The 5 stages of going to the playground

Picture this: It’s a sunny day. The kids have been cooped up in the house (with entirely too much screen time) for so long, and you think you know what would be fun? If I took them to the playground. You sound the alarm, let them know the plan, and then it begins. No matter how many times you have been here before, you seem to have forgotten the difficulties of a simple outing. Before you know it, you’re processing the 5 stages of going to the playground.

1. Excitement

Hurray! The kids are psyched, they’re chanting “you’re the best mom ever!” And you know what? You really feel like you are.

2. Bargaining

And so the struggle begins. I don’t want to go potty. I don’t want to put on my shoes. Why can’t I bring 3,528 stuffed animals? The questions, the roadblocks, and you have begun to resort to bribing your way out the door. You offer snacks. You suggest riding bikes. You promise to bake a cake when you get home just as long as you. get. out. the. freaking. house.

3. Joy

You’ve done it. You left the house, you’re on the way. Everyone is happy, laughing. Deciding what they’ll do first. The slides are extra slidey. The swings are extra swingy. Life is good. You’re back to feeling like the best mom ever.

PIcture of 2 kids swinging

4. Bargaining (part 2)

Time is up. Got to get back home. You’ve tried to ease into the transition as calmly as possible “3 more times down the slide then we have to go.” Everyone agrees to this, and you’re sure this will be an easy exit. Not so fast. 3 slides come and go. “Ok, one more time, then we really have to get back.” Pretty soon you’re back to pulling out all the stops. You promise a movie. Chocolate milk. You start thinking what wine pairs with the chicken nuggets you said you would make. Anything. But they just won’t budge, and you know the meltdown is coming. Then you pinky promise to come back tomorrow, and reluctantly, they take the bait.


You’ve made it. On the way home everyone finally calms down and says what a great time the playground was. You’re a little worse for wear, but you feel like you have accomplished something amazing. Quality time, in the sun, away from the TV. You’re back to thinking you’re the best mom. And then you remember…you promised to do it all again tomorrow.

Picture of girl at the bottom of a slide

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