Lifestyle reporter, Rachel Paula Abrahamson for TODAY, recently wrote an article titled "Modern play dates are the worst: My 1980s mom had it right" where she bemoaned the stressful environment that moms are creating for themselves when hosting playdates.
Abrahamson explains that her mom knew how to host a playdate, but why Abrahamson refuses to emulate that is a mystery that the article does not solve.
As a kid in the ‘80s, my playdates were spent in wood-paneled basements slurping juice boxes and playing Super Mario Bros. Occasionally a mom would break out some Shrinky-Dinks, but then she'd disappear, and we'd go back to cutting worms in half or sliding down the stairs head-first in a sleeping bag.
And she's right, to an extent: Her mom did have it right by simply allowing her kids to (you guessed it) play at a playdate.
Now, Abrahamson is the adult, and along with being the adult at a playdate comes a certain level of responsibility, but no one is stopping her from allowing her kids to cut worms in half (except maybe PETA).
Her main concern isn't the responsibility of being the mom instead of the kid at the playdate, but the need for modern moms to outdo one another in making every moment Insta-worthy.
Last week, my 7-year-old daughter, Nora, returned from a friend's house armed with a homemade snow globe, puffy painted socks and warm chocolate chip cookies. This is the new normal. Playdates are now like birthday parties, where no one leaves empty-handed.
According to the poll in the article, the author isn't the only mom feeling stressed out by playdates, with over 60% saying they lean towards loathing playdates.
I understand the pressures of having the best playdate and being the most fun mom, but the thing is, if you're the mom hosting the playdate, the ball is in your court. This isn't a modern problem.
In the past, we called it one-upping, and you get to decide if you want to be a one-upper.
(But remember, no one likes one-uppers.)
The second major issue here is that the author obviously seems very insecure when compared to her children's friends' mothers.
She says she can't have a playdate unless the cleaners have just been. She worries about what her child's friends go home and tell their parents.
I'm sure every parent wonders this, but if you're truly concerned, you should probably reevaluate your parenting and living standards OR consider why a 7-year-olds opinion of your playdate-hosting abilities is consuming so much of your mental energy. I know you've heard this before, but
So here's my unsolicited advice for those of you who want to have playdates and actually enjoy them: do what you want!
If you want to bake cookies together, do it. If you want to feed the kids cheese puffs, go ahead. If you want to do a craft, go for it. And if you want to just let your kids play (which is what they really want to do anyways) then just let them play.
You don't have to play the comparison game, and no one wants you to anyway.