September 20, 2010

Social Anxiety + Playdate

It seems to me (and it makes sense to me) that bloggers talk more often than other groups of people about social anxieties. So much, in fact, that I'm a little tired both of reading about it and of writing about it. BUT: it comes up so often, and affects so many areas of life, it's not so much "writing about social anxiety x 5" as it is "writing about how social anxiety is screwing up my ability to call a doctor who could help with social anxiety x 1" plus "writing about how social anxiety is complicating the decision of whether or not to attend BlogHer x 1" plus "writing about..." and so on.

Today it's "writing about how social anxiety is complicating my children's social lives x 1". Elizabeth is in kindergarten, and she's socially comfortable at least for now. And she BADLY wanted a playdate with another little girl she knows and likes. And I REALLY DON'T WANT TO ARRANGE IT, NOR DO I WANT TO PARTICIPATE. I mean, REALLY don't---as in, I would rather let a spider walk on my hand. BUT: I am aware that one of my responsibilities as a parent is to help my children arrange things they're not able to arrange for themselves, especially when those things are actively good for them. And so. I waited for a brave moment and I pounced on it.

It helped x 1,000,000 that I had the other little girl's parents' email address from the class list: instead of Phone Hurdle plus Playdate Hurdle, it's only a Playdate Hurdle. But this morning is the playdate, and I would rather be doing almost anything else. Going to the grocery store with three children? SURE! And they can't sit in the cart? NO PROBLEM! And they'll drink coffee first? WHY NOT! And a spider will walk over my hands while I'm shopping? NO BIG!

It won't be as bad as I think. I might even enjoy parts of it. And certainly the relief when it's over and we're driving home will be glorious, and I'll be so glad I did it for Elizabeth's sake. And then she will want me to arrange another one.

25 comments:

Mommy Daisy said...

Good luck! I'm sure it will go fine. The other mother is probably feeling just as apprehensive as you are. Just fake your confidence!

Lindsay said...

You can do it!!!! I have social anxiety to a small degree and hate playdates too. I try to steer my kids to people who we already know. Thinking about it now, I abhor playdates. ugh. But look how brave you are!

LoriD said...

I don't like arranging playdates either. Although I do like having other kids over (without the parents), because the children are otherwise occupied and not hound me. And dropping them off for a playdate? Heaven.

Pickles and Dimes said...

I am such a hermity hermit that when people invite me out to do things, I spend the whole time beforehand thinking about how awkward it's going to be and how I'd rather sit at home with the dog reading a book than make small talk, and then every single time I go out, I have a blast, and make new friends, and then think, "What was my problem? I should do this more often."

el-e-e said...

Ohhhhh, it's a playdate where you get to (have to) sit with the other mom and have coffee or something while the girls play? Ohhhh.

I was thinking it was the other kind: the playdates where I take in a kid to entertain my 6-yo for a few hours. It's much more awesome that way. Bye, kids, have fun in your room and I'll see you at 3pm for a snack!!

We'll need the play-by-play later. Hope all goes well!

lifeofadoctorswife said...

I hope it goes wonderfully!! Perhaps the other child's parent will be delightful and fun and you will get to do lots of playdates together in the future.

d e v a n said...

It's going to go fabulously!! And then maybe it will be easier next time?
Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

Um. By kindergarten playdates for me mean my dropping my kid off and leaving her at their house for 1.5 to 2 hours, or vice versa. If it's a first playdate, I might visit for 5 minutes with the other mom (and casually check out the house for, say, guns or drugs in plain sight :-), but even in preschool last year I didn't stay at the playdate with my 4yo. So maybe the other mom isn't even expecting you to hang out.

I love playdates because either my kid is at someone else's house and I can get stuff done, run errands in peace, whatever, or my kid has a playmate and our house and isn't bugging me every 2 minutes so I an get stuff done at my house (so I'm glad there's no other mom hanging out with me).

I'm curious for the details of how it went for you.

Jen said...

I hear you. I mean tomorrow evening we have a dinner play date of sorts. I've met the mother a handful of times and she's perfectly lovely but I've never met the husband and neither has my husband so it should be nice and uncomfortable for all of us. But the kids will have fun and I will make scotcharoos. And take a jar of homemade jam.

Amanda said...

I understand. I so so so understand.

jive turkey said...

Hope it goes by quickly & painlessly for you. I am anxious for when Sadie brings her little friends to our house. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO AROUND SMALL PEOPLE WHO DID NOT COME FORTH FROM MY OWN BREWSTER.

Marie Green said...

