Motherhood Diatribe Number One

Mall Playgrounds.

Now, I will be the first to admit it. I take Emersen to the mall playground because it's the only indoor play area and it rains here a lot! It is also a wonderful place to let the kiddies get their energy out before having to sit still in their strollers while the mommies do their shopping!


There are quite a few drawbacks to the mall playground. And of course, since you all know me, I know you know I'm going to list them:

1. Cooties. Lots of cooties all over the place, especially during the winter/flu season. Runny noses, coughing and sneezing. Not enough hand sanitizer in the free world.
2. Psychotic children. I've only been there a handful of times, but I can tell you with some authority that the kids can run amok. Especially all hopped up on candy from the Sweet Factory or an Orange Julius.
3. Lazy parents. ("Ashawanda! Git over here...don't make me git up!") *die*
4. Unobservant parents. I had this experience today. A little blue shirt wearing boy was running around terrorizing the whole place. Now, typically you know which kid belongs to which parent but I was looking around and couldn't find this kid's mom for the life of me. Until he tried to escape the playground and his mom stopped him. No reprimand for terrorizing all the other kids, just "Don't leave the play ground." After the second time I personally told him not to push (In my mommy voice "Do Not Push Him") someone else's child I looked over at one mom and said "If I have to tell him not to push one more time, his mom's going to get an earful from my mouth and it's probably not going to be censored."
5. Parents who bring their sick kids. At one outing, Nicole and I were playing around with Emersen when a little girl started spanking a bunch of other kids. Not only did her mom perform number 3 on this list, but she committed the cardinal sin of bringing her daughter to a playground with a full blown rash all over her body! Now, I might have excused the incident if the little girl wasn't running and scratching at the same time. This gives me a serious case of the heebie jeebies! I informed the security guard of the situation, and he was shocked. He had to get on the walkie talkie to find out what the protocol was. They'd never had this situation before!
6. The Bribing Parent. "If you play nice, you can have a smoothie!" UGH! Shouldn't the reward be the act of playing in the mall to begin with? It's not a right, it's a priviledge. One that can and should be taken away at a moments notice. THE MOMENT the behavior becomes unacceptable, the child should be removed and reprimanded.

Those are just the basics. I could get in to the "Toughen up" dad or the "Cell phone" mom not to mention the mom who brings all her kids, despite the fact that three of the four are six inches too tall to play there anyhow.

Of course, these things demand a certain level of manners and courteousness out of the parent. Notice each type of downfall is really the action or inaction of the parent which causes the problem.

Parents I see around town simply don't pay enough attention. These kids grow up thinking it's definitely okay to push boundaries and limits.

It is definitely okay to allow your child to push their limits and boundaries when it comes to success in life or achieving a goal.

It is NEVER okay to let your child push the limits of socially acceptable behavior.

Here are my rules for Emersen: (None of which she has ever attempted, but once she does she'll know where I stand)

1. Never ever touch another child without their permission. (This regards tag, hugs goodbye and what not)
2. No bodily fluids will leave your body in the playground. (This is in regards to spitting and peeing your pants!)
3. If you hurt someone by accident, you must apologize and ask if they are okay without whining or an attitude.
4. Absolutely no crazy screaming in the playground. It's rude and no one appreciates it.
5. When it is time to leave, you will put your shoes on and walk out yourself without crying, whining or screaming (see number 4). I say how long you will be allowed to play, you determine whether or not you will be allowed to play for that time.

Kids need to know where they stand, and what to expect. If you can't predict the outcome of your actions, how will you know what is appropriate and what is not?

This concludes Motherhood Diatribe Number One!

Questions, comments and constructive critisism will be generously accepted!


Anonymous said...


Nicole said...

I'd say I agree with about 98% of what you said here. There is a playground in the mall here that I now refuse to go to because a number of reasons on your list, much to the chagrin on my oldest especially. However, I have to admit your stance about discipline and what you expect from Emerson will probably change as she gets older. Josh is almost 5 and Jeremiah 2. We have very high expectations for their behavior (we've had people ask Phil on more then one occasion if he needed a drink to help him calm down at a party because of how strict his is with them). However, even though our expectations for them are clear, they still definitely have their own will. Our expectations don't always determine their behavior. I know these other parents drive people crazy (heck, I have walked out of places 5 minutes after arriving because I couldn't take it). Do try and give them grace about things, though. You never know what circumstances might be going on below the surface.

Related Posts with Thumbnails