The Evolution of the Playdate

The Evolution of the Playdate

When the twins were younger, playdates were a fantastic idea.  It involved grabbing the babies, filling a bag with everything from nappies to Calpol and throwing myself into a coffee shop where I could gossip with friends whilst our children slept, drank or gurgled on a knee.

The only stress came if a child dared to cry and ruin our Lattes, but usually a brisk stroll in a buggy or a large nipple solved all problems.

I look back to my baby playdates with a cloud of nostalgia.

Because then the buggers grew up, and with each stage of development the experience of the play date has evolved.

The Toddler Playdate.

This stage of playdates involves another mother coming to your house and staying whilst your toddlers either ignore each other profoundly, or scream blue bloody murder if the newcomer dares to even glance at one of their toys.


To add to this hell, you have to clean the toilet and spray pledge into every room to convince the other parent you are fully functioning and share genes with superwoman.  Normally cooking is considered polite, as is not removing the visiting toddler from his high chair and dumping him in the garden when he wipes some funky, smelling organic gloop on your favourite sweater during the feeding process.
twins 2 headline
It is not so much a play date but an endurance test, where no adult conversation is muttered and you spend most of the time hoping they will feck off so you can try and get your kids to sleep and catch up on last nights Eastenders.

The pre-schooler playtime

Pre schoolers, they want to be independent and come without a parent, but truth is, when they do, they often spend the session in a whole state of shock.

We had a friend round to play when the twins were little who spent the whole time staring at me with eyes filled with unrestricted terror.  No words were spoken except “Mummy” and it was like having a human doll glaring at you.

Seriously spooky shit.
christmas jumper
She held a dolly in her arms and kept twisting the head, it must have been voodoo as I had a crick for weeks after.

The plus about pre school playdates is they are often cut short through fear.  In our case it was when the poor child wet herself because we had forgotten she was still here and she didn’t dare ask where the loo was.

School times

Like most things in evolutionary terms it gets worse and becomes embedded in technology.  Playdates are no different.

The school age playdate all want to disappear into a futuristic world and build houses online rather than from lego.  Fine if you have a tablet per child, argumentative if you only have one.

The other kick in the nuts is, the playdates get longer.  Gone are the drop off for an hour or so of preschool days.  School day playdates are serious, they arrive post school ( after you play who gets to not sit on the car seat because you forgot the spare again) and they don’t leave until every chicken nugget in the house has gone and it is dark outside.
And brace yourself..

Sometimes they sleep over.

Yes, I mean stay all night.

Sleep being a confusing term because they actually spend the night launching from room to room not even trying to be sleuth like.

They talk, laugh like hyenas, steal food from the fridge and simply ignore when you lose your cool and issue the threat of separation.

Nothing shows you how little impression you make as a parent until you are ignored by a multitude of other peoples kids.

Then the next day you have to endure the hangover of the playdate.  Your own (obviously, from the emergency gin stock), plus teary eyed little monsters who can’t exist on less than ten hours kip, so subsequently spend the day over reacting and emotionally broken.

The only upside to sleepovers is sometimes; someone else gets your kids! You still get their hangovers but you don’t have to break up the party – someone else gets to be ignored!

I know this whole process is going to continue to evolve, but if you could do me a favour and lie to me that would be great – tell me it gets better!

I am so excited to be shortlisted in the Mad Blog Awards 2014 in two categories,

thanks to everyone who voted in the first stage

Best Writer and Most Entertaining,

if you would like Northernmum to win, please take a moment to vote here



  1. March 26, 2014 / 8:54 am


    Totally spot on and funny as ever.

    As a nanny once working in a very posh area we had a little boy (5) over for tea who demanded I take the shepherds pie I’d placed in front of him, back to the kitchen and get him ‘something I much prefer thank you – like steak!’

    Oh my word. He didn’t get invited for a play date again.

    I love your writing and read often, I must comment more!

    • northernmum
      April 5, 2014 / 7:28 am

      Aw thanks fi x

  2. March 26, 2014 / 10:20 am

    Love this – the playdate hangover, brilliant.

    • northernmum
      April 5, 2014 / 7:27 am


  3. March 26, 2014 / 11:07 am

    My five year old has started talking about having friends for a sleepover. I am hoping to put that off for a few years. I have only just got my head round having friends over for tea after school. And so far that’s only been friends who I know well and am friends with the parents with anyway.

    • northernmum
      April 5, 2014 / 7:27 am

      Get ready for evolution

  4. March 26, 2014 / 11:24 am

    ha! Seriously Spooky Shit… lol x I dread the day we have another thing sleeping over! Kill me! lol x Good luck in the MADs misses – looking forward to meeting you! xxx

    • March 26, 2014 / 2:01 pm

      p.s. we’re in the same category BTW (Most Entertaining)! xx

      • northernmum
        April 5, 2014 / 7:26 am

        I know, good luck x

    • northernmum
      April 5, 2014 / 7:26 am

      You too x

  5. March 27, 2014 / 11:33 am

    I think we are averaging a sleepover a month at the moment, fair to say some get invited more than others! I’m rooting for you at MADS.

    • northernmum
      April 5, 2014 / 7:26 am

      Aw thanks mrs, you too x

    • northernmum
      April 5, 2014 / 7:26 am


  6. March 28, 2014 / 2:19 pm

    I don’t do sleepovers, I’m mean like that. We tried it a couple of times and it wasn’t awful but I already have 4 children in the house and that’s more than enough – if they each have a mate over that’s EIGHT CHILDREN. They haven’t grown up warped and deprived as a result. Made me snort out loud again, many thanks 🙂

    • northernmum
      April 5, 2014 / 7:25 am

      Anything x

    • northernmum
      April 3, 2014 / 9:54 pm


  7. April 3, 2014 / 5:12 am

    This made me laugh my head off…at 6am! Z is somewhere between the toddler and preschooler stage right now. He hates one particular girl because she has an obsession with poking him in both eyes. He spends the entire play date hiding behind me whilst I try to look all casual sat on the sofa.

    • northernmum
      April 3, 2014 / 9:54 pm


    • northernmum
      April 3, 2014 / 9:53 pm

      Thanks x xx

  8. April 5, 2014 / 7:35 am

    Is it bad that we haven’t had any playdates for ages and ages. I blame it on the fact that we need a new carpet desperately but really it’s because 3 children are more than enough.

    • northernmum
      April 12, 2014 / 7:56 pm

      Wise woman!

  9. April 5, 2014 / 7:42 am

    Brilliant – it does get easier with teens but then you have to sit up waiting for them to get home. 10.30 Chloe arrived home after going to a friends afterschool yesterday.

    • northernmum
      April 12, 2014 / 7:56 pm


  10. April 5, 2014 / 3:26 pm

    I guess you have club 18-30 to look forward to after all that.

    Fantastic post as always I would be very surprised if you don’t win your awards x

    • northernmum
      April 12, 2014 / 7:55 pm

      Thanks x

  11. April 5, 2014 / 3:38 pm

    I’m now sufficiently terrified of my children ever growing up! Brilliant post though 😀

    • northernmum
      April 12, 2014 / 7:55 pm


  12. April 6, 2014 / 3:32 am

    Oh i remember those lovely coffee shop days …sigh

    • northernmum
      April 12, 2014 / 7:54 pm

      Feels like a long time ago. x

  13. April 7, 2014 / 8:26 am

    Ha ha, eeek. I’m only just getting used to after school playdates, when do the sleepovers start?

    • northernmum
      April 12, 2014 / 7:53 pm

      in a blink of an eye

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