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Parents, We Need Dessert Playdates—Hear Me Out

Pizza playdates are out. Orange scone and cosmopolitan playdates are in. You can thank me later.

Parents, We Need Dessert Playdates—Hear Me Out

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As a mom who works from home, I crave low-key time with friends. Going out to dinner without kids is lovely, but finding a sitter can be tricky, and when your kids are friends with your friends’ kids, why not all hang out together? No make-up is required, and no reservations are needed.

My favorite get-togethers are where the kids disappear to the basement to play while the adults sip cocktails, vent about parenting in 2024, and laugh uncontrollably over the week’s antics. There’s nothing more enjoyable than an evening of children keeping one another entertained enough to allow the parents space to talk. To laugh. Or cry. And to simply breathe.

Typically, these multi-family get-togethers convene around dinner time, and the host must provide dinner. Sure, pizza seems ideal. But one kid has a gluten allergy, and the other is lactose intolerant. My son doesn’t love pizza, and yours removes the cheese. The kids might enjoy mac and cheese and chicken nuggets, but the adults prefer subs. I’ve wracked my brain trying to figure out an easy, well-loved, allergy-friendly meal for kids and adults. But I’m at a loss.

If we went the pizza route, a pie from our local pizza shop would now cost $24. To feed three families, you’re looking to spend 72 to 96 dollars, not including drinks—or fruit salad—because we moms like to throw something healthy into the mix. Takeout from non-pizza restaurants is likely to cost even more. Socializing around mealtime is expensive, and it’s become something we can’t afford to do weekly. That shouldn’t be the case.

If I’m being honest, at the end of the day, I don’t feel like cooking for eight or more people, so prepping a meal from scratch isn’t realistic—and even if I did, we’re still left with the impossible challenge of generating a menu that satisfies everyone’s needs.

Aside from providing an allergy-friendly and healthy meal enticing to kids and adults, getting the kids to the table is a fight because they’d rather finish their video game, play Nerf tag, or laugh over YouTube shorts. And when they finally scarf down some food, they end up eating a quarter of what they usually do so they can get back to their game—and back to their friends, just like us.

kids playing together on a couch in a playroom iStock

Dinner playdates are over-rated. But I’ve got a solution: Dessert playdates.

Occasionally, dinner isn’t out of the question, but we need more playdates that begin after an early dinner. You eat at home with your family, and I’ll eat at home with mine. Then, come over for banana bread and chocolate martinis. Or muffins and tea. Or milk and cookies. Sure, I’ll use gluten-free flour or lactose-free milk, and I’ll even skip the raisins for your little one. Or we can grab some Pillsbury Ready to Bake cookies—or cupcakes from the local bakery. The dessert options are endless.

We save money and agony. And even though we’re meeting up an hour after our meal, we have more quality time because we’ve removed the weak link of an evening playdate: Dinner.

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A dessert playdate means the kids can run straight towards the playroom because they’ve already consumed dinner at home—and you and I both know they could do without dessert one night. Or they can inhale a few cookies and a glass of milk before disappearing for a game of hide-and-seek.

Let’s skip the arduous process of choosing a dinner that meets everyone’s needs because it doesn’t exist. Takeout is expensive, and we’re too exhausted from life to cook for an army. The struggle of motivating our children to eat enough calories before disappearing into the playroom is no longer an issue. Suddenly, we have more time to socialize without the added stress of mealtime. Everyone wins with dessert.

Pizza playdates are out. Orange scone and cosmopolitan playdates are in.

You can thank me later.

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