Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Need a Better Hidey-Hole

I'm finding myself being sort of thrust into this thing that I'm not at all comfortable with. My research indicates that this uncomfortable and somewhat exasperating thing, is girl related. My research this time is not limited to a Google search. It is my twelve years experience as a mother to children of both genders. The boys are the oldest and I somehow managed to fly below the radar for playdates. I can count on one hand the number of times, combined, that the boys had playdates arranged. But apparently if you are the mother of a daughter, and another mother who has a daughter who likes your daughter and wants to spend time with her outside of school; that other mother will hunt you down like a heat seeking missile with your name Betty Grabled all over it. I'm this close to hiring a secretary to field the calls.

And I feel like a complete asshole for feeling this way, but I just want everyone to leave me alone. I know they're just being nice, and they just want the girls to play. For many of these women, their kindergartener is their oldest and they think it's important that they get together. But, speaking as a seasoned veteran, it's not. It's not important that they get together. Because they just did at school, or at dance, or at soccer, or at a mutual friend's birthday party. They're together all the damn time.

I spend more social time with the mothers of my daughter's friends than I do with my own friends. And if I insisted on spending this much time with my own friends they would be like, "WTF is wrong with you Clingy McNeedypants? Get off me." Because my friends are very much like me. Introverted loners who occasionally enjoy the company of others. And those others have to be people we're very comfortable with and the last thing you'd find us doing is sitting around talking about our kids or oh lord other people's kids...shoot. me. now.

None of the mothers seemed to have noticed that I've yet to initiate an arranged date for our children. Strike that. They have. Because now that Girl-Child has been to their houses half a donzen or so times; now they're inviting themselves to my house. And I'm all, sure no problem so long as you don't mind that they play outside on the street unsupervised because that's how I roll. Kidding. They're supervised. Mostly.

I would say that perhaps, outside of school, their children have no one to play with at home. But I find that hard to believe because I think it's a rule in the homeowner's association manaul that you have at least two kids to live in my neighborhood. My children can't go outside without swinging a cat to find someone to play with [please note that Vintage Thirty does not promote the hurling of animals as a means to locate friends]. Kids are everywhere [and I say that in the most sinister voice I can muster].

And, ohmygawd, the Girl Scouts...the Brownies! It's like rush week at Alpha Phi. At least three mothers have inquired whether or not Girl-Child would like to join because the spots fill up fast and if they're full she can be put on a waiting list and Girl-Child is all, can I have milk with them please? Clearly, she doesn't know Brownies from shinola. So I'm all, sounds nice and all and thankyouverymuch, but I'd rather wait until she is at least interested in joining, you know, when she knows what it is because there's already soccer and dance, not to mention the boys lessons, and of course school, and I'd like to postpone my head exploding as long as possible - Why are you trying to make this happen? Do you have any idea the carnage and blood letting that would ensue during my attempt to sew a patch to a sash? And wait, doesn't she have to be six? Isn't this a little premature?

And don't think that I can show up late to school at the last possible minute to pick up Girl-Child and avoid their requests. These women are armed with the class roster and aren't afraid to use it.

33 comments:

calicobebop said...

Holy crap! Is this what happens when they start school! Mine is my first but I feel the same way you do - Don't call me, I'll call you. Except I probably won't...

I suppose I should start brushing up on my social skills now!

Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas said...

This is pretty funny. Sometimes I feel like I'm giving off the "don't look at me I don't have time for you" vibe and I hate that. But I don't have time!! You're right about first timers. They think it's all important and stuff. One or two more kids and they'll be like us - what works for Mom wins.

barbra said...

Wait, isn't this why people choose to live in Stepford Ranch?

Around here, it is my daughter begging me to arrange playdates for her.

BEGGING.

ALL.

THE.

TIME.

She's way more social than I am.

Oh, and my oldest is in Brownies. It started up when she was in first grade. I don't do anything for Brownies. As long as there are moms who want to lead it, I'm happy to leave my kid with them for an hour and a half once a month. If it ever comes down to "Barbra, you need to lead Brownies or we can't have Brownies," I'll say, "I guess there's no more Brownies then." No skin off my nose.

And the dry cleaner will sew the patches on for you, but most of them are iron-on anyway.

scargosun said...

