Playdates are amazing! For a couple of hours, your kids have a way to expend energy and grow in relationships as they play with other similar-aged kids. And YOU get to submerge yourself into an adult conversation. It’s great.
Because my first child didn’t arrive until I was 38 years old, the wonder of “the playdate” was unknown to me for almost 4 decades. You talk about life, kids, food, teachers, relationships, spiritual things, and so much more. I have learned many life-changing things and made many life-long friends in the past few years, engaging in the wonder and joy of “the playdate.”
Brynn was the host of our most recent playdate. Although I wondered how it would go since she has 2 little girls and I have 2 little boys, it was quite wonderful. It was a combination of superheroes and mermaids and somehow it worked.
You always learn something at a playdate.
When Brynn had her first little girl, she left a job teaching school. Brynn stayed home and was learning how to be a full-time mommy. She exchanged a social job with lots of interaction for hours alone with a baby girl. Then God blessed them with a second daughter. Though there was wonder and joy at being a mommy to two precious girls, there were also many difficult times for Brynn.
One thing Brynn struggled with was the feeling that she wasn’t a good mom. Maybe you’ve felt similar feelings. I certainly have. You just know that other moms have it all together. Their children are nursing well, sleeping well, and are very peaceful. They are lying on a Pottery Barn quilt watching videos that teach them how to read. Their mommy (dressed in a very cute Ann Taylor outfit) is making a Martha Stewart-type meal while Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is playing.
Meanwhile, you’ve been wearing the same pajamas for three days. The baby is crying so you decided to join her. You’re sleep deprived and wild-eyed, wondering if you’ll ever get eight straight hours of sleep again.
During this season of sometimes feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, Brynn accepted an invitation to join a MOPS group at our church. MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) offers childcare and activities for moms so they can connect with other moms. Kind of like a glorified playdate.
One morning at a MOPs meeting, a wonderful friend named Courtney shared a message called “The Beauty of Failure” and one of her main points was that we bond in our struggles. She played “Failure Bingo” (just typing that makes me laugh!) and called out things like…
“If your kitchen floor is a mess and needs to be swept, raise your hand.”
“If you left your house with sticky kitchen counters, raise your hand.”
“If you haven’t read to your child in the past 24 hours, raise your hand.”
Brynn said the raising the hand part really set her free. She looked around at all these women raising their hand and Brynn’s heart sighed in relief. The enemy always tries to isolate us and discourage us. We buy the lie that we have to be perfect and we must show perfection to anyone watching. The truth is Brynn is not a perfect parent. Neither am I. Neither are you. The perfect mom does not exist. But your relationship with Jesus – the only Perfect One – will help you unravel miles of impossible expectations and find deep peace in becoming the very mom you – and only you –were created to be.
This week, bond with a new friend by showing her your brokenness first…
“I’d like to be the ideal mother, but I’m too busy raising my kids.” – Unknown
I have encouraged many moms to take time during this busy, frustrating, complex time of life of raising babies to reach out to other moms and have lots of play dates! This is a time in your life where you feel frazzled because you are still physically exhausted with child birth and dealing with these amazing little people, but you are not yet saddled with the time constraints of t-ball and gymnastics and school. If you, as a mom of toddlers and preschoolers can connect with other moms in your circumstance, you will come to realize that these are the relationships that stand the test of time. Your children start out to be the catalist that brings you together, but the bond that developes and is nurtured is so valuable. Eventually you realize that this friendship may have never taken place had it not been for your willingness to drag yourself out of your house, or perhaps reluctantly invite another mom or two to your house. The mom of young children that reaches out to other moms, in spite of how clean and tidy her house is or how “together” she feels will find herself surrounded with women that she can truely call friend and count on in good times and bad times. Take the time . . . put in the effort!
This is so true – and I love the Bingo idea. I was a young mom with my firstborn, and while I didn’t have any friends with children yet, I compared myself to what I mistakenly thought I “should be” and always fell short. (I’m just glad Pinterest didn’t exist back then.) I ended up joining a MOPS group when my 3rd son was born. I was relieved to see that it wasn’t a place of “Mommy Wars” but full of accepting and loving each other through our messy lives.
wow i love your comments Sharon and Jessica. yes there is something wonderful about this season of life – and about playdates and MOPS. much love