When my big three littles were younger I was the ideal park Mom. I always had a playdate, happily left my house a mess to run off to last minute outings, and always had snacks and park toys in the car ready to go “just in case”. As the years have gone on and the number of children in my home has found itself rising as high as eight and now settling back down to five, my park mom skills are sub par. I decided to get my act together and take the little three to the park and see if I could hang. I parked them up, grabbed some snacks, and hit up the starbucks drive though (you know, so I didn’t stick out like a mommy without her coffee, although mine was tea…) What I have ended up with is a list of the top 10 reason I can no longer be a park Mom.
10. I left my heels at home-
Can someone please explain why I look like the odd ball when I kick off my flip-flops and dig my toes into the sand? Maybe it is just the parks I frequent? Though watching moms try and navigate the sand in heels does always lead to some chuckles for me.
9. I forgot my designer bag to never put down-
Anyone who knows me knows that I travel light. I never bring a diaper bag (never did with eight, even with four, three years and younger). I roll with it. If I need something, my ass can walk back to the car and get it. But despite that, put your stuff down! Why must you lug it around the park so you now have made yourself that awkward person trying to juggle 15 lbs of crap and a toddler? Afraid it will get stolen? Leave it in the car!
8. I don’t use a stroller-
Except for the random occasion when I’m willing to push it while I run. If you can’t let your two year old walk from the car to the park, you have a problem. If you have an infant trapped in the car seat that clicks into the stroller so you never have to touch them, you have a bigger problem. Get an awesome baby carrier (mei tai, sling, wrap, ANYTHING) and let that baby get some closeness! I’ve done it with eight, three of which couldn’t walk, so I was wearing them or carrying in my arms. Suck it up!
7. I don’t tell my kids where to play-
They have a mind of their own. I don’t need to direct their play. What they want to play with is good enough. Even if it is a twig in the far corner of the park, I leave them be.
6. I don’t let my children talk back-
Since when is it ok that a child says no? Or a little boy hits his mother out of anger?? I get that I don’t see the whole picture from a glimpse at the park, but when the child is not held accountable for terrible behavior, and instead allowed to continue to play, my stomach turns.
5. I do not feed my kids terrible food-
Really? Candy as a park snack? Juice boxes instead of water in the heat? Seriously people!? Is the fact that you have brought your child to the park not enough “treat” for them for the day?
4. I expect my Littles to get dirty-
Shocking?!? At the park with sand and water I DO NOT put my children in their fancy clothes! I do not act like the park is my personal fashion show and I need to dress my kids better than any other child so everyone will know I am the most amazing mother at the park. I go insane when I hear the words “Now don’t get dirty” WHAT?!?! Bring a change of clothes if you are that stressed and have somewhere to be after, but let your kid be a kid! While we are at it, I love little girls in dresses, love it. When little girls are in dresses please put shorts or leggings under, little girl underwear should not be for the world to see.
3. I don’t like other people’s kids-
Yes it’s true. I do not care to have a 20 minute conversation with your little. When I politely answer and walk away only to find your little following me, I’m going to be annoyed. Are you really ok with your kid talking to strangers? My rule to keep my kids safe (and to keep them from bothering other adults), you may not talk to ANY big person you do not know, unless I am with you. Problem solved. My kids aren’t the over friendly kids who puts themselves in harms way, and no big people have to dub my kid “the annoying kid”.
2. I do not help other people’s kids-
No, I will not put you on the swing. If you fall, I will not pick you up. If you can’t reach the monkey bars, I will not help you. Those are my rules, that’s how it is. It drives me insane when one of my children falls down and someone decides they should pick them up! Let me set it up for you… I see my little fall, there is that 10 seconds where they make absolutily no noise, are they going to cry? Are they not? Who knows?! Some seemingly good samaritan makes the move to pick my child up, I begin yelling “THEY ARE FINE! THEY ARE FINE!” Person ignores all pleas by me, pick up my little, my little looks up sees it isn’t someone they know and begins crying. LISTEN TO THE PARENT! My Littles always get back up and come to me even if they are crying. I will never run to them, watch it sometime that’s when kids start to cry. If there is blood or clearly a broken bone, yes I will go help. If there isn’t, walk to me and we can cuddle.
1. I do not say, “be careful”-
Kids are innately careful. It is the moment big people feel the need to yell out these seemingly unimportant words to children that they stop what they are doing and turn and look at said adult. Are they being “careful” now? My children climb trees, hang off all the playground equipment, and basically do anything and everything “unsafe” you can think of. I do not say be careful, and shockingly they usually are careful all on their own! Do not be the person at the park that wants to engage me about how my child “should not be doing that” because you will lose, always.
So now you know I am a terrible park Mom. Honestly, I’m good with it. I would much rather spend the day in the mountains with my Littles than sitting at a park. Now if you see me at the park, feel free to call me a hypocrite, mock my terrible park Mom skills, and question my every parenting move. After all, isn’t that what gaggles of Moms go to the park to do?