02 Oct Trying not to be #BadMother. And failing.

abellaplaydateDreaded school holidays are upon us again. Except in Samoa not every school is on the same schedule which means I get two of the children home for two (miserable) weeks and then they go to school and I get the other two children home for two (even more miserable) weeks. So in other words, an entire month of disrupted writing, no food in the pantry because all they want to do is eat everything, and non-stop refereeing of squabbles and scraps.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Hence we have resorted to that dire and dreadful thing called – a Playdate.

Bella went to her friend’s house yesterday and had a fantabulous time. They played outside, went to a playground, learned how to make banana choc-chip muffins, went to town for ice cream and fishnchips, made jewellery and did  other assorted imaginative and creative activities. Bella even brought home lots of muffins to share and I ate six one of them.

I was very happy that Bella had such a great time at her friend’s house. And even happier that I got to eat the world’s best muffins. But I also felt slightly ill. (No, not because of the six muffins.) But because it was my turn to host the playdate next.

What are you going to do #BadMother?!

Today Bella’s friends came over to play. I was a woman on a mission – to be creative, imaginative and awesome.

We made jello fruit pops and jello and chocolate pudding. Then I showed them how to make play dough and each girl made her own. Then I set them up with lots of playdough gear and went to (try and) do some writing. I fully expected they would be preoccupied with that for at least two hours. Right?


So then I sent them outside to play ball in the garage – but after half an hour they came back inside complaining about the heat. And since it’s 100+ degrees outside, I couldn’t really argue with them. For the first time, I hate that we live on the side of a mountain and there’s no yard or safe space outside for  children to play. Aaaargh.

Bella’s friends were polite, bright, fun and funny, helpful young girls – which I much appreciated. But after six hours of supervising children who wanted to chat and ask lots of insightful questions, who wanted to do lots of different things every other half hour and who wanted to eat everything in the house – I was exhausted. Because the hardest thing about hosting other people’s children is that one can’t be grouchy. Or tired. Or stick them in front of a TV in your bedroom while you go to sleep. Or turn on the Xbox while you put headphones on and write and ignore them. No, when you have other people’s children in your house, you have to be friendly and fun and engaging and cheerful. ALL THE TIME. This is very hard work for me. Perpetual niceness and cheerfulness goes against my ethical and moral code.

It’s been a very long time since I hosted a play date. Or engaged in creative child-friendly activities. I’d forgotten how tiring they are. How much of a mess so many little people can make. How much patience is required. How much noise they make.

But, I’d also forgotten how nice it is to teach a child something crafty and arty. How much fun it can be to get messy in the kitchen with kids. How loud children can laugh. How much energy and enthusiasm they can bring. I did all this kind of stuff with the older children when they were little but not with Bella.

Because I’m old. Tired. And lazy.

After today’s playdate of (almost) awesomeness. I’m even more old. Tired. Lazy.

And I’m still scraping play dough off the floor and finding rice crackers in my sofa.


  • Mamari

    Hahaha! Yes, I feel your pain. Sounds to me like you were a wonderful host and far better than I would have been in that situation. I’m a hopeless companion for my own kids let alone other peoples’..I had to be press-ganged into playing hide and seek the other day. I was very reluctant to squeeze my adult frame into those tiny hiding spaces. It was kinda fun. In the end. But play dough and jello thingies? You are my hero!

    October 2, 2014 at 5:54 pm
  • penny

    I have my grandchildren over for the day and was tired after the park,trying to find something to do to make an impact on their enquiring minds so they can tell their parents(our children) what a fun time they had with nana and papa…….the little playdate with your daughter looks like our nephew Andrews daughter,Alana our grand neice….good going Lani your forming great minds……

    October 6, 2014 at 8:23 am

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