We are regulars at our local park. We go nearly every day, apart from the days when my daughter is at nursery. Although I’m sure that once she’s a little older we will start to go after nursery. I’ve lost count of the number of different times I’ve been to the park. How many laps have I walked around it with the buggy whilst on maternity leave? How many times has our daughter had a meltdown when we’ve decided not to go to “park park” where the swings and slides are? Having spent countless hours in the park, I’ve seen and experienced the many different phases of park life as a Mum. Here’s my 6:
Your first walk out of the house
This is probably one of the scariest and most painful things that you will do. It will take time to plan, you’ll pack everything for you and the baby, and it will take about an hour to leave the house, as the baby will need a feed just as you’re about to leave. The park is always a safe option for that first walk, and you had better get to used it as it’s where you’ll be coming every day.
Trying to get your baby to sleep
There are always mums doing lap after lap of the park trying to get their baby to sleep. I know that as I did it. It’s also a great opportunity to get out the house as least once a day (if not twice), and get a little bit of exercise too. One of my top tips is to get a drinks holder for your buggy, so that you can enjoy that much needed coffee after only a few hours sleep the night before.
Hanging out with your NCT group
They’re everywhere, at any time of the day. I was one of these people, and I often feel a little jealousy when I see these groups of people now. I wish I could spend all afternoon drinking coffee and eating cake with a sleeping baby, or trying to get a little one to sleep. Parks especially in the summer are full of packs of women with their babies and buggies, taking up the cafe or sitting in a huge circle on the grass. Enjoy these days as before you know it you’ll be back at work, with a toddler who doesn’t want to sit in a cafe or in a circle.
The Monday and Friday parents club
When it’s time to go back to work after maternity leave you’ll find that the park is busier on a Monday or a Friday. Who are these people and why is it quieter for the rest of the week? These are the people who work 4 days a week, and have either a Monday or Friday off. I was once part of the Monday parents club, and I always found the park to be particularly busy on that day.
The nervous (or brave) toddler on the adult swings
Once your toddler gets a little braver they want to try everything, and you become a paranoid parent, following their every move, and shouting “No! Don’t go on that, it’s for bigger children”. We’re at a stage where the little one wants to be on the tyre swings for the teenagers (or the older kids), and to go down the huge wide slide. For anyone in the “trying to get your baby sleep” phase, this will happen, enjoy walking laps of the park with a sleeping baby in a buggy whilst you can.
Right after the rain and desperate to get out the house
In my opinion this is one of the best times of day to visit. It’s quiet and there is no one there, but you and your child who had been desperate to escape the house after hours of rain. Your child will love it as there won’t be a queue for the swings, and they can run riot without other kids getting in the way. The only downside is it’s cold and the slides are wet. Now where’s that coffee.
Are you a regular at the park for any of these reasons? Are you one of these groups?