Monday, March 2, 2009

Playdates are fun

So one of the many things required of a mother is the ability to schedule play-dates. A mother should also be able to supervise these play-dates, and make them fun, exciting and engaging. She should carry a wide portfolio of baking, science and art activities, and she should also be able to make a variety of lovely foods for picky eaters and mediate to avoid conflicts between two or more tantrum-prone parties.
And even though you didn't sign up for it it comes with the job whether you want to or not.

Because the fact is: men very rarely organize the play-dates. They don't have to sit around endless gatherings with the other mommies and talk about pre-school enrollment and baby yoga while the kids throw sand and hit each other with pink shovels in the sand-pit.

My husband had a go at it once. He met another father at a birthday party, the two started talking, Kate was friends with the girl from school, and just like that, they went to the playground after the party and it wasn't a bad date at all. But Kate wanted more, and nagged and nagged for another play-date, until I subtly had to hint (hit him over the head to wake up, more like it) that maybe could he call the girls father for another date?
- Why can't you do it?
- Because it's your thing. I have all the other things.
Big sigh and lot's of huffing.
- But I don't have time to call him.
- Look, I say. It's your play-date, you started it. I do all the dates with the mothers, for once, here's a dad, and you should be the one going on the date. You will have things to talk about.

I can see it will turn in to a thing.
Kate storms off, muttering something about how she'll never get to play with this girl again.
- But I don't have time to call him. Maybe I'll call him tonight.
- That's all good and well, only a play-date is usually during the day, and tonight you'll have missed your window.
- OK. I'll go. But you you just at least call him and set it up.
- No!

The thing is, it's not about my husband being lazy or not wanting his children to have friends. This is just very new territory for him, and he doesn't know what to do. He can do many things, but he can't spontaneously arrange a play-date.
But guess what. Neither could I before I turned a mother. I just had to learn.
That's it. Most of the things about parenthood is just trial and error.


  1. OMG, GOOD thing that I don't have kids. I'd be lost. Playdates??? Always had loads of kids around me so the diapers, the bedtime stories, the "getting them to eat" and all of that stuff I can do. But since the kids are not my own the adventure is to come to my place. Setting up playdates??? Yes, better stay away also in the future, I realise that I am way to much man in my behaviour around certain things...

  2. And notice - I choose not to have kids, to a great degree because of the things that you write about in your blog. I love kids, I could not live a life without kids around me - but I don't have any of my own, and I personally don't feel the need to, there are so many amazing kids around anyhow.

  3. Ann-Katrin, it come's with the territory. I think when we grew up, wherever it might have been Europe or America, we were used to be able to go out on our own in the neighborhood and play with our friends, today, that is not possible, for so many different reasons, hence the concept of playdates. And I don't think it has to do with being a man or a woman, it has to do with being the carer, as a carer you quickly realize that your child needs interaction with other little people, and you are the one who has to do the organizing. And since women care more often than men, and so on, and so on, you see the cycle?:)
    SO had you chosen to have children, you - or your husband, whomever would care, would soon get the hang of it, the other partner, not so much...

  4. True. However what stresses me out the most is really this whole "scheduling" thing - many scheduling every moment, it seems. There is no space for spontanious meetings. Days and evenings are so filled with "must do" activities - piano, football, balley classes or what ever it may be - that there is no room what so ever for spontanous things to happen. You can't just make a phonecall and pop over anymore, it has to be scheduled days and sometimes weeks ahead. It's a shame, really. And it is at every age, grownups as well. More time for spontanous things for the people!!! :-)
    (Have a great weekend by the way. I am sure I will. I haven't planned anything except a brunch... The rest is OPEN! Lovely!)

  5. I agree with that. But it's also the company you keep. My english friends back in the UK were very spontaneous, we all lived in the same little neighborhood and we always did tings on a whim, and never really planned activities, the kids "free-played" in the park or at home, while we chatted, very nice (*miss it*). But other mothers couldn't seem to function unless they had a structured timetable to stick to, going from one place to another.

    I try to keep my children's schedule to a minimum over here. Although I've made some pretty chilled people, there is definitely more of an organized element here, like you say. Parents hot-house their kids. They think they have the kids interest at heart, but I don't think they can see the wood for the trees.
    You have a good weekend too, I have actually over-planned, so will try to at least not stress put too much about the details.:)