A more relaxing playdate

Is it inappropriate to say that I don’t want to be up my kid’s ass all the time? When he was learning to crawl or walk, sure, I was there to catch him when he fell. And now, when he wants to climb up a tall slide where there is a danger of him falling and getting hurt, I’m right there ready to offer up my face as a pillow. But, if he is toddling around a baby-proofed play date, I have no desire to stand over him and direct his every move.

That’s great that you want to be there and soak up every precious moment with your little one, but I find helicopter parenting stressful and so does my guy. I can already see his little eye on the ball of independence. For at least a few minutes, he thinks, I can do this all by myself. To see the look of pride on his face when he manages something all on his own makes my heart soar. I am ready to be his cheerleader. I am ready to give him support and encouragement. I am ready to let him be a toddler.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love those baby thighs, breathing in his baby-fresh scent as we cuddle up for a book, and when he comes in for a hug gushing my name, “Mama.” Those are moments I cherish and look forward to, but wouldn’t it be great if we could go to a play date and just let our kids play?

I wonder if some moms struggle to let go because they aren’t comfortable having regular adult conversations? Sometimes we find our children playing independently by accident and ignoring our attempts to play with them, which always leads us to the dreaded mom talk. My child is not walking, my child is not talking, my child is not sleeping, because you know, to talk about the positive would be bragging, so instead we talk about what our children can’t do. That should lead to a healthy self-image.

Yes we are moms 90% of the time, but I’m pretty sure there is more to us than that. We led lives before babies. We have husbands. We live in neighborhoods. We read books, watch tv, or have other hobbies. So why can’t we think of anything else to talk about?

I’ve noticed that a lot of stay at home moms struggle to take time for themselves. They seem to lose themselves in parenting. It’s usually the more seasoned moms that make the time for book clubs, moms nights out, and regular date nights. I wonder if the older moms share a wisdom that we haven’t yet found?

If we can’t or won’t make the time for ourselves after the kids go to bed, maybe we could make the time for ourselves during the day, toddlers in tow. I would love to have more relaxed play dates where the kids play while the moms chat. One where, when you leave, you do not feel like you were plowed over by a swarm of bees.

This is not a new concept. There are so many places in Maryland that are starting to create that very environment, such as Play Date Junction in Elkridge, MD, or Play Cafe in Baltimore, MD. The challenge is not finding a location. It’s finding a group of moms who can let go of the reins and let their kids play, have a cup of coffee, and enjoy some adult conversation.



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