A Working Mama’s Tale: Toddler Play Dates

*Special thanks to all of the mamas who gave me permission to feature their sweet progenies in this post!

One thing I hugely miss about staying at home (while on maternity leave) is having regular play dates.  Not being able to have regular play dates makes me sad on two accounts:  1) Sassafras does not have a group of friends she sees regularly throughout the week since she stays at home with my family; 2) by way of Number One, I also do not have a group of mom friends I see regularly throughout the week.  Scheduling play dates on weekends can sometimes be a challenge since for many families (including my own), weekends are often set aside for special family time since it is really the only extensive amount of time during the week you have altogether.

Perhaps in some idyllic corner of my mind, I imagine stay-at-home moms pouring their hearts out over a cup of coffee while their sweet children run around, laugh and play.  In reality, I know a majority of the time together may actually be spent on discipline, teaching, feeding, and making sure the kids do not rip each other to shreds or self-destruct.  But seeing Aliya interact with other children her age and having time to connect with other moms make my heart happy.  Since this is important me, I have tried to be somewhat creative in my approach of organizing play dates.

Sassafras on a play date at a local park

  • Holidays / Administrative Closures / Vacation – Since I work in the public sector, I take full advantage of my days off!  Baby Checkers had a blast playing with her friend (they are seven weeks apart in age) at the park.  We headed to the playground around 10:45 AM, had lunch together, and got home just in time for her afternoon nap.

She loves the sand, but refuses to take her shoes off.  Result:  A recent Crocs purchase.

  • Early Evening Play Dates – My normal work hours are from 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM, so on most days I manage to get home close to 5 PM.  My husband occasionally works evenings, so I try to plan my after-work play dates on nights when he is already out of the house so that I am not depriving him of daddy-daughter time.  My friends and I take turns providing a kid-friendly dinner, or sometimes we will make it a potluck to ease the burden (or share the joy) of cooking.

Happy to see her friend for a dinner date!

What appears to be an actual date over chicken nuggets and juice in sippy cups.  His tie is fancy.

I am extremely fortunate to have a number of friends nearby who are moms with children close to Sassafras’ age, many of whom I have known since college – pre-marriage, pre-baby, pre-life-as-we-know-it.  I am grateful to be able to walk through this journey of motherhood with them.

Enjoying delicious food together!

Working moms:  Do you have any tips for organizing play dates?

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