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Moonfrye Family: Playgroups: Who are they Really For? by Sherri Kuhnh


Back when I was a new mommy, glowing with new-found motherhood, raging hormones, and lack of sleep, I joined a playgroup. I said that it was for my little guy to find new friends, learn to share, and develop wonderful social skills.

I lied.

Playgroup was really for me.

I mean, how social can an 8 week-old baby really be? Sure, babies smile and all that... eventually they even start to grab hair and steal toys from their rivals playmates, which we interpret as interacting. But when they are very small, there really isn't any playing in a playgroup.

When you have extracted yourself from your former life as a worker bee/wife/friend and whatever else you did before baby (because you can't remember) you need to find others like you. Other grown-ups who can appreciate the fact that you slept for a whole four hours straight or actually remembered to brush your teeth.

We would meet at parks on a weekly basis when the weather was good, and during bad weather we took turns hosting the group in our homes. It was a LOT of work, and we were all tending to our kids constantly it seemed. Someone always needed a diaper, a snack, a nose wiped, or just had to cry.


I was lucky enough to find two of my most favorite lifetime friends in this group. Yeah, they have great kids too....but hey, it was my playgroup to start with. At the end of last summer one of those friends invited us over for lunch and swimming.

It was heaven.

You see, once they get to be a certain age you just don't really have to DO ANYTHING for them. These same kids, the same moms, 16 years earlier invited for pizza lunch and swimming? For a playgroup meeting back in the day that would have been a mountain of work. Cutting up pizza, pouring sippy cups, cleaning up spills, taking potty/diaper breaks, applying sunscreen, fixing boo-boos, applying more sunscreen, putting on water wings, "helping" them swim.....well, you get it.

Pizza lunch and swimming now?

  • Set pizza boxes on counter next to paper plates.
  • Pull a lounge chair up next to the pool.
  • Start gabbing. Gab for hours and hours, about puberty and driver's permits, about college costs and scout camp, vacations and jobs. Real, grown-up talk with one of my favorite friends.

And the kids? They took care of their lunch, helped themselves to drinks, made their own snow cones, applied their sunscreen, swam, played a board game, talked, and had fun. The moms hardly had to lift a finger.

It was the best playgroup I've been to in years. I could get used to this.

Sherri Kuhn is a wife and mother, writer, lover of wine and cheese, coffee fanatic, and sometimes exerciser.  She writes at Old Tweener, a place that’s sometimes funny, often sarcastic, and requires tissues once in a while. She writes about raising teenagers, the craziness of being a middle-aged woman, the perils of a clean home, wistfulness over babies, and anything else that makes her laugh (or cry) in the years between changing diapers and wearing them. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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Comment by Gina Cahill on March 17, 2012 at 4:07pm

The playgroup was like a life-line some days! All the work and energy we put into making "good" playdates for the kids. We can finally kick-back and enjoy the fruits of our labor!


Comment by Jennifer on March 16, 2012 at 3:43pm

One of my favorite things about becoming a parent is the small group of moms I've been hanging out with since our first were 3 mos. old. Now that the kids are getting older we have monthly dinners out & talk about everything under the moon. Those ladies have lifted me up in dark times and celebrated my triumphs. They have made me a better parent and a better friend. I think playgroups do transcend the kids :)

Comment by Katie Hurley on March 14, 2012 at 8:47pm

Love it!  It's so true...we do it for them...but mostly for us.  But you know what?  Do that for us makes us better parents to really it is for them. :)

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