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To find play dates bloody awful

(117 Posts)
Pinkpowerofthought Mon 09-Oct-17 17:09:42

My dd age 7 is very social. She goes to swimming class on a Thursday, dancing after school on a Monday and goes to after school club on a Friday and wants to attend another group after school on another day. She loves having people to play with as she is an only child.
She has two cousins the same age who live near by who she says once every week.

I have been approched several times by mums at the school gate for play dates. I always agree and arrange for them to be at the park or something as I hate having kids running riot in the house, they always make a massive mess and noise and when it comes to leaving they always start up and start complaining or refusing to put shoes and coat on.
I work full time and don't really have time for play dates and I'm always knackered after work so try to agree to a date on my day off.
I just had dd tell me I'm a horrible mum because I won't take her and her friend to the park after their club. I also wouldn't let her have her cousin over after school.
I fucking hate play dates. I can't be arsed with other people's kids and without fail I always get asked if friends or cousins can sleep over and get harassed by them all the time no matter how much I say no.
I have a physically demanding job. It's hard enough to come home and cook and clean without having other people's kids round. I just can't be assed with it.
Aibu or am I denying dd of the childhood she wants? An open door to all the bloody kids of the neighbourhood and school, play dates and dinner dates and sleep overs. Halloween parties for all and sundry.
I'm a introvert type of person and I think dd is the opposite from me.

Tissunnyupnorth Mon 09-Oct-17 17:18:41

I think you can find a balance between no play dates and ‘all the bloody kids of the neighbourhood’. Maybe say once every 2 weeks your DD can have a friend over after school, or a sleepover once a month. These are things she obviously things she loves to do and they are not going to go away, especially as she moves up primary school.

FWIW, my mum had a similiar attitude to you and I had a pretty miserable time at primary school, I can’t remember one play date or one friend that came to tea, but I certainly remember hearing about everybody else’s !

LovelyPrep Mon 09-Oct-17 17:22:43

I think you would be unreasonable to say no play dates at all.. it can be pretty lonely as an only child (it was for me anyway) and having friends and cousins round to play always balanced things out. Get them to tidy their mess afterwards though.

Welwyncitydweller Mon 09-Oct-17 17:28:33

I think you're going to have to grit your teeth and acquiesce some times. Just enforce your house rules about where they can and can't go, where they eat etc and it will be fine.

WeAllHaveWings Mon 09-Oct-17 18:00:59

they always make a massive mess and noise

Ds(13) had and still has friends over or overnight regularly, any sign of a massive mess or too much noise and they are told to tidy up/quieten down. His friends quickly get the idea what the house rules are.

It's great for him especially as an only child. If he has the same friends for a while and they come over often you get to know them and they become less annoying (and quite funny/charming too!)

Kardashianlove Mon 09-Oct-17 20:40:05

Having your DDs friends to play doesn't have to mean 'kids running riot' and loads of mess and noise.
Tell them to quiet down if they get too noisey and to tidy up any toys they get put/mess they make before they go home or before tea or whatever.

So say 'dinner in 10 mins, get everything put away first' then let them watch a programme or something after dinner rather than getting more toys out. It may make it a bit easier for you.

I also wouldn't let her have her cousin over after school
I can't imagine saying no to my DCs cousins coming round. My DD loves having friends over and I try to do that as much as I can, you can see how happy she is when they are here. I feel a bit sad for your DD that she's obviously desperate for friends to come and play but she's never allowed.

I think everyone has things they don't particularly enjoy but do it to please their kids. It's just part of being a parent. Surely having a friend over once every week/every fortnight and a sleepover once a month or so wouldn't be too difficult.

You may find they play lovely and quietly for ages and you can get on with jobs in peace or whatever. It's not like having a 3/4 year old where you need to constantly supervise.

Justgivemesomepeace Mon 09-Oct-17 20:48:35

My dd was forever doing this to me in primary school. She'd run up most days with a friend in tow asking if they could come for tea. Then I'd 'feel mean saying no with a little face looking up at me but I'd have nothing in etc. In the end I told her she could have play dates on tuesdays. It worked a treat. I could just say yes of course - on Tuesday. I'd expect someone round every Tuesday and have stuff in. Felt much more in control and she learned to just arrange things for tuesdays!

iamyourequal Mon 09-Oct-17 20:55:24

I think you should rethink OP! Do you really want your DD to remember a childhood where she wasn't allowed to bring friends into her own home because her mum preferred to keep it clean and tidy?

