It’s Not You, It’s Me

Hey girl.  We need to talk.

I’m just not sure I how I feel about this whole play-date thing.  I mean, I like you, sure, and hey, that kid of yours?  Pretty cool, am I right?!  I mean, Phaedra talks about her all the time at home, and has been bugging me for weeks to invite her over to play.  And you!  You’re so great!  In fact, I’m pretty confident that you wouldn’t steal anything from my house if you came over.  Also, that time you pretended not to notice how fucked-up I looked when I dropped Phaedra off at school wearing my pajamas and gold-sequined Uggs?  Pretty solid of you.

Yes, they're real and yes, they're fabulous.
Yes, they’re real and yes, they’re fabulous.

What I’m trying to say is…it’s not you, it’s me.  I want to get out there and start play-dating, but I just get all squirrelly and weird at the thought.  Play dates are essentially a milder, less legally-binding version of a visit from Child Protective Services.  I have to clean up and try to semi-disguise all the weird things in our house: the cereal cemented around the base of the entertainment center; the curtain with the big burn hole in it from the summer Rob decided to start killing flies using a lighter and an aerosol spray can a la Revenge of the Nerds; the copies of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia mixed in with Tangled and The Muppet Show next to Phaedra’s bedroom TV.

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We mainly use it to teach her how to swear properly.

Plus, to be completely frank: I’m just not in the mood.  All week long, I’m gone at work, or busy dropping kids off or picking kids up, then I spend the rest of my time at home either a) preparing kids for bed, or b) keeping kids in bed.  When the weekend comes, I really just want one day where I can stay home, not get dressed, and do the housework that I didn’t do all week long.  If I lose that one day, chances are good that my kids will end up wearing Halloween costumes to school and eating off of Frisbees for much of the week.

Plus, I just don’t know the mechanics of how this relationship is supposed to work.  Are you supposed to stay the entire time?  That means I have to basically hang out with you for, what…an hour?  Two hours?  What if you turn out to be a turd?  You’re already in my house, and the kids are already playing, so I’m supposed to sit here and pretend to enjoy having a conversation with you about why we painted the living room orange, and be uncomfortably noncommittal when you start into politics or social policy or something we inevitably disagree about when I could be watching Judge Judy and folding clothes while Surrey takes a nap?  Or what if you leave?  I’m supposed to babysit your kid until you decide to show up again?  And what if your kid sucks and I end up having to entertain some kid that no one else in the house wants to play with because she’s a total asshole?

You know what?  I don’t think this is going to work out.  Let’s just break this off right now and maybe we can get together in the future when we’re both in a difference place.

Like, say, high school.

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7 Responses to It’s Not You, It’s Me

  1. Shawn says:

    I am totally with you! My kids know that this is my space and I don’t let just anyone in it. We meet at the park when the weather is good. Occasionally in the winter we will meet for bowling. I never feel pressure to socialize. I attend all the functions with the girls when they are invited, and read my book. Because, as a slight feminist you may have a crazy dad approach you for conversation and explain that his daughters will NEVER be in Girl Scouts. Why? Because they promote irresponsible sex and abortion as the organization takes suport from Planned Parenthood. Of course that did not turn out pretty. Yeah, coming to my personal space is not going to work out so much. Excellent job putting into words for all of us Janel.

    Can I refer the parents to this writing when they assume I can’t pick my own friends and that my 9 and 4 year old daughters have been judgement?

    • Shawn, I love you. I actually know a mom at preschool that does exactly that while she waits in the hallway — sits and reads a book. Totally not interested in socializing. She’s my hero.

  2. Jen says:

    Janel you crack me up. I feel the exact same way and I think it will only get worse as we head into the elementary years. My boys constantly ask if kids can come over and play and since I don’t have involvement picking up the boys from school I don’t really know any of the parents. Just as bad—birthday parties. My kids are starting to get invited to them. The flip side is when you are the one visiting and as a parent you think..do I leave? Are they serial killers? Do I stay and make small chat with strangers? Aaugh.

    • I’m not sure I can even get my head around birthday parties. I had a test run when Surrey was a newborn, and I seriously had no idea what to do. The post-pregnancy hormones certainly didn’t help.

  3. Evelyn says:

    Amen, sistah! My husband’s co-worker, who was really nice, said to me, “We should get together on a Saturday. I need friends who drink wine.” That was tempting. I like wine. But I just came out and gave her my line, “Weekends are out. Sorry. Momma don’t play that.”

    If you do want to get back in the game, I came up with a quick questionnaire you can hand out: http://momsicle.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/how-to-make-new-parent-friends/.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Words right outta my head…

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