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Final sign that childhood is dead, Mothers take over recess….

The first time I had an inkling that modern-day parenting had gone haywire was when I took my son to a playground for the first time.

I distinctly remember like it was yesterday my toddler making his way up and around the playground apparatus. I raced around on the ground around the jungle gym trying to anticipate his next move so that I could be there to catch him if he fell or hurdled his body off in the wrong direction. I was exhausted, running circles around this thing trying to avoid his untimely death.

After about ten minutes, I thought “This is really tiring – how do people do this?”

I looked around and noticed that there were several mothers actually on the playground with their kids.

I was the only mom on the ground.

Huge women were plunging through tunnels, going down the slide and talking into the speaker piece on ground level, requesting cheeseburgers and coffees from their child on the other side.

This mom was having WAY too much fun.....

This mom was having WAY too much fun…..

I held my toddler and stared at these women with my mouth open in shock and awe. Not one child was playing with another child, every child had a huge adult counterpart to play with. It was as though I was living a creepy Alice in Wonderland type nightmare. It was insane.

I think this mom crushed her child to death on the way down....

I think this mom crushed her child to death on the way down….

I spent many years at said playground.

You too Jennifer Garner?? Really??

You too Jennifer Garner?? Really??

If you take notice you will find at playgrounds all across America, there are inevitably mothers on the equipment posing as playmates for their young children.

I have been guilty of it myself.  When the kids would ask me to play with them – I have been known to order a dirty martini over the microphone or take a couple swings on a tire swing.

But as my children are older, I have come to realize that this playground play is exactly where the trouble starts.  We are setting these kids up for disaster by not letting them learn to PLAY ALONE!!!

These poor kids didn't have a mom to play with so they didn't know what to say or do.  They just quietly pretended they were taking showers.....

These poor neglected kids didn’t have a mom to play with so they didn’t know what to say into the microphone.  With nobody ordering lattes on the other end – they didn’t know what to do so they just quietly pretended they were taking showers…..

My third grader has had some recent difficulty navigating the social scene during recess.

He sits at an assigned seat at lunch at his institutionalized lunch table eating prison food (if he buys) and then he files out the door (like a prisoner) to recess. Here he searches for kids who he knows from lunch or class to play with.

However, it seems that “play” doesn’t come easily for a generation of kids used to ordering french fries from their mother on the playground for 5 years.

While some kids play games or sports, he tells me about the group of kids that are cub scouts that go off and talk about their “secret Cub Scout stuff.”  It seems that kids seem to pair off with specific agendas and cannot be swayed to do something else or play with someone else.

My son was friends with these kids in kindergarten that ended up being in a  weird cub scout cult in 3rd grade and he is not now, nor will ever be a cub scout.

As you can imagine Mr. Gaga is not about to wear some weird pinned shirt with “nut hugger shorts” so Cub Scouts is not part of the acceptable Gaga activity list.

This leaves Michael at a loss of what to do during recess, as the “supercool cub scout kids” won’t let him play with them because they are busy talking about secret “cub scout stuff.”

Initially he thought that he should join the cub scouts and that would solve his problems – but we quickly put the kibosh on that…

If this is what it takes to have friends at recess - then sadly he will playing alone for the rest of his life....

If this is what it takes to have friends at recess – then sadly Michael will playing alone for the rest of his life….

“I don’t know – maybe it will be fine, I mean what did you do during recess in 3rd grade?” I asked Mr. Gaga.
“I don’t know – played kickball…” he answered. “What did you do?”

“Well…..I don’t remember……I remember one time we were at recess and this girl who had like 6 older brothers and sisters told us there was no such thing as Santa Claus and then one time a kid was swinging and he jumped off the swing in the air and broke his arm, and I also I remember that there was a clear glue that was oozing out of the bricks on the school building – and we used to pretend it was gum. We would run up to the wall and say “Oh…it’s gum!” and run away.”

He stared at me with disgust. “Well, I think it’s safe to say where he gets his recess troubles…”

He could be right.

We have helped guide him with ideas and suggested other kids to play with.  It is sad to imagine him drifting alone on the playground, I desperately want him to be happy during the mere 20 minutes of freedom that he has during his long days as a prisoner of “core curriculum training.”

While I have not been happy about his recess struggles, I chalk it up to being a fact of life, and something that he has to figure out.

While Mr. Gaga and I are able to rationally sit down and discuss things and get to the root of our troubles (my poor recess skills as a child and our mutual disdain for the cubscouts) – the rest of this town can’t seem to get it together.( What else is new?)

You remember how I live in a town filled with people who don’t cut their children’s hair, who throw out their dining room sets to make room for play, and tell their two-year-olds that Santa doesn’t exist?

It seems Michael is not the only child having social difficulty during recess.

In the latest act of helicopter parenting – parents have complained about recess enough that the principal of an elementary school in town has sent out a request for parent volunteers for recess.

You heard correctly.

