I envy those mothers who effortlessly invite a houseful of children over to play. Their house always seems to be a series of kids coming and going, and they never seem fazed by minding other people’s children for hours on end. Secretly, I don’t enjoy having other children in my house, and I find myself counting down the hours until they go home. Is that terrible?
My heart sinks a little when someone asks for a playdate. For a start, there are the logistics. Trying to find a day in the week where neither child has an activity? It’s almost impossible. And once it has finally been agreed upon …. it ALWAYS coincides with the day when I’ve just had my house cleaned. I die a little inside as I watch sandy school shoes and bags get dumped on the floor, children traipsing through the house and into the kitchen to create havoc with crumbs, plates, spills, scraps and wrappers.
I cringe at the manners of some children, and the way they confidently search through my cupboards like it’s a grocery store. I dislike the way they turn their noses up at foods I offer and demand something else, namely junk food. Then, if I relent, they joyfully consume it …. and then tell you that they’re not allowed to eat that at home.
Playdates can be great when kids amuse themselves, and all I’m required to do is check in on them regularly. What I don’t enjoy, however, is when I am expected to facilitate games and activities. Or when they ask to get out the biggest, messiest, craftiest activity they have (that has not been played with for years), which always seems to combine things like batteries, shaving foam, glitter, paint, glue, scissors, sequins, small bits of paper, cardboard and noise (check out our Arts and Crafts store at Mumzworld). Against my better judgement, I agree and help set it up. The activity is undertaken for about five enthusiastic minutes, and then the kids lose interest and want to go swimming.
Swimming? Now there’s something I can get behind. It’s outdoors, it’s clean, and best of all – it’s time consuming. Just make sure you’re either in the pool, or watching closely from the side. If you’re clever, you can prolong this activity by investing in some interactive pool toys.
Check out these options on Mumzworld:
Dawson Sports Dive Sticks
Zuru Bunch O Balloons
Simba Water Gun Set
Intex Pool Volleyball Game
It’s okay to secretly not love hosting playdates. Some of us see our house as our sanctuary and dread the feeling of disorganisation that a playdate brings. But for your child, it’s very important. Give them the enjoyment of hosting friends, and sharing their private world with them. It really does strengthen bonds. Our child’s excitement and happiness will definitely overshadow that sticky patch of orange juice that was spilt on your nice clean floor. And it’s only for a few hours … and you can always restore peace once they’ve gone!!