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The Three-Martini Playdate: A Practical Guide to Happy Parenting

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  806 Ratings  ·  186 Reviews
Parents were here first! How did the kids suddenly take control? Sure the world has changed from the days when children were supposed to be seen and not heard, but things have gotten a little out of hand. What about some quality time for the grownups? Author Christie Mellor's hilarious, personal, refreshing, and actually quite useful advice delightfully rights the balance ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by Chronicle Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,335)
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Oct 16, 2007 Aimee rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all parents
Shelves: nonfiction
I very much enjoyed this cheeky little book. Told in a tongue-and-cheek style, infused with some real advice, it's a humorous reminder that we all need to have a life outside our kids who will one day (sooner than we might hope or expect) have lives of their own. Remember when we used to entertain ourselves and the immense imaginations we cultivated as a result? I often fear I'm overly entertaining my only-child in hopes of providing him with plenty of enriching opportunities. The author reminds ...more
Apr 15, 2007 Alison rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Parents
No, I haven't started drinking martinis. (Although there are days...) This is a satirical take on a classic fifties-era parenting manual. Even though she's clearly joking (right?) when she lists ways kids can make themselves useful, such as making a perfect martini or polishing the silver, the author's larger point is that parents shouldn't abandon all adult privileges and let their child rule the world. A sentiment I agree with, although parts of her advice ("simply tell your child to stop scre ...more
Nov 15, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
My full review can be found at

If I were to give advice for a first-time mom it would be

Don't listen to any advice, but
If you have to listen to advice, listen to mine, and my advice is
Don't read any parenting books, but
If you have to read a parenting book, read this one!

When Girl 1 was born, I read lots of Dr. Sears and La Leche League and (worst of all) Parents magazine. I went around in a sleep-deprived, raging hormone-induced fog of Mommy Guilt. If my b
Dec 15, 2008 Kira rated it really liked it
For those of us sick of hearing about things like "attachment parenting" and "kindergarten readiness."
Jennifer D. Munro
Sep 13, 2010 Jennifer D. Munro rated it it was amazing
It's a really sad statement that there's even a market for books like this, but there you have it. Mellor is preaching to the choir with me, but my mother-in-law and sister-in-law would throw this book into the fire for her stance that parents should have a life outside of their kids, for the GOOD of their kids. Thank goodness there are books like this for those of us who enjoy the sound of a baby rattle as much as the rattle of a martini shaker and the laughter of good friends. A fast, funny re ...more
Jan 30, 2009 Krista rated it it was amazing
This book should be required reading for all new parents. It sheds a sardonic light on todays parenting method of making the child the king of the household, by reminding us that it wasn't so long ago that children were born merely for labor on the farm. It's light-hearted, 1950s Good Housekeeping approach is fun, and the writing is breezy, all while tackling topics such as: Child Labor, Our Untapped Resource, Children's Music, Why?
May 01, 2008 Diane rated it it was amazing
A reality check for any new parent. I wish more moms read this book! Very funny and very true! (Warning: written with excessive sarcasim! If you take everything literally, don't read this book!)
Lani Patton
Apr 01, 2013 Lani Patton rated it really liked it
Good read. Interesting points about parenting written in a easy to read and funny format
Feb 11, 2009 Krista rated it it was amazing
I love this book! I laughed my butt off. The Three-Martini Playdate is well-written, tongue-in-cheek, extremely funny and somewhat sarcastic (without being nasty) look at parenting and the art of putting it all into perspective. So many parents have gotten completely wrapped up in our children that we have let things get out of balance. This book puts many of those things that have developed in the world of parenting (like those over-the-top, crazy birthday parties and having our children's ever ...more
Jul 10, 2010 Jessica rated it did not like it
I hated this book more than I can say. What a mean, mean woman who seems to have nothing but contempt for children. I get that she was going for the tongue in cheek tone, but it just wasn't funny at all. Not because she was talking about taboo things, (I've had playdates in several London pubs, so the whole alcohol with kids thing isn't all that bizarre to me) but just because she's not a very good writer and seems to think that children are solely a burden and can't be any fun at all.
Mar 12, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: baby
Too funny! This tongue-in-cheek take on current parenting issues was spot-on. Maybe you aren't a smoker and a vodka drinker, but Mellor made her points with panache. Our children shouldn't run our lives, they don't need to be signed up for every sport and activity, feeding them shouldn't be a challenge beyond making dinner, and no one should get a trophy just for showing up (after their parents fork out hundreds of dollars). Babies are portable. Martinis are shake-able.
Aug 08, 2011 Brian rated it liked it
This book was a refreshing break from the other baby "how-to" books we've seen. I'm not sure I came away with a lot of practical tips, but it was most entertaining and helped to give some perspective on life with a youngster. I am now optimistic that with the proper guidance our child will soon be preparing mixed drinks for us as we engage in lively, extended conversation with adult guests.

