There are things that I love about going to the park. It’s free, the kids are simultaneously being exercised and entertained, and there is usually some place for me to sit and pretend like I’m not eating all the snacks. Sunshine, spending time with my kids, laughter, butterflies…the list goes on and on. The park can be awesome. Yay park.
But having spent so many hours of my life with my kids at parks all over this country, I have run into some ways that the park can royally suck.
Do not ever tell a child they are going to the park until they are kicking it on the swing set, or you will regret the day you ever taught them to speak.
When That One Random Kid Takes Off His Shoes
And then everybody wants to take off their shoes. If my kids take their shoes off, I start imagining razor blades and broken bottles and chewed gum, and then I’m helicopter parenting all over the place.
Again, the free park usually has very free, accessible bathrooms. Accessible to me, my children, and any transient or runner who may or may not violate that free bathroom in unspeakable ways.
This sucks especially when your kids are completely different sizes. I always get drawn into the teeter-totter madness and then all of a sudden I am accidentally launching one of my children into the stratosphere.
When I Forget I’m Not 12 Anymore
I need to have “Do not ever swing on the monkey bars!” tattooed on my blistered, torn palms.
The ‘Watch Me’ Game
Oh geez. I usually like watching all the new things my kids can do, but there comes a point when watching them do something like place a single brown leaf upon their head and laugh maniacally 500 times gets a bit old.
The Other Kids
My kids are great. Other people’s kids are little whiny booger-factories. I know we all feel the same way.
The Other Kids’ Parents
Usually great. Occasionally life-sucking.
The Park Where You Can Never See Your Kid and Your Life Is a Constant Heart Attack
I have been to this place. I still have nightmares about this place.
When Your Little Kid Only Wants to Play on the Big Kid Structure
My littlest was never satisfied with the wimpy toddler structure. She wanted bigger, higher, faster while taking years off my life each time she leaned out of one of those gaping death holes.
When MY Kid Is the One Being the Asshole
The day occasionally comes when it’s too close to nap time or food time, and it’s your own little darling being the prick at the park. And I’m all about abandoning ship if one of my kids starts becoming a monster, which also guarantees a complete and utter meltdown in the parking lot.
The Ice Cream Man Intent on Ruining My Day
He’s driving by very slowly, and playing his annoying music, and marking the moment when all of my children’s hopes and dreams die because I forgot to bring cash.
I’m looking at you, Great Slide Debate. Do you let your child go up the wrong way on a slide? This seems to matter to some people—a lot. I had never given it much thought before. I’m on the side of if no one wants to come down the slide at that moment, and you really want to walk up the stupid thing, go for it. I know this is against many people’s idea of a civilized society.
The One Spinny Toy That Launches Everyone to the Moon
You know it. You’ve probably been on it. I know I have. My older child was once stuck on one for an unknown amount of time while I was trying to keep his sister alive on a rock wall. I don’t think he walked straight for days after that.
When It’s Time to Leave the Park
This just never ever goes well. Even if you’ve been there so long that they have named one of the park benches after you, nobody is ever ready to go. “We are leaving now…without you… Here we go” sometimes works, but usually not without someone having a freak out.
The park is wonderful, and free, and a great way to spend time with your children while yelling all of your favorite things like, “Be careful! Don’t put that in your mouth! Gentle touches! GENTLE TOUCHES!” And, as a bonus, it’s also filled with about a million different germ strains that are now going home with you. Yay park.