Guest blogger Casey: I'm one of the fun moms. I'm the mom that kids hug at after-school pickup; the one who's happy to host frequent playdates that include crafts, trips to the park and -- if you're lucky -- a sundae bar and movie night. I like kids, and I like having my kids' friends over. But while I'm pretty tolerant of most kid (and adult) behaviors, I do have my limits. If I haven't invited your kid over lately, this could be why:
You don't reciprocate. I'm not a tit-for-tat kind of mom, and I don't expect you to have my kid over every time I invite yours to play. But when I've had your child once a week for the entire summer, I'd love for you to at least have a polite interest in entertaining my kid once in a great while.
Your kid breaks our toys. Messes are expected during a playdate, and it's normal for toys to get broken now and then. But if your kid is the type to completely disregard my kids' favorite possessions -- constantly misusing them until they break -- then my budget can't support hosting your kid until he learns how to play more appropriately.
Your kid is mean to my kid's sibling. In a perfect world, a playdate would always include the older or younger sibling. I know we don't live in a perfect world, but respect and kindness are still expected at my house. If I discover your kid constantly trying to manipulate a younger sibling or cruelly teasing an older one, we'll forget your phone number faster than you can say "bully."
You disappear. Three hours means three hours (with a grace period of about 30 minutes). I don't care if you got stuck in line at Walmart; you need to be here at the agreed-upon time. I'm happy to give you a few hours of free time while our kids play, but we are not running a free babysitting service.
Your kid picks on our pets. We have a lot of pets at our house, and they're a lot of fun to play with. We've got rules about how and when our pets can be handled, though, for the safety of kids and animals alike. If your kid can't follow those rules despite frequent and consistent reminders -- or if I catch him being purposefully cruel even once -- that's a deal breaker for me.
Your kid needs to be entertained. I don't expect to be able to relax during a playdate, but I also don't expect to involved, either. Sure, we'll probably plan a game or a craft, but for most of the playdate, the kids need to do what kids do best: Go and play. If your kid is spending more time with me than with my kids -- or worse, whining -- that's a sign to me that he isn't ready for our kind of playdate.
Am I too harsh? Or have you been-there-done-that? Share your worst playdates by commenting below.