Normal for Mom to Drop off Kid for Playdate and Not Come In?

Updated on February 06, 2013
M.E. asks from Tampa, FL
29 answers

Well, if you have read my previous posts, I have had anxiety about people seeing my house and I am inept when it comes to making friends and setting up playdates. I finally cleaned my house to a point where I felt comfortable to have someone over. I set up a playdate for my daughter. She invited a girl (7 years old) from school over.

The Mom drove up, let her daughter out of the car and took off not telling me when she wanted the girl home or when and if she would come back to get her. I was rather taken aback. Glad that she trusts me to watch her daughter but felt odd that she didn't come in and want to chat for a bit. Moms and Dads used to do this when I was a kid. I remember my Mom coming in and talking to other moms before and sometimes after the playdate for friendly chats. Other parents did this as well. . It used to be considered rude if someone dropped their child off and took off.

We asked the girl when she expected her Mom back and she said 4:30, which was an hour from then. Fine. The mom shows up an hour later flies in the door and says she forgot her daughter has a doctor's appt and they are in a big hurry. My kids and her child looked a bit strange at her. We said a few polite "hellos" and "byes" and that was it.

I have met this mom a few times and we've had a few 5 minute conversations at school and one longer conversation at a birthday party. Is society like this now? Rush, rush, rush! No hanging around to talk for a few minutes? It's weird that she forgot that her daughter had a doctor's appointment but I guess it's possible. I always remember my kids' appointments.

Am I expecting too much?

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answers from Jacksonville on

I don't think moms in general behave this way for play dates. I think you just got mixed up with a strange bird.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I've never had this happen to me. My son is 8 and my daughter is 5 so I've set up a few playdates. Parents always come to the door and talk to me when dropping off and picking up. I do the same with my kids when dropping off and picking up.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

My son is 16 and when I drop him off at a friend's house I still stop to confirm with the other parents what time to pick him up. If they don't seem busy, I'll stay and chat for a few minutes. And I don't care if their house is clean.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Austin on

It figures the mom that is strange, stressed, busy.. whatever, is your first experience.. So sorry.

This is not normal.. I am going to guess she is frazzled..Nothing to do with you..

Most parents at least walk the children to the door speak a few words.. the first time and pick up their children at the door..

But remember, each person is different, each of us has a lot going on in our lives.. we are just trying to do our best..

It is good to hear you are working on this.. The more you practice, I promise the easier it will become for you..

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

No time for chit chat - It's a drop and roll situation. And I'm ok with that. Some mom's want you to hang out, when you don't want in this case.

Anyone can forget a doctor's appt. It's not uncommon. Congratulations that you always remember your kids' appointments.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

we had a FOUR hour long playdate with my daughters girls from her first grade class. There is one mom who didnt come ot the first one we had and I never met her or her daughter.
She came partly up the long driveway and dropped her daughter off and pulled away without even seeing if it was the right house, if there were kids there or anything. The kid as 6 maybe J. turned 7 at the most!!
The mom was also the last one to pick up and wanted us to send her out to her car. she knocked omn the door and asked we send her out to the car. my boyfriend told her the kids were playing and she could either wait outside for the time it would take to get her ready or come in. she came in not too happy

figures thats the one kid my daughter got along with the most..ugh! every other parenti enjoyed while they time chatting and I could picture future meetups and trusting them watching emmy.

Dont get M. wrong since this wa our second time hosting some parents did the drop off, heck i even picked one up from school and i only met her parents once BUT they atleast knew of M. and our kids are in the girl scouts together. this mom hadnt even spoke to M. before

I also forgot the thing i found funny. the kids all left with a blow pop this mom almost had a huge argument with her daughter saying she couldny have one. Seriously you're that worried about sugar intake but not who is watching your kid?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

No, you weren't expecting too much, and I want to say -- This clearly was tough for you to set up and agree to, so please don't let this one rushed and frazzled mom's actions put you off future play dates with other kids or even with her own kid! Give her the benefit of the doubt: She also might not be very experienced at dropping her kid off for play dates; she might have been in a huge rush to get somewhere she needed to be right after dropoff; she might be painfully shy; she might, like you, feel she is "inept" at making friends so she dashed away rather than try to make small talk. None of these is an excuse, but any of them could be an explanation. Give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that maybe she has some of the same issues you say you have, yourself.