Thanks to Hazel & George for the recommendation! Highly recommended for new parents!
Nov 14, 2014 Bobbi rated it it was ok
I found this book to be mildly entertaining. I found out quickly that this book was not to be taken seriously. She must be joking (I think?) because her advice and suggestions seem really outlandish. I agree that parents need to step back and realize that they had a life (a fun, good life at that) before baby and things should not come to a complete halt once baby is born. This book emphasizes that opinion in many different crazy scenarios. She suggests at one point that you should pour dry cere ...more
Jan 31, 2008 Angela rated it really liked it
Shelves: good-fluff
Not useful in the least, but pretty funny. A nice response to all of the kum-by-ya parenting books that seem to think discipline is a four letter word. Chapters include "Screaming: Is It Necessary", "Saying No to Your Child: It's a Kick!" and "Bedtime: Is Five-Thirty Too Early?". Any book that tells you to teach your child how to mix a gin and tonic so you can have help hosting social functions has my vote.
Jun 17, 2010 Erin rated it really liked it
I received this book as a baby shower gift for baby #4 - I wish I had read it years ago but I probably would not have appreciated it. This book is laugh out loud funny. The author's tone is very tongue-in-cheek but she makes some legitimate points. Although I do not promote actually drinking 3 martinis at a playdate, I have been known to provide mimosas or margaritas...for the adults only, of course. Cheers!
Oct 30, 2008 Christina rated it it was amazing
Love this book. It's cynical (teach your child how to mix a martini--genius!), funny, and I read it in an evening.

The author implores parents (particularly mothers) to spend this time fostering friendships, because in a few short years, our children will want nothing to do with us and, without friends, we'll be all alone... knitting... for our cats.
Jul 14, 2012 Michelle rated it really liked it
The gist: don't let your kids run your life. A hilarious read, as I am a fan of super-martini-dry-humor. I almost woke my kids up because I was laughing...and I would have just told them to go back to bed, because that's what Christie Mellor would advise me to do, I'm sure. ;)
Mar 19, 2009 Kevin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: entertainment
A practical guide to happy parenting indeed. Useful, stern and realistic advice contradicting now-common practices of letting a child wear the pants in the house. Written in a very humerous manner and extremely entertaining. So funny because it's so true!
Charlene Nelson
May 13, 2015 Charlene Nelson rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished
This was a very funny book but it had practical and great information. The title is what I thought was so very original and gave a wonderful sense of fun. The approach for telling this story and giving advice to parents was unique. In this manner no one should take offense, as I see it more as a tongue and cheek approach. I could relate to this story and loved the ideas for parenting that Christie shares to help make parenting a happy experience. When raising children you must take each day as i ...more
Oct 22, 2013 Lauren rated it really liked it
Really funny book. I liked the advice about not letting kids rule your life, teaching them to play alone, and enjoying adult time at night. The last few chapters were a little dry but 90% of the book was really good.
Janet Sydnor
Aug 03, 2011 Janet Sydnor rated it it was ok
Funny, tongue-in-cheek style with some valid points about not over-thinking the parenting and remembering to be an adult in an adult world. Maybe tries too hard to be funny.
Jul 18, 2014 Chezley rated it it was amazing
Sometimes ... Mommy just needs a laugh. This book will do it. No need to commit to sequential digestion. Just pick a chapter when all hale has broken loose and lighten up a bit as the walls of parenthood come crashing down around your they tend to do from time to time. Unless... They don't. In that case, this is not your book. In fact you will find your self throughly pissed (pardon, "highly offended"), by the lashing that you will receive for your practically perfect in every way home ...more
Sigh. What a crappy time-waster of a book. I have no problem with books that poke fun at motherhood and raising kids (I quite liked I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids: Reinventing Modern Motherhood). But the author of this comes across as one of those people that causes me to scratch my head and think, "Uh, why did you ever have kids if you dislike them so much?"

