Thursday, November 15, 2012

Play Dates...Mommy Dates?

One of the highlights of being a new mommy - play dates. At this stage in my son's life the playdate is more a mommy date. As he gets older they get increasingly more beneficial to him though and it is great to see him with other babies. Here is my look at the positive...and negative..side of playdates.

A playdate is a time to get out of the house(or host a small group) and spend some time with mommy friends. I have found that even if a mommy and myself had nothingin common before, this no longer matters since baby arrived. There is an endless list of topics to cover. We listen to each other's stories, share each other's joys and struggles and offer suggestions. We snack and let the babies interact with each other.

We learn some new tricks of the trade for teething, sleeping, feeding and fussiness. We discuss product brands that work and ones that don't, what TV shows we prefer for our little ones to watch, and what toys are useful and fun. I feel like I have some time with people who really understand exactly where I am in life now. Playdates lead to a fantastic source of companionship and support, and it's neat to see the babies start to socialize with each other.

As with most things, there is a downside, but thankfully I don't believe it is too severe. Things to watch out for is comparing the babies beyond the norm. Of course the babies are all different and progressing at different rates and as I have said in Milestone Envy it is virtually impossible for us to avoid comparing our children against one another. The important thing to remember is to not let it get out of hand. It's okay to voice our comparisons in light conversation, as long as we don't let things get too heavy and become competitive. Another downsidesis the "keeping up the with baby joneses." There is no way that you will ever be able to have every toy or every baby gimmick that your friends have. While discovering new and useful toys and quality baby gear from others is a plus, it can get concerning when it becomes a contest. If you are trying to copy everything someone else has, it can be exhausting and never ending. It may also be necessary to tune out the mommy who appears to be constantly boasting that she has the best of everything. You are doing just fine as a mom! Your child has everything he/she needs!

Bottom line, I love playdates and like to think that my son does too, and I plan to swallow up every opportunity to attend one!

Momma's Musts
  • Join up! Find a playgroup in your local area or start one among your mommy friends. Even if you only know one other person with a baby, they may know someone else and it can snowball from there.
  • Soak it up! Listen to other's stories and relate in their experiences, and offer and welcome advice from other mommas. Sort through the advice when you are home later and decide what will actually be useful to you
  • Be wary. Try to avoid the competitive side in comparing babies and baby gear. Trust yourself with your decisions and equipment choices. Sift through advice but let your thoughts be the final word. As long as your baby has sufficient materials for healthy growth and development - relax!
  • Enjoy yourselves! The purpose of a playdate is to do just that - play!  Play with your babies and enjoy the other mommies and just let yourself have fun!

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