Grumpy Mamas Club


Three weeks ago, my work contract ended for the spring semester. (I’m a career counselor at a local community college). I look forward to the end of my contract because it gives me the summer (about 8 weeks) to spend with Lil’ Lewie every single day. Since my release, we’ve taken lots of day trips together, mostly to local playgrounds and parks so that my little boy can enjoy the outdoors and have a chance to socialize with other kids.

Two weeks ago, while pushing my little boy on the swings, I couldn’t help but to overhear some of the conversations taking place on the playground. I tried to hold in the laughter.

“Ricky, I told you that we’re NOT GOING ON THE SWINGS. You have swings at home. Now go play on that slide or else!”

“Laura, didn’t I say that you’re going to hurt yourself on the big swing. Now look. Mommy was right. Stop your crying.”

“Aidan, you have to share the ice-cream with your sister. If you don’t share it, you won’t be allowed to have ice-cream ever, ever, again!”

Sound familiar? Since the playground is a relatively new experience for me (my son was too young to enjoy it last summer), I was surprised by some of the yelling and threats I heard from other moms. My first reaction was, “Wow, they sure are cranky.” I started to wonder if they got enough sleep the night before, if their husbands were lazy and didn’t help them around the house, or if they just had an all around bad day. Then the wonder turned to laughter. After all, what mom tells her son that he’s not allowed to go on the swings at a playground?

Well, life has an interesting way of teaching us not to judge others. Just when I started to enter this pious mode of believing that I never get cranky with my son…the moment happened.

Yesterday I decided to take my little boy swimming at a small lake five minutes from our house. It was a playground and recreation area owned by the town next door to us, and we went there several times during the fall to check out their brand new state-of-the-art playground, complete with rubber mulch (ground-up recycled tires) used as a safety surface for the playground’s floor.

Since the temperature reached well over 100 degrees, I gladly waited until after five o’clock to bring my little one to the lake. The sun wasn’t quite as strong at this time, and I thought I could enter the park for free.

Well, as soon as I pulled into the driveway, a young college kid gladly charged me five dollars for being a non-resident. Evidently, admission into the park wasn’t free until after six o’clock at night. (Highway robbery if you ask me.) I was a little miffed, but I was still excited that Lil' Lewie and me would have a chance to enjoy the water together and cool off from this heat. Dreams of me teaching my little boy how to swim danced in my head…

I gently took Lil’ Lewie’s hand and guided him toward the beach. I laid our towel out in the sand, took out our beach toys, and placed my camera in a convenient, yet safe spot, for photo opportunities. We had just managed to get in the water to his knees (my ankles) when it happened…

He looked at me, looked back at the car, looked at me again, looked back at the car again, and then ran.

“Where are you going?” I shouted, running after my little man. I managed to grab him to lure him back into the water. “Common. We’re going to have a fun time, Lil’ Lew,” I said, bouncing him up and down in the water. “Look how fun the water is!”

Lil’ Lewie screamed, no screeched, because I forced him back into the water. The lifeguard glared at me as if I was tormenting my own son.

“Yippeeee! You’re having fun. Right, Lil’ Lew?”

My playful banter was greeted only by more tears and screaming. He enjoyed the water in the past, but this time, he had another activity in mind. Remembering this place from the fall, my smart twenty-two month old son grabbed my hand and led me right in the direction of the rubber mulch playground. I had lost my battle to the swings.

My temper flared as my little boy insisted that we were going to play on the swings in this hot 100 degree heat. I started pushing the swing and suddenly became nauseated by the fumes of this disgusting tire mulch, which seemed to be attracting even more heat beneath my feet. Horse flies swarmed around me and bit the back of my neck.

“I can’t believe we’re the only ones on this playground,” I complained out loud. “Why can’t you be like the other kids who are enjoying the water right now? This is ridiculous.”

Other comments, obscenities, flooded my mind, when it hit me. I was a Grumpy Mama. I had joined the club. I was now officially indoctrinated. Yes, I could blame the $5 charge, the heat, the rubber mulch, or the horseflies, but ultimately, I had the power to change my mood. I pouted for a few minutes in silence and then I smiled—“Mommy sounds kind of grumpy today, don’t I?” I asked Lil’ Lewie.

He looked at me from his swing and then looked past me into the horizon. Nothing was going to ruin his fun. Mommy would just have to get over herself.


  1. Ha ha ha, I had to laugh when I started reading this...I'd probably be one of the moms first mentioned :) I'm good for the first 20 minutes of a park trip, but after that? I'm tired from following him all around and getting ready to go...and it's ALWAYS a battle to get my son to leave the park!

    I love that Lil Lew wanted nothing to do with the water...they sure have minds of their own, huh? Hope you were able to have at least a little fun...and I agree, $5 is ridiculous!

  2. LOL!! I will probably be a member of that club soon too! Right now S isn't walking so I pretty much control what she does and she seems to stay pretty happy but once she starts walking I'm betting she'll have different ideas in mind.

    I also agree $5 seems like a bit much!

  3. Ah, we all have those moments in life. I frequently catch myself saying completely ludicrous things to my oldest in an effort to get her to do what I want her to do. Like "We did not come to the park for you to sit next to me the entire time! Go play!" Hm. She wanted to be near me. Remind me when she's 16 and wants nothing to do with me that I was trying to push her away some when she wasn't yet 6. LOL.


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