Hosting a playdate. Sounds like fun, right? The question is… fun for WHO? Here are 10 reasons to hate them. There are probably more.
1. The sheer responsibility. Picking up someone else’s child? Keeping them alive? With their possessions in tact? If you lose your own child, that’s one thing. But at least they’re yours to lose. Losing someone else’s is going to take some explaining.
2. You have to cook actual food (sort of). Because you don’t want to be that parent who serves up fish fingers and peas. Or, worse, plain pasta. So you go all out and do something wild with courgettes. And then give everyone a bag of Wotsits when they refuse to eat it.
3. You realise your child is socially inept. Because despite pestering you for months to have a friend round and being ‘sooooooo excited‘ that very morning, the minute the friend turns up, your child suddenly decides they’d like some quiet time in their room. Because they’re tired. Or just plain rude. Which means this. YOU are now the playdate. Awesome. Teddy Bear’s Picnic anyone?
4. Someone will inevitably cry. Probably your child. Because their friend dared to play with anything they own. The clue’s in the name, right? PLAYDATE. Well, not if you’re under 5, it’s not.
5. TV is banned. Yes you heard me. Apparently, you’re not supposed to watch TV on playdates. This might be an urban legend. But are you going to be the one to test the theory? No. Me neither.
6. So you’ll have to do crafts. Because once your own child has gone off for a sulk, you’ve had a Teddy Bear’s Picnic and resisted the temptation to turn on the TV (well done), there’s nothing left to do but haul out the pipe cleaners and create something pipe cleanery. So, not only do you hate crafts, but now you’re actually doing them with someone else’s kid.
7. Children are irritating. Some days you don’t much like your own so why on earth are you inviting others into your home? At best you’ll get a nice, polite one who makes you feel bad that your own child, erm, isn’t. At worst you’ll get one that likes YOU so much, they follow you around the house, asking you questions about EVERYTHING. Whilst you stick imaginary pins in your eyes.
8. You can’t shout. Shouting at your own kids when someone else’s child is a witness is a bad idea. In case they tell on you. (And they will.) In summary? You’ve lost ALL power. And your child knows it.
9. Playdates are like real dates. There’s an awkward moment at the end when the parent collects their child and asks how it went. And even though your child is screaming and theirs looks utterly bewildered you will both pretend it went well. They’ll find themselves saying, ‘We must do this again. I’ll call you to set something up.’ Whilst, you nod your head manically. And stick more imaginary pins in your eyes.
10. One playdate leads to another. So once you’re on the merry-go-round there’s no getting off. Although if you repeat numbers 3 and 4 enough times, you’ll probably get kicked off.