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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Parents at the Park

When looking for the perfect park for The Quiet Contemplator to play in (The Cool Cucumber still only eats his own boogers, he could care less about the park), we found that there are some real politics involved in playing at the park. It is like being in a parenting fishbowl where you get to swim with parents from all walks of life. It is fascinating. Here are some of the parents we have encountered at different parks throughout our journey to find the Goldilocks park that's "just right" for our family.

The Stay at Homie
These mamas are usually in some form of yoga pant and a comfy T (Hell, who are they trying to impress?). These women (and some men) are talkative and friendly and just seem damn happy to be able to have an adult conversation. They pay attention to their kids, but don't suffocate the fun out of them.

The Silver Spoon Sally
These mamas show up in designer duds--usually some form of ridiculously expensive track suit. They tend to spend most of their time at the park on the phone (actually talking, who knew people actually used phones for that anymore?). They drive vehicles that cost more than my house and that are usually about the same size.

The Helicopter
These parents can be dressed in any fashion. The key to The Helicopter is breathing down their child's neck the entire time they are at the park, worrying that something might happen if they give them any space. Pray your kid does not want to play with The Helicopter's kid. You might need to provide your child's DNA markers to allow them to interact.

The Business Meeting
These parents are usually dressed in an outfit that would be appropriate for casual Friday--even if it is Sunday afternoon. They spend their time at the park buying and selling, or making mergers and acquisitions, or whatever important people do. They often have Bluetooths and make frequent trips pacing around the actual playground while they are working.

The Marathoner
These parents are always dressed in running shoes and sporting the shirts from their latest Ironman. They tend to encourage their kids to do the more strenuous activities at the playground. They can frequently be seen throwing Clif bars at their kids while they scale the rock wall. I imagine most The Marathoners kids could probably bench press mine.

The Babysitter
These parents don't have a particular dress, but if they did, it would be sweatpants. They see the park as an opportunity for someone else to watch their children for a while. They pretty much park themselves on a bench and zone out while their kids play with dog turds and push other kids down the slide.

The Nanny
The Nannies at the park always seem to be legitimately having fun. This weirds me out. I mean, I know it is their job and all, but they seem to actually enjoy it. They also seem way better at it than me. Whatever. Ever since I saw The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, nannies have freaked me out. And don't even get me started on Au pairs. I need some hot foreign chick who my kids like better than me sleeping in my house like I need to birth another baby.

The Over Achiever
"OK, Bridget. You can do it. I know you are tired, but let's try the monkey bars just one more time. You don't want the others kids at school to be able to do it and you can't, do you?" These parents want their kids to excel. At everything. Even going down the slide. They are like gymnastic coaches at the playground. Maybe Bridget doesn't want to do the monkey bars. Maybe she just wants to shovel sand into her pants like all the other kids. 

The Cheerleader
These moms are happy. Really happy. Really, really happy. If their kid as much as takes a dump, they practically beam with joy, shouting encouragement with every little fart. Their kids are going to be incredibly disappointed when faced with the real world. No one is going to say, "Hooray, Timmy! You turned your TPS reports in on time! I am so proud of you!"

The Foodie
These parents do everything they can to give their kids the best start in life. Gluten free, soy free, non-dairy, organic, minimally processed, etc. Their snacks at the park are all individually portioned in BPA free containers and served with hemp napkins. Give it a rest. They serve chicken nuggets made of donkey balls once they get into grade school, so let your kid live a little and have a Goldfish cracker.

The Boozer
This would be us. We show up in jeans and an old t-shirt, looking like either retired rock stars or homeless people. Hey, it's Sunday. We had friends over last night and didn't know the park was such a fashion and political hotbed. We let our kids play, play with them when they aren't playing with other kids, then go home. Give us a break. And stop shouting, I kind of have a headache.





Want to see the park from other perspectives? Visit the links below to see what other moms (and one non-mom) have to say. Want to toss your own opinion into the ring for future posts? Contact me.

Cloudy With a Chance of Wine 
Mod Mom Beyond IndieDom
Mommy Rotten  
Something Clever 2.0 
The Next Step 

30 comments:

  1. hahahahaha, this was AWESOME! I am The Stay at Homie and I LOVE that so much more than the little acronym SAHM I see thrown around the internet. For some reason, my mind switches those letters around and I read it "SHAM" - which of course turns into all kinds of self-loathing.

    I busted out loud reading "The Nanny" - I totally agree with every single word you wrote there.

    And oh, my biggest desire right now (other than running away) is to become The Boozer. I'm just too tired to make it happen most nights.

    Viva La Reunion! I'm off tonight for a 4-day weekend out of state! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Better than a SAHD. Ha!

      Enjoy yoself, woman. And TAKE ME WITH YOU!

      Delete
  2. I've made a few ventures to the park with my tot, and they all seem just like this. Only your post is hilarious and the park parents usually aren't.

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  3. You know, after reading this, I think maybe I'm half helicopter, half boozer. Is that a dangerous combination?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love. It. Just don't drink and helicopter together.

