The play date. It doesn't take a flip through Webster's to figure out that this is an organized time for two kids to play. But it does take a bit of head scratching and pondering to figure out why these have popped up as a mainstay of modern parenting life.
It may seem common to many of us moms (including yours truly), but talk to any mom from a few decades ago and they will flat out tell you the never used that word when their now-grown kids were tots. In fact, my mom is one of those who still finds it a bit odd when I talk of play dates for Kiddo.
Why have play dates become so commonplace? I'm not sure. I think, in my case, in NYC, it is a variety of logistical reasons: we live in apartment buildings, so we don't have the luxury of "go outside and play." No backyards or front yards or cul-de-sacs to head out to, which would then result in connecting with some neighbor kids. Instead, we head to the playground or the park...and probably give a ring to a buddy to meet up there. Almost all of my fellow mom friends are here sans family, so popping by to play with the cousins isn't an option. Again, that playtime with friends has to be arranged.
To add to all of those physical reasons, life just seems busier these days for everyone. All of us lament just how hectic our days are...which just leads to having to schedule playtime. Any fun-filled rendezvous have to be coordinated and put into everyone's iCal or Google calendars.
I know the play date Is a new parenting thing -- and one that not every mom I know digs. Why? Well, it means we have to "play," too, with the fellow play date mom. We moms have to be social and, just like in the rest of life, we may not "click" with everyone. Some days, the last thing we may want to do is chit-chat with anyone. Yup, play dates affect our social life. (The funny thing is, now, after all of these play dates, some of our good friends are the parents of Kiddo's buds!)
Do you organize play dates for your kids? Share your thoughts on play dates!