Here is No Host Mom, originally posted on The Los Angeles Moms Blog, March 31, 2010
I’m a member of an informal playgroup that originated in a formal toddler “Mommy & Me” class. When the class ended, a number of us continued to meet at a local park or at one of our homes. This has continued for a couple of years even now that the kids are approaching their fourth birthdays. Our informal group has always worked with no formal playdate schedule. Now that the kids are three, they are in different pre-schools and have various schedules but we have continued to get together on school breaks. All the moms take turns hosting. Except for one: The No Host Mom.
The No Host Mom actually never particularly bothered me. Now that I think back on it, without prompting she seems to have given me excuses as to why she can’t host. And in fact, her excuses didn’t really make sense. They kind of left me with a vague understanding that she must have a gaping hole in the middle of her living room into which the kids would fall. As she explained and gestured wildly indicating some architectural challenge or whatever. I inevitably had a kid to run after and just chalked it up to her maybe having a hoarding problem or something she was embarrassed about. Or I just didn’t think about it. I will refer to The No Host Mom as “Sue” for the purposes of my post. Sue is nice enough. I’m not particularly friendly nor unfriendly with her. Our group recently gathered at another group member’s home and Sue was there as well as a few other moms and kids. A couple of days later I ran into my friend “Karen” also a member of the group with whom I share a stronger connection. Our boys go way back to newborn Mommy & Me and are now in the same pre-school class. Karen had not been at the recent playdate and so I filled her in on who was there. I then asked, “What’s up with Sue never hosting the group?” Karen responded, “I’ve been to her house."
Well. Interesting. I thought. “You’ve been to her house?” I asked. “Yes. It’s perfect. Like a museum.” Karen replied. “It was just me invited [and her son].” Karen went on to describe the stuff that could get broken and how elegantly appointed Sue’s home is. Apparently no one told Sue that part of the deal of having little kids is that they destroy everything. That you need to delay having nice stuff or hide it in the garage until they leave for medical school. I actually found this revelation from Karen extremely fascinating because Sue seems so involved with her daughter that you would actually think she would have a more kid friendly house. But what do I know? Sue can choose to not host a playgroup. Perhaps she is arranging individual playdates and we haven’t made the shortlist. Ha! I find it interesting that another mom in another group I’m in was not able to host for a number of months because her house was on the market. So instead she brought pizza and drinks to the park for all the kids, saying, “I’m sorry I haven’t been able to host.” No one would have even noticed, but in retrospect it was nice that she made a gesture of doing what she could to pull her weight on the toddler playgroup circuit. I realize it’s the stage we are in, and yes, each time a few toddlers come over, the place gets messed up. Nothing has really been broken, but toys get played with, juice boxes get juiced and everything has washable slipcovers on it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
An original post for the Los Angeles Moms Blog.
Comments (these are the original comments from the post on the LA Moms Blog)
Nicole Pelton said...
That's why I don't host playdates, my house is way to perfect and museum-like. Well, except for the colorful pen-art on the coffee table and the legos and paper airplanes strewn around :) I once belonged to a playgroup where one family bought a mansion with the equivalent of a park in the backyard...fun to play in but had to steal myself not to get to envious. I'm glad you didn't get worked up about this. I've been in a couple book clubs, and some people have these great houses where they put their kids to bed in the back and have a great living room area to host. A few of us had houses that were just too small for that, so "hosted" in a coffee shop. This just bothered so many people the whole club dissolved.
Elizabeth said in reply to Nicole Pelton...
Ah, Nicole, good riddance I say. Those people who were bothered clearly didn't realize the whole reason to even HAVE book club is simply to get OUT of your own house and go ANYWHERE. Thanks for your comment and I'll meet you at a coffee shop anytime.
Sarah Auerswald said...
OMG -- we had a no-host mom when my 7-year-old was in a playgroup years ago! How hilarious! Yeah, she always had an excuse or two -- and years later I finally did go over to see her house -- alone -- and it was also museum-ish. It's just not how I live, but to each her own.
But...Sarah...Did you call her out on it or just take the high road? Thanks for your comment :)