No Children Welcome At Stones River Mall

No Children Welcome At Stones River Mall

Why you shouldn't take your kids to Stones River mall in Murfreesboro.
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Rivergate Mall, Opry Mills, Cool Springs Mall and Stones River all have something in common other than clothing and perfume stores. They all have play areas for kids. While all of these malls share this common factor, not all designated play areas are treated equally. If you have ever been in Cool Springs Mall, you can hear the squeals of children all over the mall. The same thing goes for Opry Mills. They are happy places to be a kid. However, the same cannot be said for the Stones River Mall in Murfreesboro Tennessee. In fact, speaking from personal experience, the play area should be taken down completely.

A few months ago, a few moms from the local stay at home mom group, met up for a play date at the mall. Before this particular play date, we'd had several very successful play dates that lasted a few hours and sometimes we all got lunch afterwards. This had become a favorite play date for my daughters, especially because it was big enough for my oldest, yet small enough for my youngest. It was kind of a tradition to get a slice of pizza or Chinese before leaving the mall, so lunch and play was a great combo before nap time. We also would play before or after seeing Santa or the Easter Bunny.

Naturally, setting up a play date for similar aged kids made sense, and a few moms were saying they needed to shop while we were there, so why not give our business to a place where our kids can be kids, right? Wrong.

It was a few weeks before Easter, too humid outside, and a lot of us were going stir crazy from being kept indoors during the winter. No more than fifteen kids, most preschool and under, and maybe ten moms were present when a security guard came over and told the moms to make our kids be quiet or leave. At first, it was kind of shock factor because the kids weren't jumping around; most hadn't even taken their shoes off yet. On top of the children not acting disorderly, the security guard’s whole tone and attitude weren’t a professional authoritative one, but rather a bullying and demanding one.

I left a review about this experience on their Facebook page and did get a few responses from it. Turns out, there are moms who swear they'll never go back because the same thing happened to them. The marketing person for the mall did respond to my review saying that we should try one of their kid clubs or check out Chuck E. Cheese. Their exact wording was that it is "also a great, enclosed location for kids to act as kids do."

After my response of possibly tearing the play area down to not attract kids towards the area, I was messaged personally from a person in their marketing department, and offered tickets to Breakfast with the Easter Bunny and a free 5x7 print. While this might have been appetizing to some moms, I felt it wasn't enough because my kids weren't the only ones involved in this situation.

One mom, who wishes to not be named, had driven from Shelbyville Tennessee to meet up with a few moms and let her kids play. She had brought her oldest son, who has high functioning autism, prepared with books and school work to occupy him. While she was turned around trying to help her toddlers take their shoes off, a security guard asked her older son to leave the area immediately. Following orders, he did so. When the mom turned around, her son was nowhere to be found. Luckily he was not too far off, but things could have been much worse.

Since our said incident in March, things have continuously gotten worse. I am constantly seeing my news feed fill up with how Stones River isn't the place to be, or how the security guards have mocked the children. The only reason I have personally been back is because of a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. Early last week, Susie King of Murfreesboro Tennessee, brought her two sons, six and four, to play at the play area after buying a lawn mower. She estimates that there were 12 to 15 children present, all small enough to play, and all playing very well. They were there for about five minutes before the manager of the mall came over and started shouting at the parents. The manager stated that, “you parents need to get your kid's noise levels under control.” Of course, five minutes after that incident, a security guard came over and told everyone to leave immediately because the play area needed to be cleaned. Before being escorted out of the mall by security, King told the manager of the mall that she would be contacting the mall ownership regarding what happened only to be told that the manager didn’t care.

Sound familiar? The exact same situation that happened to the local mom group only months prior, when all parents present would tell you that the kids were acting fine and at an acceptable noise level. The only difference in King’s experience and my experience is that we left before they could give us the transparent excuse that the play area needed to be cleaned. As a mental note and reminder to all parents in middle Tennessee, if you need to shop and have younger kids in tow, check out Stones River’s Facebook page before deciding to go there. Opt for Opry Mills or Cool Springs instead, they have better selections, upgraded space, and would love to have your children there.

Cover Image Credit: Jennifer Newkirk Haley

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The Thank You My Dad Deserves

While our moms are always the heroes, our dads deserve some credit, too.
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Dear Dad,

You’ve gone a really long time without being thanked. I'm not talking about thanks for things like opening the Gatorade bottle I couldn't or checking my tires when my car’s maintenance light is flashing, but rather the thanks I owe you for shaping me into the person I am today.

