Keep in mind, these are rules for the moms on the periphery of my children's social scene. There are many moms who I am close to and whose children play with mine very often (I'm looking at you Sandy, Sherry, Mary, Jamie, Misty, etc.). We don't need rules, because we're all normal with one another. I do not want these mothers to think these rules are for them, because they are not.
1. Be on time. For drop off and/or pick up. If you're late for drop off, my kid is anxious and he's worried your kid might not be coming. He's excited and ready to play and he's driving me crazy with "When will Xavier be here??" I don't know, sweetie, Xavier's asshat mommy never called to say she was running late. That being said, if you're going to be late for either drop off or pick up, I'd prefer drop off. Most of the time, a couple hours is perfect and I don't need Xavier hanging around for four hours wondering what's for dinner.
2. Don't take away the playdate as a punishment for bad behavior. My kid is looking forward to playing with your kid and the last thing I need is for you to call me to cancel 20 minutes before I'm supposed to drop my kid off. I'm sorry your kid was a twat and I commend you for having consequences, but don't upset my kid. Figure out another punishment.
3. When you are the hostess - provide a kid-friendly snack. It doesn't need to be Doritos, but my kids will never belly up to the table for slices of avocado and cups of soy milk. How about an apple and a glass of water? I used to belong to a playgroup with a leader who had quite the opinion about snacks. She felt like no one should have a snack and the rest of us felt like there should definitely be snacks. This was back when we all had toddlers. We expected the hostess (we all took a turn hosting) to provide a kid-friendly snack AND a mom-friendly snack (no, not booze, but I don't think anyone would have turned down a mimosa had it been offered). After this woman took charge and banned snacks, the attendance of the playgroups plummeted. Coincidence? I don't think so.
4. If you're not the hostess - leave your snack at home. Unless your kid has a life threatening allergy, do not insult me by sending a "healthy" snack with your kid. I am not an idiot. I'm not going to serve your kid Cocoa Puffs, Mountain Dew and Fun Dip. I might give them a treat, but isn't that what playdates are about? It's a special occasion and sometimes it's fun to splurge a little. Maybe have a Popsicle on a hot day or warm homemade cookies on a cold one? (Ha! Who am I fooling? I've never made homemade cookies, but sometimes I think about making them during a playdate.) Don't be so uptight. It's one afternoon.
5. If you are the hostess - have a plan. My kids are 5 and 7 now and pretty much entertain their friends when they're over. However, within an hour I will most certainly hear: "I'm bored." or "So and so is being bossy and won't play what I want to play." Have a few ideas that you can bust out if it gets tense or else all hell is going to break loose. Hint: No one ever says "Nah" to a water gun battle - remember, just not in the house.
6. Tell me if my kid was an asshole at your house. I don't live in a bubble. I know that my kids can be bratty. Don't hide it from me. Please tell me so I can deal with them. I'm not going to get mad at you unless you tell me some bullshit like: "Percy was a complete angel, he was just working on his multiplication tables and writing a letter to the impoverished family we've adopted in Guatemala when Gomer came out of nowhere and hit him in the head with a Nerf sword. Poor Percy, I've never seen him cry like that. It just broke his heart to have his friend treat him so badly." My guess is if Percy really got whacked over the head with a Nerf sword, he whacked Gomer in the 'nads first. Now, if it was Adolpha I heard this about...I'm just not sure. She might have sneaked up on her letter-writing friend and ambushed her. You never can tell with that girl.
7. Turn off the TV. A few video games is OK and can be fun on a playdate, but don't let the kids sit there and veg out watching "My Little Pony."
8. Be the adult. I realize you want the playdate to be fun, but I'll tell you what I tell my kids: make good choices. If the kids ask to build a fort, you should say "Yes." If they ask to use power tools to build the fort, you should say "No."
|Mom, can we play on the roof? NO.|
9. When I come to pick up my kid, please know that it isn't adorable when your kid tries to invite herself to my house - for later that same day. Am I the only one this happens to? Our kids have just spent 2 hours together having a great time. I arrive to pick up my child and the hostess' kid whines, "Can I come home with you now and keep playing with Adolpha?"
The hostess stands there with a stupid smile on her face.
"No," I say. "you just had a playdate with Adolpha. We'll have you over sometime soon. I promise."
The kid won't be assuaged. She keeps it up, "Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease? Can't I come right now? Can I mom?"
The mom (still smiling stupidly) says, "Well, you don't have anything until dinner tonight at 7:30."
7:30? I put my kids to bed at 6:30.
"Yeah, tonight won't work. Sorry."
"Oh, Ginger, I'm sorry, but it looks like Adolpha's mom doesn't understands how much you enjoy playing with Adolpha."
"I love Adolpha," the kid says.
"Yes. I understand that. Just not today. Another day," I say looking at the hostess for a little back up. I am met with a vacant smile. "Get your shoes, Adolpha!"
"Hey Gingy, it's OK. I just don't think Adolpha's mom has time today."
"Maybe tomorrow?" the kid asks.
"Ohhh, good idea, Ginger. Good problem solving. What do you think, Adolpha's mom?"
Tomorrow? Are you fucking kidding me with this?
"No, not tomorrow. Adolpha has plans tomorrow. We'll call you in a couple of weeks. Get your shoes, Adolpha. Now."
The final two rules are a bit tough to follow, but try and stick with me. I am really picky and I think it's hard for some mothers to figure out what I want, but here goes.
10. Don't be an asshole when we see each other - oh and don't pretend you didn't see me and then suddenly now you see me because that's bullshit. Our kids are friends. You and I have mutual friends. You've seen me on more than one occasion now and you know my name. It won't kill you to be polite and say fucking hello. I'm not asking for dinner and a movie, I'm just looking for some fucking civility while I'm waiting for my kids to put their shoes on.
11. Don't be a phony baloney. Yeah, our kids seem to enjoy one another's company, but to be honest, you and I have nothing in common other than we both gave birth in the same year. You don't like me anymore than I like you, so let's not pretend we are BFFs at cheer camp. Just say hello, make a little small talk about how busy you are and how fast the summer/school year/Christmas break is going and
let's move on.
OK, what did I forget? Let's hear your rules.