Warning! Play Dates May Be Harmful to YOUR Health Mom!
At least that’s the way I felt when I embarked upon my first play date from hell.
It was my first day as a real stay at home mom. I had actually quit my job two weeks before, but I had already paid for childcare until the end of the month. Who would waste that? I needed transition time.
Now I had an almost four year old and a 15 month old to care for. That was my job.
Piece of cake! I would be home all day and have time to work on my projects and enjoy my sweet little things.
My first day I woke up ready to start this wonderful world of full time mommy, only to realize that I had no idea what to do with two small children all day. My world had always been to pick them up, feed them dinner, bathe them, play with them, read and put them to bed. I had that routine down pat. The weekends were family time. Now I realized I had to keep them entertained all day!
By 9am I was already out of ideas. So, I did what all good moms do. Turned on PBS Kids and called the woman who had been keeping them while I was working to find out what their schedule usually was. When did they snack and eat naps? What did she DO with them all day long?
Yes, pathetic, I know. But I had never been home all day with them. The weekends are not normal schedules and we were always busy doing the stuff we didn’t have time to do during the week.
A friend of mine encouraged me to go meet up with her mom’s club group. They would be going to the park at 11am. She said it would help me by providing get-togethers and outings for the kids, and I would have some adult support. The next event was a park play date so I decided to give it a try.
FAIL. It turned out to be the play date from hell, leaving me questioning my decision to be a stay at home mom.
Unfortunately, my first full week as a stay at home mom was Spring Break. That meant that the mom’s came to the park in force and brought all of their children. The older boys found their fun in teasing the younger ones, taking away their toys, and chasing them around the playground. My three year old son spent most of the time screaming and crying because the big boys kept taking away his toys and tormenting him.
The fifteen month old spent her time running all over the playground. She would find ways to climb up into places that made me nervous and I tried to keep up with her. There was no time for chatting with the other mothers or relaxing. Where was the motherly support and sipping cups of coffee over conversation while our children played together? While consoling my son for the fiftieth time, I looked up to find my daughter standing on the edge of a platform that was much too high for a toddler. As I darted over to get her, I did not look up before climbing to the platform and banged my forehead on the metal monkey bars. Ouch. Mega ouch.
Tears welled up in my eyes, partly from pain, partly from frustration, but mostly from fear that I had made the wrong choice in leaving my career.
I was not good at this full time mommy thing.
I felt lonely and sorry for myself.
I felt like a bad mother.
I just wanted to scoop up my children and head to the comfort of my house.
But oh no, there was one more encounter that stood in my way. As I tried to pull myself together, a little girl walked up to me and told me my baby girl was cute. Just as I was starting to relax and feel better, she pointed at my belly and asked “Is there a baby in your belly?”
All the frustration and my own personal insecurities came rushing forward. “No, I’m just fat!” I snapped. That was enough for me for that playdate. I snatched my two unhappy toddlers and carried them off to the car.
The Mom’s Club and I were not a match made in heaven. Eventually I would begin to fit in, but that’s a different story.
Have you ever experienced a play date from hell? Tell us about it! In fact, we’d love to have you write for us!