How the Phoenix Children's museum is awesome and it makes me hate myself.

We are in Phoenix.  I think the vacation part is over- Sean has work meetings and I am hanging with kids here.  I know it sounds fun except that it's hot, being in a hotel room kinda sucks when you have little kids and the pool is freezing.  So I am feeling a bit stuck...low and behold Phoenix has a crazy good children's museum.  By crazy good I mean- really fucking good children's museum.  It is seriously worthy of the F-bomb!

But here's my problem...

I took my children there because I wanted to be in an environment where I didn't have to manage them in an adult setting.  I wanted them to touch everything, explore to their hearts desire and be safe.  So we went and they/we did that.  They explored, touched everything, wandered, climbed, laughed,  etc.   And me, well I got judged, asked where things were (I accidentally wore the colors of the staff) and in general I was made to feel tremendously self conscious.

Here is why I was judged:

In general when put my kids in an environment full of kids and kid stuff I let them figure it out.  I let them sort out what fits where and how it works. I only intervene if they are going to hurt themselves or others.  In a place like a children's environment I keep track of my kids- I know where they are, we all stay in teh same room etc. But I do NOT tell them how to play with thinks or interact with toys etc.  I don't say, "oh Let me show you or I can help you."  Unless they ask for help- they figure it out.  Today that worked great!  THey were peaceful for 4 hours at the museum, they stayed with me, they had a ton of fun.

THe problem is there are a lot more parents who are talking to their kids, narrating, inviting them to play with things, showing them how things work etc.  That is not my style at a place like this= so the problem...well if you think engagement is good parenting then I look like a shitty parent.  It sucks.

Asked where things were:

If you go to the Phoenix Children's Museum do NOT wear a teal shirt and khakis.

Made to feel self conscious:

Holy shit white parents dress up in Phoenix!  Wow, I looked plenty fine- possibly even dressed up for the rural midwest- but seriously people were so freakin' LA! Died hair, beautiful clothes, makeup, I pretty much felt like the fat ugly lady.  And only one of those is true- and isn't so bad (the fat if you are wondering I am neither ugly nor a lady :).

But seriously, nothing gets me self conscious like a week in a hot place surrounded by people who hang out around pools and then chilling with a bunch of overdressed mamas who think I am being a lazy parent...

So that's my summary of my day.  Frankly, I am ready for childcare again.


  1. I'm sorry you were judged. You engage your children as human people with full and unique identities that you celebrate as their personalities are unfolding. So really, I'd call the other parents' styles management, rather than engagement. You and Sean are crazy admirable parents.


  2. Rachel,

    I so loved this post that I shared it with a colleague. She has a son in HS and a daughter in college. I wanted to share her response with you:

    "I was an engineering major in college. My major's ratio was 20:1 men to women. After college working for P&G, I worked with and supervised mostly men and mostly older than me. I was the young, big busted, blonde. I now work in healthcare, which I have no educational background in. In all of these experiences, I have never felt more out of place than I did with stay-at-home moms. (She chose to continue to work after having her kids.) It sounds like for your friend, this was a day off. For the women she felt judged by, it was probably their day out."


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