That is a scary life you are leading there! I am imagining these Setpford like women with clipboards and spreadsheets, ticking off which activities which child is in then bullying Moms into getting their child to participate in an activity. I am shuddering (seriously, I am b/c I am like you in that loner who enjoys company sometimes thing).

MamaHenClucks said...

In my world, it isn't limited to the girls. My boy is a 1st grader and has already been on more playdates then people I even know. (Did that make sense?) I am not kidding when I agree that it is crazy.

Jaci said...

Hee. I love the days when you post. When my reader is empty with no new Vintage Thirty it makes me sad.

I only have my daughter, so I would totally be tracking you down for playdates and socialization. I hope I'm not THAT annoying, though...

AGSoccerMom said...

OOOOOOOOOh it's so just like that.
And once you buy cookies they keep the list year after year and you have to buy because of the guilt.
Now, they say same as last year?
It's a conspiracy.

One Reader said...

At our house we fly by the seats of our pants... If on Friday she wants to know if she can spend the night (yeah so not a playdate) I say "Let me see what we're doing tomorrow." If we are free, she can totally just go over and spend the night. If she wants to have someone over same thing applies. What is with parents who try to run their child's social life?
Don't they know if they do the friend making for their children, those same children will never figure out how to do it for themselves? They'll be Juniors and all "Mom will you call Jacki's mom and ask her if she can hang out for me?" Um... that is how we end up with so many people without people skills!

mommy2twinkies-Deb said...

My twins are 2 1/2, and I've been hunted down by a nanny for playdates!!!

Undomestic Diva said...

Let's face it. Other peoples kids suck.

And I totally get the leave-me-alone feeling. I don't want to have to wear a bra in my own house. And if you people keep showin' up unexpectedly at my door, I feel forced to contain the mammeries. That ain't right.

thebeesknees said...

Am I to believe that, at the tender age of five-ish, you are giving Girl-Child "boys lessons"? As in "Make sure the thong straps are ABOVE the waistband of your jeans, and don't forget the leopard print and glitter tube top, you little scamp!" lessons? Because that would be kind of awesome, and maybe a little weird but that's awesome too.

thedailysnark said...

Stepford Ranch?! Ha! Very appropriate for this area.

It was more simple when I was a kid. You want to hang with your friends? Go outside and play. This arranging playdates thing has gotten out of control. It's bad enough there's soccer, Girl Scouts, whatever. Even playtime is planned and scheduled. Poor kids.

Anonymous said...

Geez. That's why I love me some boys. I tell my 7 yr old that she gets plenty of "play time" at school, daycare after school...and when she spends the night with the ex husbands new girl friends kids. If you have to break out a calendar for playdates...then, well...that's the *line* for me. I have enough hassles with keeping track of doctors appointments, teacher conferences and remembering to feed them. Plus, with my 4 kids, my future husbands 4 kids--THERE is all the playmates you NEED.


Martie of http://uncontainedchaos.blogspot.com

Mrs. G. said...

I always appreciate that in Tootsie's world the kids are the kids and the grown ups rule. I could not agree with you more. When you are spending more time on your kid's social calendar than on your own, it might be time to re-evaluate priorities, because kids don't need social calendars.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Gawd, you are so awesome.

Here's the deal, Tootsie, my love. When there are siblings and neighborhood kids, play dates are a pain in the arse. Plus? All this structuring of kids' time and not letting them learn to create and just be is ruining them for the future. But for an only child (like Laura, really, whose sisters are adults and live in other cities) who does not attend the neighborhood schools, play dates (unstructured, unplugged, free play) serve two purposes. (1) She gets to build relationships with friends outside of the school and structured activities, and (2) she is occupied while her mother reads blogs. So? Would Girl-Child like to come over a play with her?

Mr Lady said...

There is something to be said for explaining to your kids that "Momma doesn't like a bunch of guests sprung on her while there's mold still growing in the corner from last week's dinner she hasn't washed up after yet" and obsessive date scheduling.

I cannot for the life of me understand why people INSIST on scheduling their kids lives, can you? I am ALL FOR the "knock knock, can Jimmy come out to play?" philosophy of kid fun.

That's what neighborhoods are FOR! Don't you think?

