Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Five Types of Parents You See at the Park

Being the parents of two small girls, I spend a lot of time at the park. I'm sure most of the people who see me at the park on a regular basis ask themselves why I drive five minutes to the park, only to yell at my kids for an hour and then drive back home. It's not that I don't love my children (precious, loving, beautiful little life-sucking angels that they are), but rather that's just the type of park parent that I am; I yell to get their attention when they're doing something they shouldn't be, which just so happens to be all of the time. After nearly four years of living the dad life and spending nearly a thousand hours at parks watching my kids play on equipment that probably wouldn't be approved for use on a Ninja Warrior or military obstacle course, I've created a list of the 5 types of parents you'll see at the park.

1) Cell Phone Parent: This parent is either a social media champion, workaholic, single or a sports or gossip junkie. They open the door to let their kids out of the car and don't look at them again until another parent taps them on the shoulder and says, "Sir, your son just finished eating one dog turd and is getting ready to start another." To which, Cell Phone Parent holds up his hand and says, "Just let me save this change I made to my fantasy football roster and I'll be right there."

Children of these types of parents most often grow up to be fast food workers, homeless or the person who shaves dog testicles at the groomer.

2) GQ Parent: The guys look like carbon copies of Henry Cavill from Man of Steel and the women look like clones of Megan Fox in Transformers, and rather than reeking of feces they walk by and you catch a whiff of what smells like lilacs or roses. They always wear athletic clothing that highlights the fact they still find four hours a day to run and workout, and they look like they get nine hours of sleep every night in a hyperbaric chamber. Also, you can bet they'll have Starbucks coffee (hold anything that could make you fat) that seems to magically refill itself and be wearing expensive sunglasses that I haven't figured out how they keep their kids from breaking. They're often good people who unintentionally make you feel like a bag of dirty diapers.

Children of these types of parents most often grow up to be actors/actresses, models or personal trainers.

Copyright 2014, Travis Ross (Simple Man's Survival Guide)
Yelling Parent
3) Yelling Parent: This parent has spent so much time yelling at their child that it's the only volume they have any more. Having a conversation with this person probably feels a lot like having a conversation with Sam Kinison or Gilbert Gottfried. And, surprise, they spend the bulk of their time at the park yelling at their children. There is no black and white with these people. They're like RoboCop, but with no gun and an insanely loud and annoying voice. Children of yelling parents are either numb to all the screaming and just go about their life, or spend their entire youth sitting still and messing themselves in fear that moving will get them yelled at.

Children of these types of parents most often grow up to be in the military, police, firemen or teachers.

4) Chatterbox Parent: These people talk like they're being paid to see how many words they can say in a row without stopping. And once they get rolling, there is no force on this earth that can shut them the f**k up. They're like a version of the Juggernaut where their power isn't superhuman strength, but rather superhuman lung capacity. A lot of these people are stay-at-home parents who haven't seen the sun for two weeks and smell like a diaper that someone left out in the sun on a Texas sidewalk. You can actually see them explode with excitement when they get out of their car and see living, breathing people. And they want to talk to you about everything from the Ebola crisis to the diaper they changed this morning where the turd was so big their still thinking about contacting the Vatican to see if it can be declared a miracle. And did you know their aunt died? And their hemorrhoids are flaring up again. Tread lightly around these people, as they're often one snide remark away from going postal.

Children of these types of parents most often grow up to be broadcast/print journalistscar salesmen or Internet bloggers.

5) Parent to Everyone's Kids: These people are like Batman, in that they're unstoppable force of good that people can't figure out. They're awesome at this parenting thing, just ask them. They know where every child is, what they're doing and seem to know what food allergies kids they don't even know have without ever being told. These people will stop your child from eating random dog turds and will fly out of nowhere to catch a falling child. They always have extra sippy cups of water and fruit pouches that they're willing to share. Oh, and they tell you your child pooped after they already changed the diaper for you. These parents can occasionally get annoying if you get one who also takes it upon himself to scold kids who aren't theirs, but that's a small price to pay for the other things they do. These parents often the only reason the children of Cell Phone parents live to adulthood.

Children of these parents often grow up to be doctors, lawyers, consultants or politicians.

I'd call myself a Yelling/Chatterbox hybrid. Let me know in the comments what type of park parent you are, or that you think you'll be. Alternatively, let me know if there are any park parent types that you feel I forgot.

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