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Play-Gym Survival Guide

by Stephanie Rich

And so it was…they felt like they couldn’t stay home any more…but what to do?……..they searched for answers……in what was left in their new morphed mum minds….. then it came to them…a gift from…above?!….Ahhh…. the PLAYGYM…a strange but friendly place where you can give your babies a distraction, entertainment and exercise…or….a place where mummy can get out the house and feel semi-normal/part of society again, feel valid and enjoy a coffee…a panini and some adult conversation whilst not feeling judged whilst the children roam around.

Play-gym is an essential part of mum life (for me anyway), I resisted it at first but soon realised that the play gym is definitely your friend. You’ve just gotta get a feel for the establishment that’s all…

Shop around…mix it up…change the scene and become a pro..

If you are an amateur play-gym goer (like me)…

Here’s some top tips or simple rules as it were…

1. Check out the parking situation

Some places had adequate parking…some don’t…some are on main roads…some parking is full of puddles and stones…be careful out there.

2. To pram or not to pram…that is the question

Will youngest need a sleep or not? Can you be arsed to take the whole Pram and nothing but the kitchen sink…or do you risk just the car seat (yeah but my arm aches and henry runs off..?) why do so many play gyms have stairs????!

3. Go with your mum friend

Or not….but it’s harder without and you never know If you might need back up if your toddler decides to go in the big boys play gym…(not easy doing ninja warrior moves whilst holding your 11month old and carrying a pregnant belly at 5 meter altitude…then the only way down is the fastest slide ever… and your wearing tights…and they polished it…)

4. Be vigilant… observe your child closely.

Goes without saying…..but no matter how much you keep an eye on some children they still manage to crawl to the cafe out of the crash matts or up the stairs past all of us (Freddie) also don’t let your kid steal drinks from the cafe or other peoples drinks….(Henry)…it’s frowned upon.

5. Bring adequate change…

…To buy a lizard…sponge toy…sponge ring….Weird ball. If you’re going to use the grabber bring your A game…they are tricky little suckers!

6. Nappy or not to nappy

This one ain’t always easy if you’re potty training and trying to impress. You’ve got to weigh up the risk of a turd in the ball pool and the whole place closing for decontamination vs asking your kid if he needs a wee every 5 minutes…its your call.

7. You are not there to child mind other children…

Yeah that was weird last week… we seemed to have acquired more children than we came with. It’s nice to be supportive and we all watch out for each other but when you got 3 kids crying on your lap not knowing where mummy and daddy is it’s time to get real.

8. Feeding time at the zoo

Yes there maybe some mess and some food thrown…but guess what…it’s allowed here!… You are safe and it’s acceptable…you are at the play-gym cafe! Enjoy…but if you see a mum throwing a hot chocolate all over the table (clumsy cow…it was me btw..I’m really not judgemental lols) that kind of behaviour needs reporting. (We shouldn’t waste hot drinks..also a hazard)

You know who you are……

Hey mums they gotta rest when they can it’s every mum for themselves…stop being pregnant all the time!

10. Don’t Get into an argument with parents…

If there is an altercation with your child and another…and it’s your child’s fault, acknowledge, apologise and move on….(my kid is not a violent criminal with an intention to cause harm…he is 2 years of age and has just worked out how to blow his nose….Whatever you do don’t pretend your kid ain’t yours if something goes down….(course I’ve never done this 😂)…if a child attacks your child stay calm and be understanding whilst trying not to slate the kid and been a good adult human setting an example…you dunno where his parents are lurking and it’s not your job to sort them out it’s their parents… okay.

11. If in doubt…always go for the chicken burger.

I dunno why but they always taste really good in a play-gym….you will understand… trust me…

I hope you enjoyed my play-gym guide and I wouldn’t take it seriously…if anything it’s something to read or not do… I am no expert and I sure as hell am winging this whole mum thing so each to their own.

Play gyms are a fun day out for sure, don’t be scared to venture out and try it no matter how hard it is to leave the house ….just try it momma!

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