Guest post by Diane Fairfax
I really didn’t want to have a playdate last week. Had a ton of things going on — school plays, sports and an ailing mother to care for, but no was not an option for one particular mom who apparently lived for having playdates in her very small world reference.
“Emma really wants to come over and play. Can Emma come over and play? Emma loves your daughter. She talks about her all the time. She really wants a playdate. Emma would love to see your daughter outside of school. When can Emma come over and play? You haven’t forgotten Emma wants to play with your daughter, have you?”
I finally consented.
So, then Playdate Mom emailed me Emma’s schedule.
None of my chosen days worked. Emma has soccer, girl scouts, church, other playdates scheduled, school plays, ballet, karate classes and lots of homework.
“Okay, when then?” I asked in an email.
Playdate Mommy said, “Tuesday would be the only day Emma can do it.”
We agreed I’d pick up Emma when I picked up my daughter from school.
She comes over and I’m in the mood to ignore both of them. I have professional deadlines to meet and tons of personal, family drama to get through. My daughter comes into the den and asks me if her and Emma can have something to drink. I wave to her to go away. The ‘whatever’ motion. I’m on an important call.
From the basement I can hear screaming and yelling and running around and banging on the walls. All the sudden Emma starts running all through the house, bouncing off every wall she passes. Emma is now, officially, giving me a ginormous headache.
I count down the 2 hours when her mom is supposed to pick her up. The weather isn’t cooperating with outside play, so I look on as this ADHD kid tears up my house. Even my daugher says, “Wow. She. Is. Really hyper. When is her mom picking her up?”
My daughter then has the nerve to ask me why I allowed Emma to come over. I didn’t have a good answer. My daughter never expressed interest in an Emma/ADHD-playdate.
I had nothin’. No excuses. I certainly didn’t ask her over for my benefit.
Playdate Mom finally arrives at 5:30 pm and finds Emma complete with chocolate all over her face, drinking a Diet Mountain Dew and eating unauthorized cookies. Playdate Mom was not amused. She gasped and read the label.
“Caffeine?” she asked.
“What else have you had?” she asked whenever Emma during the the opportunity she was in view of a blink of eye. Finally, when she was visible enough to be heard between running from room to room, Emma answered in a sing-song voice.
This is when Emma totally throws me under the bus.
“Candy, microwave pizza, cookies and Mountain Dew…”, she shouts while jumping.
“DIET Mountain Dew,” I corrected her, a little ashamed. “And I asked if she was allowed to have these things. It’s hard to keep a non-junk food house with older kids in the house as well.”
I get an disapproving look from Playdate Mom.
Playdate Mom then turns to Emma and says, “You know better than that. You know you aren’t supposed to have that.”
She was visibly pissed off. At me. She shook her head and threw away the can and said that Emma had another friend coming over later, she hoped that she calmed down by then.
Since the incident, I have observed Emma at many school and social functions. She appears to be, uh…busy, even without the influence of Diet Mountain Dew. None the less, I was embarrassed. Surely she was going to tell all the other moms about my playdate fail.
Later that evening, my daughter told me that she never wanted Emma to come over again. When asked why, she said, “We couldn’t even watch anything. She’s not allowed to watch Sponge Bob or the Disney Channel.”
My embarrassment turned honey badger.
The kid can’t watch Disney or Sponge Bob?? Seriously? Gimme a break! What an asshole.
So, here is my advice to playdate extorting moms everywhere…Please accept my memo:
I really can’t be bothered or expected to implement your rules and social and nutritional morals. I can’t be expected to know what your child should and should not be consuming. I can’t be expected to have a gigantic log up my butt which prompts me to censor what my family considers to be acceptable young children’s programing nor can I be expected to serve your kid tofu hotdogs as a snack.
Sure, you may think my parenting skills are lacking and that I really don’t give a shit, and you would be right. I really don’t give a shit about taking on your parenting obsessions.
If your kid comes with instructions, sorry, call someone who cares because my life has many layers.
So, please don’t ask me or other mother’s to watch your over-active, ill behaved child and then expect them to compensate the same way you do. It’s not my problem.
What’s that? You say you won’t ever send your kid to my house again?
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I remember, when I was a kid, a neighbor boy had the mouth of drunken sailor and at age 6, his fundamentally religious mother was not amused. It was the first time I witnessed somebody punishing another human with a cleanser. This was the 70s, so I believed she used Zest bar soap. It wasn’t pretty and it didn’t stop the kid from cursing up a storm at any given moment outside his home. It was gross, but he lived to tell the tale and continue to be a little jerk. I actually wish his mother did the soap punishment more often, because the kid was bad news and he was super creepy. His mother was really nice, but I think he was screwed up because his mom was too busy praying and making him read the Bible than because of the soap in the mouth.
…but I digress. On MotheringDotCommune, I read about an instance where Mother A was at Mother B’s house, picking up Mother A’s child from a play date. Mother A asked her kid to pick up and she said no. Mother A then marches the child into Mother B’s kitchen and squirts soap in her mouth.
Whoa! That mutha means business!!
This got the mothers on the forum into a tizzy. From the preponderance of deciding whether or not you can dictate what punishments parents are allowed to use in your home to the suggestion to call family services on the mother and whether or not that constituted child abuse and potentially removing the child from the mother’s care. As if they don’t have anything better to worry about.
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