Confession: I used to be one of those moms.
You know those moms! The ones that tell their kids No constantly even when they’re doing nothing wrong. The ones that interject constantly to make sure they’re playing “appropriately”. The ones that constantly explain to other adults why their kid acts the way he acts because they feel like their kid is being judged. Are you one of those moms? Are you trying not to be one of those moms?
We had been writing the blog for about a month at the time that I wrote You Have No Idea How Lucky You Are and I was just starting to see how crazy I was. That was probably the beginning of my realization that I had a problem. I was exactly what I hated, but didn’t know how to not be that person. The best thing that’s ever happened to my kids was for me to start writing on this blog. I saw myself from a totally different perspective and after being at the playground the other day for the first time this spring I can officially say I’m a changed mom. I am no longer one of those moms! I’ve wanted to be this mom for a while, and I probably have a ways to go still, but I’m so proud of myself and my kids are so much happier because of it.
As I said, we went to the playground the other day. I just took my 19 month old while my oldest was at school. The playground by my house is one of those gigantic playscapes where nobody can get hurt because it’s too new and way too safe. You can tell because if you look closely there’s literally no way to injure yourself in any way. You can’t fall off of anything. The ground is squishier than my bed. The teeter totter isn’t so much a teeter totter as it is two springy chairs across from each other. The slides are made so kids can’t build up enough speed and go flying off the end. It’s a dream come true…for those moms. I don’t want my kids to injure themselves by any means because it’s so awful to see them sad, but seriously the city might as well just provide every child a bubble and say “here, enjoy your insurance protection”.
And yet, if you just stand and watch and listen all you can hear is the chatter of parents. Some are chatting with each other about vegetable growing techniques and whether or not you can make salsa out of cherry tomatoes (No!), but most of them are talking to their kids. Maybe it’s more accurate to say talking AT their kids. You know the ones I’m talking about. The moms that are talking in the air so that other adults can hear them. They’re not looking at their kids. Their kids are not looking at them. The kids are likely not listening, but the moms are talking.
“Be nice sweetheart. She’s your friend.”
“Say hi baby. It’s not nice to stare.”
“Why don’t you come over here and climb on this ramp. Doesn’t it look fun?”
“Oopsie daisy darling. Wait your turn.”
As I stood there and listened I got increasingly annoyed. I heard my old self in so many of these moms and I honestly couldn’t handle it. I just kept thinking You’re telling your 18 month old not to stare at my kid because it’s not nice? What does that even mean? My kid was straight up staring. Did he say hi? No. He can’t even talk. Who the hell cares. After a good staring session, this one mom was still yapping. She was sort of pacing like she had somewhere else to be and she was talking. Louder when she paced away from her child and still pretty loud as she walked back toward her child.
To her kid (the air): Go down the slide honey. Say Wheeee! Have you seen the train honey? Do you want to go on the swing honey? Say hi honey.
To me (but not looking at me): He knows how to talk and he always says Hi to everyone at the grocery store, but I guess he doesn’t want to talk now.
Was that meant for me…was she explaining to me how her kid can talk, but just isn’t into it right now? Again, who the hell cares?
I think my little guy was actually kind of freaked out by this lady because multiple times he ran over to me and looked at me like Is she serious? He was literally avoiding her. I started to feel bad for her kid because he is never going to be able to shake this yappy mom. He probably doesn’t say hi because she does it for him. She says all anyone needs to say and more!
We moved from that location. Neither of us could handle it. Next we came across the mom that tries to please her kid at every moment of the day while still trying to get her life mildly accomplished. That was really annoying. Please stop trying to please your kids every second of the day. Just. Please. Stop!
Then to our third and final location, the dark purple covered curly slide. The kids fear it, and apparently so do the parents. It’s COMPLETELY ENCLOSED people. COMPLETELY. ENCLOSED.
There are more warnings and chatter from parents on that slide than any other play spot in the park. I’m sure it’s because the parents are actually losing sight of their sweet little Timmy for what feels like an eternity as he slides slowly and safely down the curly slide. I’m usually there by myself and can’t be at the top of the slide and the bottom of the slide at the same time like so many of the parents do. I have no idea how or why, but many times there are two parents there. Dad at the top and mom at the bottom. Did dad or mom or both take off work for this? Did they call in sick to man the kid at the park? Don’t get me wrong, it’s great seeing both parents with their kids, but for real.
I’ve seen absolute shock and awe on so many parents faces and received comments about how my little guy “really gets around”. He’s 19 months old for crying out loud. Should I be carrying him? I’m confused.
He climbs the steps safely enclosed with jail bars no more than a tiny fist size apart, gets to the top where there’s a window so we can all wave, blow kisses and say goodbye forever, wait to see if they make it out alive and down he goes. Usually someone pushes him and he comes out head first, laughing. Then up he goes again. That little independent stinker, thinking he’s hot shit going down the slide without any adult supervision. What kind of tyrant am I creating? How horrible am I to be so unsafe?
Well, I’m so horrible that after a few times down my little able bodied child just walked frantically to his stroller and climbed in. Have you ever seen a kid choose to leave the playground of his own accord? He was over it, and so was I. Whatever! Lets go home, eat dirt, and pour water on our slide!