We LOVE play dates. They save our sanity during the week. And on weekends. And early morning, and those random but necessary late evening ones. We love the advanced planned ones and we love the last minute spontaneous ones. Play dates = life.
I first discovered the power of the play date when an old friend from my assistant days mercifully reached out in the weeks following #TheHandful’s birth. I had pretty severe post partum depression at the time (in true PPD form, was unaware that I had it) but when she and her son came over it was like the entire house had the curtains drawn and the sunlight burst through. I felt incredible! She and I got to talk like adults while our babies blobbed on the floor in front of us. And then her baby pooped and it leaked out the diaper just like I was convinced ONLY happened to me. And she calmly picks him up, grabs her diaper bag and changes him while complaining about a script note she got from a director who was being a total misogynist. She was so cool. SO COOL. Didn’t miss a beat, wasn’t embarrassed and was just smooth-city. Her confidence rubbed off on me immediately. And it was then I realized the power of another mom’s energy and influence and resolved to set up many more play dates going forward.
You know me by now, I can’t just be like oh one play date will do it. No, Captain Over-Correct over here believes if 1 is good 10 is better. And the natural progression towards hosting Mommy & Me, Swim Lessons and baby parties at our house began. Which quickly turned into our house being a good spot for anyone who needed to do an emergency kid-drop for those last minute adult things that don’t necessitate hiring a sitter for only 2 hours. I love extra babies because even if I can’t have selfish mom-time I know for a fact that #TheHandful will take a solid nap if she’s had a play date.
Here are some play-date hosting tips I’ve learned along the way:
COOL MOM’s 5 Play-Date Hosting Musts:
5) Power Clean
Make sure your house is clean before the babies arrive. If you’re too busy to clean the whole house, make sure the two rooms you’ll spend the most time in are vacuumed and wiped down. You want your guests to be comfortable when they’re at your house and nothing scares a new mom off more than visible yuck. *pro tip: Stand in the doorway and scan the room as if you’ve never been there before, you’ll see issues you never noticed before!
4) Baby Proof
Sound like a no brainer? Well consider this: not all your baby’s playdates are going to be with kids on the same developmental progression, so while your kid might be a good listener and not touch candles, Godzilla is a climbing runner with super human strength who can open doors. Assume you don’t know the damage the other kid is capable of and put everything adult height that you think is unsafe. Remember, you’ve never dealt with these other kids on your turf and they find everything you have new and exciting because it’s not from their house.
3) Rearrange The Goods
Toys get stale quickly. Ever notice how toys are so cool at a friend’s house but the second you buy one it never gets played with again? Rotate some out of one playroom and put it in a closet for a beat, then put new toys in a different room. It seems simple, but familiar toys in a different room can have the same affect.
2) Clarify Allergies
#TheHandful loves to sample everyone’s beverages and snacks. I think it’s a social thing and not a nutrition thing. She has a slight milk allergy though so I have to chase her around and ask the moms if there’s any dairy in their treats so I can manage her. You certainly wanna lock up your peanut butter when the kid with the peanut butter allergy is coming over. Always clarify with the mom because allergies change and allergies affect everyone differently.
Don’t be a couch bum! Get on the floor and let them touch you and play with them, they love it!! If you’re unsure how to play, start with peek-a-boo. Peek-a-boo has never failed, ever. It is the greatest game of all time.
Those are my Cool Mom hosting tips and while they seem obvious in print, I promise you they’re not so obvious in the field!