Hidden beneath my “mommy” exterior, is a temper. A temper which does not show itself frequently, but nonetheless is consistently triggered at one specific place…the play area at the mall.
I live in Pittsburgh. Wet, cold, overcast, rainy, snowy, icy, miserable-during-the-winter Pittsburgh. Where all the outdoor play areas are abandoned for 5 months a year. Where house-bound mom’s desperately try to create fun outlets for the boundless energy of their toddlers. Once a week or so, many of us find ourselves at the ONLY indoor kid area for miles.
Here is where my temper and I need help. I know that pre-kids I had all of these noble and unrealistic expectations for myself as a mother: ie. “MY children will NEVER have snotty noses and wear food-crusted jackets in public,” “MY children won’t ever act like brats in restaurants,” “I will always be kind and soft-spoken to my darling little ones.”) Yeah, you could say that reality has been a sharp slap in the face!
So when I am carefully assisting Faith and Jonathan on and off of the play apparatus, and some giant six (or seven or ten year old) comes ripping through the slides and knocks over one of my kids, steam can be seen from miles away rising from my heated face. I get SO angry when these young kids are allowed to rush through the play area while their parents sit in the corner and sip coffee. I have complained about this so much to my other mom friends that I feel like a broken record. Yet it never fails that I have to speak up and remind some older kid that all the other kids are little and they need to be careful.
Honestly, my anger is not directed toward the bigger kids. I feel compassion for them. I wish there was an area dedicated to them so they could run around and have a great time burning off their energy. Nope, I get steamed at the parents. I am a mother bear when it comes to my kids, and I can not understand why these older kids are allowed to run around like they do. However, I only have 2 kids, only 19 months of experience, and I do not know what it is like to have older kids. I am sure many of the parents figure it is a safe way to let their 2 or more differently aged kids play indoors.
So what do the rest of you do in these situations? Do you address the parents? The mall officials to suggest changes? The kids? Surely I am not the only mama getting hot under the collar about this issue…at least, I hope I am not! So please, educate me! I would love to hear from those of you with older kids, as you are infinitely more wise than I! And what about the rest of you toddler moms? What are your lists of “My kids will NEVER…”