Sunday, July 1, 2012

Play dates are the Antichrist

Okay, so perhaps the wording is a bit strong, but I felt it was needed to get my point across. You see, it is my opinion that just about every issue surrounding raising children these days stems from our attachment to play dates. Call it the Kevin Bacon effect of parenting. The problems we see with children today like: lack of socialization, not enough outdoor play, too much TV and video games,  as well as parental issues such as: permissiveness, negativity, overindulgence, depression (mother's not kids) all goes back to play dates. The issue is not with the" play", but with the "date." In our society we are so detached from each other and so over-scheduled that even our kids have to schedule in time for play.

When we were kids and asked our moms if we could go play at a friends house, she wouldn't say "Well lets see if we can work out something for next Tuesday," but that's exactly what we do everyday. Exaggeration? I think not! I only have one friend that I can just call and say "You want to hang out?" One! And thank God for her or I might go nuts! Every other parent I know requires me to schedule play date days, if not a weeks, ahead of time. In  our mom's day, they had a community of friends - usually that lived in the same neighborhood, and they just got together on a  daily basis and hung out while the kids played. How nice does that sound? The kids got to be play all day with other children and their moms had a network of friends and support (i.e. adult interaction) that they could rely on to help keep them sane.

Case in point, my mom once told me a story about how, when my brother was a toddler, he painted the walls with his dirty diaper. Think pristine white walls covered in poop, and you can imagine how my mom might have felt. By the third time this happened, she was ready to lose it.  So she called her friend who quickly came over and took my brother off her hands, possibly saving his life. Now I want you to ask yourself, What would you do if your child pushed you to the edge? Who might you call for help? Your mom? Your husband? Your doctor for an increase in your Zantac prescription? I bet calling a friend for help wouldn't even be on the list. And if it would, you are very lucky because for most of us this just isn't the case.

Its no wonder we are all on anti-depressants and Valium and whatever else helps us get through the day. We are too afraid to ask for help. The funny thing is... most of us want to make these connections with other families, but are afraid of crossing some invisible line of acceptable behavior. 

So now the question is: how do we fix this? I'm not entirely sure. I know there are a lot of mother's groups out there trying to help connect moms and their kids, but as someone who was a member of one of these clubs, it didn't really provide the kind of  circle of support I really needed. Maybe we just need to be a bit more formal about it. Start our own mother's group that requires us to meet at least 3 times a week, or just schedule a daily get-together time. I'm not so sure what would be the best course of action, but what I do know is that things have to change. It's time to start a new mommy movement for our kids health and our sanity.

Now we just have to figure out how in the hell to do it.


  1. Luckily I've lived in places where I could walk down the street to hang out with neighbors and their kids. Very beneficial. Problem is doing this for each neighborhood we move to.e

    1. If I could find a neighborhood like that, I would never leave. :)

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  3. The one drawback to country living no close neighbors and the ones we do have don't have kids.


    1. We live next to a bunch of retirees. Didn't even occur to me when I bought the house. I kind of wished I lived in the country.


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