April 16, 2014

parenting pet peeves

Two of my biggest pet peeves about parenting: arranged playdates and organized team snacks. There I said it. It’s out there. And, you can’t make me take it back. Just the mere mention of one of these topics makes my insides flop around and my mind start to spinning inside my skull.

Maybe two babies ago I would have been all over a playdate, this arranged appointment for children to get together to play, like friggin’ Martha Stewart on Styrofoam balls and a hot glue gun. I would have had that playdate arranged and on the calendar for weeks. I would have looked forward to it. I would have showered for it. I would hope the other parent invited me inside the house so I could engage in an adult conversation.
Now, it’s just another pull on my already overbooked schedule. Don’t get me wrong, my kids play with other kids for Pete’s sake. I just like it when it happens organically. Naturally. When the neighborhood hooligans stop in for some hide ‘n go seek or bike riding. Or when we are at the ball park for a little league game and all the little siblings run around with sticks and shout “you’re it!!” Or when the school friend calls out of the blue and asked for an impromptu sleep over. Or when some wood gets thrown in the fire pit and we skewer marshmallows to roast with friends that happen to be around. That’s what I enjoy. That’s what feels right.

Not too long ago I was victim of parenting peer pressure about my daughter’s playdate schedule. I was told that even though it was realized our family is busy with school and sports, her friends miss her. Talk about a guilt trip. I completely understand that I could be misinterpreting the conversation and I shouldn’t put feelings behind words written in emails. However, there is truth to “it’s not what you wrote, but how you wrote it”. Believe me. It’s true.

The one thing I’m not worried about regarding my children is their social skills. The three of them know how to make friends. Shy might be my middle name, but I was handed offspring who don’t understand the definition of the word.
Pet peeve numero dos: Do not e-v-e-n get me started on organized team snacks people. Such. A. Pain. I mean, I understand the concept. And I even understand the kids LOVE the team snacks almost more than actually playing the sport. Sometimes I think the kids endure the hour of t-ball just for the snack at the end of the game. If you have a child on an organized sport team, you are most likely familiar with a team of children gathering like a motley crew of misfit pirates with one clear ring leader yelling “SNACKS!!!!” as they run with a wild look in their eyes to parent standing on the side lines with the booty. And, just like that, the carefully arranged Gatorade bottles, orange slices, and rice krispy treats placed in cellophane bags tied with ribbons to match the team colors are wiped out in a matter of milliseconds. After which the snack parent looks dazed and wondering what actually happened in the blur of grubby hands, loud noises and dust flying. Did she just get groped by a first grader?!? And, never fear there is always that one sibling with puppy-dog eyes inquiring about any leftovers at the very end that the snack parent has to disappoint and watch run off crying because they didn’t get any.

Which brings me to my point…..Organized team snacks is spendy yo! It sounds good in theory. Nine to twelve kids on the team. Easy right? But don’t forget the half dozen to dozen siblings. Plus the random cousin or neighbor kid that tags along. And, that one kid from the other team who must have a snack beacon chip installed and comes snooping around as you wonder where his parents are but can never locate.
Let me tell you something. Juice boxes aren’t cheap! And, who has time to make wholesome snacks or cut up apples this day and age? Not me. The shear amount of food allergies and gluten intolerances is off the charts by the way. Never forget the teammates who have food allergies. They possess mothers who moonlight as food police. That’s a battle you never want to encounter. Never. My head is spinning just thinking about it.


Enie Dub said...


Carrie said...

I have to TOTALLY AGREE with you on the team snacks! I hate them! I try to avoid the snack-scheduler as long as possible so by the time they get to me, all the dates have filled up.

Unfortunately, we ARE that family with food allergies, BUT my kids totally know and understand and don't make a big deal about it.

But I hate teams snacks. Truly.

The Flaky Fashionista said...

Thanks for making me laugh out loud. I'n also thanking God, Allah and whoever else may be listening that such things as Team Snacks don't exist in Ireland. Ye Gods, now that is PRESSURE!