Today, we visited a playground on the east side of Cleveland (in Beachwood) called Preston’s Hope Playground.
This playground was created by the friends and family of a little boy that was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. They wanted to create a playground where all kids could feel movement, play on all toys, and feel boundary -free. And we should all feel lucky that we have this playground - as it is one of the most extraordinary playgrounds that I have ever seen ... and, it's FREE (although donations are helpful).
Located in Beachwood (near the Jewish Community Center) the playground consist of a huge (kid sized) village - complete with roads, a fire station, a school, a jail, etc., swings, a huge sandbox (with dinosaur bones and toys), bridges, boats, trains, jungle gyms, more toys,
slides, picnic areas, etc. It's quite an experience. Not your normal playground... it has a little bit (ok, a lot) of everything. Great fun for all aged kids (AND you don't have to worry (as much) if you have toddlers - the ground is all psuedo padded).
The reason the experience was slightly frustrating was because there was a playgroup of moms there that I didn’t exactly see eye to eye with (to put it mildly).
In the back of my head, I always have this mommy-guilt that I am never doing enough. Enough educational activities, enough cultural activities, if I nap (when Chad’s home) – I feel like I have lost quality time with my children, if I feed my child McDonalds…well…don’t get me started on the mommy guilt with that. And it bugs me to hear people talk about stay-at-home moms like they’re lazy or whatever other negative stereotype.
But…there are those moms too. The ones that give stay-at-home mom’s a bad reputation.. And their children sort of raise themselves while the moms fester about brand name clothes, this season’s fashions, what so-and-so’s wife wore to the salon the other day, etc. And I want to personally punch all of those women.
I guess I had my opportunity to today (although I didn't take it... I'm such a wimp). I saw them walking in – the playdate group of overly made-up, overly dressed up moms. Two of the three moms wearing heels…to a park. Everything on them was in place…perfect place. But whatever – “to each their own”…I thought. In fact, more power to them for not wearing a shirt with spit-up all over it (like me).
About 45 minutes later – as I was chasing Carter (pushing Avery in the stroller) through the little village of buildings, I noticed that the moms were still on the same picnic bench still gossiping – not watching their children what-so-ever. Oh well ... “not my problem” … I thought.
About 10 minutes later – when Carter went to play with a shovel in the sandbox – one of the mom’s daughters screamed at my son and pushed him (mind you – the girl was about 5 or 6…so she knew better …she wasn’t a toddler struggling with ‘right-from-wrong’).
And the mom watched … and went back to gossiping. This was about 'it' for me. I walked over and calmly explained to the little girl that Carter just wanted to take a turn with the shovel and that he could wait for his turn…but pushing is mean and hurts people’s feelings.
To which she ROLLED HER EYES AT ME…and yelled “MOM – this little boy is trying to take the shovel” and then she proceeded to shove him again. Now…I know kids push each other, have problems sharing, etc…my issue wasn’t with the girl (although…I can be a little territorial…and if that eye-rolling-she-devil shoved my little angel one more time I was about to show her where else that shovel could go)…it was with the mom’s lack of reaction.
So I gave the mom the “look.” The mom look. The why-the-F-aren’t-you-doing-anything-about-this look. And she rolled her eyes and looked away. Like bitchy mother…like bitchy daughter. So I explained to the little girl that it was Carter’s turn – and if she had a problem with that – she could have her mom come talk to me…knowing full well that the mom wouldn’t leave her gossip…or be caught dead looking bad in front of her friends (and I would make sure she would look bad). So the little girl (of course) went to tell on me…and of course her mom ignored her.
And as I sat by the sandbox happily watching Carter play (with Avery in my lap) …I could overhear the playdate gossip. And it made me want to go ask them if they had any concept as to why the playground was built, and did they even appreciate it at all? But I have confrontation issues.
My point of all of this is not that this little girl pissed me off ... although she did.
It’s not that the mom pissed me off ... although she did.
It’s not even about unsensible shoes for playdates, or ignorant comments by stupid moms.
And it certainly isn't that I am perfect (hell, read my weekend posts).
It’s- take a step back - and look at what's around you. Had those moms stepped back, they would have noticed that they have beautiful children and were able to bring them to an amazing park. Instead - they ignored their kids...while in an amazing park...while making nasty comments about people, what people wear, who makes what amount of money, etc.
When I was stripping Carter in the back of my jeep (after he dumped a bucket of sand onto himself) I just wanted to hug him over and over again.
And as Avery napped in her stroller – while she calmly waited for her turn to be cleaned up and put into the car…I wanted to kiss her little pink cheeks all afternoon.
Mommy loves you kids!
Love your children. Appreciate your children and your surroundings.
For more information on Preston’s Hope Playground or to find out how to make a donation – go to: http://www.prestonshope.com/