Next time, when you set up the play date, just say, "Bring Sally by and do come to the door and we'll confirm the pickup time then. If you have time to come in to chat that would be great, I'd love to talk for a few minutes before you go."

A lot of posters are saying parents should "come in" but as kids get older the norm around here is that the parent does get out of the car but we usually say hi and "I'll pick Sally up at time X" on the doorstep. Most moms are using the play date time to get an errand done that they can't do with a kid along, or to do something with another child, so chatting for any length of time isn't the usual thing for us. But then, I know these moms and dads better than you know this woman so there isn't any "get to know you" aspect of chatting with them at play date dropoffs.

I'd give her and her kid another chance, assuming that there just may have been stuff going on that made their day more hectic than they'd planned, or that they're new to this like you are. Please do keep trying for those play dates. They are great for kids.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charleston on

Definitely strange! Especially given her young age. Maybe society has come to this new "norm", but I won't be a part of it! If I don't know the parents, then I'm coming inside!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

No, I think this mom was the odd duck. Your expectations seem to be in line with what I've experienced.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

She might have forgotten the doctor's appt. But it's not normal to drop your kid off without coming in for a minute, if the child is young.

Once the child is in middle and especially high school, then it's common to drop the kids off without meeting the parents. But not at your child's age.

That mother sounds a little odd.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Your situation is a bit unusual, but only on the (non) communicative style of the other parent. We often have playdates where the parents don't stay, however, I am pretty clear about establishing end-times with the parent. They tend to stay in touch via phone and would likely call first if there was to be an early pick-up.

Maybe you will just need to be very proactive with this mom regarding communication in the future? I also want to say that the mom-to-mom conversation during playdates doesn't always pay off. I've had a couple of playdates where the mom was present and they weren't all that wonderful. Some moms are pretty easy to get along with, but there have been a couple who I really would have been fine with the drop-off.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I would say that yes, these days that's a little odd, because most parents want to at least say hello and ask what time would you like me to come back for pick up.
Though when I was a kid (1970's) we just played outside and went in and out of each others' houses, there was no such thing as a structured playdate. If a mom didn't want kids inside she would just shoo us out and we'd go somewhere else :-)
Of course that doesn't work anymore for most of us. My kids' friends live too far away to just walk to each others' houses so we moms have to arrange getting together (rides) ahead of time.
Even so, most of this is done by phone or email, and if I know the mom and kid I don't expect her to come to the door every time. Saying hello and exchanging a few words with a mom I'm just meeting for the first time is sufficient for me.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My experience is that it depends on the age of the kids. If they're 9 or older, many kids are just dropped off. But usually the pick up time is determined ahead of time.

If the child is younger, the parents come in.

It sounds like this mom was in a hurry. If they have 2-3 kids, I can see why the mom might have been frazzled. Its hard to track all the schedules. I usually make sure I have their cell #.

I actually had a mom (who I knew from a sports team) who said she wanted to come over and "get to know me" before she would leave her daughter for a playdate. Honestly I was a bit offended since the girls had done sports together for at least a year and I had talked with her at many events. But she was a social worker by profession, so a bit overprotective.

You see a lot of variability among parents.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cumberland on

it's bizarre-I wouldn't drop off a teenager without knowing the situation and substantiating that a parent was home-let alone a little child. I never forgot an appointment, because I kept a calendar and actually cared about how valuable others' time was to them. Is it too much to ask that you be treated with common courtesy and respect? No.



answers from Los Angeles on

If I have to take my kid to someone's house, I always went in and said hello and chatted for a few. Especially if it was the first time; I'd go and scope out the people, the house, the situation, etc. I did this all the way through junior high.
When my kids got to junior high, they had would have friends over, ones I'd never met, and their parents would just drop them at the driveway. And then come back and honk. Not even come in. I thought that was weird, and you're talking 12 year olds, not 7 year olds.
My son is in high school, and he'll have kids over to hang out and spend the night. They'll just show up and stay. The mom doesn't even call to check. I always called and check when my kid stays overnight. I think I've finally in the last year quit being so obsessive about it, and he's 17. LOL
So, yeah, I think it's weird.