Parent volunteers will be on hand during recess everyday – to guide children at play and help them decide who and what to play with.

I can’t believe that parents have once again decided to interfere and become involved with yet another arena that has nothing to do with them to protect their children.

No matter what troubles Michael might be having – the last thing I want is some bored stupid twat mother telling him what to do!!!

At what point will this generation of children be allowed to play or interact on their own? Isn’t enough that you went down the slide with them until they were 8 years old? Will anyone ever cut the cord??

I'll never let little Hunter swing alone....Never!

I’ll never let little Hunter swing alone….Never!

It is shocking and disappointing to think that one day this new policy might be in place at my children’s school as well.

Although it disgusts me and I find it beyond offensive to imagine children being herded into groups and told who to play with by some bored housewife….

I will have no choice but to volunteer to be sure that I am getting a chance to “help my kids play.”

Let’s hope that this policy doesn’t become the norm.

Believe me when I tell you….the last thing any of you want is for me to be a parent volunteer at your kid’s recess….

Go back over there and kick every single kid in the balls and tell them their mothers are fat whores....

They said you couldn’t play with them? Go back over there and kick every single kid in the balls and tell them their mothers are fat whores….


Linking up to Mama Kat’s Writer’s workshop for the topic of “RECESS”……






20 responses »

  1. WOW. I am totally with you on this! Kids need a chance to BE KIDS, and parents need a moment or two to decompress, also. That’s why friends are awesome to have and to make…and you’re right; how will they be able to do that if we are meddling to this degree? Obviously we need to watch our kids at the park, but we can do that without being all up in their faces, instructing them on whom to talk to and what to do! By the way, ordering a dirty martini cracked me up!

  2. Please. I feel like I am the only one who hates taking her kids to the park. I feel good knowing I am not alone in watching the craziness that goes on there.

  3. Oh my effing God! Parent supervision at recess! I hate taking my kids to the play park I couldn’t imagine a worse nightmare than supervising recess. Yep you know you are going to have to volunteer so you can unsupervise their supervised recess. Loved the post was hilarious. If your kid has your sense of humour he’ll get over this blip and make some good friends.

  4. Ok, so I agree with you to an extent, but I think you are not seeing the entire picture here. I am 30 years old, and grew up in the last days of little supervision. I was able to ride bikes with my friends around our neighborhood without my parents trailing behind me watching. We arrived to school early to play on the playground before the bell rang. We had lunch recess, and two other recesses. And there were usually one or two adult monitors watching, but really back then, kids just went and told the teachers if there was a problem. Kids broke their arms and got hit in the head with soccer balls. It was ok. Kids get hurt, they move on, and grow up. But the problem here is that there have been too many kids stolen from playgrounds when parents aren’t watching. The problem is that too many parents are suing schools for their child’s broken arms. The problem is that because of the childhood obesity in America and all the unhealthy eating habits we have here compared to other countries, they are trying to stop letting our children take their own lunches to school. These are the reasons parents are at playgrounds. This is the reason, there is only one recess during school hours, and they are going to cut it back to none. “Test scores suck, so the kids need to work harder and play less” I disagree, but that is what is happening. They can’t let kids be kids anymore. I go to the playground and keep an eye on my three year old twin boys. Some times I go down a slide, but not often. I couldn’t forgive myself if one of my babies were taken by someone while my head was turned. My kids have plenty of opportunities to communicate and play with other children. At church for two hours every Sunday they are in nursery playing with other kids, singing songs, listening to a lesson, eating snacks. Play dates, and playgroups. There is no problem with a parent wanting to interact with their child on the slide. The problem is when a parent drops their kids off to play at the park and sits in their car checking their email instead of keeping an eye on their children or letting them know they love them by playing with them on the slide. The biggest problem I see here is the judgemental comments I read. You don’t know those parents, or their children. You don’t know what they do all day. You saw a snapshot in time of their life. And you sum up their entire life in that one snapshot. How is that right? Back 20 years ago, we didn’t have those speaker phone shower heads, we used metal cans and yarn to play telephone. I didn’t know what those were for a long time, until my husband showed me what they were for. We have shown my kids what those are, and if it wasn’t for us playing with them, they never would have known what that was. Why is there something wrong with two kids using their imagination and pretending that it’s a shower head. It certainly looks like one doesn’t it? And my kids go up to the windows on playgrounds and say they want chicken nuggets and french fries without me showing them how to do it. Kids have imaginations, and we need to let them use them. That has nothing to do with them playing on the playground with their parents. I can’t even count how many times other kids start playing with my kids at the park, even when I am there with them. When I was little, I didn’t like to make new friends, I was shy. My mom gave me every opportunity to make new friends on vacations and at parks, but that just wasn’t for me. Lots of kids are shy, and there is nothing wrong with that. Lots of kids are outgoing and there is nothing wrong with that. Kids will be kids. And in reference to the cubscouts. I completely 100% disagree with you. For the last year and a half I was a cubscout leader in my church. We did not make the kids wear ugly tight shorts. We didn’t even make them tuck in their shirts or wear a hat and handkerchief. The boys came to scouts with their blue button up shirt on, and we learned things like tieing knots, outdoor cooking, indoor cooking, learned about wildlife, made a terrarium, planted some vegetables, made a bird feeder, how to eat healthy and keep your body healthy, how to help the environment, and tons of other things. What is wrong with young boys learning respect. Learning new things, and having fun doing it. And not a single one of our boys excludes anyone from their friend circle who is not a scout. Those boys play sports outside of scouts, and are friendly in school and with younger children who are not scouts. Just because you had one bad experience with the cubscouts in your area does not make cubscouts as a whole a terrible thing. I have five older brothers and a husband who are all Eagle scouts. And they can all start a fire, set up a tent, tie knots, go camping, are all respectful of God, their country, their family and friends. Do not judge an entire group of people or situations by one snapshot in time that you have seen.

