole class” preschool. (We opted to not invite ANYONE in the class.) I’m cool if they’re genuine friends, but I have better things to do than to make idle chit-chat with other moms who happen to have a child in my kid’s class. Argh.

    That said, I’m glad the playdate went well and all four of you enjoyed yourselves!! Hooray!

  2. With all the stuff they try to sell parents these days (from Baby Music groups to Little Einstein to baby sign language and mandatory playdates for kids of all ages), I wonder how any of us turned out OK. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for returning to treating kids like miniature adults. But… yes, parents have needs too. And kids will find friends. Heck, even I had a bunch, and I’m as introverted as they come.
    So… go see your friend, have fun. And I hope the kids get along and have a fabulous time – for your sake.

  3. It’s okay Kate I hate, hate, hate when Ayden wants to go play with other kids (yes I know that is horrible). But that whole trying to get a long with someone that you probably wouldn’t hang out with if your kiddo wasn’t there is just not for me. Glad yours had a happy ending.

  4. […] and also because it’s just cool making a new friend (she is the mom of the boy Jacob had a playdate with) – and overall, the evening was salvaged. Willem and I talked it through a little, just […]

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