Thank you for teaching me what I deserve and for not letting me settle for anything less.

While the whole world was telling me I wasn’t good enough, you were there to tell me I was. Whether this was with boys, a friend, or anything else, you always built my confidence to a place I couldn’t build it to on my own. You showed me what my great qualities were and helped me feel unique. But most of all, you never let me settle for anything less than what I deserved, even when I wanted to. Without you, I wouldn’t be nearly as ambitious, outgoing or strong.

Thank you for giving me someone to make proud.

It’s hard to work hard when it’s just for myself, but so easy when it’s for you. All through school, nothing made me happier than getting a good grade back because I knew I got to come home and tell you. With everything I do, you give me a purpose.

SEE ALSO: 20 Things You Say When Calling Your Dad On The Phone

Thank you for showing me what selflessness looks like.

You are the prime example of what putting your family first looks like. If me wanting something means that you can’t get what you want, you’ll always sacrifice. From wearing the same t-shirts you’ve had since I was in elementary school so I could buy the new clothes I wanted, to not going out with your friends so you could come to my shows, you never made a decision without your family at the forefront of your mind. If there is one quality you have that I look up to you for the most, it’s your ability to completely put your needs aside and focus entirely on the wants of others.

Thank you for being the voice in the back of my head that shows me wrong from right.

Even though many of your dad-isms like “always wear a seatbelt” easily get old, whenever I’m in a situation and can’t decide if what I’m doing is right or wrong, I always can hear you in the back of my head pointing me in the right direction. While I may not boost your ego often enough by telling you you’re always right, you are.

Thank you for being real with me when nobody else will.

Being your child hasn’t always been full of happiness and encouragement, but that’s what makes you such an integral part of my life. Rather than sugarcoating things and always telling me I was the perfect child, you called me out when I was wrong. But what separates you from other dads is that instead of just knocking me down, you helped me improve. You helped me figure out my faults and stood by me every step of the way as I worked to fix them.

Most of all, thank you for showing me what a great man looks like.

I know that marriage may seem very far down the road, but I just want you to know that whoever the guy I marry is, I know he’ll be right because I have an amazing guy to compare him to. I know you’re not perfect (nobody is), but you’ve raised me in a such a way that I couldn’t imagine my kids being raised any differently. Finding a guy with your heart, drive, and generosity will be tough, but I know it will be worth it.


Dad, you’re more than just my parent, but my best friend. You’re there for me like nobody else is and I couldn’t imagine being where I am now without you.

Love you forever,

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Cover Image Credit: Caity Callan

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It's Only November, DO NOT Cue The Christmas Music

"Why are people so quick to switch gears from October 31... to November 1st?"

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As I write this article it is early November. Crazy how we are already into November. For those of you who have two different personalities from Halloween to November 1, this is for you. Do not cue Christmas music in early November.

November is a really beautiful month if you take the time to appreciate it. Leaves continue to change, the temperature starts to drop, which means more coffee and hot chocolate! The NJEA convention is in early November, if you're an educator, future one, or if you're a current student, you are off these days, and of course, everyone is off for Thanksgiving. A time to celebrate what we are thankful for with our friends and family. Tables full of hot soups to warm our chilly bodies, turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet cranberry sauce, an array of pies and desserts, you name it.

So why are people so quick to switch gears from October 31, a time to dress up, trick or treat and attend Halloween parties, to November 1st, a time that has become all about Black Friday and Christmas? We've lost the meaning of Thanksgiving. In my opinion, stores should not be open on Thanksgiving Day. As mentioned it's a day to spend with family. You can shop for those best deals and stand in line for hours the following day and days leading up to Christmas.

We live in a time where everyone is busy with their own lives and family, and it's difficult to get together with everyone's schedules. So on Thanksgiving, it's the perfect time to surround yourself with family and friends, enjoying a meal together, counting your blessings, showing gratitude and appreciation, and catching up on everyone's lives. Truly a day of Thanksgiving!

So I encourage all of you to prepare for Thanksgiving and focus on family, friends, and gratitude. Next time someone talks about Black Friday or Christmas before Thanksgiving, stand your ground, make your voice and the holiday of Thanksgiving be heard.

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