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. I have a new book OUT NOW! You can nab it on Amazon here or in your lovely local bookshop :)
Oh yes…..it’s all about the ride-ons (after the biscuits, obviously)!
hah number three made me laugh! I go to my local under 5s group occasionally but it went through a stage of being really really crap – the leaders hid all the chairs so we couldn’t sit down and chat to our friends and made the suggestion we were to get down on the floor and play with our kids! And then they took away the hot drinks. And then they forced a pregnant lady to sit on the floor so it got a bit serious then, someone complained and they brought the chairs back – yippee! x
Just sat chuckling away at this and will now be thinking the same thing next time I’m at playgroup…with twins…all of this twice over. Brilliant post and all true xx
Had me chuckling and nodding throughout!!
I kind of miss my fave playgroup, 50p to get in – kids got toast n juice, I paid 20p for a cup of tea and a bit of cake…bit of kumbaya type singing at the end (methodist church), the random bitchy chit chat…watching the packs of mums and making up pack names ie middle manager mums; dont own a tv mum; worries about everything mum etc etc…brilliant post :)
This is absolutely hilarious!! I have tears rolling down my face, I can completely relate to everything you have said, particularly the crushed in raisins and the final hurdle of getting through the singing:) I will definitely vote for you, good luck you have a real talent:)
Oh my, your blog is so good!! The crafty table and children jumping to grab the toy before your kid has a chance are so funny and so true, well, all of them actually.
What a perfect post! I go to a dads group and the main focus for EVERYONE is the fact that after an hour there is a free sausage sarnie! It defines the whole play group!
Your Zombie drawing on ‘Obstacle five – Not getting bitten’ is utterly, utterly brilliant.
So so funny and so true! Perfectly describes my morning and I met a mum called Rachel! Not sure she was crying but looked very glazed over by that point! Absolutely love the crafty table, I made a fantastic glittery firework picture this morning and my son got all the credit…..I can often be found creating a masterpiece at said table whilst my kids have buggered off to fight over the ride on.
Those Ride alongs are the devil! They should be banned and binned forever more!
Rosy | Sparkles of Light Blog
My fave playgroup is free… and has chocolate biscuits! But it has all your other points down to a T altho I normally escape before the songs if I can work out how the stair gate opens!
when i was a teacher i have experienced all these things. nice post. personally i believe to go for play group.
You forgot to mention Obstacle 7: The Shriekers. You know how there are always a couple of Other People’s Children who make high-pitched loud shrieks (of joy? fear? sadness? rage? who knows?) at the exact frequency that makes you feel like someone has taken a drill to your temple? Somehow their mothers never notice how utterly irritating that sound is and beam contentedly from the other side of the room, while you are covering your ears and rocking in a foetal position.
Brilliant!! Can I add an obstacle 7? Tidy up time! When parents suddenly decide their angels need a happy change/potty time and disappear leaving a few of us to down dregs of mentioned coffee and throw everything into boxes as fast as the toddlers are pulling them out again?
Brilliant post thank you!!