Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Crazytown Mommy Play Group

Recently, we've heard a lot of stories about mommy play groups gone bad.  I guess its not a huge surprise, though.  There's always someone who wants to turn something fairly normal and benign into a competitive sport.  There's always that person that runs the tennis team or the PTA like Joseph Stalin in June Cleaver's body. 

But the whole Mommy Play Group thing really bothered us both because we think they're really important.  Lydia's whole perspective on motherhood changed when she joined one.  She made really wonderful friends and figured out for the first time that it was normal to want to A-Frame your husband because he got to shower every day and sleep at night.

But the Mommy Play Group horror stories kept rolling in and we didn't quite believe them until we came across this application to join a local group. OK fine.  We made it all up.  But you'd be surprised how much of it we cut and pasted from actual applications we found all over the internets.  These things exist, y'all. And they're terrifying...



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On Monday, we're going to be talking about this topic in much greater detail over at Momicillin.  They very kindly are overlooking our lack of couth and ability to proofread and are running our discussion about mommy playgroups and we can't wait to bring them down to our level! Well, it's just for one day.  They'll be fine.

Check them out on the web and on their totally kick-ass Facebook page.
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

35 comments:

  1. Kudos on yet another hit-the-nail-on-the-head, truly awesome post!
    A few years ago I was the new kid in town with a relatively new kid, looking for socialization for both myself and my kiddo. I heard some moms talking at the playground my son and I were visiting so I approached them. I introduced myself and inquired about their group, only to get an icy vibe and the answer that they were happy with their group as it was. Whuck?!? I couldn't believe I had just been snubbed for a freaking play group. I don't exactly live in Beverly Hills, so I have no idea what their major malfunction was. Looking back now, I'm positive they did me a favor. Who wants to hang around with snooty, stuck up snitches?
    I don't suppose you'd want to come all the way to California just for a play date??? :)

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  2. So freaking true! But you need to be sure somewhere in your bylaws you cover how to handle the crazy stalker former-Administrator when she becomes all Fatal Attraction after the group raises a coup and kicks her bash*t craziness out on its arse.

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  3. I totally meet ALL these requirements. What's the problem??? :)

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  4. This? This is relevant to my day. All day. Everyday recently.

    I LOL'd, as did my husband.

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  5. Exactly why I don't do mommy group. I think you can go to the park, library or mall and make your own friends without paying and having to march to the drill teams drum.

    Funny as schmidt though. :)

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  6. My girls got snubbed form the Brownie troop at elementary school. I started a new one. We have been rock climbing, cooking, make meals for the local shelter, are going camping (although I may need to binge drink after taking 22 girls camping), and loads of other fun stuff. Some of the moms are a bit over the top, but hey, we all have our issues.

    Before school, I'd just host a couple of girls from preschool for a play date. I couldn't handle the drama of a big group. Same goes for the book clubs. Or the community gardening club. I have no time for that sort of gossip, although I could get on board with the wine...

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  7. I'm an old time mommy... playgroups have been replaced by "can one of your friends give you a ride", but I remember the ONE time I participated in a "playgroup" where the mother had piped in classical music, served fresh squeezed orange juice in Waterford crystal glasses (but apparently forgot the champagne?) and then went apesh** crazy that one of the children playing may break her crystal. And got mad when my then 4 year old colored outside the lines on her printed up play sheets. I didn't return.

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  8. Wait, so there are more than one of these groups out there? Never know there were so many rules required for two year olds to push a car back and forth for an hour or so once a week:)

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  9. Wow I could share with you an application... oh wait they decided to spring the rules on me AFTER I paid the dues. Try to enforce three home play dates a period even though I have an adult child with Aspergers who is sensitive to sound. They "politely" asked me to remove him from the house. My refusal to remove son from house led to them not wanting to bend the rules for me just for my neighbor. So I left the group before they could kick me out for being a RULE BREAKER OH MY!! Now neighbor brags about being allowed to bend the rules herself because she's in the IN Crowd...

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  10. Unfortunately, my son's love for a certain 14 year old black Halloween shirt upon which pumpkins were created with bleach (and which has subsequently sprouted holes in nearly every place the bleach has touched) disqualifies me for membership, because this group sounds really *special*. ;) I did one playgroup for a few months but it wasn't my thing. Not at all.

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  11. I guess I'm lucky. We have a playgroup here and it's AWESOME. But that may be because it's only for military wives here on our post and their kids...and we're pretty good at toning down the bullschmidt during those 2 hours. I' not looking forward to this crap when we retire from the Army later this year, though.

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  12. really people pay to be in these groups???? ok I'm naive, I was invited to my mommy play group which meets at the park...FREE. We just hang...they're even friendly to me because I work so I only show up sporadically.

