Two moms. One mommy war. I had a bad playdate with Bad Playdate.

The mom over at the popular blog Bad Playdate is an old friend. We go way back. Even though we live just 30 minutes way from each other and our kids are the same age we’ve never had a playdate. Until this weekend. I love her. But shit got ugly. Here’re our takes on some parenting topics. You can read lots more here, at Bad Playdate.

Current events: I was shocked that Bad Playdate forbids her children from hearing the news. She actually makes sure NPR is off on the drive to school, then blasts it the minute the kids get out of the car. It never even occurred to me to forbid my children from knowing what is going on in the world. My daughter loves the news. She gobbles up the info and asks really insightful questions. God forbid she should know about a contentious school board election or the latest in Syria.

Look, kids are going to learn about the “real world” soon enough. I don’t see anything wrong with childhood being a time of innocence. I was surprised to hear that Wealthy Single Mommy listens to hard news with her 3 and 5 year old and reads them The New York Times. I am trying to protect my kids from topics such as maniacs who are out to kill people. I will continue to read The Magic School Bus series of books to my boys and skip the crime reports in the paper for now.

Tone of voice: Bad Playdate speaks like a normal woman most of the time but to her kids she uses that syrupy mommy voice that makes my skin crawl. When I deal with my kids, I keep it real. They won’t respect me if I speak to them like they’re newborn kittens one second, then turn to my girlfriend and crack up about neighborhood gossip the next! Kids are people and they see right through your bull, Bad Playdate!

Listen, what you call “keeping it real” is considered gutter talk. I’m trying to set an example, not be their homey. It’s important for me to try to communicate with them clearly and calmly.

SAHM: Bad Playdate surprised me when she said she doesn’t have time to exercise. Aside from writing a few blog posts she doesn’t work. Her kids are in school 4 hours each week day. My kids are in school 8 hours per day, I exercise most days and financially support all of us. What’s going on here?

You’ve got a point there, Wealthy Single Mommy — exercise is important, and cleaning is a big time suck that you don’t have to deal with because you have a housekeeper. It’s hard to fit it all in, especially when I’ve got to cook, shop for food, mow the lawn or shovel the snow, and schedule bad playdate after bad playdate all in just 3.5 hours. Maybe I’ll hire someone to clean the house while I head to the gym. You got any recommendations?

Read more points of contention at Bad Playdate’s post: I thought I judged moms in my blog, then a mom blogger came to play


Emma Johnson is a veteran money writer, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour,, REAL SIMPLE, Parenting, USA Today and others.

The Kickass Single Mom: Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children (Penguin, 2017), was a #1 bestseller and was featured in hundreds of media, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, and the New York Post, which named it to its ‘Must Read” list.

Her popular blog, and podcast Like a Mother, explore issues facing professional single moms: business and career, money, sex, relationships and parenting. Emma regularly comments on these topics for outlets such as CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine, Woman’s Day, The Doctors, and many more. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” one of “20 Personal Finance Influencers to Follow on Twitter” by AOL DailyFinance, “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and “Most Eligible New Yorkers” by New York Observer.

A popular speaker on gender equality, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality.

Emma grew up in Sycamore, Ill., and lives in New York City with her children.

32 thoughts on “Two moms. One mommy war. I had a bad playdate with Bad Playdate.

  1. My daughter has been listening to news since she was little. She actually asked me to send $25 of her allowance to a potential Presidential candidate when she was 5. (We settled on $3.) We discuss wars, poverty, drugs, same-sex marriage, and just about anything else that comes up. She’s asked (and we’ve tried to answer) tough questions about terrorism. She’s volunteered with me and has been exposed to people who are poor and mentally ill. I don’t understand keeping kids in a bubble. And we’ve never used “baby talk.” We speak to her like we speak to each other.

    The fact that she’s aware of the world’s realities has never affected her ability to play with other kids or enjoy her childhood. I think it would have been harder to explain these things if she had never been exposed to them. She’s almost a teenager now — and she’s got opinions. I love that she actually knows enough about big issues to care. But to each her own.

    1. @Gwen – love that your kid wanted to contribute to the candidate. I take it she was supporting the wrong candidate, hence the pittance of a donation :)

      1. No…it’s just that $25 was about all of her savings. I thought it was a little bit overkill for a Kindergartener. Although, it also wasn’t the candidate my husband and I were supporting, which I thought was terrific, too.

        As an aside, interesting the assumptions people make about bloggers when they only see a fraction of the picture. Live and let live, people. Just because you don’t agree doesn’t mean the other person is wrong. Or a rampant public porn-watcher. :)

  2. hi Gwen,
    I was afraid people would think it was baby talk. I don’t talk like that, I just don’t yell at them. I speak calmly & clearly. Ms. Wealthy Single Mommy thinks it’s annoying that I try not to yell. Anyhow, I discuss elections and news like that with my kids, we just don’t talk about mass killings. I feel they’re too young for that. Thanks for reading!!

  3. @Natalia – a) lighten up, b) do you suggest a free-for-all libertarian take on parenting? A spirited debate on best practices is healthy — blindly accepting everything is not good for anyone!

