The five real life rules
When I had my son and received my first play-date invitation, I nearly had a stroke. I didn't know what to wear or bring. Was this like the movies where all the moms are super-ultra hot, wearing the latest fashion, with perfect hair and make-up? Was I about to be judged for baby-weight, breastfeeding and the neighborhood I lived in? I didn't have the energy for all that? I barely had the energy to put on pants . . . sweatpants. Lord have mercy on my mama soul.
I soon learned many moms were just like that. Perfect make-up, not a hair out of place and their children dressed in designer-brand clothing. While they clicked together like a high school reunion. I found myself staring at the whole seen thinking, is this the Twilight Zone? Nope. Real life. At least the path those moms were able to maintain, and more power to them, they look stunning. This mama doesn't roll that way though. Somedays I'm all cute-ed up and somedays I truly am lucky to be wearing pants. I recently had two of my lovely mama friends over with their beautiful little ones and in my invitations I literally wrote, feel free to show up in pajamas, because I will likely still be in mine. So let me tell you the real play-date rules!
1 Clothing Optional. No seriously babies in onsies, mom in sweats . . . totally okay. This is a judgement-free tree-of-trust. I don't care what you wear. I know you are beautiful, you don't have to prove anything to me. I want to see you. Don't stress out about your clothes. You come as you are, because then you know what? You'll be comfortable and be more likely to come. Both of those seem awesome to me!
2 Zombies Welcome. Sometimes the definition of a play-date is when multiple mamas come together in one place with kiddos in tow and they stare off like a zombie at a wall. That's totally normal. A play-date can be a place were mamas collectively keep the kids safe while being zoned-out zombies. It happens to us all. We are moms, it isn't easy. Remember that judgement-free zone, yep. Come as you are even if you haven't showered in three days and your hair is a rat's nest and you can't form full sentences . . . that's what we are all here for, to support you and give you a moment of peace.
3 Eat Like Hobbits. Have lots of healthy and unhealthy snacks. Life isn't perfect, but food in your tummy can feel perfect. I like the pot-luck style where everyone brings something to share. Then it isn't all on one person. You share the burden and all get the yummy food.
4 Giant Bucket-O-Crayons. What you need to have a successful play date for toddlers is a giant roll of paper, some tape, a bucket of crayons and . . . a floor. Yep that's it. Stop getting all fancy and crazy. Those kids are four-years-old! They don't care. They just want to make a mess. Now tape a giant line of that paper on your floor, pour out the crayons and watch the magic. If that doesn't get them going, another great trick is an empty box for each kid, tape, markers and imagination. Boom. A play-date full of awesome. Of course you always have the bucket of toys as a back up, but thats all you need. If you've all got babies, everyone bring teething rings and a baby blanket. Done. Don't over think this stuff. It is meant to be fun.
5 Hugathon. Begin and end all play-dates with hugs. Everyone gets a hug. You get a hug . . . and you get a hug . . . and you get a hug. Yep hugs. They say humans don't get enough hugs in a day. So stop, and hug each other and not just the quick squeeze, give a proper mama hug. You need one too. Love, kindness and hugs. That's what we need to survive.