The park.  All of my little extroverted children adore the park.  They love the equipment, they love the sand, but most of all, they love meeting other children.  I do not love the park.  I am too big for the equipment, I hate sand in my shoes, and the other children always seem to come with parents.  I am the introvert of the family.

Now before I really get started, let me be perfectly clear.  My children have amazing friends with parents I love to be around.  Parents who are real, funny, intelligent, and all around delightful.  Some of these people, I have even met at the park.  Most of the time, however, when I take my child to the park, we end up meeting an entirely different kind of beast.  This is how it goes.

I have brought my children to the park.  I am not hovering over them making sure they don’t fall; parks are a good place for falling.  Instead I am standing in the corner giving off a “Leave me alone” vibe.  Also I am keeping an eye out for creepy people.  At some point, one of my children will come running up to me, shouting gleefully “Mommy!  I made a new friend, and his mommy says we should have a PLAY DATE!”  Oh dear sweet Jesus, NO.  I try to explain to the child that they are too young for dates, even play ones, but I know I will lose this one.  I also have a pretty good idea as to who will be striding across the park toward me with a big smile stretching out her perfect face.

“Well hello, there!  I’m Super Mom!  I hear that your Kid and my Baby Genius have met and are dyyyyyyying to have a play date!” She says in a voice that makes me think of a cheer leader after about eight Red Bulls.  I take a good look at Super Mom.  She is wearing Jimmy Choos, designer blinged out jeans, and a painted on shirt that coordinates with her child’s outfit.  She is in full makeup and every strand of her highlighted hair is in place.  She is also dripping with accessories which either “tell a story” or coordinate perfectly with her (and Baby Genius’) outfit.  I know that as a Christian, I should see that this woman is a little insecure and help build her up, but sometimes I slip up a little and compare.

I am wearing flip flops, probably a grocery store 99 cent special.  I did one thing before leaving the house to go to the park.  I double checked to make sure I was wearing pants.  The pants are sweat pants that were two sizes too small, but are now old enough to have lost all elasticity so they are actually a little big (score!).  Makeup and accessories are a foreign language which I no longer speak and as for hair, well, I haven’t looked in a mirror for three days so I have no idea what mine looks like.  I’m pretty sure that not a strand is in place and I know it isn’t highlighted.

I sigh.  Super Mom is looking at me like I’m a part of a great package deal.  Not only will Baby Genius get a new friend, but Super Mom will get a new project.  I am too tired to be Super Mom’s new project.  I am also, however, too tired to invent reasons why I am busy for the next thirteen years so I force a smile and desperately attempt to keep Super Mom out of my house.

You see, I’m not the world’s best cleaner.  My house does not have carpeting. My house has really sticky floors and two large dogs, which is just like carpeting, right?  Yeah, Super Mom won’t think so either.  Super Mom would probably go into shock if she stepped into my house.  I get Super Mom to agree to a date at her house.

As we pull up to Super Mom’s mcmansion, I warn Kid to be on his best behavior.  “We can get through this, but only if we work together as a team.”  Kid looks at me like I’m crazy.  “Baby Genius has an Xbox 42 and a PS2000 and all of the super hero costumes.” He informs me.  Okay, I get it.  We’re here for the toys.  “Well, I would suggest that you dress up first and then play video games, because we are only staying here for an hour.”  I offer.  Kid is smart.  Kid gets the picture.

The play date usually starts off with Baby Genius and Kid trying to play while Super Mom hovers, offering advice on how to play “better” or “safer”.  Eventually Super Mom gets bored and offers me “the tour”  I accept “the tour” not because I am a huge fan of architecture or decorating, but because it will eat up a good 15 minutes.  My house does not need a tour.  I’m pretty sure you can see the piles of laundry and dog hair tumbleweeds for yourself.

After “the tour” it is snack time.  Super Mom brings out a bowl of teriyaki flavored seaweed disks and says “My neighbor, Awesome Mom, doesn’t even care if her child’s grapes are locally sourced!  Can you believe it!”  We live in Wisconsin and she is offering Kid seaweed.  I try to explain irony to her but she just stares blankly.  She then offers Kid a choice between chocolate milk and water.  “WATER!” I shout before Kid has a chance to open his mouth  “We just drink water.” I inform Super Mom.  “Trust me” I mouth to Kid.

“It’s actually carob flavored rutabaga milk” Super Mom whispers “Baby Genius doesn’t know the difference.”  Yeah, I’m pretty sure Kid would notice the difference.  Loudly.  Super Mom is shocked when Kid loves the seaweed discs.  What. We’re not total heathens.

The last step before we leave is the demonstration and advice.  The demonstration is the part where Baby Genius is required to show me how smart he is.  “He speaks five languages and is studying pre-algebra!” Super Mom gushes. Baby Genius then shows me that he can say “hello” in four languages and count to 10 in Spanish.  Super Mom gets annoyed when I point out that he missed nueve.  I still think it’s pretty impressive for a four year old.  Kid demonstrates how he can make farting noises with his armpit.  Baby Genius is very impressed, much to the horror of Super Mom.

Super Mom then offers me loads of advice, which I deflect with the skill of Wonder Woman and her bullet deflecting bracelets.

“You should really enroll Kid in a pre-algebra tutoring group”

“Isn’t all math before algebra, pre-algebra?  Also, Kid is four.  He has very little use for algebra at this time.”

“Well, I guess that’s your choice.  Awesome Mom made that same choice, and do you know what?  She also hires a house cleaner!  Oh, please tell me that you don’t have a house cleaner!  House cleaners are for working moms or women who don’t love their families!”

“Believe me, I would totally hire a house cleaner if I could afford it.  It’s kind of hard on a pastor’s salary.”

“Oh! Your husband is a pastor! Just a sec and I’ll have Baby Genius recite the entire book of Lamentations for you!”

“Well, look at the time!  It’s time for clean up!”

Kid and I then pick up all of the toys that he and Baby Genius have been playing with while Baby Genius looks on in confusion.  “Oh, we haven’t worked on teaching Baby Genius to clean up after himself yet.  I really feel that it’s my responsibility as a good wife to keep the house in order.” Super Mom says.  “It’s either that, or put out in the bedroom, if you know what I mean!”  I know what she means.  I have five children and a messy house.

Kid and I get back in the car and I give a sigh of relief.  I have avoided all conversations involving hair stylists and shopping.  Two topics which would leave me staring blankly at Super Mom.

Kid turns to me and says “Mom, can we not go back there?  Their house smells all weird, like a hospital.”  I pull over and give Kid a big hug because, as usual, he is awesome.  Even if he does only speak one language.

Do you know what is great in any language (and by “any language” I mean English)?  This blog!  Share it with your friends.  Also, if you are Awesome Mom, give me a call.  I hear you are amazing!


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