I was scrolling through my Facebook feed on a recent morning, mindlessly taking in photos of people out to dinner and friends wishing friends a happy birthday, when I came upon a post that made me stop. A parent was griping about something, but it was something I never imagined anyone could really gripe about. Here’s what she said:
“I can NOT stand the term ‘playdate’. Can’t kids just come over and play? Can’t you just say ‘let’s get the kids together?’ What’s wrong with us that we have to schedule our children having fun?”
And although I thought no one would ever respond to such a silly post, other moms actually agreed with her. Lots of them! And as often happens, I thought of a million things I wanted to say, not one of which I actually bothered to write. But here’s what I’m thinking…
First, I’d like to tell her to pick her battles wisely. Of all the objectionable words I hear all day from kids and parents alike, playdate isn’t even on my radar. Playdate falls somewhere in the world of words like potty and poop and buddy, silly annoying terms that are, unfortunately, a regular part of my daily dialect. So personally, if I’m starting a campaign to end the use of distasteful words, I’m starting with the four-letter bombs my kids throw when they get mad at their little brother or don’t want to take a shower.
And second, if you think the word playdate upsets you, that’s got nothing on how I’d feel if someone just randomly showed up at my door with their kid and wanted to come in my house and play. Parents are busy people with a lot on our plates, and we try our best to fit in everything that needs to be done in the 24 hours we’re allotted. So messing with that schedule and expecting other parents to just accommodate your spontaneity is absurd! And let’s face it, if you show up at my door chances are pretty good that my house is a mess, someone’s in a time out and I’m in pajamas. And that’ll just scare your kid (and probably you). So in answer to “can’t kids just come over and play?” Ummm, NO!
Also, in the real world, people make plans. There’s nothing wrong with making plans for your kids while they’re still too young to make their own. So if you said to me, using your own words, “Let’s get the kids together,” I’d say “Right on! Let’s plan a playdate!” One day our children will be teenagers scheduling their own time together without giving us any heads up at all. But until then, if our kids are playing at one of our homes, it’s being fit in when it works for all of us, including me.
So go ahead, ask me for a playdate, and I promise I won’t think you’re distasteful or annoying. In fact, I’ll respect you for acknowledging that we both have busy lives and I won’t think for a moment that you’re taking all the fun out of it.
And if you’re offering for my kid to be dropped off at your place, well, then I’ll like you even more.