The Playdate Pledge

I used to really work up a sweat preparing for playdates hosted at our house. I also worked myself into a crazy tizzy.

Are the windows wiped down? Is that dog drool on the wall? Have I vacuumed up every trace of anything with fur that lives in this house? Are there fingerprints on the trashcan? Goodness, we can’t have them thinking we have a dirty trashcan!

Now, I simply don’t have the time and the energy. Or? I’m just over it. With that in mind, I’ve come up with a pledge that should outline what one should and shouldn’t expect when coming to our house with small children.

The Playdate Pledge

I can’t promise my floors will be spotless, but I will strive to keep dust-bunnies to a size that is not frightening to your small child.

I can’t promise my trashcan will shine, but I will strive to at least make sure it can close.

I can’t promise there will be no dirty dishes in my sink, but I will strive to make sure we can’t see the stacked pile from the living room.

I can’t promise my kid won’t hit yours with a toy sword, but I will strive to make sure all real knives are moved off the counters.

I can’t promise my house will smell like “clean cotton” or anything “crisp,” but I will strive to make sure it doesn’t smell like a 3 year old (who insists on peeing ALL BY HIMSELF and misses the toilet about 6 times a day) lives here.

I can’t promise I’ll have wholesome, organic snacks your kid will love, but I will strive to have some that aren’t dusted with processed cheese powder.

I can’t promise the toys will be sterile, but I will strive to keep them free of Ebola.

Kendall is 3 years 3 months and Leyna is 8 months old

  • Suzanne - Love it. Maybe if everyone agreed to these standards I’d actually invite people over every once in a while.ReplyCancel

    • Jill - I’m hoping instead of being grossed out by my less than sterile home, the other moms will instead love me for making themselves feel better about their own. Of course, it could totally backfire and I’ll alienate all of my children’s friends. If that’s the case, though, they’ll have plenty of time to learn to clean the house with me, and we’ll solve the problem together.ReplyCancel

  • Krista - I love this! It really should be required…maybe I’ll mount it on a clipboard outside the front door πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

    • Jill - Yes! Maybe we could get it in cross stitch?ReplyCancel

      • emily - I smell Pinterest!!ReplyCancel

      • Melinda - My cousin has “Babies don’t keep” in cross stitch in her living room. It’s perfect. πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • TheNextMartha - This is fabulous. My 4 y/o wants to have a play date and all I can think about is making sure his closet is clean, the toys are organized and that I’ve changed the lightbulbs. Total Nut job.ReplyCancel

    • Jill - Take a walk on the wild side, Jen. Ignore the light bulbs, throw all the toys in one box, and barricade his closet door shut. It’s SO liberating!ReplyCancel

    • Brandy - whatever you do – DO NOT ORGANIZE THE TOYS prior to the playdate!! LOL- they will be strewn all around the room or possibly the house in 5 min flat. The first thing my kids do in someone else’s house is pull out practically every toy they can because they want to see what the other kid has. Same thing has happened when we invite friends here.ReplyCancel

  • Brandy - Thanks for this!! I personally feel so much better when I am at another parent’s house and it is not perfectly spotless!! Playdates would be a lot less stressful if everyone followed these simple rules.ReplyCancel

  • Triplezmom - Just going to email this to everyone on my kids’ class lists this year. I love it!ReplyCancel

  • Leslie - You always put things so perfectly. On a side note, please have K talk to my 3yo old going potty by himself while standing up. If only my N wod understand how much easier that is than sitting down.ReplyCancel

    • Leslie - And once again typing on my iPod renders me sounding like an idiot on the interwebz. *Talk to him about going potty and *would, not wod. Gah!ReplyCancel

    • Jill - This is a very new development, and I gotta say, I don’t think it’s any easier because the pee gets everywhere. Ick!ReplyCancel

    • Bethany - I MUCH preferred when my boy would sit down, but he would still do that by himself.ReplyCancel

  • Calley - AMEN! I could add a few more beauties to this list like “I can’t promise my bathtub will be clean but I can promise to pull the curtain so you can’t see all the goodies I’ve hidden behind it!” or “Don’t look in my oven where I’ve hid all the junk that sits on my counters when we don’t have guests!” XOXO!ReplyCancel

    • Jill - HA!! Yes to the bathtub, and I never even thought to hide stuff in the oven. My luck, I’d forget it’s there and start baking dirty dishes when I preheat the oven next time.ReplyCancel

      • Calley - Yes, that has happened too! The things we do to LOOK like we have it all together!ReplyCancel

        • Jill - Smoke and mirrors. It’s all about smoke and mirrors!

