I'm Just Gonna Say It: I Hate Taking Family Walks

by Ellie Morrissey
Originally Published: 
Cute upset stress sad unhappy little boy
Scary Mommy and yaoinlove/Getty

Quarantine has really allowed us to get to know our family members. I’ve learned that my son is capable of building LEGOs on his own. I learned that my daughter is an even better artist than I thought she was. My husband is a pretty competent auto mechanic. The dog is still worthless, but very cute.

Spending so much time together also really highlights things what people are not good at. Maybe it was suspected that they had some shortcomings before, but now with 24 hours a day together, it’s in your face pretty hard.

I learned my children are absolutely horrible at going on walks. If you combined a sloth and feral cat with a blind cow, then took it for a walk in a hilly area with no sidewalks, you would understand the experience of walking with my children. It’s hard to overstate how irritating the experience is.

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It’s probably my fault that they’re so bad at this. My kids are very close in age so I kept them in the stroller for a really long time to help manage them. Considering that walking is the only real safe activity now (they don’t like riding bikes, but I knew that already), we’re forced to do it all the time now. I can’t really avoid it.

You think I am being hyperbolic and exaggerating the facts? Okay. Let me detail the most recent walk we took.

I tried to start hyping them up for a walk at about 11:00 a.m. They really don’t like it so they kept asking to do other activities first. This pushed the start time for a walk back several hours. And coincidentally made it during the hottest part of the day. This is a pretty consistent parental move for me. I know doing something with them is a horrible idea that will cause unhappiness and stress, but just do it anyway. I’m here if anyone wants life coaching.

After the requisite 10 minutes of yelling at them to put their shoes on and trying to find the dog’s leash, we embarked on our journey.

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My son absolutely insists on wearing flip-flops during walks. As anyone with common sense knows, they are a terrible choice for walking. However, wearing real shoes makes him so irritated that we let him wear them. He also likes to walk on curbs like a balance beam. This would be fine if you were wearing shoes and actually had some type of balance. He doesn’t meet either criteria.

We are literally in front of our next-door neighbor’s house when he trips on the curb and falls really hard. His sandals go flying and he starts crying. He puts them back on, and I convince him to keep walking. He does this while crying that his shoes are “ouchy.” We go one more house and I see that he’s put his sandals on wrong. How is this even possible? You have to put two toes in the section the big toe is supposed to go. I fix it with a baffled look on my face, and we keep going.

We have a miniature dachshund and found out that our new neighbor coincidentally had two of them from the same breeder. They look a lot alike and it’s cute to see them together, so we stop by when we walk the dog. My daughter was looking forward to this. Of course, the dogs were not there. She took it in stride by starting to cry, sitting on the ground, and saying she wanted to go home. To catch you up on the progress, we were four houses away from our home. It was super hot and both of my children had already cried. Because I’m intuitive and sensitive, I told them to get it together and keep going.

They walk so slowly. I feel like a snail almost passed them once. Children obviously walk lot more slowly than adults because they’re smaller. But I’ve seen other children walk. I can assure you that what I’m dealing with is not normal. They move with teeny tiny steps, like a beautiful Paso Fino horse, except with absolutely no speed or grace. This is combined with their inability to look at things and continue walking. I simply cannot figure it out. Every time they see something that is mildly interesting, they stop. This would be fine if they began walking again after stopping. They do not. They stand there like a frozen computer that needs to be restarted.

My son trips twice more and loses his shoes four times. They both get really upset about a “scary bug.” We stand by a sewer drain for five minutes because they want to see a crocodile. When I tell them we have to get going again, they act like I have spent the whole day telling them about petting a crocodile, and was now breaking my promise. We finally arrive at the place where we can feed the ducks. This is the only part of the walk that they look forward to. To stay on brand with this cursed stroll, there were no ducks.

We turn around to go home. Jimmy only lost his shoes one more time. Sadie asked me why I was forcing her to take walks. We almost lost the dog and everyone kept stepping on her. After what seemed like a horrible cross country road trip, we returned home. We had gone 3/4 of a mile. Good times as a family!

It’s so unpleasant, but I’ll keep doing it because it’s healthy for them, and clearly they need some practice.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go on a walk. By myself. I hear there’s a really cool crocodile in the sewer and I’d like to pet it.

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