The playground is the best … and the worst. It’s great that the kidlettes get their exercise and social time, but if you’ve ever spent a minute pushing a little one on a swing, you’ve encountered these people. The actual worst.
1. The Snack Judger. You whip out your kid’s favorite goldfish crackers and this mom gives them the death stare before pulling out her organic/wheat-free/grain-free/dairy-free/non-GMO homemade Gold Stars that she found the recipe for on Pinterest. Also they are in a reusable fabric tote because plastic, even the BPA-free kind, is a no-go. She’ll just wash the tote out later with the water she filters from a well and a bar of soap she fashioned from some glycerin and olive oil, no big whoop!
2. The One Upper. You, being the kind and friendly person you are, sit down for a minute and make a little small-talk with a nice mom on a bench. She then regales you with stories about her kids’ achievements, how quickly they learned to walk and talk, and all of the things she did to ensure their success — educational apps, occupational therapy and of course, reading time (she sets an alarm to remind her three times a day). Oh, you’ve been to the local indoor waterpark this year already? Well, SHE gets a work discount and has a season pass — wouldn’t it be fun to go together sometime? (Nope.)
3. The ‘Oh, I Brought a Kid?’ Parent. This is the parent that is paying absolutely zero attention to anything happening at the playground, including their kid, who is usually running around biting people, cutting off your kid in line for the slide, and generally terrorizing the entire park. Listen, we all look at our phones while we’re there, but at least look up every once in awhile to make sure your kid isn’t being a total nightmare — and is safe, for crying out loud!
4. The Teenagers in a Crowded Play Area. Really, this is self-explanatory. GET OFF THE SWINGS.
5. The ‘Can I Have Some’ Kid. You brought snacks for your kids, but there’s always that one little kid you’ve never seen before who approaches you for a handout. Look, you’re happy to share, but who knows if this kid has an allergy or whatever … and his parent is nowhere in sight. Saying ‘go ask your mom or dad’ sends him into a crying fit. Saying ‘sure’ will get you sued. This is a no-win.
6. The Danger Seeker. This is the kid that your child will befriend. He will tell your kid it’s totally fine to jump off the tower, because it’s just SAWDUST on the ground and it’s SOFT. He’ll spin your kid on the tire swing until he’s near puking. Also, his parents are nowhere to be found, so don’t even bother looking.
7. The Perfect Parent. Yes, even these parents can be irritating in their perfection. They roll up in their Audi, dressed like they jumped off the pages of a J Crew catalog, their hair perfectly wavy. They spend the entire afternoon giggling with their perfect kids on the see-saw and racing each other down slides. They don’t look at their cellphone even once. They brought bottled water and apple slices. They are having the time of their lives and that’s terrific … but their very presence makes you feel bad about yourself and that’s why they’ve made this list.
8. The Mom With a Nanny. This mom comes to the park with her kids and their nanny. Mom yaps away on her cellphone, holding her Starbucks and complaining about her roots and her need for a nail fill while Nanny plays with the kids. I mean …
9. The Salesperson. So you’re pushing your kid on the swings like the awesome parent you are, and the parent next to you starts in. They’ve got a church group you should definitely join. They’re selling Jamberry and your nails could really use a punch. They are in a produce co-op and you should really buy your fruit locally. They are basically an annoying version of Amazon.com in human form and they’re here to stay.