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  4. Love this list. SO TRUE! I'm a combo of Stay at Homie and Boozer. And I see A LOT of The Foodies out here in LA. Irks me, because they usually have some kind of cool snack they are willing to share, that my girls end up LOVING and I then have to go on a wild goose chase to find, because they will not stop talking about it.

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    Replies
    1. Deep-fried yak tails? Where the fuck do I buy these? Damn you, hippies! Ha!

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  5. My favorite is the Marathoner. My husband threatens to put weights in my future spawns lunch box to beef them up. I hope the Cliff bars don't knock them off the wall...

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    Replies
    1. Ha! The marathoners make me feel like a total piece of gutter trash.

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  6. I love this. I'lll be waiting for the post on the different kinds of kiddos. The kind that bothers me the most is the child of the "babysitter"- the "chatty cathy"- I'm a magnet for these kids. Despite one strapped to be and watching another, they think I really want to watch their cartwheel, hear about their lunch, or tell them how awesome they are at math. All the while, their parent sits 10 feet away on the bench checking their fb posts. Ugh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OH. MY. GOD. This kid annoys the crap out of me. Go away, kid!

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  7. This is awesome, as usual! Nailed it right on the head!
    Where I live, we have lots of combos of the types, making it EXTRA fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would imagine a lot of marathoner foodie homies?

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  8. I love the Cheerleader - reminded me of the Will Ferrell skit on SNL. I want to smack women like that!

    And you're so right about how happy the nannies are. I don't get it.

    I think I fall into The Stay At Homie category, but I had a bit of the Helicopter thing going this summer since my kid was so young. Something to work on for next summer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can't help but heli when they are babes. That is just good parenting. Ha!

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  9. this is FREAKING HILARIOUS!!!!! that's all i have to say about that.

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  10. oh gawd I hope I'm not the helicopter mommy but then I am following my 20 month old around because I go to the big kid playground (my town doesn't have a little kid one) and he is hell bent on breaking his leg or getting a concussion. So...so...but....I have to helicopter him.

    In my defense, when he is on the grass he can just roam free and I'm not once inch behind him.

    But what infuriates me most is the careless parent. I recently saw a mom with a small infant (year old? Younger than my kiddo) and he was on the big kid playground unsupervised. Mom was just chattin' it up with her bff, about gymboree sales and cute shoes while he was hanging upside down over the top of the slide.

    And helicopter moms of older, non special needs kids. I think your 9 year old can go potty on his/her own, and knows how to run in sand without tripping.

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    Replies
    1. Ha! It is the older kids I am talking about. And I hate the parents who pay no attention at all. Esp with a baby! Jesus!

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  11. I'm with you on the au pair thing - what postpartum woman in her right mind would allow a sexy European 20-year-old to live in her home? Like, she needs to look even worse by comparison than she already does, in her old pregnancy jeans and her milk-stained shirts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would rather hit myself in the face with a bag of hammers.

      Delete
  12. I'm a boozer, I admit it. Ripped jeans and a Bob Dylan t shirt. And keep those hemp napkins away from me or I might just smoke 'em. (KIDDING!) This is hilarious - loved it!!

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  13. I laugh so hard. I know I fit the Stay at Homie category and also the The Boozer category because well, I stay at home, and often wake up with a bad headache and a hangover on the weekends. :) Also I've not taken my little one to an actual park to play yet. He didn't even know what grass was until his grandma plopped him down in it a few weeks ago. Hahaha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would have to be a boozer if I was a stay at homie. Ha.

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  14. Count me as a slight Helicopter along with opinion8dhermit. Mine is a toddler and I'm helicoptering not because I want him to be safe, but I want him to stop throwing things at other kids or not careen into them. He gets up to a full head of steam and his 16 month old body just kinda slams into them like a wrecking ball. Sad thing is, he's usually not the one who winds up on his butt. So I'm always a few feet behind him, going "watch out!".

    I'm going to add one to your list: Your New BFF.
    On one occasion, I went to the park and this woman decided that we were going to be besties. She spent more time chasing after me (who was chasing after my kid, the Demolition Man) than she did watching her own kid. Within ten minutes, she was asking for my phone number and wanting to know if I wanted to go to Gymboree with her. It was kinda cute, but mostly weird.

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  15. I THINK I'm the stay at homie. But BOY is the park weird for me. At first I felt weird because I'm usually the only mom of color. Both my kids are lighter than me, my daughter more so. Since we have the distinction of living in an upper middle class neighborhood without the upper middle class money ;), it's generally a nanny-heavy park, and I have indeed been mistaken for my kids' nanny. O_o

    On nannies, though: I guess it's just here, but the nannies mostly ignore the kids. There are two or three regulars who are AWESOME, but most of them just hang out on a bench.

    LOL on The Hand that Rocks the Cradle. I was still a kid but I knew it was messed up.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I am lucky that the parks around us feed from two different school districts, one nice and one a bit trashier. Though we live in the nicer one, we fit in better with the trashier parents. Ha!

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