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Back in the day of playground safety…
Before the internet and baby groups were a thing, many mums of my own mother’s generation relied on play parks as a way of meeting other new mums. I’ve experienced loneliness being a new mum myself so can only imagine how hard it was for her. She tells me of a time when she took a bus ride just to be around other people and have a conversation with another adult!
Of course play parks weren’t what they are now either. There were no wheelchair friendly roundabouts level with the ground or fences around the duck pond. Of course in those days it was still ok to feel the ducks bread! Now I’m sure the fences are as much for protecting the ducks from a carb fuelled diet, rather than stopping our little ones tip into the water…
It was on one of these trips to the park with me, a tot of just 3 years, when she realised how dangerous the space really was. Although grateful that the park existed to help burn off all my toddler energy, the apparatus was all buried into concrete. It was my agility and extraordinary climbing skills which forced my mum to speak up to the school who owned the park.
Mum attended an open meeting of the school governors
Here she raised the issue of playground safety. It was there that a father tried to quash her claims and said that no child of three could climb the monkey bars in their park. Yeah right! He obviously hadn’t seen my skills for himself!!
My mum the pioneer
After this encounter my mum took it upon herself to bid for external funding to pay for a soft school playground surface and won it! Her mother’s instinct had given her the opportunity to fight for something she believed in and achieved a win.
‘elf and safety gone mad?
Nowadays of course, we seem to have gone from one extreme to another. I personally got told off for 7 month old Ted (who I was feeding milk to on my lap). He wasn’t wearing any socks! Apparently I was risking the establishment for getting a £1000 fine. I may have rolled my eyes at this point. Not to be rude but she said he was at risk of a verruca. I really wanted to ask why he didn’t have to wear gloves too? He can’t even crawl! So in my opinion, being a kid in the 90’s really was the best. There was a happy medium of people like my mum who wanted change for the better and for true, necessary safety with the balance of healthy appetite for risk to allow for children to find their own abilities and limitations.
Why I’m proud…
My mum continues to stand up for those without a voice. I think that must be where I get my passion for confronting injustices too. She’s now an incredible grandma who has just filled her diary with dates to look after my boys. All because she wants them, not because I need her to cover for me, although that does happen too of course!
*Disclosure – This post was written in collaboration with Soft Surfaces Ltd.