Four years have passed since the birth of my first child, that means it has been just about 3 years and 3 months ( give or take) since we entered the world of play dates. I know, we were late to the scene. What can I say?Anyways, I digress.
At the time we entered the world of play dates we we’re new parents who had recently relocated to a new part of the country with a tiny baby. Honestly, I didn’t know which way was up. Play dates were quite possibly the link to my sanity. Being bound and determined to give my child the “best childhood ever” ( because that was my quest), signed Ella and I up for a couple of the “it” classes that are imperative for children at that age, if they are to become anyone later in life.( *insert sarcasm font here!)
We went to our classes and I cast my net far and wide. I tried to gauge from our brief encounters and the public interactions of Mommies with their children, who just might be worthy of our friendship, or at the very least, which other Mommies were on “my” level. I know, it sounds horrible when you say it out loud. Keep in mind, this scenario is very much like freshman year in college. You are scared, alone, new to the area and willing to befriend and accept just about anyone into your “clique”. You’ve got to start a clique so you can be a part of something. So, to recap, we have a need to belong to the best clique (for our children’s benefit, of course) but we are so desperate we end up being play date friends with anyone who’ll have us. That is until we get our bearings and regain our senses.
In most cases, the original play date relationship dynamic devolves and eventually ends in a slow, painful death. You see, the original net we cast to catch some play date friends usually has a lot of throw backs. Just like freshman year, we find ourselves floundering to unmake the original friendships because we find that we have absolutely nothing in common, except for our one common denominator, said children. Don’t feel too bad for these throwbacks because just as sure as I threw some back, I was thrown back by some. We all are. Just sometimes we don’t even know it because we are too exhausted to know…or care.
Unfortunately, just having children is not usually enough to sustain a real friendship but it can foster a false sense of belonging. It seems to be ingrained into our minds that we need to subject ourselves to rejection in order to feel accepted. I don’t know why we do this as people, even less so as Mommies because then we are dragging our poor children into this pit and doing it all under the guise that “this is whats best for my baby”.
In our hearts, we mean only good and could never, at its inception, perceive or fathom what twilight zone like situations we may soon find ourselves in on a play date. I could talk about the phenomena of play dates for days, but we’ll save that circus for another day.