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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The playdate test

I'd forgotten how awkward these things are.

My girls have several friends, some they see a lot, and some they are still getting to know. For the most part, their newer friendships are forming gradually between friend-to-friend and mother-to-mother at the same time. And, that's nice because I know that any playdates they have with these newer friends should be fairly easy for me too.

Not my son, though. He goes to preschool, and his friends' parents are those people to whom I just smile and say "hi" once or twice a day, three days a week.

And now he's requesting playdates. Oh, help me.

Right before the first one, I had a stomachache. Why haven't we ripped out the ugly pink carpeting upstairs by now? Why does my kitchen still have this wallpaper? My dining room! It's a school room with books and crafts and papers everywhere!

I felt like a girl about to go to prom with a huge zit on her nose.

Regardless, that first playdate went well: D and his new friend got along famously, and the mom and I spent an hour or two chatting.

But, when the conversation about kindergarten came up, I dropped the "H" word and I felt the air in the room change. The fact that we homeschool still came as a surprise despite the fact that my school-age girls are with me every time I drop off or pick up D from school,

Oh, and she's a teacher? Fabulous.

Listen, I know that teachers and homeschoolers can be friends, but there is that awkward pause of "ohhhhhhhhhh" every time this happens as we digest and size up each other.

Do I think this fact has been the reason there has been no reciprocal request for a playdate? Or was it just me? Or---no, it couldn't be---my son?

This morning I do it all over again with a new mom and her son. And, I know the homeschooling thing is going to come as a shock since her last email asked me if she'd see me at the kindergarten orientation held last night.

I wish I could have a glass of wine before a 10am playdate.

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Blogger Robin said...

Bloody Mary's. Or mimosas. Totally acceptable for morning.

I hate that awkward "do I stay or do I go" playdate thing. Invariably the moms I'd love to get to know rush off, while the ones I really don't always stay (or insist I do) interminably. Just last night I got stuck for HOURS at one of M's friends, despite mentioning several times that we had to go because my older son had gotten home and would be hungry for dinner and company. They nodded, then served her dinner. Oy... Of course my kids are a little older than your son, so parent playdates are no longer a must.

9:11 AM  
Blogger The Mom said...

Oh my. Yeah, that stinks. Just when you think that being a homeschooler isn't all that weird, you're reminded that it still is.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Q. said...

Oh, the social awkwardness of playdates! I always feel like I'm on a first date. Not a good one.

In my opinion, it's not homeschooling-- we re all looking for kids we like and moms we click with-- but we're also looking for relationships that will 'work out' moving forward. That mom was probably thinking "how nice to have a friend my son may go to kindergarten with! We can swap pickups and after school activities and sleepovers!" There are several of Lucas' friends I adore, but they will not attend kindergarten next session or live in a different town, and I try a little less with those playdates, as I know those relationships will fizzle when our free time is limited.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Momisodes said...

Oy. I think a swig of some coffee and Bailey's in the morning wouldn't hurt :)

I hear you though. Meeting other parents during playdates is like dating all over again.

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Stacia said...

It's like when you tell another mom you don't go to church, or don't serve your kids meat, or buy off Craigslist, or eschew minivans, or whatever your thing is ... It's the big, fat, glaring "Different." And that's absolutely worth a drink!

10:44 AM  
Blogger Suburb Sierra said...

Never noticed the color of your carpet upstairs. I love all your artsy stuff in the dining room (as do my kids) and don't you just long for the days when we were kids and we just wandered from house to house parent-less. We would have died if our Moms came along for the ride. Man, that would make life for us Moms sooooo much easier...

2:28 PM  
Blogger Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Most moms aren't actually judging ME, I think they are worried that I am judging THEM. You know? That somehow, public school and the parents who send their kids to it are lazy or choosing less than I am. WHICH I AM NOT THINKING AT ALL. Also, they hear "homeschooling" and they see my clothes and hair wrap and Chucks and think "HIPPIE HOMESCHOOLER" and... a whole nother ball of wax.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

I feel like I need to update: today's playdate was wonderful---the mom was awesome and didn't seem phased by the "h" word. It doesn't mean that the next one won't be as anxiety-provoking, but at least today's was pretty good! Thanks for understanding!

9:11 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I have engaged in a total of two playdates--both with the same mom & child.

They sucked.

Now, I'm befriending local homeschoolers through an online group *I* created at Ning--and I am scared to death.

They wanna meet up. Despite the fact they are homeschoolers, with sons Benjamin's age, somehow I am afraid it will be a disaster. I'm afraid they won't *get* our relaxed methods.

I'm the person who brought us together and yet, I have no desire to actually meet these people in person.

You are way more brave--rock on, sister. You keep on play datin'!

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Cristina said...

Not that I have the preschool thing going on, but with Girl Scouts or other activities, we've had several recent playdates and the 'h' word has come up. I know exactly how you feel.

2:23 AM  
Blogger Patois said...

Mimosas go well. I guess if there's anyone who might find homeschooling "offensive," I guess it would be someone in the public school system. (And, please, know that I'm not saying they DO find it offensive; I'm just saying I can see that they might. Not unlike when I worked for a newspaper and I'd run into people telling me how horrid the media is. Or when I run into someone who works in the health insurance industry and I sucker-punch them.)

Oops, I digressed. I don't think it was the homeschooling. I think it was the pink carpet.

9:47 AM  
Blogger happygal said...

Playdates are killer. I always stress out over them (whether I am hosting them or sending a kid off to them). Will I embarrass myself? Will my kids embarrass me? What will they say about us when the leave?

Only thing worse is hosting birthday parties.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Issas Crazy World said...

I don't like playdates. I was so glad when it stopped being where I had to go and pretend. Sigh. i am an anti-social person I think.

I know I'd have one with you though. Homeschooling doesn't bother me...I know I couldn't do it though.

I send my kids to the hippy choice school. Want to get eyes raised at you, tell people your kids go to a school with no grades and very little homework. YEah.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Kez said...

Ooooh yeah. I hear ya. I'm still looking for the homeschooling family where I click with the mum and Billy clicks with the child. It hasn't happened yet :(

Plus I'm anti-social :)

3:39 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

I'm thrilled that you home school! I'm a grad student and getting my Masters in Education makes me want to home school all the more...but I get what you're saying people don't understand home schooling or why I may want to teach Middle School....

1:34 PM  
Anonymous A Well-Versed Mom said...

As "Momisodes" noted, it's dating all over again, but with new worries and new rules. Sigh.

You're not alone. There will always be differences among parents. Some will click. Some won't. You probably just have to kiss a lot of frogs. You know, like grown-up dating.

4:59 PM  

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