It will begin as most playdates do: a phone call or text suggesting that we get the kids together for some play time. Then my initial excitement that I get Time With My Friend.
In the few days leading up to the playdate, I will eagerly look forward to some much-needed Time With My Friend, imagining my girls and their friends playing angelically upstairs and away from my mom friend and me, allowing us the space we need to interact meaningfully.
If my girls misbehave beforehand, I will threaten to cancel the playdate. But, unbeknownst to them, I will do no such thing. After all, if I cancel the playdate, I will also be canceling Time With My Friend!
On the day of, I pack up the kids and head to our friend’s home. The children run off together in that initial eagerness to spend time together, while my friend and I begin our chat.
Things go pretty smoothly for about 20 minutes. Then the inevitable Mama, I need to pee, can you come with me? pops up. Come with you? Why? And why didn’t you pee before we left the house?
I get it over with and return to my friend, not remembering what she was saying when I left the room. Another 10 minutes goes by without incident, until a crash is heard from upstairs.
We slam down our coffee cups and race up to make sure our kids have their arms and legs intact. But of course they do. One of them has dropped a large toy, and they look at us like, You ran all the up here because a toy fell on the floor? Yes. Yes, we did. Because it sounded like much more than that. Like the roof caved in.
My friend and I exchange sheepish smiles and return to our now room-temperature coffee.
We keep an ear out for other odd noises that may indicate severed limbs. I now feel I can’t totally relax even though I try to get back in the rhythm of the conversation. I keep forgetting where I left off. My friend begins a new thread, and we eagerly start chatting again.
Then the kids have a disagreement. Tears are shed. Things get awkward as we struggle to console our children, wishing fervently that the kids would all get over whatever it is so we can have Five Minutes Of Uninterrupted Time.
For the most part, the kids will have their fun and not want to leave when it’s time to go. Children need and should have time with their friends on a regular basis. They will have enjoyed their time together. But what about us moms?
Why do we settle for these compromised get-togethers in lieu of real face-to-face time with each other?
We wanted to have a good time. We started out having a good time. But all. those. interruptions. It makes you want to ask: What’s the point of meeting like this? Don’t we also deserve to reconnect in a meaningful way without being so needed all the time?
This is why I am a strong advocate of Girls’/Moms’ Night/Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch/Just Get The Hell Out Of The House Without The Kids. We can chill, relax, eat, laugh, and most importantly—talk—without interruption. Yes, it’s harder to plan, because we need to arrange childcare or sync up with spouses to make sure they’re available to watch the kids. And everyone’s schedule is different, so finding a day or night that works for all involved takes time and effort.
But the payoff is immense. The feeling afterwards of having recharged and laughed away our worries while catching up with other mom friends, exchanging tips, advice, and embarrassing anecdotes about the kids, have a real healing effect. Even something as simple as going window shopping or taking a walk helps. Because, as much as we adore our kids, we need time away to reconnect with the other moms in our village, in order to be better moms in our families.
We are Scary Mommies, millions of unique women, united by motherhood. We are scary, and we are proud. But Scary Mommies are more than “just” mothers; we are partners (and ex-partners,) daughters, sisters, friends… and we need a space to talk about things other than the kids. So check out our Scary Mommy It’s Personal Facebook page. And if your kids are out of diapers and daycare, our Scary Mommy Tweens & Teens Facebook pageis here to help parents survive the tween and teen years (aka, the scariest of them all.)