Motherhood is difficult enough and the play date thing is just the icing on the cake. When you are an introvert play dates are a source of anxiety. There is so much to worry about. Will the other mom decline the offer? Will the kids get along? Will I have anything in common with the other woman or will it be uncomfortable small talk the whole time?
Will my kiddo do something inappropriate like pour juice on the other kid’s head? Well that really happened. You’d think that my son poured water over the Wicked Witch from the West’s head. The remainder of the play date was the other child screaming and crying as the mother gave me the evil eye. The kid didn’t melt he was just wet…and sticky.
I struggled to set them up for my son when he was little. It was so difficult to put myself out there and ask another mom on a “date”. I’m very friendly and talk to everyone at school. I’m just not that mom that loves doing the play dates, or the asking. I hate the getting to know you part. It all feels too much like the dating I did before I got married. No one wants to go through that all over again.
I remember there was a mother that was new at one of the schools my son went to. She would walk in with her schedule and set up play dates like she majored in it in college. Then one day I overheard her setting up social dates for her and her husband with the other parents. My goodness, how did she do that with such ease? Ugh, I was such a social slacker. I just didn’t want to have to deal with it all. I wasn’t good at the whole mommy mingling thing.
When you are an introvert you just aren’t into that whole gossip thing either. I remember hearing about one little boy that dropped his pants and started peeing in a garbage can during a outing with two other little girls. That incident spread around the school like wild fire and the mom was instantly blackballed. One day you are the popular mom and kid that everyone wants to go on play dates with and the next minute you may as well have leprosy. I felt so bad for her, but all I could think was thank God it wasn’t my kid.
What has also been difficult is that we’ve moved around a lot. We’ve lived in four different states and my son has been in six schools since kindergarten. My child is always the new kid. Not all moms are welcoming and usually if you are the new mom they already have their clique. Their kids already have been together since preschool and the group has been established. So unless your kid is the dynamic new star sports player or the class genius then you are screwed.
We’ve also had a few bad experiences as well. One of the first play dates we went on my son was about three years old. The mom and daughter we met up with were nice. Everything was going well until the third play date when the mother started to get more comfortable. She then told me that her daughter wasn’t allowed to watch Sesame Street because she didn’t like that Ernie and Bert lived together. Omg, what? She was bashing Sesame Street! We loved Sesame Street. I watched it as a kid. She also told me that they didn’t believe in science or medicine. Hmm? Well, I am a health care professional so I just wasn’t sure how to respond to that.
I don’t know what happened, it may have been the look on my face when she said she wished that they didn’t teach science in school and that she was trying to find a school that didn’t have it. I knew by the end of our meeting that it would be the last time. I felt horrible, my son really enjoyed playing with the little girl but you just can’t force these things. They never called again. I would of probably just kept my mouth shut and continued getting together with them for the sake of my son. It’s not like at three they are talking politics and religion. But just like that we were ghosted.
A play date is basically a nightmare for a mom who is an introvert. There is nothing that is fun about them. You try and get comfortable but it’s not easy. You suck it up and do it for your kid but truthfully I think I’d have more fun getting a tooth pulled without anesthesia or walking on legos.
This post was previously published on A Parent Is Born.
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