GhoulsFold Mon 09-Oct-17 20:58:07

I'm introvert like you OP AND I suffer from a chronic anxiety disorder, and really hate play dates, kids parties etc. But I try to balance it. I'll agree to them a set number of times in a month for example.

I had parents who hated kids, made it very well known, refused to talk to my friends parents, refused to have my friends for tea. It even got to a stage that they weren't allowed to knock on the door to call for me. Then they weren't even allowed to wait at the gate for me! I had to prearrange a time and meeting place with friends that was well out of view of our home, because if my parents even saw my friends on the street waiting for me Id be grounded. (Myself and my friends were not badly behaved either).

Eventually I stopped being invited for tea, friends stopped arranging to meet with me and I was known as the kid with the evil scary parents. I had a miserable childhood as a result.

Therefore I force myself to push through these activities I hate for the sake of my son's happiness, but also put limits on so it doesn't take too much of a toll on my own mental wellbeing and give myself some breathing space inbetween each play date / meet up

waterrat Mon 09-Oct-17 20:58:39

aw let her have her mates over.

how about you make a deal with her that it is quiet and tidy playing?

I think it's a really nice way for them to wind down/ have a change of pace after listening and doing what they are told at school all day.

Angelicinnocent Mon 09-Oct-17 21:01:52

DD 15 has been best friends with another girl since they were 6. I refer to her as my part time daughter as she is here so often. These days she just knocks and walks in and is more likely to make me a cuppa than my DD.

I can't imagine saying no play dates when DC were that age and think it would have been very miserable for them. That said I used to be firm about not asking in the playground, in front of the other child and parents and I limited it to 1 day each week generally (not including cousins).

coldcuptea Mon 09-Oct-17 21:37:31

Are you me op
I hate them with a fucking vengeance
Even if it's one kid around , they take out every damn toy ever owned , run around making a mess , whinge about going home / the food / don't flush the loo etc and i can't see why I should put up with it after an exhausting draining day at work .
I would take them to mac Donald's and soft play once a month and that's that . Once in a blue moon moon they came over . My kids survived .

BarbarianMum Mon 09-Oct-17 21:45:38

And of course your children surviving childhood is all anyone should aspire to. hmm

Very few people enjoy hosting playdates. Most of us force ourselves to do it every now and then, despite our oh so busy lives, because our children enjoy them. I'm sure you could find a compromise.

Skittlesandbeer Mon 09-Oct-17 22:08:04

This is my situation exactly! Wildly extrovert 7yo DD.

I'm going to back you to the hilt. Just count the number of hours your dd is with other kids during a given week. School hours count, and after school clubs. Bloody loads. Just because she's an extrovert or an only child doesn't mean more than that is necessary or healthy.

If she were an introvert, you'd perhaps be conscious of setting up some social time to balance her 'puzzle time' but would you not be a bit concerned about over 45 hours a week of alone time?

And just because our dds crave even more social time doesn't make it healthier. It's important for extroverts to learn how to be patient, hear their own thoughts, play using their imagination and develop an internal locus of control. They might prefer to be surrounded by chat and action, but then they might prefer doughnuts for brekkie too, and it's our job to temper this.

Don't fall into the trap of feeling guilty because she's an only child, or because your introvert nature grimaces at the idea of more play dates. Look at her objectively, make decisions that balance her wants with her needs, and remind yourself that modern kids are getting SO much social interaction that saying no with confidence to extra ones is just fine.

Introverts Unite! (But quietly, in their own homes, with the door shut)

KichenDancefloor Tue 10-Oct-17 07:08:54

Play dates are two way though surely? Roughly every time your DD is the inviter should be balanced out with her being the invitee.

That means gritting your teeth for hosting a play date and being rewarded by some alone, recharge time on another day.

If the arrangements aren't reciprocal there is a problem with the friendship or the parents are all hostile to other people's children!

