(Originally posted 8/2/2016)
Gone are the days when kids could just walk to a friends house, knock on the door and ask, “Can you come out and play?”
I never heard the word ‘playdate’ until in the 90’s. I’m guessing the term started when more moms became working moms. Wait. Let me re-word that because as far as I’m concerned, all moms are working moms. When more moms began careers outside the home and needed to schedule playtime for their kids due to hectic work loads. So, no more casual meet ups at the park. Sadly with more stranger danger now, no longer can a kid just walk down the street to knock on a neighbor’s door to play.
I’m grateful to have the liberty of be a working mom from home. I make my own schedule. It’s flexible to fit around fun time for my son. He’s also homeschooled currently, so that plays heavily into our plans and hours in the day. It also has us together one on one for long hours at a time. With Summertime in full bloom, there is much free time these days.
Planning playdates starts with a text from either me or from a fellow parent for the kids to meet up somewhere. The question, “Your place or mine?” has a whole new meaning as a parent!
My son is an only child so he asks for playdates almost daily. Sometimes it makes me sad and I wonder if we did the right thing by not giving him a sibling. He is adamant about not wanting one though. Honestly, being “one and done” is fine with me and my husband. Around the time he finally starting sleeping through the night at age three and a half, we were so relieved and happy, we did not want to start all over again. Blame it all the desire for more sleep we have only one kid! Seriously, he is totally enough for us on all levels though. Plus it makes juggling playdates easier too.
On days none of his friends are avail and he asks, “Can I have playdate today?” I respond, “Yes! With me!” He may look a little disappointed sometimes. On those days, I know we will turn it around. But there are some days he says, “Yay!”
Some of my favorite moments in life have been hiding in my closet waiting with anticipation for my 6 year old to find me. And to feel true giddiness when he does. Or entering a room slowly in stealth mode armed with my Nerf gun to hear the loud scream of my son jumping out and scaring the hell out of me. Then we both fall onto the couch in full blown laughter. Or bike riding around the neighborhood on a cool breezy day. Playing a fast paced game of Zingo Bingo, or Hungry Hippos. Who knew I would get so good at building Legos? But no one is as creative as my son in that department and I enjoy just sitting there with him, waiting to discover what he will build next.
My favorite is dress up! On any given day, I could be a superhero, a ninja warrior, a pirate or maybe a stormtrooper. Perhaps the bad guy with an evil plan who will be justly defeated. Either way, it’s mega awesome fun! I save money on therapy to help get in touch with my inner child, for sure!
When I truly take the time to get down and dirty with him and bounce or kick a ball around, make mud pies or have a water balloon fight, the results are truly magical. Whatever his imagination will summon up that day. We make it happen and I’m the playdate.I’d like to think we’re making some wonderful memories together. I sure hope he will look back on these moments fondly. I know I sure will.
Many moms don’t have the time or even the energy to really play with their kids, and I understand. Some days, I need that extra cup of coffee to get me there. Or I’ll admit to really push for a mellow board game because it seems more serene then building a fort in the living room.
Being a mom is the hardest job in the world. It truly does require manual labor on a daily basis. But oh what fun you can have if you give in to your child’s wishful desire every so often! So the next time your child asks if they can have a playdate, consider answering “Sure! With me!” And do whatever you’re able to. Play Doh, coloring, tea parties, or dolls, if sitting is easier. It doesn’t have to be too crazy. I laughed so hard one time having a staring contest with my kid and barely had to move!
Recently, from a wild and crazy time of freeze-dancing with some very silly moves, my son and I were cuddling after a bout of laughing so hard we had tears coming out. He turned to me and said, “This is the best playdate ever!” There you have it. It doesn’t get any better then that. Boom! Drop the mic!