Please no, not the park! 7


Please no, not the park!





I’m just going to say it- I really do not like taking my child to the park.


Well, that’s not strictly true, we live close to a big country park and I’d happily spend all day there- open green spaces to run around in, meadows full of wild flowers, woods for playing hide and seek, a big fishing lake with a variety of water birds to learn about.  This is the kind of park I like.


It’s the playground that fills me with dread.  I long to be one of those mums who instigates impromptu trips to the playground and doesn’t find the whole experience to be an anxiety inducing tantrum-fest.


As the playground comes into view my heart either sinks when I see all the swings are occupied or it begins to race as I realise there’s one free and I must do my best to speedily slam-dunk Small Stuff into it before it’s claimed by someone else.  (Why is the swing to child ratio always so out of whack?!)


Then, worrying that I’ve disrupted some unspoken queuing system, I become very aware of people waiting to give their child a turn.  Kids are openly whining that they want to swing, mums are telling them intentionally loudly that they won’t have to wait much longer.  When you’re little I know 5 minutes of waiting feels like a lifetime but just 5 minutes of swinging feels like you’re getting gypped!


The whining’s gone up in intensity, there’s an edge in the mum’s voice as she assures her little darling it’ll be their turn soon.  I’m getting a sweat on.  I tell Small Stuff that it’s almost time to come off.  This is met with vigourous head shaking and scowling, (we all know scrunching our eyes up means it’s not really happening.) I tell her 10 more pushes.  I start to count down and kick-off number 1 begins.


Extracting her from the swing is like trying to wrestle a rabid Tasmanian devil.  I feel several sets of eyes boring into me as well as a set of teeny fingernails.  I think I’m forming pit stains.  I tell Small Stuff she can go on whatever play equipment isn’t draped in teenagers or we go home.  She begrudgingly moves onto something else.


We then encounter the obligatory, unsupervised little sod spirited child- the one that shoulder-barges, throws stones, blocks the slide etc.  I’m momentarily lifted by the fact there is a child behaving worse than Small Stuff but then the inevitable second wave of upset starts.  The Spirited One could not give a monkey’s about any stern words from me.  I glance around hoping his mum might notice and intervene, I then panic that his mum might be the scary woman yelling profanities into her mobile phone.  I steer Small Stuff away and shadow her around the playground, preventing accidents, sorting squabbles- I’ve had enough.


I never just spring it on Small Stuff when it’s time to go, I give her plenty of prompts but this does not prevent the headline act in her trilogy of tantrums.  She thrashes, kicks, screams and lashes out as I try and bundle her into her buggy.  Every time.  Tired, sore, upset and embarrassed I cart her home thinking I’m not in a rush to go through that again any time soon.


So when I’m met with a barrage of pleas for the playground I fire back with an arsenal of alternative activities.  It makes me feel rotten and selfish but I’d rather be ankle deep in loose glitter and moonsand any day.


Will anyone else own up to being playground-dodger?  It’s OK, you can tell me!

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7 thoughts on “Please no, not the park!

  • Talya

    OMG busy playgrounds suck like an old granny! I am really lucky to have a huge playground where nobody else really seems to go during the day (maybe they know something I don’t), so manage to for the best part avoid that dread but feel your pain otherwise…thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely x

  • Jordanne Lee

    I absolutely hate the park. My son does not like anything apart from the slide and if someone else is on it or wants a shot, he goes into complete meltdown mode and I want the ground to open up and swallow me whole. Luckily I have worked out the best times to take him now after a year and a half of struggling. It can be a nightmare at the park and especially with other mothers…. But I have found that where I live, dads are the worst by far. I feel like they would kill for a swing or a shot of the roundabout. Such a great post and so honest!
    Popping over from #coolmumclub

  • Becky at PinksCharming

    This is exactly how I feel. Give me a tonne of craft stuff to clear up any day of the week. I can tolerate it on a fine day but I get so cold hanging around in winter, my girls take after their dad and don’t feel the cold, whereas I get more and more miserable. Really hate it when the ‘spirited’ kids turn up too, the gravel throwers are the worst. Ugh. Becky x #CoolMumClub

    • Smallstuffandme Post author

      My heart sinks if anyone turns up at the park- swing competition!
      You’re right about those chilly days, you start wondering if it’s OK to leave after about 7 minutes!