10 Rules of The Playground


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There are certain things about childhood that I’m finding are even better the second time around. Grilled cheese sandwiches, for example. I was never that fond of them during my own youth, but find them completely irresistible now. Fireflies, rainbows and sandcastles also top the list of things I enjoy even more than my children. And, then there are the things I loved as a kid, but as a grown up, dread with every fiber of my being. Topping that list? The playground.

Now, I don’t hate everything about the playground. Of course, I do recognize the value of having some place to burn off steam that doesn’t involve bouncing on my bed or running around the house like a crazed lunatic, but my children just seem to make it as annoying as it can possibly be.

They want me to run around and play chase, to push them on the swings and to go down the slides with them. When I said that the playground was good for blowing off steam, I meant for them, while I play on my iPhone and sip my latte watching from the sidelines. What’s up with the mothers chasing and rolling all around with their kids? Isn’t that the job of the other kids there? I don’t get it.

So, as long as we are going to keep frequenting playgrounds, I’ve decided to come up with some ground rules so my children known exactly where I stand. Hopefully it will make the experience as painless as possible…

1. I will not push you endlessly on the swing. If you want to swing, learn to pump.

2. I will not swing from bars. I am not a monkey.

3. I do not go down slides (for fear of my ass getting stuck mid-way.)

4. We are not playmates. At the playground, I have my friends and you have yours.

5. Sandboxes are evil. Stay away from them at all costs.

6. Hide and seek anywhere but home isn’t fun for mommy. Don’t even think about it.

7. There is no need to yell “LOOK AT ME!!!” every three seconds. I’m (half) watching. And, if I miss that particular slide dismount, I’ll catch the next one.

8. Don’t ask me to play on the see-saw. I don’t need to be reminded that I weigh more than all of you combined.

9. Don’t do anything that will result un an ER visit. Or, we may never comeback.

10. Don’t tell me you are bored. I guarantee you’ll be more bored at home.

Still want to go play, kids?


  1. 1

    tracy@sellabitmum says

    The fact that I could even do the monkey bars at one time shocks the hell out of me. Have you tried it lately? Seriously impossible. xo

    • 2

      Love says

      RIGHT? I tried the little zip line thingy last weekend and thought my arms were going to pop out of their sockets LOL I will leave the little kid equipment to the kids from now on!

  2. 4

    Nina says

    Yes! I agree with every one of these, Jill! The worst is when I go to a park WITH a friend and our kids and my friend is answering to every “Mommy, come sit on this slide” call from her child. The kids have EACH OTHER!!!! Come on!

  3. 5

    lynn @ Maven of Savin' says

    OMG – I CANNOT STAND PUSHING on the swing and thought I was the only horrible mother out there!n I will hang at the park with you any day – sipping of course.

    • 6

      K says

      I am so number 1 with my 5 year old. However, my 5 year old is not shy and will ask and talk to anyone. So he will ask other parents to push him and it’s funny that almost all of them oblige. Many of them for 20 or so minutes! Some days it bothers me to think about what they are probably thinking of me. But I believe in purposefully ignoring them at the park. I’m watching, I care but all of that is going on in the inside. They need to learn their independence and isn’t the playground one of those great opportunities

  4. 7

    Mom Off Meth says

    What is it about the swing that sucks so bad? I hate it too. I hate when they get stuck up in a high place and can’t get down. The first time is okay, but fool me once…

  5. 8

    Toni says

    Omg-I so love you. Numbers 1,3,4, 5 & 7 especially…oh, that’s almost all! I always say I had two children two years apart on purpose. Play with each other dammit.

  6. 10

    Sarah at Julia's Child says

    I think that six years at the playground was a major contributing factor to our exit from NYC. My kids called their swingset “the playground” for a long time after we moved.

    My issue with the playground was that the moms and the nannies were camped on either side, like boys and girls at a junior high dance. I preferred the nannies to the particular constellation of moms in my neighborhood, but soon found that the babysitters really didn’t want me in their club. So I made a lot of small talk about the weather with the moms, and counted the minutes until we’d need to go.

  7. 13

    Mae (Life's Candy) says

    I don’t mind pushing (for the wee ones who don’t have the coordination to pump yet, not for the big enoughs!) if there’s another mom friend there ALSO pushing. Because then we can push and talk and sip lattes. The rest of it? Ugh. If I wanted to play we would have gone to the mall. This is YOUR playground, not mommy’s!

  8. 14

    Nancy says

    I tell my kid’s the play ground is my time to relax,read and enjoy watching them play…there are 2 of them,entertain each other!

  9. 15

    abettermother says

    How sad. You are missing out on all of the joys of childhood while you drink your coffee and check your e-mail. I’m the one playing with my kids and pushing them for an hour if that’s what they want and I guarantee, they are having more fun than yours.

