Play Dates: For Who?

Brea Schmidt feature imageFostering friendships in your 30s when you have young kids is about as easy as convincing your two year old that broccoli is candy.

It’s not easy, man.

I had a revelation recently that the most time that I am spending with my closest friends is either 1.) over text or 2.) during a quick play date that we fit in between naps and work schedules.

Because when I feel like I haven’t seen one of my BMFs (Best Mom Friends) in a while … I text her with a generic “How are you?” because talking on the phone is nearly impossible. Or, if she’s local, I either invite her over for coffee on my patio while our kids play together in the yard, or I invite myself and the kids over to her house to pass those post-nap-before-dinner hours before our husbands get home.

But let’s be honest, half of the play date time is spent fetching snacks or refereeing fights about sharing.

Or making sure that my kids aren’t breaking her TV or spiking her favorite vase.

Or taking 35 minutes to tell a 10-minute story to each other because of all of said interruptions.

But hey, it’s better than nothing, right?

Eh… I’m not so sure.

Because while this modern-day “play date” approach to Mom friendships is ok if it’s every once in a while, when you don’t mix in non-kid time, there’s no time to talk about the REAL stuff that we so desperately need to talk about.

The stuff that keeps us up at night. The stuff that we struggle with in our minds every day. The joys in our lives. The dreams that we have and want to say out loud to someone in hopes that it will help them be closer to coming true.

Those conversations – the ones that help us connect as women, moms and simply as humans – can’t happen while sitting on the floor in the middle of a pile of toys with toddlers and responsibility piled on our backs.

THIS is one of the many reasons that our generation of Moms feels disconnected and alone. Because the time we are spending with the people that we COULD connect with or WANT to connect with is not an environment to have a real life conversation.

It’s got to change.

We need to make scheduling adult play dates just as much of a priority as planning the ones for our kids.

… At a wine bar across a booth from our best friend, talking about our current life joys and struggles as we each order two glasses more than we said we would.

… At at coffee shop with a new Mom friend, getting to know the person she is when she’s outside her role as a Mom.

… At a concert with our friends. Dancing. Singing badly. Letting loose.

… Sitting next to a fire in our backyard with our childhood friend that we invited into town, catching up on life, belly laughing at old embarrassing stories and being with the person that knew us before we were moms.

These things.

These are the things that bring joy to our life. These are the things that give us space to breathe so that we can come back to our Mom responsibility recharged and refreshed.

THESE are the play dates that we should make a priority to set. But instead, they sit in the suggestion box.

“Hey we should go get a glass of wine sometime.”

“We really need to pick a weekend to get together.”

“We should really go get coffee without the kids one morning.”

But we let the busy-ness of life get in the way. We don’t want to deal with getting a sitter, or we are worried we’ll get behind on work. We feel guilty spending time away from our kids, or think we should spend that time with our husband instead. The housework to-do list is piling up and we should really be responsible and get it done. Or we are just too tired.

But ladies? I challenge you. No more excuses. It’s time to choose YOU.

It’s time to make real, human connections with our friends. It’s time to talk out loud about something other than macaroni and cheese. It’s time to talk through the things that we struggle with so that we don’t have to struggle alone. It’s time to give our mind a break from keeping it all together, and to give our hearts space to be the person that we are underneath our Mom role.

It’s time for us to play, too.

Brea Schmidt headshotBrea Schmidt is the creator behind The Thinking Branch, a blog about finding perspective at the root of our daily lives. In addition to being a writer, Brea is the owner of the newborn, children and family photography business Photography by Brea … and the Mom to three kids under the age of four. When she’s not writing, photographing or mom-ing, you can usually find her glued to ESPN, listening to country music or traveling to spend time with her family. Find Brea on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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