Thursday, July 25, 2013

play date.

Today I met some girlfriends & their kiddos at the park so we could chat watch our kids have a great play date.  If we are going to keep it real then shall I be so bold to say that play dates aren't really for the kiddos at all, but rather for the mamas & the papas.  Sure, it can get energy out & get them socialized, but then both of those things really benefit me.  The play date is an opportunity to chat, to lament, to encourage , to connect & to laugh. Sometimes I have let a play date go on too long because I was having such a good time & didn't want it to end.  Meanwhile Junior was having a major meltdown, because either I missed snack time due to having such great conversation wtih.a.grown.up. or they were tired of the other kiddos taking their toys or what have you. Leaving the play date sometimes can mean going home to do the dishes or put the laundry away (which is it just me or does anyone else like to put laundry away in different stages?  First I like to get it out of the dryer.  Then later I may fold it.  Even later I I actually put it all away.  I feel more in control that way I guess.  Ain't no dryer buzzer going to be the boss of me.  The crazy thing is that I am pretty sure given all of the different steps I take to put it away just creates more work for me, but whateves.)  Leaving the play date also means possibly spending the  remainder of the day talking only of Bob the Builder & dump trucks. Unless you have girls then I have no idea what you talk about.

I don't know any different.  I have been having play dates with other mamas & their kiddos since my first born could barley hold up his head.  You know the ones. When all of the first time moms have their babes laying next to each other on blankets & we try to take pictures of them all & have fun talking about how is going to marry who.  Until one baby spits up & then one gets hungry & we aren't able to finish a sentence, but still we keep talking.  We may have looked a little haggard & had hair that didn't know the last time it had been washed, but we were together.  Sharing our ups & downs & doing life side by side.

Maybe it's just me, but I've noticed the thing about play dates, especially ones with many people or people I don't know or in public popular play date locales can sometimes be breeding grounds for me to have judgmental thoughts.  Just today I found myself tossing some judgmental thoughts around in my head directed toward the other parents at the playground.  How is it that I think I know what they should be or shouldn't be doing with their kids when I don't know them. Like at all. I don't know where they came from or where they are headed.  For all I know the dad who's son somehow got back behind the construction fence where the dump trucks & diggers loomed could have not been tracking on his kids for a variety of reasons.  Maybe he was out of work so even though he was at the park with his kids he was really at the unemployment office or an interview in his head.  Maybe his wife was sick. Maybe he is a single dad who is overwhelmed & needs some help. Oh my goodness.  Maybe he wasn't even their dad!  Was he the sitter, the uncle, the friend?! Whatever the reason I am sorry dude at the park.  Sorry that in my head I was thinking that my kid would have never gotten that far.  Sorry I was thinking that I knew any better or could do anything any different.

It is good for me to remember that everyone has a story. That most parents are the same in that they are just trying to stay afloat.  It is the times that I am not being mindful of my thoughts that the judgmental ones creep in.  It sounds a little much to say I have to think about what I am thinking about.  But, I do.  If I don't they will go all willy-nilly on me & end up somewhere I have no business being.  I too am trying to stay afloat as a parent & my thoughts running wild speculating why that mom let her kiddo act like that or why they didn't act a different way really does nothing to help me stay afloat.  It actually would set me adrift more than anything & being lost at sea while trying to be a mama to my boys sounds a little like um..impossible.  So today was a good for me to reset my thoughts & to remind myself that instead of internally criticizing the other parents I should be looking at them as my allies.  Because we are all in this together.  We, together, are raising the next generation.  And that sounds like something that needs all hands on deck.

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