  5. C’mon give those poor moms a break! They also want a turn on the slide! And little Cupcake Stepford Porscha is the besets yiddle fwend in the world and you’re just jealous because you’re not besties with your baby, who CLEARLY isn’t as talented or highly gifted (Cupcake Stepford Porscha is going to Harvard Preschool, you know…)

  6. Sometimes when I read your blog, I am not sure what cracks me up more……your writing or the insane, over-defensive people who comment on what you write. I am glad that she doesn’t make her Cub Scouts wear those tight booty shorts, other than that her whole comment was bat-shit crazy.

  7. Sad that these kids wont play with Michael. Some kids, can be cruel & so mean to other kids. Really feel that the girls are worse, They are mean-catty & if you do not belong to their Click, they will be the meaniest people on Earth. Really love your Blog, because everything you write is so true. Keep it coming, Laydee, Love It!!!!!

  8. Have you ever read Muffy Mead-Ferro’s “Confessions of a Slacker Mom”? Hers was one of the first books I read when I was pregnant and I found myself saying, “I know, right?!” so many times. Hilarious book! It’s just a shame that NOT over-parenting has to be referred to as slacking (of course, she uses the word it in jest). Over-parenting is much more harmful than parents want to realize.

  9. “They said you couldn’t play with them? Go back over there and kick every single kid in the balls and tell them their mothers are fat whores….” – LOL. love the pictures and comments..

  10. Pingback: Swingtown USA | Lady Goo Goo Gaga

  11. Wow. Seems you struck a nerve with Cheryl there….

    Although it has been quite some time since I have visited a playground with my babies, (back in the 90’s) I played with them if they wanted me to, and I supervised their play with children we didn’t know. I watched like a hawk for suspicious activity for fear of one of mine disappearing. I also lay in the grass on my belly to examine a bug with my kids in the same position. I listened to them. I tried to help navigate the “lonliness” that I think every kid feels at some point in their development. I don’t think I pushed myself into their play too much, but I guess you would have to ask them. I volunteered at their school, (library helper/reading/computer) I chaperoned field trips. I enjoyed doing so. I think it offered comfort to my kids knowing I was there, even if it wasn’t time with them (library time wasn’t always one of my kids classes, but they knew I was in the building)

    I have been told I have done a great job raising my kids as a single parent, that I should be very proud, and I am. They are beautiful, grateful, polite, courtious, thoughtful, empathetic adults. I am very proud of the people they have become. There isn’t a guide or a rule book. You just have to do what you feel is best, whatever you are comfortable with. We all love our children in ways that we think no one else understands.

    Happy to have found your blog, you’re pretty funny! Lady Googoogaga. ( I think I you were my imaginary friend when I was 3.. well minus the “lady” part of the name)

  12. I am the mom sitting at the park tables talking with my friend and telling my preschooler that if she wants to swing, she needs to lay on her stomach across the swing and push herself… sign me up for parent of the year! Why do they have to have swings at the park?!!

  13. You are preaching to the choir, sister! I can not agree with you more. I was totally appalled by the high school equivalent….prom. Remember the Jr/Sr prom? The Jr’s hosted, they decorated the gym and chose the theme etc. No longer. Now—and I think you know where this is headed–the parents do all that. They also show up at school prior to the event and sit in lawn chairs watching the kids arrive at the dance, squeeze in a quick nap and then entertain the kids after the dance until 3 or 4 a.m. supervising games and handing out extravagant prizes.
    Give them some space to grow! Yes, they will fall sometimes. And then they will know pain first hand, not as described by an adult speaking through the playground speaker as though it were an abstract concept. And they will be better for it!

  14. Recess stolen? That was an interesting spin on the topic. Stopping by from mama kats kelley at the road goes ever ever on

  15. I would love to see an SNL skit of moms having more fun on a playground than their kids. 😉

  16. Pingback: The Buddy Bench | Lady Goo Goo Gaga

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