Just like potty accidents and a bag of spilled Goldfish crackers, bad playdates happen. Kids don't get along, toys break and worst of all, parents disagree.
Whether or not we want to admit it, our kids, and more likely we parents, are the cause of many bad playdates.
The upside is that there is nothing as satisfying as doing a debrief with a like-minded mom about a bad playdate. Just like the post-mortem after bad dates, picking apart the threads of what happened can be hilarious and a needed ego boost.
One mother has taken the debrief to a new level, starting Badplaydate.com to detail her hilariously bad experiences, which she says number in the thousands. I don't know where she finds these people -- like the mother who lets her children play poor, or the one who believes children need to dress for success from toddlerhoood on.
I'm sure there was a time when playdates weren't about enforced socialization and quinoa muffins. Judy Arnell, a parenting expert from Calgary commented in an article in the National Post about playdate culture (an article I was quoted in):
"Playdates are not for playing anymore, they’re more for nurturing children’s growth and socialization and there’s like a goal to them rather than to just have fun and enjoy them for what they are,” she said. "In terms of brain development, toddlers don’t need playdates," she said, "making the expectation that a child will learn to share if they’re shown to by a hovering parent completely unrealistic. At that age," she said, "the playdates are really more about the parents — and when the children get older, they choose their own playdates, whose parents’ child-rearing style may be the polar opposite of another’s."
I personally prefer a drop-off playdate where the children play with little intervention from me. Sometimes the chemistry with the other mother/caregiver/father is such that I want them to stay -- but this definitely the exception, not the norm. As the Sh*tty Mom in this video implies, I have playdates so I can have some me time, not social time.
A few years ago, one of my kids' friends had a very obsessive parent who constantly stayed and chatted and then would follow-up with many phone calls, to discuss things like gift suggestions for my spouse and blog ideas. I had to hide from the parent and now my child is no longer friends with the kid -- all because the parent was over-the-top.
But the kids didn't play that well together anyways. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.
Any bad playdate stories to share?
Want more chaos? Last year, I wrote about science's ability to make superbabies. But do we want the power?