Sunday, March 16, 2008

Playgroup Politics

I recently shared my angst in organizing a playgroup. I know that so many of you are all "what is the deal? It is JUST a playgroup, why is this chick stressing about it?"

And believe me I was all "why am I stressing about this" too.

Then.. I realized... that it wasn't me stressing myself out at all.. it was the other moms. This expectation set forth to create a playgroup to brag about.

Realizing, rationally, that this was all about getting out once a week, I basically concluded that besides some snacks and toys, I was going to go to our first meeting stress free and let the kids and moms just enjoy and get to know each other.

You see... I should say that I sort of volunteered to a church leader who then placed me under the "jurisdiction" of one of HER counselors who then followed up this first meeting with an outline of "ideas" which may or may not be limited to the following list:

1. No matter WHAT all activities need to be FREE.

2. Playgroups should be entertaining and fun so that moms want to continue to come

3. You can do (she said this emphatically/casually.. if you know what I mean) "snacks (which cannot be assigned), crafts, and games, just make sure it is something new every week."

4. You could get me a calendar of the events you have planned.

5. But you are in charge... this is YOUR baby.

Call me crazy, but it sort of sounds like it is supposed to be free for everyone... but me, and that I was supposed to plan creative craft projects and entertainment for all each and every week.. with no help (since this was MY BABY after all.)

Does it sound like I have sour grapes? I am really trying not to. After all, I am usually fine taking charge, but I feel like I am totally out of my element here. Especially because I was fine with just what we did and JJ had a blast just free-playing with the kids.

I guess I just rather be a facilitator and not a dictator.. especially since I don't know how to please these ladies with their babies.

Regardless, here I am this morning, combing this site for ideas to dazzle play groupies and putting together a calendar of upcoming events. Who knew I was such a pleaser?


Spammon said...

Just take them to the Macdonald's play land. It's free and they will have fun and maybe get some type of herpes from the toys.

Dara said...

Rach....some of these ideas might be for kids a little older then JJ, but he will get the idea anyway.....
How about finger painting with pudding outside in a local park once the weather gets warmer, buy brown paper lunch sacks and have the kids get markers, they may be too small to get the idea of drawing a puppet, but they will LOVE the sound of the paper, putting things in, dumping it out etc. Sidewalk chalk, Like the comment above, call a local McD's and ask them if you bring in a play group would they give a free kids meal for every adult meal. Set up some cones in your circle, or at the parking lot of the church and let the kids bring their bikes or ride on toys and give out prizes from the $1 store, organize a stoller walk with a BYOL (lunch) at a park that has swings and a jungle gym, Pick a story, one with a few characters and have a dress up like the book day and read the book to the kids......
At the next play session have a sign up sheet for snacks, that way if people want to offer, they can, but you are not forcing anyone to bring snacks....I do think this lady is very rude and unrealistic to think YOU, ALONE should be the one providing the ideas, food, crafts etc....but I am sure it will work out!
If the kids are over 1, they can go to Home Depot on the Saturday that they do the craft, it is free, the library has free reading sessions and sing a longs, set up a tour of a police or fire station (perhaps for older kids, but the younger ones might like it, and it will be free) Go on a PET ROCK hunt and once they find their pet rock they can paint it, or not. Water balloons (warmer weather needed)

And I am not sure how long your playgroup lasts, but I would make sure there is free time so the kids can do what they wants...most will anyway.
Hope that helps...let me know how you make out.

And sorry for the long post, I suppose I could have just emailed you

Gustogirl said...

Bottom line, money will need to be spent!!! If the counselor wants all these crafts and stuff, that costs money and if it is free to the other ladies, it should be free to you too. Snacks cost money too!!!

LindsSawyer said...

I hope this playgroup is worth the stress its causing! YIKES! Free only limits you because there are a pluthera of kids museums around the valley and I hear good things about the new aquarium....I will ask my "Bri" Sister-in-law for ideas she will have some good Im sure.

MamaGeek said...

WHOA. I LOVE the new blog banner yet again. Seriously girl - you are GOOD! You are REALLY good. And I love the new profile shot too.

And totally what gustogirlsaid. :)

Nap Warden said...

Oh the playgroup. I am constantly amazed by the politics of it all. Don't get me started on my playgroup scene...I am at a total loss...Good luck to you:)

KiMnRoB said...

I looooove the new layout!
I love the banner especially! He is getting so big! And you're right on when you say "Where does the time go"
Because REALLY?!? Where does it go?
I wish I had some ideas for you, but being the DINK that I am, well, it just wouldn't make any sense!

pinkmorning said...

i love your header, so cute!

i would be upset with that lady too, sounds like Dara has some good ideas!

Linds said...

I'm feeling stressed out for you... good luck!

Jones Family said...

Retarded... Everything... I hate how church people suck you in like that. I would be really pissed about having to provide snacks for a bunch of picky eaters every week, with no help, and then for all those kids to come and TRASH your house. Here's a word I've been working on saying more often.... "NO"
It was quite hard at fist, but it's quite liberating. Good luck with the best play group in all of Utah.

SAHMmy Says said...

Whoops--I did not realize all that is supposed to go into a playgroup! I just invite people over and let the kiddos wear themselves out in the backyard while the mommies sit on the patio and drink coffee. I did stress myself out about getting the yard in shape but I needed the threat of people seeing it to get in gear! I put out a few bowls of Cheerios, Goldfish, and animal crackers but I always keep these snacks on hand for my own kiddos so I don't feel like I'm really spending anything. Good luck--seems like big input for small payoff.

Rachel said...

I really think you need to recruit at least 3 more mommies who could then agree to host and plan one event each. that would leave you with only once a month to plan all of that. I do the same as sahmmy, though... But then again I don't have anyone giving me a list of demands...that list is harsh.