  • Laura B - This belongs as a framed sign on every parent’s wall inside the front door. I hate that I feel like my house has to be perfect lest I be judged.ReplyCancel

  • Adam - My theory is that I’ve never had a spotless house BEFORE my son was born, so I can guarantee you I won’t have one for the playdate.

    Another one: I can’t guarantee you all the cabinets will be babyproofed, but the ones with the breakable stuff will.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda Hearn - This is too funny and entirely appropriate. I always turn into a mini tornado picking up everything before anyone comes over to the house and for what?! Ten minutes after they leave the house looks twice as bad as before I cleaned it in the first place. Not to mention parents all know how it is. I think I should feel bad for feeding the myth.ReplyCancel

  • Megyn - Oh boy is this perfect!! I also like to add the caveat whenever I post a playdate that my house in under renovation…so when they see the tile pulled up the kitchen or bathroom all messed up, I at least have an excuse πŸ˜‰ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey - I cleaned before playdates like, twice.
    Now I make sure the guest bathroom is tidy and the kitchen table’s wiped, and that’s it. No one notices the difference.ReplyCancel

  • Katherine - I’m pretty sure this also applies to every occasion I have anyone over for any reason. HA!ReplyCancel

    • laura @ alittlebarefoot - Agreed! My baby hasn’t been born yet and I’m already letting the house get way dirtier than I ever used to. I have decided to tell myself that friends and family will not notice and/or care.ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly - After my last playdate, I noticed that there was a crusted-up slime all over the front of our trash can. I was so embarrassed. Maybe if I follow this list one-at-a-time, nobody will even notice πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Mama Spaghetti - Oh how true this is!

    I think my problem with cleaning before a playdate stems from the fact that I know I will also have to clean AFTER the playdate. And I never clean twice in one day.

    Either way, these are rules to live by.ReplyCancel

  • Megan - This is why you just need to move to Boston already. πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Doni - Couldn’t agree more Jill! We used to have very limited play dates because my house was never clean “enough.” I still do the crazy cleaning when there’s an actual party (dinner, birthday or otherwise). But in between working and 4 kids, my house is RARELY all clean at the same time (toilet one day, floor the next, etc.). We had a fabulous family move in to our neighborhood about a year ago and now I’ve constantly got kids (and adults to a lesser degree) coming through my house. Neighbor mom is a clean freak, but appreciates ours and our kids’ friendships so at least ACTS like she doesn’t care that my house is sty-like. I now make fun of her for having a clean house. It’s rather liberating.ReplyCancel

  • Miranda - My friend and I have 4 kids between us. (5 in April! AAAHHH!!) Our playdate rules are that the moms are in pajamas. Perhaps the kids are, too. And there’s coffee. Except she totally showed me up one time and put on make-up!ReplyCancel

  • Miranda - I love this and it totally applies to my house too! Isn’t that what playdates are all about? Just sitting around, watching our kids play, and complaining about how messy our houses are ;)? I think playdates are the perfect gathering to just be completely transparent!ReplyCancel

  • molly - Yeah, nothing like spaghetti handprints on your new spotless walls. Naaman tells me all the time that with two boys in the house? I’m gonna have to get used to it and let it go.

    I had a playdate recently and I’m pretty sure all of the above happened. Well, the latter of each pledge.

    I try to remember that all that matters is the kids have fun and interact. The kids don’t care if something is dirty or organized. That’s all me, baby =()ReplyCancel

  • Carly - So cute!ReplyCancel

  • Rory, Chocolate Hair / Vanilla Care - i’ve printed this out. to remind myself of all of your fabulous points. and not just for playdates, but anytime we have just about anybody over. *breathes sigh of relief*ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - I’d have to add, “I can’t promise I’ll have had a chance to shower in the last 48 hours, but I can promise I tried to mask it with baby wipes and deodorant.”

    Maybe that’s just me.ReplyCancel

  • Amber @ NotMommy - It’s not the playdates I freak over. It’s the visits from the IL’s. Yeah, I clean for kid visits, but I SCRUB for Peter’s parents. UGH, I need an pledge for that πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Ellen Roberts Evans - Play dates are like dating. Am I going to like the other Mom? Are we going to have anything in common to talk about? Unfortunately my 4 yo seems to be attracted to other friends whose Moms and I really have to stretch to fill the void while they play. I think I’m just too old for this game.ReplyCancel

  • The Playdate Pledge- Free Printable! - […] A Calligraphy to help me with this, and she came up with a wonderful design for the Playdate Pledge (originally blogged by me in the fall of 2011). We have 5 different color combos for you to choose from, each sporting it’s own coffee ring […]ReplyCancel

  • Baby Rabies | Mommy Truth: Why I Really Invite You Over - […] Though, be sure I won’t be shining my trashcan or sterilizing the toys for you. I already took the Playdate Pledge. […]ReplyCancel

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