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Monday, August 27, 2012

Play-Dates = The New Social Life Of Parents

Becoming a parent has a tremendous and irreversible effect on your social life.

For one, if you are just married without any kids, you still have lots of freedom to go out with your friends and hang out with them till the wee hours, or visit places like pubs, discos and the cinemas. But the moment you become a mum or dad, either you leave your kids with your parents or maid all the time, or more likely than not, your social life takes a drastic cut-back.

Firstly of course, bringing kids out requires much planning and preparation work. That alone makes many parents dread the going out, so some gave up trying altogether. Then, there are other considerations like whether the place you are going to is conducive for kids (too noisy, too dirty or too crammed?), and whether those people you are going out with actually enjoy the presence of your kids. Many of my friends are singles or married without kids, so for a relaxing night out with my buddies, I sometimes don't bring my kids so that no one needs to entertain them the whole night.

By and by, I've got a new-found love for play-dates. That typically happens when parents hang out together, and the kids go along as well. The adults would chit-chat and fellowship over meals and the kids would play together. Both the adults and the kids get to enjoy their social life without getting on each others' nerves. Perfect and awesome. All you have to do is to find a suitable venue that is preferably kids-friendly, set up a date and time, and you have a fun day waiting for you.

Among a group of buddies I hang out with, there is a couple who has a kid around the same age as Jayne. His name is Justin and you would have noticed that he appeared several times on this blog, simply because he is one of my kids' favourite friends, and some of our gatherings or dinners turned into play dates of some sort. I totally love it, because the kids entertain each other, and I can usually enjoy the time with my own friends, without having to watch over them every minute.

This was one such play dates which happened last week. We met at Ben & Jerry's for ice-cream. Turned out, the kids were not that interested in the ice-cream. The adults finished up everything, and the kids played IPAD games together. Haha!

Then over the weekend, we spent six hours at a friend's house and the kids played together the entire time!

We had a lovely poolside BBQ, and the kids had their own area for eating on the suntan beds while the adults feasted at the dining table. I thought it was a really nice arrangement. Yes, I admit that having kids cause some setback to our social life inevitably, but our social life does not need to disappear altogether! In fact, social life is important to us parents because it gives us the balance that we so badly need. This is especially so for stay-at-home-mums - I can imagine if I am one myself, I probably can't wait to dash out once Saturday comes, and pack my every waking hour with fun outings with my friends! I would crave for adult conversations to balance out the overdose of baby-talk throughout the week!

Play-dates are fun, and so good for the soul. Plan one soon? =)