Nothing is scarier to me than a snot-nosed kid that comes up to me and asks, "Can we do a playdate sometime? My mommy says it's OK."
Um great, I've never even laid eyes on your mother, because I was too busy ignoring all human beings, savoring free WiFi, reading Facebook articles on my smartphone, and drinking free, bad coffee, while your kids ran around this indoor playground.
I respond, gritting my teeth.
"That's nice honey, we'll be right back. We need to take a break in the bathroom real quick." That's my exit strategy when I get faced with a playdate request.
I grip my daughter's hand tightly and scurry to the bathroom. We go into the stall together. She drops trou and I explain in whispers, "Your new friend is so nice. I'm happy you're making friends here. But we can just play with her here. We don't need to do a playdate with her. I'm sure we'll see her around next time."
I shut down every single playdate solicitation, especially when it comes from a kid. These children are trained to ask for playdates. They've rehearsed the line over and over again. And they're preying on innocent parents.
You wanna do a playdate sometime? I feel like I'm getting approached by a Jehovah's Witness. It's uncomfortable. It's awkward.
I'll tell you what's worse, though. The mom that has playdate business cards and hands them out like she's at a corporate networking event. Nothing terrifies me more than a mom armed with a stack of playdate business cards. Playdates are her job. She means business. I don't do my polite dance when approached by one of these mamas; I straight-up bolt to the closest exit.
No matter how the playdate invitation manifests itself, I have to decline. We're not going to your house, and you're not coming to mine. Here's why.
1. Structured, supervised play isn't my cup of tea.
My kids play best in fresh air and minimal parental hovering. Indoor playgrounds and bounce houses are reserved for emergency situations only (READ: When I'm on deadline for a work project). I'm more of a go-play-with-whatcha-got kind of mom. Rub two sticks together. Build a fort in the living room.
If you're down for that type of old school "playdate," then by all means, drop your kids off. But just know there will be minimal supervision and no structured play. You've been warned.
2. I don't want to entertain you.
If I do agree to a playdate (which happens like once a year), please just drop your kid off. I'm not keen on making a whole lot of new friends. I unintentionally neglect the ones I have now. Expanding my friend circle isn't something I have the bandwidth for.
When my kids are busied with other children, that time is GOLDEN. It's precious. It's not for socializing. That's my time to get sh*t done; to wash dishes, do laundry, send off a few work emails. I can't sit here sipping coffee with you when my laundry pile is a mile high. Might I suggest you get back in your car, bump 90s rap music at loud volumes, and go get a pedi. That's totally what I would do.
3. Playdate prep is too much work.
I'll have to make an extra grocery store stop to stock up on kiddie snacks. If you can't take a hint and end up inviting yourself over my house, I'll have to get fancy muffins or something. I'll have to tidy up my house. The pillows will have to be properly fluffed. I'll have to clean the pubic hairs on my toilets (totally my husband's fault). Playdate prep is a lot of work.
4. Playdate clean up is worse than the prep.
Your kids and my kids have strewn toys from one end of the house to the other. There are goldfish crumbs sprinkled on my floors. There are splots of apple juice on every table surface. There are piss puddles from where your kid missed the potty on my bathroom floor. The least you could do is offer to help clean up. But you probably won't; that's just how playdates go.
5. I have a job and work.
I'm limited to two days of "free" time with my kids. I'm very selective with our time. It usually involves spending time as a family or with other families that we're close with.
6. I don't want to reprimand your kid.
Kids have better behavior when their parents aren't present for playdates. So again, if I agree to a kiddie date, just drop your kid off. However, if you insist on coming, please keep your kid in check. Don't put me in a position where I have to yell at your kid. Check yo' kid, mothas.
7. I don't want your kid's germs at my house.
We have enough issues with germs at school. I don't need your kids coming over and turning my house into a germ cesspool. And let's face it: you probably won't tell me your kid is sick before you come over. Greenish-yellow gunk will be flying from your kids' eyes and nose and you'll be all like, She's fine. She's been on antibiotics. She's not contagious. The doctor said.
Right. Forty-eight hours later, I'm cursing your ass as I sit in the pediatrician's office. I'm taking two days off work that I can't afford to. I'm stuck cleaning up kiddie bodily goo. All because my kid can't go to school because she's (SHOCKER) sick! Thanks, bitch.
8. I suck at small talk.
Small talk pains me to no end. I'm incapable of doing it. It's torturous for me to try. It's probably painful to watch me try. Let's not. Just drop your dang kid off.
9. I'm an introvert.
Oh, right, like you couldn't tell from this list? I probably should've mentioned that from the top. I'm stimulated by work and little human beings all day long. The last thing I want to do is engage with more human beings. That's called over-stimulation. I will probably implode if you steal away the miniscule amounts of solitude I have. It's not you, it's me.
10. I don't like your kid.
I don't really like any kids besides my own. My own kids are hard to like. (Notice I didn't say hard to love. I love my kids, damnit.) But kids that aren't mine aren't my favorite. In fact, I hate little human beings mostly. They annoy me. I only force myself to tolerate children that come from parents that I'm friends with. I'll give your kid one chance to prove they're a less annoying version of playdate material.
So what do you say, moms? Can our kids just play right here, right now, and I'll catch you later maybe? Maybe not?
This article was originally published at Missguided Mama. Reprinted with permission from the author.