Redditor Confesses She Took Her Kids to Another Park To Avoid People—We Can Relate
Parenting is tough and sometimes you just want to commiserate with another parent who can relate to what you're going through. Also true: Parenting is intense and sometimes you just want to hide in your hoodie at the playground and mindlessly scroll through Instagram while your child goes up and down the rock wall thingie over and over. And over. The last thing you need is a fellow parent buzzing in your ear about all the "raising small people" topics you need a break from for a hot minute.
Making parent friends feels extremely complicated, especially when you don't gel with someone or you're craving a mental break. So we really relate to a Parenting thread on Reddit that discusses the realities of small talk at the park.
A parent posting by the name u/zevelaceade said taking their 1-year-old to the park helps expel extra pent-up energy post-daycare. "But there have been a few parents I've met on the playground who have talked my ear off or been overly social. I was friendly but also, I'm exhausted at the end of my day," the parent confessed. The original poster (OP) went on to share, "Yesterday, I pulled up to the park and saw one of the parents there. I immediately turned around and brought my kid to another park, just a little farther down the road from me."
"I knew it was ridiculous, but I just couldn't deal with more talking," the OP continued. "So rather than face them, I just went to a whole new park."
Commenters were quick to weigh in on the admitted introvert's playground confession, with several simply saying, "Same."
This comment rings especially true for us: "Having a kid is overstimulating enough. Plus work? Plus playground parents? I'm out." Another parent admitted to going so far as to wear headphones to avoid talking to other grown-ups at the park. Someone else called small talk with parents you don't know "excruciating" while yet another parent likened the experience of chatting on the playground to the perils of fitting in back in high school.
Take it from a mom of five: It won't always feel like work to chat with another parent pushing their kiddo on the swings. You will find your people on issues like your toddler munching on mulch—forbidden vs. no biggie—(after so many children, I'm leaning toward the latter) or your mood regarding spotting your kid on a monkey bars attempt. The possibility of having to converse with other adults may not always have you replanning your post-daycare route, I promise.
One Reddit user said interacting with other playground parents is about balance, sharing, "I have definitely become accustomed to being more extroverted since having children, partly from empathy because I know how difficult it is to be a SAHP with little adult interaction and partly because I want to encourage my children to continue being very social. That being said, I try to allocate days to meeting other parents/group activities and having days when it is just us (even if we are out and about). On days when I need a break I go to the quiet playground or other activities where I know we won't be around others."
It's fair that as parents, we might want to avoid hiding in our hoodies all the time so our children learn it's okay to talk to other humans—until they grow up and decide they don't feel like it today! But even modeling socialization isn't the right approach for every parent. Someone else replied to the subreddit, "I am not a sociable mom AT ALL and I've decided that that's ok. I personally feel that it's more important to be yourself than it is to force an unnatural behavior for your kid's benefit."
No matter where you fit in on the introvert/extrovert spectrum or what kind of mood you're in on any given day, ultimately it seems this Reddit post proves you're not alone. Unless you want to be. In which case we'll leave you to it.