Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus – Especially at the Playground

Hey Moms!  Here’s a quick quiz for you . . .
Is a trip to the park with the kids your:
  1. “mom’s mental break” time 
  2. quality time with the kids
  3. or a mixed-up cocktail of both?

Here’s why I ask . . .

I recently heard a a well respected pastor give his perspective on parenting.  As usual, he gave several examples of good parenting that were relatable.  Then he said that when a parent takes their kid to the park, the kid should get their undivided attention, and if another parent were to engage you in dialogue, politely tell them that you are having parent-child quality time, not parent-to-parent or friendship time.

Umm…yeah…that’s where he lost me. 

I’m thinking that this may qualify as one of those Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus kind of scenarios, because my playground experience with my kids is a far cry different from what he suggested.

As a homeschooling mom I’m with my kids ALL DAY.  And when I finally find the time to steal away from the school day and take them to the park, you can be sure that I’m in 100% mommy-decompression mode.

I am from Venus

Here’s what life on Venus looks like: I find the most comfortable seat there is (usually on a really hard, bird-poop-stained bench), one which will afford me a 360° view of the kids, with hot or ice coffee in hand.  Then I turn the kids loose to GO AND PLAY!!  I may even threaten them not to engage me until it’s time to leave.  If they do approach me before time, I’ll give them the evil eye, signaling that they should return to the monkey bars – or else!) {Insert evil maniacal laughter here: muwhahaha!}

I can assure you, it’s their time to play and my time to relax (unless one of them falls off of a swing or breaks a leg!). It may be the only “Calgon” moment I have all day.  (Keep reading for more excellent parenting advice.)

And, if I happen to see another mommy, that’s an added bonus!  That is, if we’re not already on a mommy play-date. It’s a mom’s time to laugh, to whine, to discuss whether or not our curriculum is working or to compare notes on whose kid dropped the most pencils that day, and how long it took to pick them up – as an added bonus, of course.

It’s our time to exhale!  

We are each other’s oxygen. 

We’re virtually clinging to each other for dear life; like we’re the only humans on a planet inhabited by aliens.

Guess who is from Mars? 

My husband, on the other hand, he is from Mars, so when he goes to the park with the kids he almost NEVER sits down.  He runs with and after the kids every minute he is there.  If only he put this kind of energy into doing his “honey-do’s” (Honey, please do this.  Honey, please do that.) a lot more would get done around the house.  But I know why he’s not blazing through my Honey-do laundry list: because he’s reserving his energy for the park! And where am I?  For the most part, I’m sitting down and watching them all have the time of their lives. I guess I’m their ringside cheerleader.  (We all have our stations in life.)

Now, don’t get me wrong, when the kids were little I would play with them and run after them.  I’d push them down the slide, then run around it and enthusiastically catch them at the bottom.  I’d push them back and forth in their swings while their cute little feet made dirt marks on my shirt and occasionally caught my eye – ouch!

And when they were a little older, I’d hold-up their heavy, mid-sized bottoms as they tried to navigate the monkey bars – swinging from one bar to the next with all their might – and give them the best Brave Heart inspired motivational speech that I could . . .

Them: I can’t do it mommy, I can’t.  

Me: Yes you can (Ashley/Jon/Siah/Angel/Autumn/Lexy)! 

Them: Mommy, please don’t drop me!

Me: Reach for it, kid!

Them: {pensively eyeing the bar – not moving – getting heavier}

Me: Don’t be afraid!

Them: {No movement – frozen with fear}

Me: For goodness’ sake, child!  GRAB THE BAR!!

(Not my finest moment.)

But now, because the kids are older and we seem to be connected at the hip all day, I have to be very strategic about carving out some “me/mommy/adult” time in a day that’s mostly filled with “us/family/kids” time.  I figure the park meets that criterion quite nicely.


**Holla Back!**What does park time represent for you?  Do you joyfully run around with your kids or hide under the jungle gym?  (I won’t judge. Well, maybe just a little.) :o) Post a comment to share!

I shared this article at these amazing faith and family linkups.

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