One of the best things I have discovered as a parent has been how great indoor play centers are. Yep, seriously. I like good coffee and quiet atmospheres when I head out for a pitstop, but one of the greatest things I have learned as a parent is how to compromise, And making myself a regular of one of Melbourne’s best indoor party centers for kids has been among my top five favourite parental realisations.

I’d previously ignored indoor play centers and kids birthday party venues. Melbourne really has a mum’s back when she’s gotta find a place to run the kids, because my kids loved being outdoors so much. But the problem there is that when you’re really under the weather, you just can’t run around after your kids in a park all day. It just doesn’t work. Anyway, I decided to give one a try and that was the day the game changed.

As soon as I got there, the kids focus shifted from hassling me for everything, to ‘let’s test ourselves’ mode.The were even given security wristbands that kept them safe. For me, who was recovering from a shoulder injury and the flu, sitting down with coffee and the paper while they played was the next best thing to heading out for a restorative coffee on my own.

I was on my second cup of coffee when my kids saw the hoge bowl of chips I’d ordered for us. Funny how they can’t see their own socks on the laundry floor but they seem to have eagle eye vision for delicious food, all the way from the top of the crazy multi level climbing frame they were burning around in.

They climbed down and scooted across a huge inflatable slide, sitting down to scoff chips and gloat about how much faster/higher/stronger they were than each other. And just like that, they were gone again, leaving me to my book and a growing temptation for a hot chocolate.