Thursday, March 11, 2010

Non-Maternal Instincts

Nonmaternal Instinct

Playdates. What the heck?

Playdates. What a joke. Going-out-of-their-mind moms gather their ornery-and-surly children so that they can practice socialization while the mommies run their mouths. When actually the kids fight over cheap toys and wind up with gum in their hair and black eyes. And the moms, bless their hearts, are so hungry for adult interaction that they don't even notice when the kids smear glue all over the dog.

Yep, playdates aren't always what they're cracked up to be.

We have attended two separate playdates in which my son was found in the master bathroom of the host's home, in the master bathtub, running the master bath water. And the kicker, the bathtub wasn't empty. It was full of the master's stuff - clothes and razors, to be exact. See what happens when I'm let out of the house to interact with other adult humans. My son ends up practically drowning himself while playing with razors.

And then there was the time when my darling friend, a new mommy, came to my house because her walls were caving in on her. I was so excited to love on her and her then three-week-old. Well guess what, I failed miserably. Not only did she come to MY house, but she brought ME lunch, and she held MY baby, and she cleaned up after MY son. She's supposed to be the rookie! She left two hours later and I prayed really hard for a time machine because I desperately needed a do-over. That playdate needed a reset button like nobody's business.

That very same day another dear friend stopped by for dinner. Though she doesn't have kids, she insisted on playing with my kids so it absolutely counted as a playdate. Her visit ended with a literal cry for help when our dog attacked her and then ate her sock whole. So what if he thought she was playing. I'm quite certain her life flashed before her eyes, and I shamefully hugged her farewell as she wobbled from my house sockless.

The very next day my gal-pal and her little goldilocks came over for a visit. My son, who is obsessed with the exact toy or object that is in the hands of the other child, yanked sunglasses from goldilocks' hands. They were her sunglasses. And she wasn't letting go. And because my son is an absolute rascal, he pulled harder and snapped her glasses in half.



Playdates always leave me exhausted and embarrassed. More often than not, I leave playdates running for the bar. But I tell ya what, I won't stop playdates. Sure, playdates might result in exhaustion, vandalism, and alcohol-consumption, but they also foster a camaraderie that reminds us moms we are not alone. Because while my son is filling up bathtubs with razors, someone else's son is decorating the wall with a sharpie. We are not alone.

But more importantly, as our kids build a fort in the soot-covered fireplace, us moms chat over burnt coffee confessing to one another about the time(s) we lashed out in anger and yelled at our child. While our kids drink food coloring, we discuss our frustration with budgets and finances. The topics at a playdate aren't for sissies. Postpartum depression, broken marriages, accumulating debt, and other issues usually left on a therapist's couch for $120/hour.

Sure, playdates aren't all their cracked up to be.

But as insane as playdates can be, they might just be the one thing in a mother's day to keep her sane.


  1. While you thought "F-A-I-L," Goldilocks was thinking, "S-C-O-R-E! Just got me a new pair of sunglasses!!"

    Love you! Up for a playdate soon?

  2. I couldn't have summed it up better! You are such a gifted writer/friend. Went to a pampered chef party, ava told some boys she couldn't play with them cause they were stinky and took out some girl because she wanted the dora ball. All this while Halle cried, needless to say I bought something and got outta there. I was exhausted and glad. Glad that I probably won't be invited next time lol. Miss you xoxo

  3. Dear Aunt Ali, bhbv5vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvz2v2cbiukiiku kikukiu Love, Ava
    p.s. she wants to see the princess she told me to tell you????

  4. I enjoyed our play date, though i felt terrible scarfing down my mcdonalds in front of you while you were fasting. Thanks for having us! Let's do one at a park sometime - no bathtub, no razors, just slides and swings and bugs and....oh this could be bad with boys ;)

  5. Marla - Yes!
    Jackie - Why don't we live closer? It so breaks my heart. Love you and your girlies.
    Denise - Great idea about the park. It's finally warming up! Woohoo.

  6. Bless your heart, Ali. This is exactly what playdates are all about...these words precisely! I always love reading your insights on life & parenthood...I just had to smile as I read this and remember that I'm not alone. ;o)

  7. Ali - I found your blog through the LPM blog and I LOVE your honesty! Motherhood has thrown a major curve ball in my life - postpartum depression with both of my pregnancies (my kids are 14 & 1/2 months apart as well), then with all the changes in my marriage (was married 7 years before having kids) I just often feel like I was so better equipped in my pre-mommy life and more often than not feel like I am failing and floundering instead of thriving. I believe there are so many other moms feeling this way - but even at my MOPS group - not a lot of them willing to be real (insecurities!) for fear of looking bad... anyway enough of my soap box. Love the blog - love your writing and think your kids are adorable! Way to go!