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I’m The Mom on the Park Bench

IMG_3102The weather is clearing up and warming enough for me to finally get the entire family outside! (Let me get a hallelujah chorus here). It’s been a rough winter/spring for us so far.Wet/snow/ice weather has definitely hit a sore spot for me since the girls were getting stir crazy with each passing day. Sunny days are what we live for because we know loathe being indoors. During our beautiful sunny Nevada days, we live at our local park. I gather the girls for a short walk to the park and let Haidyn run wild.

Note that I said I let HAIDYN run wild. Our park time is her time to play on her own terms while I sit on the bench. Sometimes on the bench, I’m sitting with Rory looking like a crazy dog lady because I’m talking to her. Or sometimes I’m on the bench reading a good book while I eyeball where Haidyn is.Other times, I’m sitting there observing my daughter and all of the hovering parents at the park observing how I’m not playing with my daughter.Yeah, judgey much?

I sit on the bench watching Haidyn from a distance because as an only child I’m finding it to be more and more important for her to identify with her peers as her own person. I don’t want to hover over her and tell her what to play with and who to play with. I want her to explore on her terms in her own way. She’s old enough to climb most things at the park by herself (without hurting herself) and initiate a conversation and play with other children at the park. She’s learning through play. She’s learning how to use her own judgment via trial and error when attempting to try something new at the park. From a distance, I’m watching my daughter growing through her play while I simply observe. She doesn’t need me to play with other children.

At the end of our play time at the park, the girl I take home with me isn’t quite the same as the girl that I brought there. The girl I take home is a little more confident because she slid down the slide a little faster than the last time as well as making a new friend. Watching her find herself through her play amazes me.

Observing from the park bench has always been my biggest fear because I never wanted to not be there if she were to get hurt. Taking a step back from that to understand that though I’m sitting on the bench and observing, I’m still there to help her if something happens to her. She will call out for me if she truly does need me, better yet I will SEE IT if she needs me. Sitting on the park bench should not equate to “not caring about my child”. I care so much about her that I don’t need to hover, nor do I need always be there especially when all she’s doing is trying to play with her new friends. I don’t want to be a MOMBLOCK because we’ve seen those types of moms out there.  We’re both finding out the hard way that she’s a thrill seeker that doesn’t like to play it safe (a trait inherited from her father), but though there have been a few tears and scratches, she’s learning to get back up faster so that she get back to playing faster.  I’ll continue to sit on the bench enjoying the view of my daughter learning and growing. Judge on hover parents because all that matters is that I’ve got a happy, exploring child to take with me at the end of our play time.

I’ll continue to sit on the bench, enjoying the view of my daughter learning and growing. Judge on, hover parents, because all that matters is that I’ve got a happy, exploring child to take with me at the end of our play time.



About Jannine Wells

Jannine Wells
Jannine Wells is a Navy brat traveling the world and moving every 4 years until finally settling in Nevada. She was raised in Fernley Nevada and moved to Reno in 2010 to finish her degree at TMCC. She has a background in childhood education and is an advocate for children’s education and development. Jannine is married to her high school sweetheart and is raising a beautiful one year old daughter, Haidyn, and kitty daughter, Sassafras. She is a paper pusher by day, blogger and amateur chef by night passionate about learning how to become a better mother.  Jannine started her blog Sunny In Reno to write about her pregnancy and journey through motherhood.   View all posts by Jannine.

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