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Why Didn't Anyone Warn Me About Drop-off Playdates?!

Little sisters having fun in the kitchen
Photograph by Getty Images

As a parent, one of the things I was most looking forward to about my daughter starting kindergarten was the advent of drop-off playdates. Finally, my kid would be kept busy all afternoon playing "puppies" (I don't get it) or smushing Play Doh (I hate it), and I wouldn't have to entertain some random mom—just a quick "Hi, any allergies? Any guns? Okay, byeee."

I wouldn't even bother to tidy up because kids are not judging the cleanliness of my countertops, only the quality of my snacks. Drop-off playdates for the win!

But no one warned me about the pitfalls.

Crazy sh*t has been going down at these drop-off playdates, and I mean that literally.

The other day, I was making dinner when my daughter's buddy yelled, "I need help in the bathroom!" It seems she felt comfortable enough to poop on the potty but not confident enough to reach around and wipe her own bum.

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I grabbed a pack of wet wipes and charged in like a firefighter, duty bound (more like doody bound) and alert for danger. It was a five-alarm poopfest, raging out of control. I pushed up my sleeves and did the job with a smile, but I was cringing on the inside.

That was the moment I realized I could never be a teacher of young children or a nanny or a nurse. I'm fine with my own kids' asses, but I am just not up for wiping other people's butts on the regular, even cute kindergarteners.

Then there was the time my daughter and her friend conspired to make their playdate last forever by hiding somewhere in the house. The mom arrived looking for her child and oops, I'd lost her. It was more than a little embarrassing yelling both kids' names frantically as I tore through the house, wondering if it was time to call 911 while pretending everything was fine, like, "Oh, it's just a funny game we play all the time!"

So it seems that drop-off playdates are not quite the mom-cation I had hoped.

I've also had kids come over who seemed so well-behaved at school only to become holy terrors once they darkened my door. We're talking jumping on couches, throwing food, shrieking louder than the smoke alarm, and teaching my kid words that would make Amy Schumer blush.

Perhaps I'm not putting enough supervision into these drop-off playdates. In my defense, I have an adventurous almost 2-year-old whose life depends on me not leaving her alone for a second.

Looking for guidance, I reached out to some mom friends and asked what happens when they host drop-off playdates. Turns out the crazy does not just come to my house:

"My son and his friend were being very quiet upstairs. Apparently they showed each other their penises. I didn't realize until I got a call from the other boy's mom that night." - Stephanie H.

"I let the girls use my phone for karaoke machine music. Twenty minutes later, I found my daughter playing Barbie while the other kid was in the corner watching wildly inappropriate YouTube videos on my phone. Considering my 6-year-old still asks me for help with the TV remote, securing my phone setting hadn't occurred to me yet. I felt terrible." - Crystal T.

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"They were playing hide-and-seek, and a kid I barely know decided to hide in MY bed, under the covers. Maybe I'm weird, but I was totally grossed out. That was a no-go for me." - Barbara C.

So it seems that drop-off playdates are not quite the mom-cation I had hoped. The upside? Spending time with other people's kids has made me totally appreciate my own. They're insane, sure, but in a way that I've grown accustomed to and rather fond of.

Plus, knowing that most kids aren't perfectly behaved all the time, I feel a lot less nervous about dropping mine off at her friends' houses. What's the worst trouble she could cause?

Excuse me, I think my phone is ringing.

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