    I'm going to go hug them now....then I'll probably get kicked out LOL

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  13. OMG--thank you for writing this! This is so descriptive of my experiences that it's scary. Online parenting groups were even worse. I had no idea before going in that I was not allowed to be "funnier" than the reigning queen (um, how is that measured?)(and yes. I did get a warning e-mail for that) or express sympathy for a woman going through a crisis pregnancy when there was another woman in the group of 40 who was trying to conceive (she'd been in the group 3 months longer, therefore, seniority dictated all sympathy had to be skewed her direction, so crisis pregnancy girl was now to be called "ungrateful @#%&"). When it became known to the group by the "research admin" that I had posted on another site (about a topic completely unrelated to parenting; I had "shopped around" a bit before joining the group), I was told to provide a statement of apology reaffirming my dedication to the group and publicly post the contents of any private messages I may have written or received so they could determine whether I was trying to siphon off members.

    Um, yeah. I'll stick to texting my sister in the next state & creating a pitifully intricate virtual farm. I have enough stress raising my wonder-twins. Adding mama-drama is just not worth it. =)

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  14. We'll adhere to holiday-inappropriate apparel rule in the day, but don't tell the Administrator that pajamas routinely mix and match tops and bottoms from Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day and licensed Nicktoons characters Day.

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  15. I joined a playgroup a couple of months ago when we moved here. What they forgot to tell me is their morning meetings once a week are MOMS ONLY. Apparently i'm the only stay at home mom who doesn't put her kids in daycare/preschool. The playtime for kids is 2:30-3:30, when my oldest gets home from school. I'm feeling like I got hosed.

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  16. Okay, you lost me at the multiples comment, and I'm still picking my jaw up off the floor. Call me crazy, but I figured moms playgroups and stuff were supposed to be supportive "been there done that, you're awesome, here's a hug" type things! At least that's what my MULTIPLES group is! Although, we are geared toward those who have multiples, so all you gals with "just" singletons, you are not allowed! But, we still like you and think you're great moms, and if you found yourself preggers with twins, trips, quads, etc., we'd welcome you with open arms and then some! :-)

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  17. I am happy to say that I.Had.No.Idea.

    Also the idea of paying dues so kids can play together? Wow.

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  18. When did kids play group become Mummies bitch & compare time? How sad! I'm happy to say our play group is awesome! My kids have access to toys & craft & equipment they would not have at home or at the park. They are in a safe environment, under constant supervision but out from under my feet for a couple of hours! I help with their craft, push them on swings, role play and generally encourage them to develop open social skills. Sure the Mummy company is great, but honestly that's not the point!

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  19. Yikes!! I guess I really lucked out with my playgroup. We are really down to earth and I've made some great friends because of it. I can't believe some people take themselves so seriously!

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  20. Where can I get Eric Cartman singing Poker Face? That would make me adore and want to be that mommy.

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  21. Dear me, I didn't realize that you guys lived near me. I have been in great wonderful moms groups and also in run by a dictator it's my way or there's the door playgroups. I guess you haven't lived til you've been "asked to leave" a playgroup because your kids are in preschool and can't attend morning playdates. Being told, "This is a playgroup for kids, not a moms group for just talking on a message board" even though I'd met most everyone in real life and I'm pretty sure without the message board chat I wouldn't give a flying flip about meeting the people in real life just so my kids could have the honor of playing with their kids. Oh well, kids in real school now and have their own friends that THEY are choosing, which I am pretty sure makes my kids happier anyway and I too am picking my own friends irregardless of their childrens ages. Good Riddance dictators!

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  22. Wow, you really nailed it with this post. I've had some bad experiences with playgroups ranging from the "can hold a needle in their butts" to "hey everyone lets show our boobs". Its a crazy world. I'll stick with my few close friends or complete strangers at the playground

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  23. I've lucked out with the two playgroups I've joined as well. Not that there is never any drama, but it hasn't been too crazy. They have been the main way I've made other mommy friends when we get stationed somewhere new. The dues we pay (which is only $6/year for the one I'm currently in) go to help pay for craft supplies or sometimes to pay for a hall to have a Christmas party at the end of the year. I wouldn't mind if that money went straight to the organizer, however, because I imagine it's a PITA to come up with new and interesting stuff every week for us to do...I sure as heck don't want to do it!

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  24. Wow, just wow! I so lucked out with my play group. It is full of awesome moms and kids and I have made some good friends. I have the oldest kids in our group, sometimes that makes it hard, but it's still fun. Next year my youngest will be in first grade. I told the girls that I may just have to show up without kids so I can have some adult conversation with other moms! Our "leader" at one point joined us with one of the national moms groups, but then decided it was to strict, so decided to drop us out of it and run it her own way, which was just fine with me!

