Ask Scary Mommy: I'm Not Ready For Playdates Even Though Other Moms Are
Ask Scary Mommy is Scary Mommy’s new advice column, where our team of “experts” answers all the questions you have about life, love, body image, friends, parenting, and anything else that’s confusing you.
This week… What do you do when all the other moms seem like they’re ok with letting their kids play other kids now, but you’re not comfortable with it. Who’s right and who’s wrong? Have your own questions? Email email@example.com
Dear Scary Mommy,
I know most states are reopening and everyone is beyond eager to resume “normal” life, but honestly, I’m someone who could live in a strict lockdown phase to ride out the entire pandemic. Which is why I’m having major issues with the whole playdate thing right now. It seems like all the other moms I know (neighbors, friends, classmates’ moms, even family members) are totally okay with letting all the kids play together again. But I still have reservations, namely because I don’t know where the hell all these people have been! But I know my kids are suffering, and I feel so much guilt when I say no. They’re 10, 6, and 3. I’m tired of the judgment from everyone (my kids included), but I’m just not comfortable with it yet. HELP.
Repeat after me: “I am parenting small children through a global plague, and I am doing the best I can.” Say it as many times as you need to in order to believe it. Because nothing about this is “normal,” no matter how easy it may be for some to pretend that it is.
You’re right, most states have reopened. Aside from occupancy rules and mask-wearing, things are back to business as usual. The keyword here is “business.” Restaurants, malls, and coffee shops might be open but that doesn’t mean your house has to be. That being said, let’s do a little risk assessment, shall we?
It’s summer and we’ve all been cooped the hell up for far too long between the general winter season and stay-at-home orders. The fresh air and warm weather is going to make it easy to lessen our personal restrictions, but it’s very important to remember that the pandemic hasn’t disappeared just because the snow has.
As far as playdates go, the CDC recommends limiting contact between kids as much as possible. They caution against in-person playdates with children from other households, unless those children are playing outside and maintain a distance of at least six feet. And, of course, lots of hand-washing.
“We know outdoors is better than indoors,” Alison Buttenheim, a professor of nursing and a public health researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, told The Washington Post. But even outdoor play depends on a child’s age and maturity level. “We know COVID-19 is being transmitted through droplets, which can go very far through sneezing and coughing. But even just breathing, speaking and exhaling can transmit the virus as well. Wearing a mask, plus staying at least six feet away, plus keeping the time together short is a good decision-making formula.”
Some families have been slowly adding to their social bubble with friends or isolated family members who are taking pandemic precautions seriously, and keeping that bubble small. But here’s the thing — if you’ve done adequate research and you’re still not ready, you’re still not ready. And that’s okay because you’re protecting your family.
Don’t compare yourself to other moms, or your family to other families. We’re in this pandemic for a long haul, and you don’t need that added mental stress. Politely tell them you’re doing what you’re comfortable with, and that you wish them all health and wellness.
Have your own questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org