I have a confession to make. I kinda hate going to the park with my kids.
Other parents seem to genuinely enjoy their trips to the park. The minute the weather warms up, I see “off to the park with the kids on this gorgeous day!” all over my Facebook and Instagram feeds. Friends tell me that they spent the entire day there and loved every second of it.
Now don’t get me wrong; that’s cool. If you truly like the park, then good on ya. I really wish I had whichever genetic indicator I need in my DNA to enable my experience at the park to be equally as enjoyable, but more power to you for having it.
But me? From the moment we arrive, I’m counting down the minutes ‘til it’s time go. Just being honest! And I’m willing to bet I’m not alone. In fact, the majority of you are already nodding your heads in agreement. Maybe even some of you “off to the park!” folks are secretly with me on this.
But here’s the thing: Going to the park is basically a parenting requirement. Like it or not, I HAVE to go. It doesn’t matter how I feel. Why? Because I’m a MOM, that’s why. When do I get a say in anything?
Below I will walk you through a typical afternoon at the park with my kids. If you find your own park experiences to be similar, then for the love of God, stop pretending it’s so much fun! Shhhh… your kids won’t ever know. It’ll be our little secret! So anyway, a day at the park…..
Oh look, our kids are playing together. Awkward silence, awkward silence, more awkward silence…. Ugh I can’t put off the obligatory small talk any longer. “So how old is she?… Oh, she’s adorable … Yes, they sure do grow up fast….” Yeesh.
Of all the kids in the park, of course my kid decides to play with the hacky, rashy, booger-covered one who is definitely carrying some mutant strain of coxsackie and chicken pox, hereby known as poxsackie. Might as well round up the pediatrician and the pharmacy now.
How old do your kids need to be in order to become the highly unaware, sitting-on-a-bench-checking-her-phone-while-the-kids-play-by-themselves mom?…..Maybe there is no minimum age, since I’m pretty sure baby poxsackie over there belongs to her– and he needs a baby wipe or ten to the face, ASAP.
Pleeeease baby, don’t climb up there. Look! There’s a little structure over there that’s just the right size for you! Ok, I guess the tallest one it is. Just love being that psycho mom who literally climbs inside a jungle gym with her kid to keep him from plunging to his death.
And now you want to climb up that ginormous slide? By yourself? Oh, silly me. Of course not by yourself. Mommy’s here! Climbing the ladder right behind you! So let’s get this over with.
Swings! That’s a great idea! Standing in place definitely beats chasing these kids all over the park!
20 minutes of “standing in place” later: “Push higher, mommy! Higher! HIGHERRRRRR!!!!”
Time check: 2:30p.m. Seriously?? We’ve only been here for 45 minutes?? HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE? Hasn’t it been at least three hours? So basically, time stands still at the park, but naptime is over before I can finish my coffee.
Poxsackie’s mom has some really cute sunglasses on. Hmm… I wonder if they’re cheap and just look expensive, or really expensive but look like they could potentially be cheap. Either way, I wonder where she got them. Oh wait, where did my kids go?
When the heck did they turn on the sprinklers?? These kids aren’t wearing bathing suits, not that it matters now. And there are some big kids in there playing way too roughly. Do I go grab my kid and get soaked, or stay dry and just leave her alone? Eh, she’ll be fine. How bad could they be?
Not my best decision. Where’s that Band-Aid I had in my bag for the last year and a half? When did I lose it? Why do I never have a Band-Aid on me when I actually need it?? Well, on the bright side, she’ll probably be too upset about her boo-boo to want to stay here any longer.
Wrong. Do I not know my own kids?
Is that sunburn? Darn! I forgot to put sunblock on them! I mean, it’s not like I’m at the beach or anything. I knew I should have brought my big diaper bag. There’s definitely some sunblock in there. And Band-Aids. And probably some bribery candy for when it’s time to leave, too. But who wants to lug a giant bag around the park? You can’t climb up a slide wearing a giant diaper bag. And how on earth does that mom who always just wears the little cross body pouch always have everything she needs? Are those things like tiny bag-shaped clown cars?
I will literally pay you in lollipops not to go anywhere near that sandbox.
It’s so freaking hot today. Would it kill them to plant a few more trees around here??
“Mommy I have to pee!” Come again? You have to PEE? Here? In that nasty, filthy bathroom over there??? Are you sure you can’t just hold it?? At least try for me? No??? Fine. But forget the poxsackie. You’re about to get something a lot worse.
Ok, I’ve had enough. “Kids! Time to go! Yes I know you want to stay but it’s time to go. Mommy is two monkey bars away from a nervous breakdown right now. No, NOT one more time on the slide…. Not the swing either! LET’S GO! Oh, don’t you dare start crying. Shut those waterworks down, missy. Now where did your brother go?”
What?? THE ICE CREAM MAN IS HERE??”
By Jeannine Cintron, the Staten Island mom who discovered the best cure for poxsackie is avoiding the park in the first place.
Plan on braving a trip to the park this spring? Of course you do! Go to siparent.com/staten-island-playgrounds for a list of playgrounds on the Island. Don’t forget to tag us in your park pics on Instagram @statenisland_parent