A perfect park visit with a young kid, or young kids, often involves gorgeous weather, a handcrafted coffee beverage of some kind, and cheerful moods that are never interrupted by skinned knees, bullies on the jungle gym, or unforeseen bouts of hunger and exhaustion. It’s a rare gift, really; one that rarely appears in my everyday life because, let’s be honest, taking your kids to the park is the worst. It’s rarely as good as I think it’ll be.
I mean, if I knew that it would just be me and my son, frolicking in the grass, swinging on the swings, and counting turtles in the pond, I’d be down to take him to the park every single day and as long as the weather permits. I mean, we could all use more frolicking in our lives, so why wouldn’t I? Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. Other people are there or the turtles won’t come out or the playground is closed off for maintenance or I forgot something important, like water, or sunscreen, or the name of the son of the woman who I’m seeing for the third time this week, even though she always remembers the name of mine. The park is hard, you guys. So. Freakin'. Hard.
Can it be worth the effort and potential public toddler tantrum? Sure, but I like being realistic about motherhood, which includes succumbing to the undeniable fact that taking my kid to the park is (usually) an absolute mess. Here are a few more reasons why, because hey; at least I'm trying, right?:\
The Small Talk With Other Parents
Yes, of course I enjoy having genuine conversations with genuine people. However, that's not always an option when we're both half-paying attention to our own kids and trying to hide the fact that they're still in their pajamas.
Admittedly, I'm getting better about this particular downside as my son gets older. Still, I've seen how many toddlers freely sneeze all over the slide, and it's not a low number.
The Dangerous Ways Kids Like To Play
Please tell me that my son is not the only one who likes to peer over the edge of extremely tall things. Sure, I get it, what's actually arm's length for me is like five times his height, and that makes it exciting. Still, that doesn't mean I like doubling as an Olympic spotter.
Not to be confused with the germs, the dirt can actually be seen on their clothes, feet, and under their fingernails. Somehow, the fact that I can see the dirt makes it worse.
The Repetitive Options For Play
Oh, cool, you're tired of this slide? Great, let's go try, um, that other slide.
The Rule That Says That Whenever You're Not "Dressed Up," You’ll Run Into People
The baseball hat and ponytail look can only get one so far. My favorite hack is to add lipstick into the mix and all of a sudden the look because sporty and glamorous.
The Extra Toys Your Kid Can’t Take Home
I'm sure the families that donate their trucks to the neighborhood sandbox are comprised of lovely people. I mean, how could they not be? They are literally donating toys to neighborhood kids. That said, sometimes I hate them.
You Will Forget Something
Please, please, please don't let it be my phone. I need it for, the um, safety calls. Oh, and pictures. That's it, safety and pictures. I don't need it for anything else at all, especially not when I'm sitting by myself on a bench.
The Actual Amount Of Time You'll Spend With Your Kid? Not As Much As You Think
Unless, of course, I want to tether him to me waist or use one of those kid leashes. At this moment in my life, I can't say that I do.
Other Families Feed The Ducks And Confuse Your Kid When You've Told Them No
I don't having anything to say about this that doesn't sound really grouchy, so I'll just settle with this factual statement: There are signs everywhere that tell you not to feed the ducks, Teresa.
The Extreme Hunger That Will Inevitably Strike
It doesn't matter if we ate a gigantic breakfast right before we left. Approximately five minutes after arriving, we'll suddenly be on the brink of starvation and fresh out of applesauce pouches.
The. Swings. Are. Always. Full.
Perhaps they're always full because we've all waited like 45 freakin' minutes for our kid's turn? I understand the desire to not require them to rush through it, but get it together.
The Jungle Gyms Are Not Suitable For Adults
If only they were, right? It would almost make it all worth it.