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  25. Hi , came across you off another blog. I enjoyed your post. It's never easy dealing with this sort of thing! Keep up the great work!

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  26. HAHAHAHA! Sad, but oh-so-true!

    I've looked for many mommy groups or play groups before, and found out that not only did I have to "apply" to join, but also "promise" to attend at least one meetup each month along with host one, post current pictures of myself & my child (Ummm, no. My daughter's picture doesn't need to be floating around for anyone to see), pay dues to cover the cost of the website, "actively" participate in the forums, and a bunch of other ridiculous requirements.

    I finally joined an online mommy group (the only one I could find that didn't charge me dues to join), and immediately afterwards had to deal with college midterms, illness, and a host of other things that took priority. Not too long after I got a "polite" email from the admin who told me she was going to have to "prune" me from the group unless I fulfilled my obligations of posting on the group forums.

    WTH? Fine, b*tch, prune away. I'm a single, working mother who also attends college - I don't have time for all that drama!

    Now, I just Facebook message friends who have children around my daughter's age & make plans to meet them somewhere.

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  27. It's like you can see into my life. We recently moved to the Fort Lee area and I was looking for a play group for my daughter. The only one I can really find on the internet keeps linking back to one specific mommy play group that sounds suspiciously like the one in Crazytown. Needless to say we are still looking. But Mommy is getting a little tired of Weeble Wobbles and tea parties. lol

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  28. Ha! If only my kid could play with other kids without having to deal with the parents. I guess they have a word for that— daycare.

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  29. Wow! When I did playgroup with mine, it was really just a group of friends who had children from newborn to 5 years old. We should just let the kids run around, drink coffee and be thrilled to talking with other adults...no dues, no plans, no rules, etc...just kids, coffee, and Fun

    But some of the official playgroups I looked into were just like the ones you wrote about !

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  30. In my 11 years of playgroups and homeschool(mostly homeschool groups)I have been kicked out of a group because we were a one car family and I could not attend the required monthly(out of town) meetings. I have been kicked off an online group because at the time I did not have internet and could only post at the library when we walked there. And recently I was banned from another because I wrote a letter of protest to a seperate group because they refused to allow moms to breastfeed and because they kicked out a transgender child. I am stilla part of a small group that I love but even this group has its schmidt. Are there really groups that have a family size limit?

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  31. can we be BFF's?? I'm serious.
    It's rare that someone makes me pee from laughing so hard! ;-)

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  32. My SIL just forwarded this to me because I was recently booted out of the first online playgroup I've ever gone to. Initially I found out about it through someone who was in it (didn't know her either but talked to her on the phone - met through my son's teacher). Both women sounded great - "older moms with younger kids" and I was "invited" to join. The first meet was just a mom's night out - great food and drinks at a local restaurant - good time! Next meet was a playgroup at the Creator's house. My son was the oldest (and smartest - he's a gifted 3 year old with the vocabulary of a 6 year old, but very gentle with the younger kids and babies). We mom's discussed a few topics of which I had an opinion. Within 2 hours of leaving the playgroup I was removed from the site and booted out of the group - supposedly because the "creator" and "payer" of the website thought my son was too old for the group and for her son to play with. She would not even give me the contact information for the couple of moms with kids my son's age. I had NO idea things like this happened! Really! Do you feel you have to have that much control? I feel sorry for you.

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  33. I totally agree with you Anonymous! I am looking for a PLAYGROUP FOR MY KIDS.. not to make friends with other moms, but for all I have seen out there.. thats the only thing that matters to these "playgroup" mothers... Its scary.. I went to meetup.com to start looking for playgroups for my 3 year old only child daughter. I don't need new friends.. I have plenty, but whom don't have children, or with kids already grown.. anyway, all the reviews kept saying how they met great moms, and new friends but NONE of the reviews mentioned anything about how the kids liked the group, or if they had fun, or anything.. it was DISGUSTING... I think I'm going to have to start my own group..and call it KIDZ ONLY playgroup...only anti-social mom's allowed.. haha..

    RE:AnonymousFeb 24, 2011 07:47 AM
    When did kids play group become Mummies bitch & compare time? How sad! I'm happy to say our play group is awesome! My kids have access to toys & craft & equipment they would not have at home or at the park. They are in a safe environment, under constant supervision but out from under my feet for a couple of hours! I help with their craft, push them on swings, role play and generally encourage them to develop open social skills. Sure the Mummy company is great, but honestly that's not the point!

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  34. I am always in the favor of kids indoor and outdoor activities. And out of all these activities I like coin operated kiddie rides the most.

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