Work Life Balance

Working Moms And Playdates: My Daughter Is The One Who Misses Out

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As a part-time writer, part-time office worker, my schedule is a little more flexible and forgiving than most. Because of this, I have the ability to drop-off and pick-up my daughter from pre-school two days a week. I have to admit that I find the errand a little obnoxious, because her school day only lasts two and a half hours. By the time I drive back home, lug my computer back out and re-check my email, I only have an hour before I have to leave and pick her up. I guess that’s the price I pay for an educated child, huh?

Anyways, being at her school every morning, greeting her teacher and watching my little girl hang up her coat and gloves tends to give the impression that I’m a stay-at-home mom. By the very nature of being at school at 9 and 11:30, instead of in an office, school employees and other parents assume that my daughter is coming home with me for a nutritious lunch and an afternoon of play at 11:30. She does get that lunch and plenty of play, but it’s at her daycare under the watchful eye of our provider, Annie.

So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the other moms at school started inviting my daughter and I to afternoon playdates. Apparently, there’s a whole network of pre-school playdates that happen after pick-up. These moms get together for lunch and let the classmates giggle off into a room to play house or Legos. Sometimes, they even stay at school, helping the administrators with odd jobs while the kids play in extended care. The moms get together and decorate the halls with kids’ artwork or organize the school’s massive monthly book order. Suddenly, I was getting invites to these lovely activities, but I had a job to get to. [tagbox tag=”playdates”]

The minute my daughter started hearing about the opportunity to have special dates with her friends outside of school, she was thrilled! So far, our playdates are really just family get togethers or dinners with friends who have kids. She hasn’t had a huge opportunity to see her pre-school classmates or daycare buddies outside of their normal encounters. But catching Beauty & The Best 3D with Carly? Heaven help her, my child was quivering with excitement.

Once again, there’s a problem. My afternoons are spent at a desk. My daughter’s afternoons are spent at daycare. Thursday at 3:00, our schedule is kind of full.

I tried to suggest weekend playdates. Maybe a Saturday lunch and trip to the park? Unfortunately, most of the stay-at-home moms at our school reserve weekends for family time with their working spouses. Time and time again, our offers for weekend activities were shot down. Finally, a rather open and honest classroom mom told me, “Ya know, we’re really looking for things to do during the week so that we aren’t just stuck at home every day. There’s always plenty going on for the weekend.”

I completely understand what she was saying! If I was a SAHM, an offer of Sunday brunch probably wouldn’t do me much good. It’s the Wednesday lull I would be concerned with.

I’m not sure that there’s much I can do about my daughter and I’s unsuitable playtime schedule. The fact is that I won’t be quitting work anytime soon. But I do feel a little guilty when my daughter reports about Carly and Anna’s special new friendship bracelets they made last week. I hate to see my little one so sad about missing out on that extra social time. On the other hand, she has a whole network of daycare buddies that she gets to play with everyday. Missing out on school playdates definitely isn’t the biggest or worst case of mommy guilt I’ll encounter.