Why I Hate the ParkStefanie Wilder Taylor
I know I’m going to sound like some kind of psychotic parenthood hating Scrooge right now but I’m putting it out there: I hate the park. Where do I begin? Well first off I guess I’m not much of an outdoorsy type so that puts a damper on things right there. But if we are going outside, I’d still prefer my driveway to the park any day of the week (especially Saturday).
It always seems like such an innocent suggestion right? What is there to hate about taking your kids to a playground to run around and enjoy the day –for free I might add? If you ask me, the answer is a lot. There is a lot to hate. Starting with the swings. Since my kids were little, the second we get to the park they make a bee line for the swings. And that’s all they want to do. The entire time. And despite the fact that they are five-years-old now and have working legs, they want me to push them. I don’t want to push my kids on the swings anymore. I’m done. A) it’s monotonous but B) that shit is dangerous! What is it about a moving swing that makes them invisible to kids? I don’t think I’ve ever gone to the park and not seen a kid get kicked in the face and knocked over by accidentally swaying into the path of a swing. I spend an inordinate amount of time saying, “Sweetie, look out! You’re going to get hit by that swing!” “You almost got hit just then!” Bam! “Oh no, are you okay?” And then I invariably leave every park outing with post-traumatic swing disorder.
Even if I do manage to get my kids off the swings for a minute, it’s not fun. Within seconds someone has to pee and I don’t know about you but I’ve never seen a public park restroom that didn’t require a Hazmat suit to enter. And yeah, if you have boys you are probably laughing at me right now but just yesterday I tried to get my daughter to squat behind a tree and she ended up with wet shoes and some dirty stares from a couple making out on a blanket nearby (by the way, stop MAKING OUT ON BLANKETS! YOU ARE NOT IN YOUR BEDROOM! I DON’T WANT TO SEE THAT).
Another issue is the amount of things you need to bring: sunscreen, water bottles, snacks and 30 pounds of sand toys that your child won’t play with but God forbid a toddler wanders over and picks up their shovel then all hell breaks loose. Of course, I somehow always forget to bring any of those things and end up wandering around looking for a drinking fountain that works for thirty minutes feeling like the worst mom ever. And if I’ve forgotten cash (which I often have) there are sure to be tears because we can’t buy ice cream from the vendors who park right outside the playground and ring their bells to alert kids to go ask their moms for money.
Also, have I mentioned I don’t like sand? It’s too sandy. I don’t like the feeling of it on my feet. And I can’t help being paranoid that every man see where I don’t spot their kid immediately is a child molester. And do all those play structures have to be 20 feet off the ground? My hearts stops beating every time my kid stands at the top of one yelling for me to look at them. I am looking! And I’m scared you’re going to fall!
Somehow because the park is six blocks from my house, I usually think it’s a good idea to let the kids ride their bikes there and inevitably, I realize the folly of my thinking when it’s time to go home and I end up having to carry one of their bikes because they are just too tired. Once we get home everyone needs a bath and I need a chiropractor.
But the strangest part is, it seems like I get some kind of park amnesia because a few days later, I hear those five words from another mom, “Let’s go to the park” and find myself saying, “Yeah, okay. Sounds good.” When will I learn?
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