Playground politics: The 9 different types of parents in the playground

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Parent and toddler

The playground – the college common room of the adult world. We all hang out there, we all fit a certain mould there, and we all size up other parents there – whether we like to admit it or not, making our silent judgements about the types of parents in the playground.

Day in day out, against the backdrop of crazy kids running wild and the opportunity to get the teeny tiniest smidge of headspace, we are all brought together in this kiddie showground. However, united in this playground rigamarole we might be,  often divided we stand as 9 very different types of parents:

1. The I just came here to stare at my iPhone parent

A phenomenon of the 21st century age, this is the parent who thinks pushing their child on their swing comes with a side of reading through work emails, scrolling through Facebook and other inane crap. Torn in internal conflict as to whether they are actually there to push their iPhone or child on the swing. Guilty as charged.

  1. The I’m going to own this playground malarkey parent

Hey look at me! I’m rolling down the hill, I’m coming down the slide with you, I’m hanging off the monkey bars, I’m going wheeeee! on the merry go round. You can’t work out whether you should laugh at, love or be deeply envious at this parent who seems to have this playground malarkey locked down. Although frequently the mainstay of the lone cool Dad, keep an eye out and sometimes a Mum species can be found doing the happy playground dance, if in season.

  1. The Help! How can I lose these kids? parent

Yes, you know this parent – the one who looks like they have been bundled into a dark room at gun point and lumped with three kids who are full of hate whilst they float aimlessly through the playground with a look of resignation on their face. Look closely and you will often find them keeping an eye out for any self eject button which might miraculously be hiding within the playground’s vicinity.

  1. The Oh sorry! I didn’t realize I was supposed to parent, parent

The parent whose child is busy pushing, poking and bopping every child in order to get there first on anything. You won’t hear so much of a peep out of them, and sometime you’re too afraid to look at them in case you’re the one in for a punch in the throat. Possibly a well honed survival strategy or sometimes because someone forgot to confiscate their parenting license.

  1. The Stalker parent

Me, and my shadow….yes this could very well be their parenting theme tune as they follow those under their care around with the uncanny resemblance of a shadow. Helicopter parenting taken to a whole other level.

  1. The Staring into the abyss parent

Often found to be playing an extra role in a real life play featuring both a toddler and a baby. Too exhausted to do anything else but simply exist in the playground. Checking out at a playground near you soon.

7. The I have seen you a zillion times but still have no idea who you are parent

You know the type, the one who you’ve seen in the playground and hood so many times they just feel so familiar…that is until you decide to finally break the ice and say hi, only to met with the “Who the hell are you” death stare.

8. The Oh I just know everybodyyyyyy parent! 

Usually the sole territory of mums – they can be found gossiping by the swing, gossiping by the slide and pretty much gossiping everywhere – often putting the world to rights or sharing juicy morsels of chit chat in a huddle with her groupies. You may find yourself standing on the sidelines wondering what you’re missing with this parent around.

9. The Oh hello…I think I want to be your friend parent 

They emit a certain kind of energy, a certain kind of cool…dare you approach them? Speak to them? Could you make the grade? Could you even…wonder of all wonders…become friends?

What other playground types have you encountered, and which types do you most relate to?

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  1. Oh god, I am guilty of being the helicopter parent (I just can’t help it!) and the Please be my friend parent! Haha. I am always trying to spot ‘potential mum friends’ I just need some adult communication sometimes!!
    Becky (please be my blog friend ;)xx

    • To be honest I have been guilty of being ALL of pretty much all of the parents which is why I found it so amusing to write this post! I went through a massive phase of the please be my friend parent until I finally made a couple of playground friends – yay! Thanks for stopping by my new blog friend 😉 x

  2. So true! On different days I’m guilty of being the malarkey parent and the abyss parent, and probably seem like the “forgot to” parent given my kids manners some days! Thanks for sharing! #wineandboobs

  3. I am the “I can’t believe you are making me do this” parent. Especially when he is having a meltdown because he wants to go on the BIG things that quite obviously Daddy lets him go on when he takes him there. I go up there/in them/on them with him because I am a little more safety conscious than Daddy! On the way home I then morph in to the “I am going to kill you” wife hahaha 🙂 #wineandboobs

  4. Hehehehehe this is just so true! It’s amazing – and you can see these same types of people everywhere you go! lol #wineandboobs

  5. Haha! I’m a semi-stalker parent but only because my son thinks the top of a playground is there to jump off!

  6. I’m number five, only to not become number 4. There’s also the ‘I’ve been pushing this sodding swing for a sodding hour now’ parent, that’s also me 🙂 #wineandboobs

  7. Hahaha! This made me laugh. I watch some of the parents picking up their little ones from nursery and think exactly the same thing!!! Amazing how some women revert t type too and end up being the girl they were at school… cool girl, mean girl, friendly girl, shy girl!! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday — hope to see you again next week! x

    Caro |

    • Ha you are so right – there is some definite playground regression going on with the mammas! Glad you enjoyed it and thanks so much for choosing my post about ditching the parenting labels as your fave for last week’s #TwinklyTuesday x

  8. Very cute! I’m often the malarkey parent – which tends to make the other parents either give me a wide berth or say “I wish I could be as much fun as you.” I try to resist the temptation to pass them my margarita recipe with a wink when they say that kind of thing.
    Happy to have found you on #TwinklyTuesday

  9. […] might also like the fabulous 9 Different Types of Parents at the Playground by the hugely talented Talya of Motherhood The Real […]

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