answers from Austin on

Its rude that she didn't even come inside to meet you, being as thats the first time. We have playdates all the time and with all 'first timers' I either will come inside and meet the mom or I look for them to come inside to meet me; before taking off. After the first initial playdate, I think its fine to as someone cleverly put it " dump and run" ( ha I love it ).
I mean really.....I don't have time or even want to chit chat everytime our children want to play together. Their parents & I have gotten into a pattern where we will text each other about playdates, and this is only after the initial meeting. It works for us. If I had a parent that won't even come in to meet me and see where their child will be playing and who with, there is no more playdates after that. :)



answers from San Francisco on

That is wonderful you went to so much effort to support your daughter in nurturing friendship/relationships. I love to hear about mom's overcoming their own insecurities or anxieties for the sake of their kids.

You are not expecting too much. This woman is not the norm at all...especially with it being a first time playdate with a younger child.

I have some friends that are constantly living in a tornado no matter where they are...stop to say hi and bye and gotta run to the next thing. But my closest gal pals stop for a nice chat..or sometimes longer and the kids are saying, "But mom..I thought we had to go!" Personally, I try not to over schedule so we don't have to rush. It is not healthy on the mind or body to be in a constant state of rushing or stressing to get from point A to point B. But some days are just plain more chaotic then others no matter how great you plan. Maybe you caught this mom on one of those days...we all have them.

OR...maybe this mom also has some anxieties and didn't want to be stuck in an uncomfortable situation where she'd have to talk...on your turf. School or party situations might be easier for her. Sometimes we just don't know what is going on in people's heads and we can't gauge them up against our "normalcy".

Yes..our society has become faster paced and busier. In my day..we rarely had "playdates" because all the moms were home full time and kids played outside from sun up til dinner time and formed our own games and playdates. Playdates were only set up with my pals that lived across town and I couldn't bike there and back in time. We had more free reign to roam and play..parents weren't on top of their kids schedules 24/7. It can be frazzling to a lot of moms.

Schedule another playdate with a friend while your home is still clean....see what happens!

Good luck and best wishes!!


answers from Washington DC on

No, that's weird for sure. I always go talk to the parents and set up a pickup time and get phone numbers or whatever. If it's someone I know REALLY well and I was in a rush, I'd maybe do that - but I mean knowing well like they were family. Even then, it's super rude.



answers from Washington DC on

If they are young, that is weird. In middle school, half the time the kids would show up on their own and leave on their own. I would not chalk this up as normal. If you see her now and then, say that your DD enjoyed the visit and ask her for emergency contact info, at least. Even through HS it was not unusual for the sks' friends' parents to come to the door to chat or tell their kids to hurry up.



answers from Phoenix on

I wouldn't be doing that unless our families knew each other really well. I like to get to know my daughter's friend's parents and if I know we have a playdate, I set that chunk of time aside, so I can be "present" 100%.

I don't know if it's the norm, but it sure is sad. I do notice, too, how today's society seems rushed, anti-social, too plugged in, yes so disconnected, not mentally present.

Heck, there are several kids DD would like to do playdates with, but the parents won't even look at me when I walk by them. How do I explain that so & so's mom or dad is so unfriendly and unapproachable that they don't even seem open to a conversation, so much so that a playdate will probably never happen? It's hard enough because I work full time, which makes me feel so out of the loop. God, really, why do parents have to suck so bad, sometimes?!!



answers from Portland on

Yep, odd. I would probably have the play dates at our house for a while until you feel more comfortable with her parenting style. I'm sure she's a fine mother, but I wouldn't want her to be that distracted and rushed when she's watching my kids.

It's normal for the parent to drop off and stay and chat inside the house for 5-10 min. Then they pick up and do the same thing and get a play by play of how the play date went. We've had one child dropped off and the nanny didn't come to the door. I was sad for the little guy that she didn't even care enough to make sure we opened the door for him.


answers from Asheville on

Wow. That's not something I would be comfortable with either.