    • 16

      MarySunshine says

      Here’s your gold star!

      I like to play with mine, too. But not the whole time, and not every time we go. And FYI, I have no smart phone, I sip no latte or read a book. I just enjoy not being hung on for the 20-40 minutes we’re there.

      • 17

        Jenn says

        Well said Mary Sunshine. A better mother really? Could you be more judgmental?! I am sure if I was a fly on the wall in your home for a week I could point out plenty of your shortcomings. Rude.

        • 18

          MarySunshine says

          We can’t all shit rainbows and ride unicorns to the playground. Otherwise, how else would these “better mothers” find ways to feel better about themselves?

          Listen ladies, if life is peachy keen everyday and you never feel the urge to pull your hair out, cry, run away, or at the very least dive into the bottom of a pit of ice cream head first, mouth open once in awhile I need to know….

          …what meds you are on. I’d like to talk to my doctor and get some, too.

      • 22

        ButteryMuffyn says

        Why don’t you all come to the park with me? I’ll bring coffee for everyone, gummy bears and goldfish for the kids and we can all sit and chat and ignore our kids whilst sanctimonious “abettermother” can watch all the kids for us.

      • 24

        Suzanne @ Fit Minded Mom says

        My mom certainly didn’t play with me at the playground and I remember having tons of fun. Because that is what kids did when when I was growing up. You stayed outside all day and played with friends and came home before the “street lights” came on!!

        God forbid we actually raise children who learn to entertain and occupy themselves!! Constantly “doing” for our children only teaches them to be self centered. They are at the damn playground……..where the equipment usually states for ages 2-12!!!

    • 25

      Amy says

      This is place to come release some of our less than admirable truths. Once can LOOOOVE raising children while not always loving the mundane day-to-day doldrums. I guarantee that all these other moms are still playing with their kids…they just don’t always want to. Your need to assert your perfection by judging others reveals that you probably have a lot to hide. Look in the mirror before you hold the mirror up to others who are simply blowing off steam while having a little laugh.

    • 26

      funmommies says

      I was thinking the same thing! I admit, im definitely not a perfect mommy but i sure as heck am involved in their interests too!! No, i dont love going to the playground all the time but i do love to see the smile on my kids face when they get to play with mommy too!! I am definitely one of the moms out pushing their kid on the swing and catching them at the bottom of the slide! And when they get older ill still be out there taking pics of them while theyre playing! Theyre little only for a little while and ill have plenty of time to sip my latte when theyre off to college or raising a family of their own!

    • 27

      sammi says

      I would like to extend a generous offer to those of you who are disgruntled with this blog post. I’m in a giving mood. I’ve got a bottle of Evian with your name on it, Abettermother. I’d be happy to send it to you, so that you can wash the sand out of your nether regions. Typically, I don’t hand out prizes to sanctimommies, but today is your lucky day. We all love our kids here, so your holier than thou attitude is incredibly misplaced. Lighten up.

    • 30

      AnOrdinaryMother says

      Really ma’am? I’m so glad that you’re here to point out everything we’re all doing wrong. You’re having fun with your kids. That’s great. I’m thrilled for them and you. However, just because I don’t want to jump around on the playground doesn’t mean my kids aren’t having fun. They are learning to get along with kids their own age. You sound like a Class A helicopter parent. Respectfully put a sock in it.

  10. 32

    Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes says

    Our holiday rental had a swing in the backyard, after one entire afternoon of ‘push me mama/papa’ I decided it would be good for her development if the eldest learned how to swing by herself. One hour of training and yelling ‘up legs, down legs’ like a Navy Seal Drill Sergant and she got it.

  11. 33

    Amber says

    @abettermother lol! It won’t be fun for your kids when all their friends know how to swing by themselves and they can’t because mommy always did it for them.

  12. 34

    ZooKeeper says

    And how about the endless: “Mommy watch me!” Yes, I see you on the swing, slide, monkey bars, see-saw, trash can— oops, get down from there!

  13. 35

    twinsplustwo says

    I hate when other parents push my kids because they feel sorry for them when I choose not to get up 50 times to give them another push on the swing

  14. 36

    Denise says

    I love to swing, me so don’t ask me to push you because I’m busy swinging myself and when my turn is over I’m done and I get to sit my old butt down under a tree and work on my jewelry while you play. That is unless we take the grandkid than we will only be at the park for 30 minutes – unless I get to swing the whole time and you push your nephew in the baby swing then we will stay till some rude person thinks you are my grandson too!

  15. 37

    Amy says

    We have those rules too plus, no climbing up to a place that you can not get down from by yourself. My daughter learned to jump down from a rock wall that way.

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