12 Weird Playdate Stories, Pet Peeves, and Successful Playdate Tips

Family Matters on 03.29.12
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I asked the Parentables bloggers to share some of the more unusual playdates they've been through, plus any advice they have for a successful playdate. What I got back is a fascinating compendium of stories, insights, and a few hidden nuggets of advice. Hopefully you don't see yourself in any of these stories, but perhaps you have some additions to share with us in the comments.

The Weird Stories

1. "I've had some weird playdates - a mom cracking a beer open at noon on a Monday (yeah, I'm a prude)."

2. "I once had a playdate where the mom lacked the ability to carry on a conversation. I would ask her a question, she would answer, and then -- silence. It felt more like an interview than a social hangout. After running out of questions (an hour later), I kindly showed them out. Well, the mom called me later to tell me what a wonderful time she had, and that she hoped we could set up a weekly playdate. I gave it one more chance, but she still continued to sit in silence until I asked a question. She never once reciprocated or asked me a single question. That was the last time we had a playdate with them."

3. "Most of my play dates have been pretty tame, although I have experienced the one-sided conversation problem. Turns out she was just painfully, painfully shy, and she opened up a bit over time."

4. "Another mom asked me if I wanted her to read my aura. Nope."

The Pet Peeves

5. "Playdates when moms are involved are just as much about the moms getting time to talk as the kids getting time to play, as far as I'm concerned. So I get bummed when a mom spends the whole time helicoptering over her toddler and we can't even finish a sentence together."

6. "My pet peeve -- that has happened twice -- is when the playdate turns into a sales pitch for the guest mom's business."

7. "I am big into playdates being about playing, not watching TV or sitting in front of a computer. So it really bugs me when my daughter comes home and hasn't actually played with the other child. I wish parents could agree to a "no-screen" rule when visiting with another child. If my kids wanted to watch TV, they could do it alone."

8. "My pet peeve for playdates is when grown adults are asked to remove their shoes. I know that kids' shoes are usually pretty nasty, but I try not to go into someone's house with dirty shoes. The ironic twist is when someone with a filthy house asks you to take off your shoes, which has happened to me on playdates before."

9. "At one playdate, I told the parent ahead of time that we had to leave at a certain time for an appointment. When it came time for us to leave (plenty of warnings were given), her little boy didn't want to go and started to throw a tantrum in our backyard. Instead of insisting that he needed to go with her, she turned to me and asked if they could just hang out in our backyard for a while after we left."

The Helpful Tips

10. "I think I'm weirder than all of these of stories; I just generally avoid "playdates" all together. I don't like the word or the idea, and I sure don't want to spend my free time with people whose company I'm not sure I'm going to enjoy. My kid plays with my friends' kids. That's probably evil."

11. "I love when a playdate is going well, and we all end up having lunch together. Mothering can be a lonely sport, so the extra effort of preparing a meal for others always pays off (for me) in terms of emotional benefits. So my advice is to give, because you'll always get more back."

And One Final "Don't"

12. "My daughter was invited to a school mate's birthday party when she was about 8. I walked over with her and the mom was at the door, saying, "Come in, come in." There were about 6 kids there. When I returned an hour later to get my daughter, there were all the kids -- no mom. I asked the birthday girl where her mom was and she said, 'Oh she went to the bar.'

"My daughter told me on the walk home that the mom watched me walk down the street, and then left as soon as I turned the corner! When I asked her why she hadn't called me to come get her, she said she wanted to, but the birthday girl told her the phone had been cut off."


Photo: yasmapaz & ace_heart / Creative Commons

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