Mom Confessional: I Don’t Like Playdates

Mom Confessional: I Don’t Like Playdates

Let’s face it – playdates are good for kids but not necessarily for their moms.

By Judy Koutsky

Here’s the thing, I love talking to other parents, I love having my kids play with other kids, and yet, playdates often put me over the edge. Why? Read on .

It’s hard to parent in public when you have others watching you. That’s what happens on playdates. You’re trying to create a relationship with the mom while your child navigates the friendship world with their child and it’s all done in an open arena where judgments very often are made.

For example, when my oldest started a new preschool, one of the moms invited us over to her house for a playdate. The mom and I were trying to find common ground for casual conversation -- which can be slightly awkward when you don’t click instantly. At the same time, apparently my son wasn’t “obeying the rules” of her house (one toy at a time and replace the toys you aren’t using). We don’t have that rule in our house (it’s a bit of a free-for-all), and I was trying to explain their rules to my son, while the mom and boy were watching me … closely. My son didn’t get it and felt awkward, I felt uncomfortable because my reasoning skills were clearly not working, and after the longest 45 minutes imaginable, we left (surprisingly, the mom kept inviting us back -- she had no idea how uncomfortable and unpleasant the experience was for me).

Or there was the time I had a bunch of toddlers over and it erupted into mass chaos -- snack food flying everywhere (days later I was still finding snacks under the couch), a child trying to pull the bookshelf down on top of him, one child hitting another in the head, and me making sure all the moms had coffee while hoping none of the kids would get hurt. I felt stressed out the whole time.

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Playdates bring out the anxiety in me. Am I parenting correctly? Should I care that blueberries are being smooshed in my carpet and will never come out? Should I let the kids eat marshmallow treats until they’re sick? Should I reprimand my son in front of his friends? I feel like my parenting skills are on display for all to judge and my child’s a direct representation of me -- so when he acts up, which is normal and all kids do, I feel like it makes both of us feel awkward and bad.


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And yet, I do playdates. Why? Because my kids like them. So I’ve tried to modify them a bit. I almost always suggest a park outside. That way nobody’s house gets destroyed, there’s less of a chance of kids fighting over the same toy, and there’s no cleaning up involved. Plus, I feel like the fresh air is good for everyone, moms included.

What’s your secret for a good playdate?

Judy Koutsky is the former Editorial Director of KIWI magazine, a green parenting publication. She was also Executive Editor of, AOL Parent and Follow her on Twitter @JudyKoutsky.

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