Confession of a parent

 hate going to the park

Dear parents and non-parents, people, dogs, squirrels, trees, anyone, I hate going to the park.

6a00e551f08003883401bb09b15877970d.pngYes, you heard me.

I hate going to the park. Why do I have to go to the park? Can we just go home, please? These are my persistent thoughts, hiding behind my smile as I say a quick hi and chat with parents. It’s nothing against you parents, grand parents and nothing against you kids. I just can’t stand it.

In the hour that I spend at the park. I could be doing this.

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Or even walking through the damn mall promising my daughter to frolic in the kids play area or the Lego store. Anything. Anything but the park.

My mind is restless, always restless. I find myself fidgeting, pacing and glancing at my watch, praying for the time to pass, but there I see my daughter having the time of her life as she climbs up the jungle gym, goes down the slide and just squeals as she is playing tag with her friends.

And I am standing, sitting or squatting – dunno what – feeling bad that I don’t enjoy that time in the park like she does.

In all honesty, and that is partially driven by my introverted and anxious tendencies, I get overwhelmed easily, I jive well with smaller to non-existent crowds. When too much stuff is going on kids scampering about, babies crying, prying and watchful eyes of parents, lots of noise, chatter with people that you are not 100% comfortable with – it’s hard for me to relax.

I am not going to lie that there are moments when going to the park is fine and manageable, but on the days that I am tired and in my interesting moods, it will affect how I spend my time at the park.

Oh and I forgot to mention, my daughter’s school is built RIGHT NEXT TO THE SCHOOL, there is no way to avoid it, so if you are in this inevitable situation, bear with me I have some survival tips.

Survival tips for the park

It was only natural that this post would lead to survival tips for parent, relatives, grandparents, friends or a tree. As you without a doubt will be bored out of your mind in the park, make the best of it.

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  1. Interact with other parents and if you are capable make friends.

Yeah… that’s my first tip to break the ice and to generally make things more pleasant for you and more importantly to make time pass. (I honestly think I am not the only one feeling this way, so unite in solidarity or misery likes company with any other parent that cannot enjoy parks and BAM you made an acquaintance).

As someone who had to break through walls of social anxiety in order to not suffocate from loneliness. I forced myself to talk to parents, because hey we are all together in this sinking ship called “parenting”. I strike up a conversation with them whether it is about what they are wearing (if you compliment another mother/woman’s outfit it is a great conversation starter, doesn’t work when men do it though because it sends a wrong message, but either way, A for effort). Or you ask them about where they got the clothes or shoes for their kids, you could talk about the homework, practically anything as long as it isn’t creepy, desperate or just lacking common sense (don’t bring politics, leave it at home).

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2. Set a deadline for your kid

My daughter and I have agreed to set a time to how long she can stay (I show the clock on my phone display to make a point), and she respects that…for now. I know, not all kids are quick to obey, but usually one hour in the park feels like a lifetime for them, especially when they spent most their energy in school the whole day.

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3. Bring your IPod, phone or best case scenario without parents judging you hardcore – bring A BOOK.

Like a getaway, vacation, bring some form of entertainment with you. A fidget spinner, haky sack, pogs, marbles, knitting stuff…BUT be wary of pulling out your smart phone, even your IPod with visible earphones, because parents will not waste a second to silently judge you. If you are a pro at the art of not giving a fuck, then this shouldn’t concern you, since you wouldn’t care that your kid is young once and that the second you waste looking at the screen you waste a precious moment, but eeeyyyy you do you boo.

No seriously, I am not judging, especially when I am tired and need space, the Ipad and Netflix are great babysitters, at least within reason and plus there are some educational stuff in there for kids, so it’s okay parents… I watched a lot of TV and movies and played loads of video games growing up and I am still okay…I think, I just keep hearing that some old commercial playing in my head WHEN WILL IT DIE, DAMMIT!

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4. Actually play with your kid.

This will make me swoon and you will be placed on top of the list as the most attractive, likable and approachable parent on Earth. If you are the kind of person that always loved playing with kids, you go and make every parent jealous with your innate ability to connect with your inner child. My inner child left me ever since some boy told me I shouldn’t play with Barbies anymore (and bruh, you don’t know how much I LOVED barbies!). If you are still in touch with your inner child, just join in the fun

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5. Time to – metaphorically – bring out the guns! It’s bribing time, baby!

If you really don’t want to go to the park because you don’t want to or have other obligations elsewhere. Well, you can hurl ultimatums after ultimatums to a point that your kid will be shocked to tears at what a horrible and depraved parent you are, that’s fine too, that is if you have the patience to deal with the melodramatic Shakespearean performance of a distraught child. Remember to exit right to avoid all the stares. 

OR you can be the cool parent and tell your kid you have something nice for them waiting at home, some sweets, cake, you name it. The key is to apply a very simplified version of diplomacy with a sprinkling of deals and secret trades in hopes that you will be the best parent ever, that is of course for good measure, because you can always remind them about that one time that you did something stupendous for them.

Those are my basic survival tips, I mean I could write more but ech there are probably better tips out there on the world wide web.

Sometimes, you just gotta deal with it

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All credit goes to me, snapped that beaut a while back in Spring, so profesh, so photographer, so wowe.

However, sadly, sometimes it is inevitable. You have to just bear it through as you walk slowly with heavy feet and a heavy heart to the park before you.

You take a deep breath as your child scrambles like young Simba running away from the stampede of wildebeests as she disappears into these playground contraptions.

So, zero-in on a comfy spot, sit, nurse on a ice coffee or any kind of beverage that you cleverly thought about bringing along with you and just relax.

They will grow up and before you know it they will do stuff without you.

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Enjoy that slice of life, that moment. Let yourself be lulled into the laughter and excited chatter of the carefree, wonderful and innocent world of children.

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