Play Dates

Regardless of how devoted you are to your children, or how much they love you, there are times as a Stay At Home Mom when too much togetherness is not a good thing. Just as you need time away from them occasionally, they need time spent around other people besides you, too. Other kids to play with, for one thing, and maybe a change of scenery. If nothing else, a break in routine.

This is where "Play Dates" can be wonderful for both you and your kids! Most people get together with a group of friends, church members and/or family members who have children in the same age group, and alternate hosting the play dates.

When it's your turn to have the play date at your house, make sure you have a sufficient amount of healthy snacks and bottled water or sugar free drinks or juice on hand for the entire group. Have some fun, engaging activities lined up for the children, be ready and waiting when the other mothers drop off their kids, and then brace yourself!

It will be a noisy experience. Any time you get a group of healthy, active, high spirited youngsters together, it's a sure fire bet that they won't pass the time sitting around quietly. Uh uh. They'll be up and moving, chattering and laughing, playing and horsing around, shrieking and squealing. This is natural. Nerve wracking, but natural. Kids are boisterous. When they have a whole group of friends to play with, they're even more boisterous, and that's okay. Look at it this way: They'll go to bed without a murmur and sleep soundly.

Your job, as the hostess of this play date, is to oversee and direct activities, supervise play, pass out snacks and drinks when they need a break from all that fun, and keep an eagle eye on them to make sure nobody gets hurt or sticks a bean up their nose or whatever. It's a big responsibility. But believe it or not, you might even enjoy yourself. And even if you don't, not to worry, it will soon be over and next week you get to be the one who drops your little darlings off at somebody else's house. Yippee!

Oh happy day! Your children are safe with this week's hostess, happy, surrounded by playmates.....while you get some R&R of your own! Use this time as you see fit. You could be practical and spend this bonus time in doing grocery shopping or getting the oil changed in the care. But don't. Instead, splurge! Take this glorious time and spend it in the most frivolous pursuits you can think of. Do things during these play dates away from your children that are just for you, and you alone, without the kids.

Take in a movie. Meet a friend for coffee. Visit a garden center and drool over this season's new flower varieties. Fish. Read. Buy yourself a double dip Rocky Road ice cream cone and eat every bite sloooowly all by yourself, savoring every last, lingering lick, without feeling the hungry little eyes on you of the kids who wolfed theirs down in three bites and are now staring at you as you eat yours.

It doesn't really matter what you do, but do something that makes you happy. Something relaxing. Something just for fun. By the time you go to pick your children up from Play Date, you'll be ready to switch back into Mommy Mode, and be better for your time alone.