I would never just drop my kids off without knowing the other parent at least a bit!
My girls went to a birthday party last fall. They are in preK with two other girls they knew before school. Invitations went to the whole class. No one RSVPed except us and one dad dropped off his daughter (who is in the preK class) AND his 3 year old son!!!!! He said he would be back to pick them up after he fixed his car. He showed up on time. Sat and visited a bit, but it was strange. Is it now normal to send all your kids to a party that had invites for just the child your kid knows?


answers from Los Angeles on

No you are not expecting too much, she should have come in...I would have come in, especially since this was your first play date...I don't judge people (that badly) on their houses but I do like to make sure that it's not *totally* gross and that I know who all is in the house with my kid(s), especially at this age!

~Not everyone is social though, so maybe that was it?

Good Job on getting your house to a level you are comfortable with having people over...doesn't it feel SO good to wake up to a tidy house? Nothing better, IMHO! I know it is hard, especially with kids to keep it that one big trick is to have everyone in the house pitch in and we do a '10 Minute Tidy' sometime before bed every night! With everyone going voom at the same time, it is amazing what a difference even 10 minutes makes in keeping up with the house!



answers from Boston on

First time play dates, I stayed the whole time. Sometimes the other mom did not like it but to bad. I would never do a drop and roll.


answers from Detroit on

Yep some people think this in the norm when it is actually abnormal. Do not make it the norm in your world! Set a standard.

I had a mom drop off her kid and let the pick up time pass, I called her and she was partying some where and said "I forgot" and proceeded to make arrangements for someone else to pick up her child, after about 20 minutes of her bull I dropped the child off to a resident that was approved by the kid's aunt.

I'm sorry but when I see this mother at the school, I can't even look at her to speak! I know, I need to grow up and let it go but that incident pissed me off....

A parent should come in and scope out the residence IMHO, they are not leaving luggage but they are leaving precious gift.



answers from New York on

I've never had a first play date like that. Most first play dates I either stayed at the house the whole time or stayed for quite a few minutes at the beginning. That might change as my son gets older, but I think I would always feel obligated to at least come to the door with my son - plus I would want to check out the environs a little.

After quite a few playdates, the dump-and-run format is more common. I'm cool with that. I still like to stay and chat for a few minutes either at the beginning or end, but I'm sure some of the other parents are probably thinking "why doesn't she leave already?" :)



answers from Dallas on

Don't know if anyone said this, but it almost seems like she was making an excuse NOT to socialize! How strange, not normal in my opinion. Whomever I have playdates scheduled with is always interested in staying to chat, but my kids are little. 5 and 2. But I would never just drop off my 7 year old like that, ever. Thats just like babysitting. Even if I had my kids watched by someone I would come in for a minute no matter what my plans were! I would set aside time for it. People are weird!



answers from Philadelphia on

My 9th grader has a group of 6 kids that come over almost every weekend for dinner (pizza, wings, KFC etc). I don't know any of the parents and these kids have been coming over for years. We had a New Years Eve party so I told my daughter to text her friends that their parents were more than welcome to come in for a drink or two. Not one parent came over and the kids party started at 5:30. That still seemed fairly early to me. When the parents pick up their kids they text them that they are here so they never come to the door. I at least feel fortunate that I know my daughter's friends. Very few of her friends parents know my daughter since the kids are typically at my house. Strange!!


answers from Grand Forks on

Where I am from that is how playdates are done, unless the children are very young. When the kids were toddlers or pre-school age then a playdate was more of a social outing for moms to sit and chat, but once a child is school aged a playdate is for the kids. I would not expect my 7 year old sons friends parents to accompany them on a playdate in my home! If my kids have friends over I want to be doing my laundry or making supper, not chatting with some kids mom! If my kid is going to a friends to play that is when I will do my grocery shopping or run errands. I have two boys with very busy schedules, and although I have appointments written on the calendar I have forgotten about them on more than one occasion. ETA: We usually will talk about times on the phone during the invitation. My older son is ten and his friends just come to the door by themselves and ask if they can come in to play. Things are much different in Canada. I grew up in the 70's and I am quite positive my parents never once stepped foot into any of my friends homes, nor did my friends parents come into my home.

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