I’m not a big fan of play dates.
At my house.
I’m more than happy to ship my kids off to someone else’s house, but I rarely have kids over to mine.
This started for many reasons.
First, we are only a couple years out of the napping stage for our youngest. And being kind of a psycho about sleep schedules, I never really wanted to invite kids over because there was a chance the naps would be interrupted (or wouldn’t happen at all) and I just never messed with the naps.
The second thing is that our house isn’t huge. We don’t have a separate playroom or a finished basement. So in the winter, I pretty much never ever do play dates.
We have a great yard and a pool, so in the summer, it’s much easier.
I also don’t let the kids watch TV or play video games if they invite someone over because I just think that’s fundamentally wrong to invite a kid over so you can spend time with them and then just stare at a screen. Or watch your friend stare at a screen.
And some kids don’t love that about me when they come over.
Then there is the number of kids we have, and if one kid has a friend over then I usually have at least one of the other kids have a friend over because things just seem to run more smoothly that way. But then I’m approaching a number of kids in the double digits. So playdates turn into parties.
And then everything is a production, and that’s like the opposite reason why I want to have a playdate.
I want my kids to invite their friends over so I can ignore them for a couple hours, to be honest.
I’m also not a planner for play dates. I don’t make arrangements to do special things. I don’t take the kids anywhere.
As far as I’m concerned, play dates should be old school. And kind of spur of the moment.
A kid comes over and you find something to do. Preferably outside. You play for a few hours and then you go home.
I also got into this anti-play date mentality when I was a new mom. I would get so stressed out about cleaning the house. About having everything look perfect. Or close to it.
It was way too much stress.
It’s only been in the last year or so that I’ve totally changed in this department.
If the mom of one of my kid’s friends were to judge me based on the condition of my house, I really couldn’t care less now.
Not my problem.
I’ve got bigger things to worry about, and more important things to think about.
So today Number 6 and 7 both had a friend over. They have been begging me all summer, and it took me this long to finally make it happen.
I’ve seen the houses of both pf these friends. I’ve been inside one house, and I’ve seen pictures of the inside of the other house on Facebook. Both houses are neat and much cleaner than mine, and the kids’ bedrooms are decorated much more nicely than my kids’ rooms are.
My house is, as usual, kind of a mess.
When the kids came over at 11 this morning, all the breakfast dishes were still on the counter in the kitchen. The dining room table is covered with the contents of the bags from our trip to Zones. I still haven’t put that stuff away. There is other stuff all over the place throughout the house.
For a brief moment, I worried a little about what the kids would think when they came over.
That only lasted a second or so. Then I was over it.
The friends got here. Everyone played together. They swam in the pool. They played with the cat and they played with Nerf guns.
And you know what?
About a half hour before Number 6’s friend was supposed to get picked up, he said to me, “I hope my mom isn’t coming soon. Because I am having a really good time.”
Just thought I’d share that in case you worry about what your house looks like when your kids’ friends are coming over.
They don’t care if your house is spotless. And they don’t need any special plans.
They just want to hang out with your kid.