Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Play Date Outcasts

For the last two days I have been on the verge of a palpable, voice-cracking outpouring of tears and emotion because my lovely child has not been invited on a play date this week. It's really no surprise how weak I am right now given my fragile emotional state and lack of mood stabilizing drugs (note to self: go to the pharmacy tomorrow). 

The thing is play dates are coveted because they advance friendships, promote sharing and cooperation, and give us parents a nice long break from a steady stream of "what can I do now?" If your kid is old enough to ask you to play, then you know what I mean. I'll be honest: I am not the fun parent. I am a terrible puzzle-doer, Lego-maker, and train-table-player. 

When the children are on break from school, as they are this entire week, I am usually still doing school work and and working from home. I cannot stop finals from coming no more than I can stop my boss from assigning me work. But, I feel guilty and I assuage that guilt by scheduling dates with other small people who are good Lego-makers and puzzle-doers.

Only this week, everyone is already scheduled. One friend had two dates in one day! Another friend had a date with a kid Olie has been begging to play with for the last six months. His mother always brushes me off with a "now is not a good time." And, yeah, I take it personally because my daughter is a good friend, yet she has no dates. 

I know some of it is because we don't live in the same neighborhood where Olie attends school so people don't think of us. Some of it is laziness. They think of us but then think the drive to our house is too far or too inconvenient. 

My mother doesn't understand this fascination with dates because she is the youngest of six children and they were content (enough) with each other's company. So it goes in our house too, but occasionally a friend to mix it up is nice company. But no friends come calling or extend invitations. The upside is my children spend a lot of time with each other. The downside is all this lovely togetherness leads to bickering which makes working during breaks an incredible feat. 


Hyphen Mama said...

I almost think I'm more emotional over play dates than my kids are. I'm lucky that my kids are still young enough that they don't notice a difference.

Last weekend Wynnie had a meltdown when her BEST.FRIEND.EVER. was busy and couldn't come over.

I can see why you'd take it personally when other mothers say "it's not a good time".

3Lmom said...

I just discovered your site thanks to the BLAWG 100. As a 3L and a mom, I can relate.

What's saved my sanity is my local babysitting coop. We're a looseknit group of about 15 families who exchange babysitting on a free website called www.vegetablewaffle.com. Just yesterday, I swapped babysitting with a neighbor so I could get some outlining done on "my day" with my 3 year old.