How I Learned To Like Playdates
Hi Working Mamas,
When my oldest son started kinder, we entered the world of playdates. Oh my goodness, did I find this stressful! If my son was invited to a playdate, I felt like I needed to immediately host one in return. My son begged me to host, and I was constantly looking at my overbooked calendar to see what I had to cut to to make the play date work. This anxiety started before the play date even began. Once the play date started, I realized I had not three boys, but usually four (sometimes I’d get lucky with a calm girl), bouncing off the walls of our intimate house and fighting over toys—not to mention little brothers feeling territorial and ignored by their oldest. And every time I would think to myself, ‘Wow, this was entirely self-induced!’ Like most of you, I would forge ahead trying to make play dates work, while secretly feeling thankful when they came to an end.
Something had to change. My son looked forward to these play dates and I wasn’t about to stop having them all together, but these kiddie sessions were giving me grey hairs! It became clear to me that I had a lot of expectations about play dates, including how frequently they should take place, how often I should host, how my children should act during them, what I should do with the kids… the list goes on and on. I reminded myself that when I attach to an expectation, I usually come up short because I’m so focused on how the “should” should look.
One of my mentors, Steve Chandler, makes a great distinction between agreements and expectations, and this distinction made me realize that I can shift my perspective, and ultimately my experience, of play dates if I make an agreement with myself.
A few definitions:
Agreement: An arrangement that is accepted by all parties.
Expectation: The act or state of looking forward or anticipating. Synonym for anticipation.
Imagine if you do away with putting pressure on yourself to “do it all” and stop expecting play dates to look and go a certain way, and instead you make an agreement with yourself along the following lines:I will do my very best planning playdates, and furthermore, I will do my very best enjoying them. I will detach from all expectations and accept that whatever is for my children’s and my highest good will emerge, allowing us to experience whatever it is we are supposed to, for the highest learning of all concerned.
Bam! I’ll be honest. I host less playdates and I’m okay with that. And when I do host, I enjoy them more because I’m more relaxed and unattached to the outcome. My children seem relaxed too. Voila. Give it a go!
Where in your life can you let go of an expectation and make an agreement either with yourself or with someone else, instead of having expectations?