Why All Moms Must Set Up A Weekly Morning Play Date

Full disclosure: This is not me or my baby.

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When I met K, we hit it off immediately. We met on one of those mom group boards where the various mothers post all kinds of things — high chairs for sale, free board books for the taking, seeking buddies for an aerobics class to get your gut back in shape after the baby is evicted; you see, it’s hard to go to a gym / work out alone / do pretty much anything after you have not really left your house alone for weeks or months and a little hand holding goes a long way in Mommyville.

K and I found we had so much in common. We are both creative, we live in the same neighborhood, our kids are about the same age, we are both adventurous and like to get out there and do things with and without the babies, we both have lived in NYC for a dog’s age, we are fun and silly yet love being moms and take the duties of motherhood seriously, both of our spouses are from similar areas of Pennsylvania, we both like Whitesnake, we share parenting philosophies, the list really goes on and on. But most importantly, we enjoy each other’s company. AND WE ARE NEIGHBORS. This is a biggie, because we both live in a tucked away little corner of the city where lots of other people live but unfortunately, not so many of our friends.

One day, after one of our typical hang outs at the library with our babes, K asked me, “Hey, would you want to just do a weekly play date / breakfast type thingy?” It sounded like a great idea to me. I eat breakfast every day. Why not do it at someone else’s house now and then? It’s cool, too, because I get up at 7:30 pretty much every stinkin’ day now and then am basically alone with the baby for hours, and so it’s kind of nice to know someone else who is also awake with a baby and LIVES NEARBY.

We swap houses weekly, so one week breakfast is at her place and the next week, breakfast is at mine. Breakfast is always pretty much the same thing. For the adults, we either have oatmeal and all kinds of awesome yummy toppings including peanut butter, dark chocolate, cinnamon, banana, chia seeds, a scoop of yogurt, or other delights, or we have also had pancakes a few times. For the kids, they get bites of whatever we are eating, plus an egg and sausage. The kiddos also play together and explore a different space than the one that they are used to which I think is probably good for them developmentally or whatever. It’s also just nice for us to get out of the house every week on a schedule and it gives us something to look forward to. We talk about all that typical mommy stuff; nursing, behavior issues, things we read, parenting topics du jour, but we also talk about New York, creative endeavors, things we saw or tried, recipes, places we want to check out and future field trips.

The breakfast hangs typically last a couple hours, from about 8:30 or 9 until about 11ish or the kids start to get cranky, whichever happens first.

From doing these weekly hangs, I’ve noticed and realized a few awesome things.

  1. It’s really cool to have a friend again. I missed having a regular friend in the city who I see on a regular basis. Not since I was in school have I had a friend who I saw “all the time” and hung out with. Even when I was doing comedy and seeing the same people over and over, it felt more like a work pal versus a real buddy, although I did have some comedy pals who I’d go to the mics and stuff with and it does kind of resemble that.
  2. I think it’s nice for my son to have a friend. My son has a bunch of little pals that he’s seen here and there since he was born at the library and other mommy and me type events, but I think developmentally, it’s healthy for the little guy to hang out with regular faces on a regular basis. At the end of play dates when it’s time to say goodbye, he even doles out hugs and kisses. Her daughter likes to sit on my lap sometimes and it’s all a very sweet puddle of love. What’s not to like about that?
  3. I choose my son’s friends. I won’t always get this privilege, but it’s interesting how at this age, his friends are the kids of people I like. He doesn’t pick his friends, I do. I wonder when that stops being the case?
  4. I can eat oatmeal every day and not get sick of it. It’s all about the toppings. Dark chocolate, peanut butter and banana on top of oatmeal is a dream come true. And it’s almost healthy, too.
  5. It’s rare to find people who you gel with. Humans are animals, and I sometimes forget that. We get senses and instincts that push us toward one crew or another and yet away from others. My husband and I have met a few parent pals who we may not hang out with again because it just wasn’t a great fit. But when I find people who I click with, I remember that good friends are hard to find and so I treat them like the special gems they are.
  6. Being a mom is hard. It always comes back to this. Being a mom can be really difficult in so many ways. It’s so isolating in some instances, and I spend a lot of time in my own head, thinking about the future and the present all at the same time. Am I doing it right? Should I be doing something different? It’s nice to see how another mom I trust is doing things and to get to watch and learn from her on a regular basis.
  7. Learning from and watching other moms and how they do things is cool! I have picked up so many cool tips and pointers from going to her house on a weekly basis, and she has done the same from me (I know this because she told me). Here are a few:
    - I noticed she uses a lot of little nooks and crannies in her home to create fun spaces and opportunities for learning, and it inspired me. I put down carpet in a few areas of our apartment and turned them into little hang spots where our baby boy can stretch and spread out aside from just playing in his play area. For example, in one area, he has a magnet board and magnets like K has for her daughter, in another area, he has a stool and some books.
    - She told me that she was looking for something and I suggested she post on a mom board asking if someone had one for her to buy, something I’d tried before and found success with. It worked and she found what she was looking for.
    - She told me my oatmeal toppings game inspired her. Now when I go to her house, she has all the same schmorgasbord of goodies I often put on my oatmeal, and more. I haven’t told her about chocolate cake on oatmeal yet, though. I have to tell her about that next time. (It’s a must try.)
    - She turned me onto a few cool stores in Manhattan that I really want to check out, such as a Japanese department store and a tea store I’d never been to.
    - She feeds her baby breakfast sausage and her baby loves them, and my baby loves eating them at her house, so I picked some up for my baby, too.
    - She has a great folding bed that her baby sleeps on, Montessori style. It’s very cool and I think we will soon do the same.
    - Her mother knits these adorable hats for her baby with little stuffed animals on them and she sent me the pattern. They are so cute.

If you have a neighbor in your area with a young baby, take a chance! I strongly encourage the weekly hangs. It gives you all a chance to get closer, create routine and ritual at a young age which is apparently very good for kids say all the books and people, and it’s good for parents, too. It’s different than say, a monthly get together, or a now and then playdate. Pick a day and go for it. The worst thing that can happen is after a few weeks you decide it’s not working and you stop. The best thing that can happen — lots of delicious breakfasts and hang times with people you like, and many wonderful opportunities to learn, learn, learn.

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