Playground Parenting: Dark Sunglasses and Earbuds

I had a decision to make today.  Either I let the kids destroy the house (and my sanity) or I take them to the dreaded playground where they can destroy public property.  I opted for the latter, as any parent would who craves the occasional outing without having to do much.

A mom sat next to me on the alcatraz-style park bench.  A bright blue, sun reflective bench bolted to the ground was my only option.  ( I now outsmart these park builders and started bringing a lawn chair.) Of course I had my dark roast, ultra hot vente mommacino with a shot of espresso in one hand, and my brand new phone in the other.  To add to my “I’m only here for the kids” vibe, I had my darkest of dark Ray-Ban sunglasses on and my playlist cued.  I keep one ear bud in and one out just in case a child needs me.  I had it strategically placed in the ear that is toward an empty seat so I can avoid contrived conversation.

That didn’t work.


“Princess,” she blurts out.  I wasn’t sure if she was talking to me, so I take out my ear bud.

“I’m sorry?” I asked, hoping she’d not want to explain.

“Princess, we call her princess.  She IS such a little princess,” she went on.

The ear bud is now in limbo.

Do I put it back in or leave it out?” I’m wondering.  Let’s be honest, I’m not a total animal.  I don’t really listen to music while the kids are playing, it’s just a look I’m going for.  No one else has to know that.

As this half hour went on for days, she continuously yells to and talks about Princess.  My kids are sharing the same ground as Princess, only my daughter, who is hardly a princess except for when the mood strikes, is covered in sweat and dirt with sticky hands that they keep trying to lick clean.  My son now has his shoes on the wrong feet and somehow his snot ended up on his shirt and not in his nose.

“PRINCESS keep up the good work!”

“Yes PRINCESS I will push you on the swing for countless hours on end when you are clearly old enough to swing yourself!”

This girl clearly had entitlement issues and will continue to.  She didn’t think she needed to wait in line to use the swings.  Yup, entitlement.

I am pretty sure my glasses were dark enough to hide my incessant eye-rolling even though my coffee was getting cold.  The bench was getting uncomfortable and so was I.  I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of future Princess has ahead of her.  I wonder if her parents even realize what they are grooming her to be.  I continued on with this conversation about how “faaaabulous” Princess is doing in kindergarten.  How “AH-MAZING” she does in knowing how to read.  (Ya don’t say! She’s in school and is learning how to read? Stahp.) I wanted so badly to stop her in her tracks and tell her that Princess was sticking her tongue out at another kid at that moment, but I let it slide.

I remembered my personal goals of conversing without judgement and looking for the positive in someone, regardless their excruciating behavior.  (I mean, how can she NOT see my attire?) Even though she was clearly misleading Princess down a road where she will learn some hard lessons, that doesn’t make her a bad mom.  Weird and perhaps even without boundaries, but not bad.

Parents what is happening?  Pride is one thing and we should absolutely be proud of amazing kids as they learn and grow and develop.  But can we possibly kick it down a notch?  Not EVERY child is going to be the best, fastest, smartest, funniest, prettiest, or most. If you truly feel your child is, can you maybe not make it like everyday on the playground is pageant day?  Thanks!

My coffee is cold.

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