"Can We Have A Playdate?" Hell No, Sweetie––Here's Why

by Holly Garcia
Originally Published: 

My daughters have been begging for playdates. All. Summer. Long. I mean, Facetime and Houseparty can only satiate so much of their need for social interaction. Over summer break, I was more inclined to let them play outside with kids we knew and trusted to be responsible. Aka, their cousins and like two other friends. With school back in session, the problem I have now is that the kids they want to play with are the same kids whose parents I see at the grocery store maskless. Not just the parents, but also my daughter’s friends.

My girls wear masks like second nature any time we leave the house. So when their school decided to require masking, after initially saying they were optional, I was relieved. But not for long, because of course, I see more and more of the families from school out and about maskless. And these kids are not over 12, read as: they are not vaccinated or even eligible to get one. Make it make sense y’all. It’s become more apparent that I’m in the minority of parents (in my girls’ social circles) who are being cautious, which is making me want to put a hard stop to playdates.

I’m finding myself in a very weird place. I’ve known some of these parents for a few years. I thought they were on board with safeguarding our kids, which includes, at a minimum, wearing a mask. Yes, I know the government has politicized Covid when it should just be straight science. And yes, I know the CDC changes their guidance more often than my 6-year-old changes her favorite meal. But y’all. There is no denying what we do know for a fact. More kids are getting much sicker with the Delta variant of Covid than before. So what exactly is it going to take for parents to start taking Covid seriously?

How Are You Not Taking This Seriously Yet?


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Waiting at parent pick-up from school, there are two groups of parents. The ones who are spread out and masked, and then everyone else. Shoulder to shoulder unmasked. Maybe they’re vaccinated. Maybe they’re not. That’s the thing. I don’t know. Are they part of the anti-vaxx crowd who are taking livestock drugs to keep from getting sick with Covid? Do they come from a day of working with other people, who refuse to acknowledge science and are asymptomatic? Do they then unknowingly passing their droplets around, bringing Covid home, and spreading it to their child? There are too many unknowns for me to feel like my child is safe during their playdate. Especially when you make a joke about how you better social distance since the principal is coming outside.

These parents are wild y’all. One of my daughter’s friends had invited her to a play date. It was midsummer, before Delta numbers really spiked in our community. I was hesitant, but I trusted my daughter to wear her mask indoors the way we had for the past year and a half. Turns out trusting my child wasn’t what I needed to worry about. The Mom who arranged it all sent me a message that her other child had spiked a fever. They wouldn’t be joining the girls, but she just wanted to let me know. Don’t worry. They don’t have any other symptoms. Uhm, I think not. I don’t care if it was Covid or the common cold. Sharing is not caring in this situation.

She left it open. Saying, I understand if you want to reschedule. But do you really understand? Because you tried awfully hard to downplay it. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I read too far into what was being said, but you know what, I don’t care. I don’t care if you think I’m being over-dramatic or over-protective. My kid’s health and safety come first, and I am not willing to risk the chance that they might not get that sick if I can avoid them getting sick, to begin with.

Judge Me All You Want, My Kids Health Comes First


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Both my girls are social butterflies. They’re the kids in class who are friends to everyone, and as such, they are always up for a playdate. As much as I want to send them, and as much as I want things back to normal, I am too paralyzed by anxiety and fear to make that call in good conscience.

To the moms who I’ve said no to, you’re not a bad person, and I think your kids are wonderful little humans. But I don’t want either of our kids to get sick, or end up in the hospital. I hope you think the same of me too. We might have different opinions about how to best keep our kids safe. Please respect our family’s boundaries, and don’t talk shit. Yes Karen I’m talking to you.

It’s not our kid’s fault, yours, or mine that we’re in the situation we are. Covid sucks, which is an incredible understatement, but you catch my drift. The truth is no matter if you’re vaccinated or not, or whether you wear a mask in public or not, Covid is still going to be here. If you do those things, it means we can get back to a more normal place faster. More playdates, less anxiety and fear, and more connection with friends IRL instead of through a screen. It’s up to us, as adults and parents to make responsible choices. So let’s get on it already. To be honest I miss sharing a grownup drink with another mom in the backyard as we watch our children jump on the trampoline, like the maniacs they are.

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