Yes, I see you lifting my three-year-old into that swing next to your own child. I saw her get between the two of you and grab each of your hands as you walked across the park, too. And yes, I am just going to sit here chatting with my friends while you push both of them. You are very sweet for doing so, but you certainly don’t have to. She would have been fine if you had ignored her. She would have laid on her belly in that low one and had a blast by herself.
I used to be you, the mom that pushes her kids in the swings and stays within five feet of them at all times. That’s why I don’t judge your helicopter-ness; I smile nostalgically at it. Oftentimes, I loved hearing the squeals of delight from my kids as they sailed toward me for another push, but sometimes I did it because that is what I thought good moms were supposed to do. Now I have decided there are just as many benefits to leaving kids to explore the park on their own, plus, I’m super tired of pushing kids on swings.
I may not look more than five years older than you, but I am ancient in mommy years. I have consistently had a child three or under in tow for the last eighteen-and-a-half years. Nearly. Two. Decades. Of. Swing. Pushing. And this particular kid is crazy exhausting. I am sure you have already noticed she is uniquely bold in her approach to strangers. I am saving my energy for the times she runs toward the street, tries to stick her hand in a large dog’s mouth, attempts to rip a baby out of its mother’s arms, or gives a smaller kid her version of a hug that looks a lot more like an attempted strangulation. I do honestly apologize if she is annoying you, I really do, but I hope you understand why I won’t come over and push my kid in the swing.
You see, these are my rest and recharge hours.
I don’t have the time or the money to do the regular “me time” stuff. Massages, pedicures, date nights, long baths, trips to the grocery store alone, those are all incredibly rare events for me. I know I’ve got this cute new haircut, but it was the first one in two years and I completely dropped the ball picking my kids up from school to get it.
These ladies sitting here around me talking and laughing together are my sanity. I don’t need that whole list of stuff, but I do need to tell the story about smearing lipstick across my whole face when that cute little thing you are pushing shoved her toothbrush down my underwear. I need to sit and mostly ignore my kid and enjoy some time with some good friends.
If you are still thinking I am a selfish, lazy mother, that’s perfectly fine. I got over caring what other people think three or four kids and about ten years ago. If you are loving every minute of quality time with your kid and happy for her to have a little buddy join you, thank you, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart!
However, if you are yearning to just sit around lounging in the shade at the park like those terrible, lazy moms, please plop those kids on the ground and come on over. There’s a spot for you to sit right here. My kid (and yours) will probably mostly be fine on their own.
That (Slightly) Older Mom