Top 10 Reasons Parents Have a Love/Hate Relationship with The Mall

Top 10 Reasons Parents Have a Love/Hate Relationship with The Mall

10.   It is a climate controlled environment larger than your home (unless your last name is Cruise or Jolie-Pitt). It is set to blissfully cool for those roasting in 10o+ degree weather in The South, and toasty warm for those who don’t see above freezing temps for four months of winter (waves to Calgary Canadians). This feature is vital in the war against Cabin Fever. However, this perk also leads to Breeding Ground for Every Possible Illness.

9.    Many have a free play area for kids to run amok and scream calmly walk from one obstacle to the other. Pushing is always never a problem, and parents ignore their children while they tweet carefully keep an eye on their own children – just in case.

8.   None of these play areas have gates. If you’re watching your 4 year old, your 21 month old will sneak out. If you have a toddler, they find it more fun to escape and have you chase them, than play in the actual play area.

7.    If you’re cursed lucky, they install a carousel forty feet away away from the free play area. For $2 a pop, you can pretend you’re at an indoor carnival as your darling Lil Diva discovers the wonders of such a money sucking classic ride.

6.   You have to pull the same enthralled child away, who emits tortured screams after you separate her from the “horsie” because you didn’t bring $20 in cash to keep blowing on carousel rides. You just wanted to order black out shades at JC Penny’s, but you had to walk by the stupid carousel to get there.

5.  Malls have escalators. Which almost every child under the age of five gravitates toward. Moths to a flame. Bees to honey. Mosquitoes to me and my children. Me to brownies. Pick an analogy –  they’re all true.

4.   These escalators provide entertainment for passersby. Do you know how hard it is keeping two active, exploring, dare devil children together on an escalator? Or how to explain to a 21 month old, it doesn’t matter how hard she tries, she cannot go up the down escalator, or down the up one? Or how nauseous you can get after riding it 16 times in a row because you were pregnant and your two year wanted to do nothing else (this was in the pre-carousel days).

It's all about the Disney accessories.

3.   It’s a great place to window shop…. for everything you probably don’t need. The store owners try to help by placing breakable items low to the ground and near the entrance, because they depend on the toddler Lure of the Forbidden to bring you in, and the Your Kid Breaks It You Buy It to keep them in business. And heaven help you when your young child spies The Disney Store.

2.   Some malls have added even more kid entertainment. A train that drives around the mall you’ve miraculously hidden from your son so far? A bouncy house play land for the low price of $10 per kid on the weekend? A trampoliny jumpy harness thingy I’m certain my children will beg to do once tall enough? Check, check, and check.

1.   Where else can you choose from at least half a dozen or more food items?  Chinese, burgers, cheese steak, pizza, fried chicken, potatoes, and Subway without ever stepping outside. I’m sorry, were there any healthy items on that list? Let’s not forget the Dairy Queen, giant cookie baking place, and the pretzel kiosk. A visit (or lack thereof) to any of these locations could be utilized as a reward, or dissolve into breeding ground for a tantrum.

And that’s just before my kids are teenagers.

Why do you love/hate your mall? I’d love to hear from those with older kids too, because I’m guessing the escalators aren’t as big of a problem with a 13 year old…

And if you still have some time on your hands….

I’m guest posting at The Red Dress Club today, talking about a nemesis so many writers deal with.

About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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17 Responses to Top 10 Reasons Parents Have a Love/Hate Relationship with The Mall

  1. Katie says:

    Most of those are why I try to avoid indoor malls and hit the plethora of outdoor malls around here when I need to shop. (Since our temps are rarely so extreme that indoors is absolutely necessary). That solves a whole host of problems!

  2. Oh, so you’ve been to our mall? I avoid the place like the plague!

  3. Annie says:

    Our mall is small. It’s main attraction are the fountains. I spend about $1 just letting the boys throw money in. It’s cheap entertainment!

    The mall with my 13 year old is fun. As long as little brothers are not along. They hate to shop, get completely out of control silly, and want to spend most of the time in either the food court or the gaming store.

  4. Yes, is foresee the gaming store will be a huge draw when my kids are older.

    My children would try to climb into the fountain right now.

    Heck, when I was 13 I started living at the mall, because there was nothing else to do in my town.

    But your description of the out of control silly boys = dead on.

  5. John says:

    Most malls also have elevators, which have buttons, which are super fun to press.

    And water fountains, which are great tantrum generators when you explain that it isn’t bath time.

  6. My twins stole from a shoe store in the mall when they were 15 months old. I’ve only been back a couple of times since. Hmm. Maybe a blog post in that story.

    Funny, funny reasons. And I love how it works similarly for the cold climates!

  7. 7 & 6 are ones with which I have close personal experience! I remember how much I used to love those, but sometimes I watch Li’l D gear up to plead “again, again” and wonder how much fun it can really be on the 682nd rotation. Clearly the answer is “a lot of fun,” because OH! Does he holler when I remove him.

    • Lil Diva has a very strong set of lungs.

      She is not afraid to use them.

      I get “the looks” when I remove her like, “Surely you could let her ride again. Can’t you control your child?”

      because yes, the 682nd time when I’d have spent $1200 in carousel rides… she’d still scream if it wasn’t her idea to leave.

  8. Kate says:

    What a list 😉 The mall my children enjoy most also includes Jeepers, an indoor amusement park complete with a mini-roller coaster, yak attack, and arcade games they play for tickets that buy nothing but junk from overseas. I love taking them there because it gives them a place in the winter months (we live in SE Mich. – not quite Vancouver, but I call myself a thick-blood) to blow off steam and scream like banshees. If I didn’t have children, I wouldn’t visit indoor malls. Outdoor pedestrian malls are wonderful — especially in the summer.

    • See, the words “outdoor” and “summer” don’t mingle with “wonderful” in Texas, unless also added with the words “lake” or “pool”. It’s just too damn hot.

      Two summer ago we practically lived at the bouncy places, but that was when I only had one to following (and one incubating) and thus one to pay for.

      It gets exponentially more expensive. Plus, wrangling them between the coveted places.. Oy.

      I need a clone.

  9. Our local mall used to offer “free” shows and/or some kind of entertainment every Tuesday and Thursday morning when my kids were little…

    My girlfriends and I (stupidly) would throw our kids in the car and head there “because it’s FREE!”


    Those mall people knew what they were doing. Free my ass.


    • They know EXACTLY what they are doing.

      I must say, it was much easier to avoid when I was only wrangling one. Two on the other hand – someone is bound to meltdown.

      I keep meaning to try a “free” movie something, but my son isn’t a fan of dark rooms he is unfamiliar with. It would only work for a movie he’s seen.

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