Welcome to the Bad Parent blog post series.
I am FED up of the way parents, and actually mothers, to be honest, are put under so much pressure, to be perfect and to have this parenting thing under control and be able to do it all, and the constant judgement we are under. This parenting job is HARD, we get no training, we don’t get paid, and we do it because we want to and love our children. Sometimes we don’t get it right, sometimes we get it more than right. We are all mostly just trying to do our best. I am tired of the “how to be a perfect wife, mother, craft provider, cleaning lady, cook…” stuff that gets flung at us every day. We need to take the guilt and throw it away and enjoy parenting, but also be able to admit when it’s not going so well, or might be a bit tough…
I don’t like after school play dates…
Shocking, I know and yes, my poor children.
Well, actually, not really, because my children are not neglected, they do get play dates and they go on them, I just don’t enjoy them very much.
Frankly, when my children get home from school, they are both tired, and not exactly at their best. Little Man, in particular, can contribute his fair share of rather undesirable behaviour after a long day at school, and to be honest, I really don’t want to deal with other people’s tired children, along side mine. My house gets trashed, my children get even more overtired and ratty, and I am not sure why they need to spend time with friends they have just spent the whole day with. Weekend play dates, days in the holidays, time with friends at parties, yes, after school play dates, no! Our last play date culminated in Little Man having the mother of all meltdowns over sharing a toy, and then the guest child refusing to eat anything I provided for tea and snacks, and being rude to me. It wasn’t a pleasant time. I have tried double play dates with a friend for each child, single play dates with just one friend and most of them have ended in tears, and it wasn’t just the children….
We do have some very good friends who’s children we have known since they were babies, who come over to play, and that works, because I know the children well, they are a delight to have over, play nicely, eat whatever I put in front of them, and get on with my children so well, that I pretty much let them get on with playing and rarely have to intervene. We also have good friends who’s mum will come over for the play date because she and I get on well, and we eat cake, drink coffee and gossip whilst the children play.
I think it will be different in the summer when the weather is warmer and we can go to the local park for a long run before coming home for tea, less house trashing and hopefully more energy burned off. Winter time is harder to have play dates and keep children entertained.
So, when one of my children is invited to a play date, I cringe, because I know that means I have to reciprocate (and we do) although I have limited play dates for Little Man, since he started school to only one or two families we know well, and who he knows well, simply because I feel he has been too tired to cope.
So there’s my bad parent confession. Shocking, I know. Do you hate play dates or do you think I am a terrible parent and that I should love and embrace them with joy, because it’s encouraging my children to socialise and spend time with their friends?
Or if you have your own bad parent confession to share, please feel free…
PS lest you think I am an awful parent, I will say that Little Man has made a special request to have his two best girlfriends over to tea, together, and has been pestering me for weeks. I have caved and these two little girls (who are delightful, and very sweet, I have high hopes for this play date) are coming to tea in a week or two. All is not lost. I may just need a large Gin & Tonic once they have been collected by their parents after supper! 😉