The Subtext of Playdate Arrangements

Now that Z’s making friends and influencing people (and getting beaned in the nose with the tetherball) at preschool in the morning, I’ve been filling afternoons with either a) trying to clean house and slowly going insane, or, b) the library, Target, or playdates with Z’s friends.

Here are some common phrases I’ve used and noticed, and what I read between the lines.

“How about we go to your house? Z’s getting cabin fever over here. She could use a change of scenery.”

Translation: We’re living like pig people, and I’d be embarrassed to show this place to an infant, even less to a full-grown adult capable of making judgments.

“Yeah, four o’clock sounds good. But if naps end early, feel free to come on over!”

Translation: I’m going batty alone with my child(ren). Bring yours over to distract mine ASAP. I don’t care if they’re grumpy, rude, crying, snotty. I need them, and I need you!

“Or, we could always meet at the park.”

Translation: The park is a neutral zone, and my child, who hates to share, won’t have any prior claim to the park structures. Also, nobody has to clean up afterward. Also, my house is a disaster area and this way you don’t have to see it, and I don’t have to be embarrassed.

“Do you want to bring a snack, too? Maybe we could have a little picnic?”

Translation: I haven’t gone grocery shopping in weeks and we have nothing fit to serve others. Unless, that is, you think stale goldfish crackers and Cheerios make a meal.

“We’re having a rough day. Z could sure use some company.”

Translation: I’m having a rough day and I am about ready to have a mental breakdown. If I don’t talk to someone who can speak without whining this afternoon, you might see me screaming and riding Z’s Power Wheels up and down the sidewalk outside my house.

Those are just a few. Are there any that I missed?


  1. Val · September 14, 2011

    So, so true. I like how half of them are excuses to avoid a dirty house. It so nice to hear there’s another mom (or two or three or four…) out there who’s just like me.

    Oh here’s another one:

    “I have to warn you, my house is a total mess.”

    Translation: Not only do I have a screaming/whining baby/toddler to deal with, I didn’t have the time, energy or inclination to clean up today because it’s just going to get messy again in 5 minutes.

    I think I used that one today with you!

    • Beth Hull · September 15, 2011

      Yeah, Val! I love it. “My house is a total mess” is kind of an automatic refrain whenever someone steps in my front door.

  2. PB Rippey · September 27, 2011

    Hah! So relieved I’m not alone.

    • Beth Hull · September 27, 2011

      No, PB, you are not alone! Too many of us are afraid of our messy houses, and too many of us are afraid to speak out. No more!

  3. Vic · October 1, 2011

    Love this!! And yes, so true 🙂

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