I have an issue. Actually I have an issue with my issue. I feel bad for judging these moms, but at the same time I feel bad for my twins. Here is the situation. A few weeks ago I ran 5 miles with the jogging stroller to this really cool park where the jungle gym is shaped like a pirate ship. I hoped that the kiddos would get a chance to play. There are so many big kids at it later in the day and my Baby Boy is very nervous around them. Baby Girl wants to jump right in there, but Baby Boy wants to leave. So I make her upset by leaving, but I know he would have a fun time if there weren’t so many other big kids around. So I left the house first thing in the morning and packed a snack for everybody because you know I am that slow. The plan was to run, play, eat and run back home. The first time was while school was still in session and everything went fine. There were a lot of little ones there and everyone got along great. The other moms were very watchful and everything was fine. The second time I did this, it did not go so well.
The second time I went school was out and there were some “older” kids there. I noticed that the moms stood about twenty feet away, formed a circle, and just chit chatted the entire time. I mean I get that moms of older kids probably do not feel the need to hover unlike moms of the bit clumsier 2-year-old. However I do think they still need some supervision. I mean I have met some 4-year-olds that still do not quite have the concept of sharing and taking turns down pat just yet.
I also get that moms in general do not have much grown-up time if they stay at home. If I have a playdate with another mom, we will talk, but we are also in the playground with our kids. That is not to say everything goes smoothly. I turned around the other day to answer a question. In the two seconds it took to do that, Baby Girl fell off the stairs to the jungle gym. It made me feel horrible. I was standing right next to her and turned my head to face the person talking to me for two seconds. Luckily she was only on the second step and did not fall far. She also got over it pretty quick. It still made me feel bad. I think I would feel worse if I were further away, back turned, and total engrossed into something else even if she was 2 years older than she is now.
I thought about it a little more and thought that maybe the moms on the other side of the circle are the watch dogs. You know they could give their buddy a heads up that it looks like their kid needs to pee pee or something, but is that really fair to them to have to watch her kids plus the other lady’s kids? What if the mom facing the playground saw her kid at the top of the tallest point of the jungle gym. What if her kid looks like she might fall and hurt herself. At the same time she notices her friend’s kid is doing his pee pee dance. Do you think she is going to say something to her friend first or her kid? I know what I would do. I would tell my kid to get down or go over and help her down. Then I would let my buddy know that her kid looks like he needs to pee. Maybe she gets to him in time, but maybe she doesn’t because of those few seconds spent attending to my own kid.
I brought this up to a friend of mine because I felt bad for being all judgy. It does not matter what I say now, it still might be me doing that in two years. Then again it just feels very similar to someone being on their phone and not paying attention. My friend told me she actually went to a park where the mom wasn’t technically even in the playground area. The kid did something that wasn’t appropriate and she asked where his mother was. He told her that his mom was in the car.
I just have a hard time telling some other kid what to do. Don’t get me wrong if they do anything that physically bothers my kid I will say something. I told a kid to stop throwing mulch at my son just the other day. I said it real nice. I said please and thank you. I do have to say that this mom was not in a circle chit chatting. She had a smaller child to deal with at the time. So I totally understand that. She also got onto her boy a few seconds later when he decided to throw mulch up at the other kids in the jungle gym. It was just a matter of taking care of the smaller one first.
So I debated with myself as to whether I would post this or not. Like I sad I feel bad for judging, but don’t my kids deserve to have fun on the playground as well? I mean I know they are small right now, but there are so many play grounds that have baby swings and small slides just my kids size. The jungle gyms are a mixture of fun for all ages. That is if your kid isn’t getting plowed over by a bigger kid to go down the slide.
I recently went to a place that has several play grounds including one fenced in one that is just for my twins age. It is awesome. Even if a big kid comes around they don’t stay long. They end up complaining that it is the “baby” playground and they want to go some place else. All playgrounds are not like this though.
I know about the “Mommy Wars” and all that. I know never say never and each person has their own path. I have already done tons of stuff that I thought I would never do since I have had children. There is this lovely article about the “Mommy Wars.” There are pictures of moms side by side that take two different views on hot topics like breastfeeding, crying it out, etc. So I thought I would just keep it all to myself. Then I decided to go ahead and post this because we are not going to stop judging each other. That is just not going to happen. We also do not have to be snarky about it either. There has to be a happy middle somewhere.
Then I read this article. It made me feel bad about judging again. I totally understand her situation. Basically she needed to run a quick errand and left her 4-year-old son in the car. She was going to be literally in and out of the store for a few minutes and decided since it wasn’t hot, the car was parked right by the store, and she didn’t want him to throw a temper tantrum that this one time would be fine. Well a “good Samaritan” took a video of the whole situation and called the police. The author was charged and went through a lot before she got a judgement. In the end she had to do community service and take some parenting classes. The whole article was just so scary to me.
The author even talked about what all our parents did when our generation was younger and how we survived it. I totally agree. I can’t even count the number of times I asked to stay in the car instead of going inside the store when I was a kid. I also recall begging to go to the toy aisle by myself in stores instead of being dragged along to shop for other things. Then this part of the article grabbed my attention as I read it.
I worry what the other parents will think if I hang back on the bench while my kids are playing at the park, reading a book instead of hovering over them.
That got me to thinking some more. My issue isn’t really with the safety of the other kid. My issue is the safety of my own kids. Don’t get me wrong. If I saw a kid was in danger and the mom wasn’t aware, I would inform her in a nice polite way I would hope. I also want my kid to be able to have fun without being trampled on by another bigger kid whose mom thinks he has manners and knows better when he does not. I guess one could say that was my problem. Then again isn’t the fact that the other kid still needs to learn manners the other mom’s problem? I mean here her little one is in a real world situation where she could say, “Remember what I told you about taking turns? Well, let the little one go first and then you can go.” I guess maybe that is my job too. You know the whole, “it takes a village,” thing. Maybe that is something I still need to learn being a new mom.
In the end I know everybody is doing their best and I should give them a break. I also need to not worry about speaking up when a kid bothers one of my kids. I think I’ve been good and polite about it so far. The kid with mulch was a good test. I just hope I teach my kids to be very watchful and considerate when they get older because like I said, I could be guilty of this in a few years. It all goes back to never saying never, right?