My husband forbids me from saying the word "Playdate" in his house. It's like nails on a board for him.

All of that sums up into this: WORD UP.

Susie said...

I have the opposite problem - arranging a playdate means someone calls me to have their kid come over while I take care of them.

Anonymous said...

Tootsie! Feeling this pain right along with you! I had three kids rather close in age (#3 was born six weeks prior to #1's 4th Bday) to avoid the whole Playdate Arena. Now that the youngest is in preschool, and you do drop-offs and pick-ups sans any other kids, people ass/u/me they're an only child - and they are all over you for a play date. Oy!

Lisa said...

I dislike playdates. I like to be home alone with no bothering me. My 8-year-old has one friend whose mom I actually like and we take the girls to the movies or the zoo once a month, but that is it. We see each other at Brownies too.

By the way: Brownies starts in 1st grade. There also in no waiting period or limited spots, so if they are telling you that, they are LYING ot try to get you to join. If Girl-Child is not interested, don't sign her up. It a ton of moms sitting around gossiping anyway. Drama, drama, drama. And patches are ironed on now, not sewn. Thank gawd.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Again I praise God for only sending me testosterone to parent. It's totally different. Like, totally.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Play or don't play--it's up to you.

Raye said...

I have a friend who moved to a new town and is going through this also. Her daughter is 12 and the mothers still think they need to be friends. I know there are many joys of having children but when I hear this stuff I am thankful I have none.(not to mention I am a loner, homebody person after a long day of dealing with the public at work !) Good luck to all dealing with this.

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

I wish you all the luck hiding out. As the mom of an only, I have to say all my friends are the my son's friends parents and we are ALWAYS doing things.

Anonymous said...

I never liked playdates, hated parties, despised sleepovers, didn't really want my daughter to do Brownies, etc., so I limited or refused to let her do these things because I didn't enjoy them.

Now I have a very lonely sixteen year old...it makes me very sad.

If I could go back and do it again I would certainly do things differently.

Baby Favorite said...

I want to know how we survived in the 70's without our mother arranging PLAY DATES. (Was that even a term then?) Hell, we just found a friend *wherever* and we stayed outside and we played. Without supervision and without anyone counting on anything. Eventually we found a garden hose in someone's yard if we got thirsty, and if we got hungry? We wandered home for a few minutes in between playing. OUTSIDE.

What went wrong between then and now that everything has to be so ARRANGED and PLANNED FOR and (I'm sorry, burn me at the stake) SACRIFICED? You know?!

Don't get me wrong, I love my kids to pieces and they are my world, but when did the whole world start to revolve around kids' lives 24/7?

apathetic bliss said...

I so hear you!!!! I am the lame mom who evidently has enough of a life beyond my children that I don't spend every waking hour coordinating and planning my three daughters' lives...whatever happened to just going out and playing? Now we have to be their personal secretaries?

katydidnot said...

bitches. and the little rosters too.

we could totally be friends. if we, like, wanted friends.

Sue @ My Party of 6 said...

Oh man. Another thing you and I have in common. Here's my version of a playdate: Go out in the backyard and play with your siblings. I'll let you back in when dinner is ready.

LuckyMe said...

Three words: Full Day Kindergarten.

Muddlin' Mother said...

Yay. I'm not the only introverted loser with kids. I always feel kind of bad about not being more social. I'm on my 4th and 5th kids and I just don't feel the need to join MOPS and MOMSClub and meet at the park. I figure they have lots of siblings and a dog. They must be happy, no?

Martha said...

This is why I am thankful for two sons! Thanks for the chuckle, first time visitor, also live in SCV!

Nancy R said...

Amen, sister!

MommyTime said...

Not that it matters (except to PETA, for whom it matters A LOT), but did you know that the whole "swing a cat without hitting something" expression comes from the really horrible whip called a "cat o' nine tails" which had nine leather straps at the end of it, sometimes tipped with nasty pointy things, and was often used on board slave ships to enforce "discipline"? Of course, now that you know that, every time you make the reference, you'll feel the need to apologize and reassure people that you actually do mean a real cat, and not something used as a tool of racist oppression. So I guess I'm not helping you at all. Sorry. I just find that expression fascinating for some reason.