She picks some strange topics to have issues with, such as childproofing. She laments going to someone's house for dinner and fi
Malin Friess
Oct 22, 2013 Malin Friess rated it it was ok
'The Three-Martini Playdate' is a 143 page guide to happy parenting interspersed with recipes for alcoholic drinks (lemonade for adults) that implores parents to right the balance, resist kindergarchy, and take your life back. It can easily be read in one setting and has a few good words of advice for parents:

1) Child Labor: Not just for the Third World - Kids can clear the table, clean a bathroom, and vacuum a floor.
2) Learn to say No firmly--nothing is more embarassing and wrong than a toddler
Aug 03, 2010 Caitlin rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents - especially with toddlers
Recommended to Caitlin by: Agnes
Shelves: 2010
Oh my gosh! It was like this book was written for me!! I haven't felt like this about a parenting book since I read - thanks to Agnes - Great with Child.

Finally! I refreshing take on parenting that completely jives with how I view looking after kids. Her witty, concise writing had me laughing out loud on several occasions. I whole-heartedly agreed with Mellor's stance on most everything, though we diverged on a few points, outlined below.

I agree with Mellor that kids should be able to play on t
Madigan McGillicuddy
What a crazy little book. The mom here recommends a 1950's-60's laissez faire parenting style where children are seen and not heard, and learn to play quietly by themselves, not bothering the grown-ups during cocktail hour. It's written with tongue-firmly-in-cheek, and the author ends on an upbeat message reminding parents that those years with little ones fly by all too fast. She recommends keeping one's social life firmly intact, whilst teaching your children from toddlers on up not to be brat ...more
Baley Whary
Jan 22, 2014 Baley Whary rated it it was amazing
Fabulous, entertaining book. This is not one to add to the "useful parenting books" shelf, but there are still gems of wisdom. The book validated a lot of my parenting style and allowed me to be more light-hearted in my approach to my kids. I laughed out loud several times and thoroughly enjoyed reading this. It's going in a future baby shower gift!
Lisa R.
Jun 12, 2008 Lisa R. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone!!!
This book is a fun, high-spirited, tongue-in-cheek guide to modern parenting, with a focus on trying to parent and have a good time ... at the same time.

Parents were indeed here first, and the author would like to go back to a time when kids had manners, did not need to be constantly entertained (because they had imaginations! Imagine that), and were taught to stay out of the adults hair, or else.

I loved this book, and felt it was a much-needed departure from the typical parenting B.S. we are b
Jan 10, 2015 Jill rated it it was amazing
Yes, yes, yes! Although I'm amused that the copy I checked out from the library was liberally colored in and obviously by a child. I how the caretaker received some benefit from the book, because they clearly need it.
Jan 02, 2009 Kate rated it it was ok
I was fully prepared to despise this book. It did, however, have its redeeming qualities. Many of the chapters are cleverly written. As I read, I found that Mellor's advice is based on research and advice from medical and child development experts. So, I give her props for getting some good messages out to people who might not normally read as much about parenting as the paranoid, overeducated mother I have become. Mellor basically gives a few excellent pointers on childrearing, but she couches ...more
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“Do not make your child your only hobby or you will end up waiting by the telephone in a cheery room covered in brittle, yellowed crayon drawings, regaling those few friends that are left with stale anecdotes about your youngster's accomplishments. Your little baby will be off in college, or backpacking in the Amazon, or on the other side of the country trying to get as far away from home as possible, and you will begin collecting porcelain frogs and feeding stray cats. So now is the time to start getting that life to fall back on. You know what you must do. Do it for your child. Do it for me, and for everyone out there who has to deal with your child for the rest of your child's life. And do it for yourself.” 5 likes
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