One of the weirdest things about our belief systems is that we rarely stop to question their truth.  Our beliefs just are – who could possibly question their truth?  We tend to attract others who carry same or similar ideas and all stays well with the world.

One of the most challenging things I found with learning to be a coach was to unpick my beliefs.  To challenge their truth and to consider other options.  Often this left me wondering how I could have possibly held this or that belief in the first place.

So, here’s something almost quite ridiculous I learned about my belief system today.  When I decided it was time to take the kids on a holiday for some time out and to celebrate the school holidays, I sorted (what I consider to be) an exciting rural adventure and, to make sure that I proved I was a great parent I organised a visit to a theme park on the way.

Note belief:  theme park = great parent

This is not the first time I’ve tried this belief on for size.  In fact, this is my third theme park experience as a mum (you’d think enough to debunk the belief, but NO).

I’m not sure if it’s the marketing hype, my own childhood memories or my own fascination with rollercoasters but I do find it very difficult to debunk this belief.  Though, I think it’s time to consider puting this one to bed as the reality of the theme park is so, so different to the actual idea I carry about in my mind.

So today we joined the thousands and thousands of other families having the BEST HOLIDAY EVER.  We spent the day lining up, listening to parents negotiating with overtired sugared up kids being pleased it was their turn, not ours.  We eye brow raised and nodded knowingly at others in the queues as others pushed past and diverting the attention of the children as the $75 corn dog stand approached.

Today was a particularly busy day in the theme park (der, school holidays) after a few rides, some laughs and loads of lining up the kids and I agreed to pack it in.

Truth be known I was still shaking from the mish mash of personalities, the pushing and shoving, feeling like I was walking around with my purse opened up and gushing out coinage at every step and most of all the sheer desperation in the eyes of too many parents.

Some cases burned on my brain include the mum who barked at 20 of us to move down a seat in the theatre so her child who could not possibly be more than 2 could have his own seat.

As we’d been packed into the theatre in a similar fashion to cattle being shoved up a crush to a cattle truck and off to market I worried she may be suffering some sort of post traumatic stress disorder from the experience but when the same 2 year old stood in front of me, folded his little arms, looked me in the eye and told me to move I realised it probably wasn’t the first time he’d seen mummy move mountains in a wild crazy mama rage.  After the wild lady moved half the row she spotted another opportunity at the other end of the theatre and pushed past another 35 or so people to find her new destination.

As it turned out that was probably pretty tame compared to the mum who started punching one of her kids in the line behind us (gently, but with meaning) and the dad who called his missus a ‘CU next Tuesday’ (a term my 11 year old apparently knows enough about to teach me).

In reality none of those things are enormously different to a usual day of noticing life and people but when in a theme park I DON’T WANT THE EVERY DAY.  I want fantasy, niceness, and where the hell was Mary Poppins?

Look, theme parks have their place and when not being traumatised we did have a pretty good time.  Tomorrow when we get in the car and head for the ‘bush’ I’ll be talking to the kids about lining up, about what fun really is about and about other ways to spend cash.  Call me the grinch if you will, but I’m certain there are other ways to show kids a fun time.

And maybe in 10 years or so we’ll be back…

Or, however long it takes to remember only the (many) highlights of this experience.