When my kids were little, I found going to the park one of the most stressful activities we could do. Which was tough because they loved it, and were always asking if we could go.
But the thing is, the park is not relaxing. The park is where your kids interact with other people's kids – and generally someone ends up acting like a jerk and making someone else cry.
I've never been one to shrink away from telling someone else's child to nick off if they're upsetting my kids, so I was overjoyed to read a Facebook post by Laura Mazza from Mum on the Run defending her right to tell off other people's kids.
"I'm gonna be a real sanctimummy here, and possibly an unpopular opinion…but I needa get this off my chest," she wrote.
Laura's experience took place in a play centre – where mothers go to drink coffee while their children run amok. She said she understands there will be a bit of robust play activity going on, and that while she tries not to be a helicopter mum, she still keeps an eye on her kids and gets involved when she has to.
"If my son snatches, I correct him, if my daughter smacks, I correct her, if my kids are assholes, I step in," she said. "This behaviour is not okay at any age."
But then Laura felt the need to start correcting other kids.
"However, today I found myself saying the words 'hey, that's not nice…please stop' to two little kids. Kids that weren't mine."
Laura says she felt compelled to step in when she saw other kids getting rough with her son and daughter "because no one else was gonna do it". And she also stepped in to help another child she saw in danger.
"I watched a little boy climb on top of a jungle gym where his mum had no idea that he was about to come falling down, and I caught him. She came over when she saw a stranger carrying her kid and gave me a dirty look while she snatched him off me."
Laura wrote, "I've never liked to tell a stranger's kid off, but if you're gonna pretend you can't see it because you wanna sit and chat, then I'm gonna tell your child off."
Which is fair enough. If anyone – adult or child – tries to hurt my kids, I immediately switch into Mama Bear mode and will do anything to protect them. That has included telling off other people's children on more than one occasion.
Laura continued, "I'm not perfect, not even in the slightest. But I'm polite and I'm not in the business of raising assholes."
She says she understands the value of catching up with friends and relaxing, but that doesn't mean you can ignore your responsibilities.
"I've been up all night too, I am desperate for social time too, I'm lonely, I'm tired, my neck hurts and everything else…but I also don't believe that my kid is entitled to pull your kid's hair because I want a hot coffee."
Laura ended her post with a plea to other mums. "Mothers if we don't have each others backs like this, then how can it be a smooth experience for all? This is a village and it only works if we all do our part, that way we can all have a good time.
"Watch ya damn kid."