I had a playdate at my place today. I invited 5 moms and babies over for a couple hours. I did the same last week and it was a smash hit, but this week everyone backed out for one (completely valid) reason or another. Only one mom showed up. Fortunately for her and for me, she is an awesome person and so we had a great visit while her son played.
(Oh, and did I forget to mention? Gwen was asleep when they arrived. So it wasn't much of a playdate after all, I suppose.)
Anyway, we had some great talks and discovered that we are both fans of the RIE philosophy of parenting. We also discussed the 'dark side' of motherhood and the stigma against ever admitting to anyone anywhere that mothering is a really difficult job. I told her about "The Mask of Motherhood" and offered to loan it to her when I finish reading it. Wouldn't it be fun to have a moms' book club where we read and discussed books like that?
I told Alison (for lo, that is her name) that one of the reasons I really liked and respected her was that she was the first mom I'd met anywhere, at any of my groups, to admit that her baby was a difficult one and that she sometimes floundered. It's all too easy to fall into the "oh my baby is so cute and wonderful and motherhood is my dream job and rainbows and flowers spill out of my kid's butt on an hourly basis! Joy!" which is totally nonproductive, because when that attitude is everywhere then every mom goes back home and looks in the mirror and thinks she is the only one who doesn't feel that way. So I thought it was awesome that Alison was being honest about it. It was so refreshing, I think I might have a mommycrush.
I also pitched the very subversive idea of not going crazy with the birthday parties next year. Because really, we are all having a great deal of fun getting to know other moms and babies, and we often get together in quite large groups, which is wonderful. But I started thinking about it and it's entirely likely that we will be invited to 20-30 birthday parties next year. And that means buying 20-30 gifts and giving up 20-30 Saturdays, not to mention being expected to throw my own knock-down shindig for Gwen (and let's not even think about the whole concept of oneupmanship when it comes to kids' birthdays...). It just seems insane. So I suggested that we have group birthday parties, like celebrating all the spring babies at one party, all the autumn babies at another, and so on. And maybe just skipping the gifts, because seriously, do we need more toys? Do we, people? (If we really do, isn't that what grandparents are for?)
Alison thought that was a great plan. We are subversive mommies!
I can say with confidence that my children have more toys than any child ever needs. If it sings, dances, turns on and mesmorizes, it seems to be in my house, whether I wanted it or not. And chances are, I didn't want it.
I didn't have a birthday for Callum, just a small dinner with the Grandmas, yet there were so many gifts piled on the ottoman that night you would have thought it was Christmas for a family of 10. That is INSANE. So many better uses for that money.
And if I'm being completely and totally honest, chances are that I don't approve of whatever it is that was bought and given to my kids. When it comes to toys I am SUPER anal and can not abide all the plastic. The plastic, it makes me The Crazy. Yet I am surrounded by it.
So I'm with you 100% on skipping the gift-giving birthday crazies. I read somewhere about a book exchange where everyone brings one book their child loves, and every kid at the party goes home with a new (to them, the book itself need not be new) book. I love that idea.
Unless it is something hand-made. I love me some hand-made gift goodness.
...anyway, I got carried away there :).
(and motherhood is HARD. It is by far the most challenging thing I have ever done!)
You might like what we are getting Gwen for Christmas then.
Those blocks are VERY cool!
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