Jun 26To Play Date or not to Play Date

One of the things I’ve loved most about working from home, is that not only do I get to spend time with Sara, but I also get to spend time with her friends. She has her little posse she hangs with most days, and they are all so much fun.  All of their moms work outside the house, so it’s the sitters – Sara’s included – who make the plans and see other either at the park or at someone’s house, depending on the weather. At least once a week they are at our house, spending the morning and having lunch, so after putting in a few hours on the computer, I take my break to feed them and catch up on what is happening in the world of these toddlers! I’ve gotten to know all of their parents and several times a year everyone is together (birthday parties, holiday parties etc). Luckily, I’ve also connected with a couple of the moms on a more personal level, and we’ve developed friendships that go beyond just having kids who are friends.

Now that she is in preschool, Sara’s social circle is widening.  This is great, but also brings up a tricky issue for a work from home mom. Not surprisingly, some of the kids in school (and in various other activities Sara engages in) have stay at home parents. When they want to make play dates, it’s almost always during the week, since they are looking for things to do with their child, and weekends are more about family time.

So the question for me is  – to play date or not to play date? Do I put myself in the “working mom” bucket and only make dates on the weekends or have Sara’s sitter take her? This could work, but deprives me of the chance to get to know some of the moms better.  Because let’s be real, at this age the play dates are as much about the parents having the social interaction as the kids.

Or do I allow myself to make dates during the week? If so, does my sitter just sit at home while we are off playing? And does taking a couple of hours out of my day for a play date hurt my professional self? How can I take advantage of my arrangement and enjoy perks like play dates, without feeling guilty or like this means I don’t take my career seriously?

I WANT to do both – be the mom at play dates AND the mom with some semblance of a career. And I know I am lucky to be in this quandary – but that doesn’t make maneuvering through it any easier. Anyone else struggle with this and have any suggestions?