  4. Wow, I have been such a fan of Bad play date for so long, I never knew she spoke baby talk. My Brother changes his voice when he talks to his kid and sobrinos, and it makes me cringe. But I can see where Bad Playdate is coming from. We made it a point not to tell our first born ‘NO!’ so he would not throw it back at us when he was 2 and 3. It worked, We only said ‘No!’ 1/3 the times of normal parents and our Kid does not scream ‘No!’ for trivial BS. We also try not yell and only end up yelling occasionally but 1/3 of normal parents and our kid only yells when having a good time. So I agree that speaking calmly and in inside voice makes your kid a good citizen and more fun to be around.

    Bad Playdate, I am sure you are fit from just SAHM activities, but you really need a Housekeeper and Gym membership. The gym I go to offers 2 hours child care in this big 3000 sqft kids paradise with child care professional who love my kids. Please find a place not just to be fit, but to get some alone time, that goes double for a house keeper and gardener

  5. I read the news to my kids, tell the older ones about the murder stories and keep it from the younger ones who like talking about violence on their own. I speak calmly to my kids and yell at them with some expletives when things get really bad and someone was accidently about to burn their skin off with a boiling pot of hot water on the stove. And I love working out but can never find the time to even though I can afford a housekeeper to come in and pay everyone else to do other things for me. Sounds like I am a combo of you two! Does that make me Bad Wealthy Playdate Mommy?

  6. It seems that responsibility as a parent has been kicked to the curb no-a-days. Few parents want to be full time moms or dads and revert to just paying for everything.
    I hope you are ready to pay for a shrink in a few years, because that’s where your kids will be headed!
    By the way, kids do not need to hear cussing. It only makes things worse in school and at “play dates”. Do you want your child subjected to another child’s cussing?
    A child of only 3 or 5 will definitely repeat what they hear. I could picture your child in school cussing to the teacher or a classmate. When the teacher confronts you about it, what will you say then?
    Yes, kids need to be in a bubble. They need to feel safe. They need to be kids! That’s your job as parent. Do you let your kids watch porn with you? I bet you read 50 shades of grey to your kids before bed time. C’mon admit it!
    I mean If you want to cuss and tell your kids everything, then go out a make a friend. This is how children get really screwed up later in life. Parents should be parents.

    Let’s chill out on the dating also. Being a hooker will not help things, trust me.
    Let’s get back to basics for god’s sake!

    1. Wow, I am not sure what to make of Back to Basics’ comment. I certainly don’t think you are a prostitute, I wouldn’t even call you a fast woman. I mean maybe a medium speed mommy, but not a prostitute.

      1. OMG I was seriously thinking this too! How did we get to watching porn together and whoring around??? Unless I missed a big paragraph on one of the two blogs or something.

  7. I am not familiar with Bad Playdate (after posting my comment I will go exploring) but I share her view of not letting the very young kids listen to the news. Young children do not know reality from fantasy…their brain is in a rapid developing stage, they get fears…
    It has nothing to do with being real. I am all for being real, I talk and treat my kid like another human being…But I do not let her listen to the news. Hell, I do not want to listen to the news myself! :)
    I am not raising her in a bubble. But we most definitely use a filter. That said, my husband is a criminal defense attorney and she knows a hell a lot about crime and law:)
    If we keep them away from the news, their reality won’t change. If we immerse them into the news-their reality might be affected.

  8. Emma has a loud mouth. And you know what? So will her kids. And you know what? That’s OK. Sounds like Bad P’s kids may not be the same loud-mouth New Yorkers that Emma is raising. That’s ok too.

    I fall a little right of Emma when it comes to using curse words. I swear like a sailor and I self-edit around them a bit. But I also know that English as a language is always changing and growing and words have power. I don’t shy away from explaining words and explaining when the use of certain words is appropriate or not. We all have the ability to control what we say, including kids.And they should learn that too.

    As far as dating and news, I was trying to keep that from my kids and it severely backfired. Keeping them in an innocent bubble is not possible or real. I doubt very much that anyone is having this conversation right now in (insert any country in Africa, Middle East, and much of Asia and South America). I agree that we can all find an approach to this based on the age of the kid (and the interest – my kids pretty much ignore the news when I have it on, but I’ve taken them with me to vote every time).

    I hope you have your next playdate at Emma’s house… and record it… :)

  9. @Morghan –
    1. Thank you, yes, this is 100% First World Problems. In most of the world, the kids can’t hide from the news because the news is about people blowing each other RIGHT OUTSIDE THEIR HOUSE – or worse! Or the mudslide headed right towards their village. “Hey kids! Look at that ewey gooey stuff! Looks like chocolate pudding!! Haha! NOW RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!”

    2. I’m a loudmouth!? FUCK OFF!

    1. I’m sure you meant “blowing up each other”, but missing just that one two letter word gave me a GREAT mental picture lol. Especially considering the earlier comment I read about you being a prostitute apparently.

  10. LOL We were talking about BP an how she used to lose her sh*t every day and so I goggled her since it seems her page went belly up. My what a surprise. She was a loaded cannon.

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