Wait, is the playdate at your house or the other child's house? Either way, I'm guessing you'll only have to deal with the other parent minimally. Our "playgroup" here is about the MOMS wanting to get together, so we use the kids as an excuse. But I realize this is not a typical definition of a playdate and/or playgroup. Please let us know how it goes!

Bethsix said...

My kids' school puts out a directory of contact info, so I have email addresses for most all the parents. Last year I tried very hard to set up a couple playdates, and it is the same for me: prefer spiders. We ended up with ONE real playdate (which, again, spiders), and the other times, no response. I think I'm doing it wrong. I get the distinct idea that, for some demented reason, the parents in my kids' school want you to CALL first. Like, as if I could be a creepy stalker from the internet, so they need to hear my voice. Is that possible? My kids have the same social anxieties, so I feel distinct PRESSURE to help with this, but OMG, calling someone I don't know to talk about setting up something social? Not happening. UGHHHHHHHHH.

Fiona Picklebottom said...

I go through this EVERY SINGLE TIME. And all my kids have to do the playdate thing because rather than living in a neighborhood, we live on a fairly busy street. I envy the parents who can tell their kids to go outside and run next door to see if little Jimmy or Sally wants to come play. Those parents have it freaking MADE - no phone calls, no arrangements, no effort whatsoever. Yeah, I'm a very intense shade of green over here.

Swistle said...

I'm hoping to SOON be at the "drop off at her house or have her kid over here" stage, but today we met at the park.

Alice said...

oh, poor swistle :( i hope it went off with minimal anxiety-causing elements!

Maggie said...

I thank dog every day since my (extremely social where the hell did that come from) son reached the age when either parents just drop their kid off for a play date or I drop him off - 5 minutes of polite chat at either end and done. Also extremely glad we live on a street with several kids his age so he just goes out to play - no planning needed. Not looking forward to repeating the early play date years with my daughter compounded by the fact that there are not any kids her age on our street. ACK the exhaustion of socializing with a relative stranger for two hours! Ugh.

Leeann said...

Okay, so you MUST share how it went.
Did you like the mom? Was it relatively comfortable?

I will be wondering all day so you must tell us soon!

Nicole said...

I only like parented playdates if I am actual friends with the other parent. Otherwise, it can get LONG and awkward. Much, much rather the "drop-off" playdate.

Angela Pea said...

Hmmmm...we solved the delima by a) moving out to the country where neighbors are few and far between; then b) having a slew of kids and insisting that they play with EACH OTHER until they were old enough to drive themselves to friends' houses!!

Lynn @ Walking With Scissors said...

This is SO me. Completely. I don't mind drop-off playdates but when the other child is coming over here, I am a crazy bundle of nerves. Logically, when I think about it, it makes no sense to be anxiety-ridden over having a 6 or 8 year old CHILD in the house for a couple of hours, but there it is. I can't help it! And don't even get me started on birthday parties.

I hope your playdate goes well and it doesn't take too long for your heart rate to return to normal.

Cathy said...

Interesting, the way things have changed. When I was in Kindergarten, my play dates were the times my Mom got together with her sisters and I payed with my cousins. A couple of years later, I discovered one could call a friend and invite them over to play, either immediately or on a future date. I never did it, though. That social anxiety thing. I wouldn't even have attended my children's weddings if I wasn't coerced.

Why is it kids can't ride their bike over to Freddie's house and play? Or, for that matter, walk or ride their bike to school? The lack of opportunity to evaluate risky behavior leads to the inability to accurately assess risk.

Shoeaddict said...

Baby and I just joined The Little Gym and I was a wreck before the first class. I am mostly awkward and nervous because I'm FAT and embarrassed. I want more "mom" friends but feeling so bad about myself causes lots of problems.

It wasn't too bad. I was the fattest, of course, but everyone was nice. Baby LOVED it, so, we will continue.

Shoeaddict said...

Baby and I just joined The Little Gym and I was a wreck before the first class. I am mostly awkward and nervous because I'm FAT and embarrassed. I want more "mom" friends but feeling so bad about myself causes lots of problems.

It wasn't too bad. I was the fattest, of course, but everyone was nice. Baby LOVED it, so, we will continue.

GratefulTwinMom said...

Hey Swistle, seems like most of us in the blogosphere have social anxiety. Oh, and the playdate is the worst. And I don't know about you, but when one of my twins gets asked for a playdate, the other goes into a complete "it's-not-fair-where's-my-playdate" fit. If one of their friends comes to our house (usually a girl), T1 wreaks havoc on their every move. I'd rather they play with each other and skip the playdates all together, but as they're boy/girl twins, like yours, I know that's a pipe dream. Oh well, back to negotiating their social calendar.

Do let us know how it went.