There are two types of parents in this world, those who go to play groups and those that don’t.
Personally I opt in. For a couple of quid you get coffee, perimeters, mess that is not yours to clean up and a pink wafer biscuit or choccie chip cookie if you’re lucky. Yes maybe you might have to make a bit of small talk, but I don’t mind that. After all it’s still talking to other adults, and that is usually preferable to discussing why I am a stinky bum bum face (for the 100th time).
Playgroup is good. Playgroup can be fun. You just need to know how to navigate through the various obstacles to get out in one piece.
Obstacle one – Biscuits.
The other name I like to give playgroup is Biscuit Stalkers Anonymous. If you have ever tried to reason with a toddler that they can only have one of something that they REALLY like then you’ll probably understand what I mean by that. On your average session you will see between 2 and 5 small people raising hell around the refreshment counter.
Obstacle two – THAT TOY!
There’s always one isn’t there, a specific toy that every child wants. In my experience it’s usually a ride on – my heart sinks every time I walk through the doors and see a lone Cosy Coupe with a fan base of 30.
It can be pretty stressful. Spending ages explaining to your child that they have to wait their turn – then when they finally get it, they are SO EXCITED that they got it, that they run over to show you that they got it, whilst someone else climbs in and drives off in the sodding thing!
I can’t be the only parent out there that has dreamt about breaking into playgroup at night and burning THAT TOY in some sort of ritual to the gods of parental sanity.
Obstacle three – The happy clappy helpers.
Some days you turn up at playgroup with friction burns on your knees from giving your child rides around the living room whilst pretending to be a friendly lion. Some days you just want to hide in the corner and look at photos of other people’s holidays on your phone.
Those are the days you end up at a group with ridiculously jolly staff who have the concept of playgroup all back to front.
This is NOT what playgroup is about. Playgroup is about feral kids foraging for bits of squished up raisins on the bottoms of each other’s shoes whilst the parents bitch about what a rubbish night’s sleep they had and slag off the coffee. Everyone’s happy (sort of).
Obstacle four – The crafty table.
My kids never like the crafty table much. Which is good because they just ruin it and I love making really good pictures ALL BY MYSELF!
Obstacle five – Not getting bitten.
The parallels between playgroup and an episode of The Walking Dead are pretty uncanny if you stop and think about it.
Obstacle six – Singing.
You are so very nearly there! Just got to get through the singing and then you can go back home and stick the tellie on for a bit.
Everyone looks a bit glazed over by this point. Oh dear the lady on the end seems to be crying, I think her name is Rachel.
Are you ok Rachel?
Rachel is not ok. Rachel is literally bored to tears. Rachel wonders if she will be taking her daughter to playgroup FORF*CKINGEVER!
Don’t worry Rachel she’ll be a teenager before you know it, and then you can enjoy quality time staring at your phone at 3AM wondering where the hell she is and thinking you’d give anything to be drinking cheap coffee at playgroup again.
**************P.S. My new book The Catastrophic Friendship Fails of Lottie Brooks is out on the 3rd March 2022! It's aimed at 9-12 year olds and you can buy it here :)