Tips For Surviving an Indoor Playground in 6 Easy Steps

by Harmony Hobbs
Originally Published: 
A little girl playing in the ball pit inside of an indoor playground

I live in the Deep South, where soaring temperatures and obscene humidity levels make being outdoors a miserable experience for approximately one half of the year.

It’s not that I hate being hot. Many lovely places — like spas, saunas, and beaches — are hot. Being hot in the right situation is acceptable to me. What I find unacceptable is the feeling of makeup running down my face, my inner thighs sticking together and ripping apart when I walk, and what happens when a sweat-covered child lands in dirt.

Because of these reasons and more, I know the location of every indoor playground within a 20-mile radius and I visit them on a rotating basis. But be warned — indoor playgrounds are just as wretched as their outdoor siblings. The temperature is more tolerable, but there are a lot of other things to watch out for … like the poop diaper that someone left next to the inflatable ball pit.

Here are some tips to help you navigate your way through what may be the germiest, most obnoxiously tolerable place on Earth: the indoor playground.

1. Stake your claim. Indoor playgrounds are crowded, so staking out prime seating is a top priority. Ideally, you should be near an outlet, the bathroom, and within earshot of your children. Wait, no. Scratch that last one.

2. Bring a friend. You may be tempted to go alone, since the indoor playground is a confined space and there is little chance of your child wandering off. But who’s going to catch you up on the latest gossip or discuss nipple hair with you? Who will hold down the fort while you go look for the child you lost track of because you were so wrapped up in talking about anal sex? Your friend. Bring the nonjudgmental one.

3. Smuggle in alcohol. What?! Don’t judge me. We all know that intolerable parenting situations are much easier to handle when you have a glass of something in your hand. Pour your beverage into a benign-looking container, bury it in your oversized purse, make eye contact, and try not to look like you’re being a totally irresponsible rule-breaker. Sneaking vodka into an establishment full of giant inflatables was the only way I made it through my last trip. I offer no apologies.

4. Leave your pride at the door. It’s likely that you, your children, or all of the above, will make complete asses of yourselves before you make your exit. Go in with that knowledge, and you will feel a lot less embarrassed when your child screams “MY DADDY HAS A BIG PENIS!” Encourage your kids be as loud as possible while they aren’t in your house. Revel in the fact that you won’t have to clean that glass door that your child is licking. Whatever your kids are doing, worse has happened here. Trust me.

5. Be prepared — for anything. A throw up, a poop, a hunger, a thirst, a headache, a period, a nervous breakdown, a fire. Ready yourself for the world to end right there on the bumpy slide … because if the kid going down right before your kid has diarrhea pants, it might.

6. What happens in Vegas … you know the rest. Did you show your literal ass when you bent over to help little Jimmy get out of the toy car? Did your deodorant fail you? Did you cry, scream, or curse in front of small children? Did you over-share and immediately regret it? Did your toddler throw a tantrum and slap you in the crotch? It happens to all of us, because playgrounds — indoor and out — are terrible, God-forsaken places and motherhood can be a real bitch. The good news is that once you leave, you can just forget any of it ever happened and enjoy the silence of worn-out children.

Unless, of course, one of you touched that abandoned poop diaper.

Never touch the poop diaper.

Related post: The 10 Worst Places To Go With Kids

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