This Is The One Playdate Rule No Mom Should Break

by Laura Bower
Originally Published: 
Three boys having fun during their playdate
Hero Images / Getty

My son has now reached the age where playdates are inevitable.

I used to get nervous about meeting moms and having play dates; what if the mom judges everything I do and I can’t stand her? Or worse…what if her kid is a little brat who bullies my kid?

Fortunately, we’ve been very lucky in the playdate department and my son has made a few little friends he loves to have over. I don’t mind hosting said playdates; we have a play room with enough toys to fill up a department store and it’s closed-off so the kids can have a free for all. It’s pretty nice.

Most of my son’s play dates are held at our home. Again, I don’t mind. I actually like getting my house ready for guests, putting on a big pot of coffee and setting out snacks. I know, I’m weird. I get the warm and fuzzies when people come over to visit and when my sons are older I imagine my home will be the one that his friends will flock to.

Anyway, I don’t mind being a hostess. I don’t mind a bunch of kids coming over to play with toys, eat snacks, get crumbs everywhere or slobber on a couple of toys. It doesn’t bother me…and do you know why? It’s because those kids usually don’t know any better.

My son is two and his little playdate friends are all around that same age spectrum…and we all know how toddlers are. They are messy. They dump out toys and within thirty-seconds it could look like a bomb went off in a previously clean room.

Also, some toddlers don’t “get” the concept of cleaning up yet. I totally get it. My toddler usually has to be reminded to clean up his messes and after a few good times, he will do it. Or he won’t. It’s usually a battle, but it’s something I try to remind him about. And you see that’s the thing: I actually tell my kid to do it.

There’s something that bothers me about a mom who breaks the one cardinal rule of playdates — and that’s not cleaning up after her kid.

What’s more disrespectful than leaving someone else’s home a mess? I mean, I host the playdate in my home, give you a cup of hot coffee, and feed you food. I also let your kid eat my kid’s snacks and fruit. And I don’t mind at all…but please, why wouldn’t you clean up before you leave?

Whenever my son does go over someone else’s home, I always insist that he cleans up the toys that he played with before we leave and I’m adamant about it; nine times out of ten, he will do it. Hell, he cleans up better at his friend’s house than at his own house…and that’s totally fine by me.

I’m not talking about picking up every single toy or steam-mopping my floors but, Jesus, can you at least make the effort? How about telling your kid to clean up the mess he made? How about just cleaning up some of the mess yourself? It speaks volumes to me when someone has no consideration to even pick up the wrappers from their kid’s fruit snacks. Come on. That’s when I have to remind myself that my son really likes your kid and I’m doing it for him.

But seriously. You don’t want to be that person. And do you really want your kid to grow up to be that person, too?

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