LoniceraJaponica Tue 10-Oct-17 07:21:28

"I fucking hate play dates. I can't be arsed with other people's kids"

Wow, you sound like a bundle of joy hmm. My nephew and niece grew up feeling pretty lonely and left out at class parties etc because they could never have anyone back at their house and invitations were never reciprocated.

DD's boyfriend has never had anyone back at his house and has no clue about how to host someone. The one time he did invite DD round because his parents were away it was over a meal time. DD asked if there would be anything to eat for her. It simply hadn't occurred to him. His mum had left a ready meal for him and I think he expected to be able to eat it in front of her while she watched him.

In the end she didn't go, and he got upset because he realised he had slipped up. He simply had no idea how to make someone welcome. (He is nearly 18 BTW)

My advice. Suck it up. You don't have to have children around all the time, but every now and again wouldn't hurt. Have a friend round for a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon between mealtimes so you don't even have to feed them.

Playing with friends at school is not the same as having one round to play BTW.

LoniceraJaponica Tue 10-Oct-17 07:23:19

To the introverts on here. Stop projecting. You may not like other people, but you can't expect your children to be like you. It just isn't fair.

thecatsthecats Tue 10-Oct-17 07:31:33

Excellent point, Skittles! Fellow introvert here, and a very social one. The world still values extrovert traits as if they're somehow 'better', so some structured 'training' of introversion sounds fantastic (for the times those extroverts in our lives really do need to settle down and shut up)

Having said that, and agreeing with Kitchen, I think the training can take place on other days. Hosting every other week then free the next surely isn't too bad a compromise?

Oblomov17 Tue 10-Oct-17 10:14:57

No noise or mess here. Ds’s friends come over from time to time. Play together beautifully - out on the trampoline / out playing football / on the Xbox. I barely even noticed friend is here. No trouble. I think you are viewing it all wrong.

bridgetreilly Tue 10-Oct-17 10:29:11

I think it's absolutely fine to say no play dates during the school week. But then at half terms, holidays and occasional weekends, I think you should let her have some. And make sure they are reciprocal - sometimes at yours, sometimes she goes to other people's houses, so you get a little bit of alone time.

PoppyPopcorn Tue 10-Oct-17 10:47:20

God, what a bunch of MISERABLE mothers. This child is 7. Child is old enough to understand the concept of "if you pull every sodding game and toy out, you will put them all back when the friend has gone home". Children of that age do not need mum to be some all singing all dancing jazz hands children's entertainer. They need a drink of juice and a biscuit when they get in from school and someone to provide spag bol or pizza for tea. 99% of the time when my kids have a friend here, I am not with them.

And yes - the main benefit is that when you have a child to play, the other mother will have yours back sometime so you get more free time.

Imaginosity Tue 10-Oct-17 10:55:51

I think you should make an effort of your child enjoys it - the suggestion of having one set day a week for playdates is a good one. My eldest DS has aspergers and I have the opposite problem to you - no playdates even though my son would love them. Don't take for granted how lucky you are that your child finds social situations easy - embrace it!

hotmessmom82 Tue 10-Oct-17 11:37:52

I much prefer kids coming to mine tbh, I can't really relax if my son is at some else's house. Yes it can be annoying with the mess but I do feel its worth it.

ConciseandNice Tue 10-Oct-17 11:43:47

I can't stand it either. It ticks all my buttons. But I suck it up and give it my all because you have to. I work 5 days in a demanding job too and often just can't be arsed with parks etc. I try my best. When you've got a single child I think though the onus is on you to make as many opportunities for social interaction for your child as they need. It's not fair otherwise.

HeteronormativeHaybales Tue 10-Oct-17 12:41:39

I agree with those saying that some of you incl OP sound like a bunch of miseries. And I find playdates stressful too. Always have, and I'm more on the extrovert side personality-wise (so I don't buy the whole 'it's because we're so introverted and society doesn't value us').

Isn't it one of those things we just suck up, like endless nagging about homework and music practice, boring parents' meetings at school, Saturday mornings at the edge of football pitches in the pissing rain, etc.?

You don't have to have someone over every night, but it is important to encourage friendships and model making others welcome in our home, and I do think other parents will be noticing if you always meet at the park.

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