Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A PSA on parenting

I have a smidgen of a parenting PSA here.  This is important for parents and all you yet to spawn folks. Tonight I shall be addressing the need for people to, well, quite simply, back the f- off other moms.

Don't get me wrong, I'm guilty of a spilt second judgment calls sometimes.  I will admit, {ahem} from time to time, raising an eyebrow, rolling my eyes, thinking to myself, "that mother has feral animals for kids" or even worse, "does she ever parent them?"

I know I shouldn't but hey, I'm human. 

But since I'm closing in on 6 yrs of parenting under my belt I find I'm doing this less and less. 

I'm finding parenting is great for personal growth, bad for personal shame, since its been the same number of years since I last closed the bathroom door, but hey, you can't have it all.

I like to think I'm a pretty decent parent. I have pretty good kids, who are fairly polite and well behaved in public, but folks, life happens, kids, small kids and big kids alike have crappy days.  Shoot us parents have bad days! Just because a kid is throwing a knock down hissy fit in Target does not a bad parent make.

When dash-1 was discharged from the hospital 2 wks ago, he fell in the elevator.  He didn't break anything, he fell on his kester, and it just set him off.

So here I am, carrying 2 bags, his little book bag, holding his balloons and dragging my 5 year old hysterically crying child to find the door. Not to mention that the hospital was under construction so we had to wind our way thru the maze to find the parking garage that neither of us had been too yet because we came in thru another entrance in an ambulance.

Good times.


I got several dirty looks.  I'm pretty sure I overheard one person say something about look at that mom can't shut up her kid.

No, no I can not. 

Nor did I care too.  Poor kid had had a helluva week.  He was tired, he was still on the mend from pneumonia, he wanted to get home, and he had just fallen on his ass and to him, in that moment that was the straw that broke his back. 

I'm the mom.  I know my kid.  I knew at that moment, no standing outside the elevator trying to soothe him was going to work, I was going to get his ass to the door and hope the cold air knocked some sense into him.

Hey what do you know, it did.

The point of all that was that, sometimes, as parents, we find ourselves in painful, often embarrassing situations, that to an outsider might make it look like we are clueless idiots.

We are not.  Well not most of the time.  Sometimes we are, but thats another post.

So I'd like to offer some tips:

-Do not stare, move on.  If it were your kid throwing the fit would you like an audience?  No, no you would not.

-Do not say obnoxious things loud enough for us to hear, {"oooh look, see that boy screaming and crying.  Do we act like that?  No no we don't.  Only babies scream and cry.  Mommy doesn't tolerate behavior like that." } Sure this might be a parenting moment for you but we don't need to hear it.

-Do not try to calm down our kid.  You might have the best intentions at heart, but if we thought we could get them calm we would.  What do you think we are masochist? Or sometimes we might just be ignoring it.  Because, like the government, parents shouldn't negotiate with terrorist. 

-Yes, we know that if our kid is acting like an ass we should just leave, and most of the time we will, however, remember, that's not always possible.  Dash-2 once had a total meltdown in Target but since the Tampon fairy didn't get the memo to deliver to my house, flyboy was away for a couple weeks and dammit, I was staying in the checkout line despite his screaming. 

- Please, don't offer us tips, even really good ones, I mean I love tips, but I find that during nastiness is not the most receptive time for us to appreciate them.  And don't compare our kids to your pets.  Really, a story about your misbehaving poodle, while it maybe funny, is again not going to be appreciated.

The most important part of this post, cause I know I ramble and everything gets all jumbled up, try not to judge.  

Let us suffer our brief parental indignity, after all, this is just another joy of parenting, we have to go thru this now so that we don't totally crumble of loneliness when they eventually leave the nest a decade and a half from now.

If your kids are still cute and cuddly or you're not quite at the kids stage yet, do not snark, trust me, if parenting has taught me anything its that what goes around comes around.  At some point your child will throw down in public.  It's inevitable.  Do not turn your nose at that mom, one day, mark my words, you will be that mom. 


Hmmm, that might be the second most important point to take away from this post.

Cut her the slack that you'd like to be cut when its your turn.

Now I should say add that there are in fact crappy parents out there who do crazy stuff that I think is just screaming for me to snark about case in point when you fill up your kids baby bottle with mellow yellow from the soda fountain.  But like I've said before.... that's another post.

Hey I said I was working on personal growth, I didn't say I had fully attained it yet. 

But really, we should all remember, its either been us or it will be us one day, screaming child, frayed nerves, staring bystanders.  Lets work on being a little more civil k folks?

Anything I've left out?



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18 comments:

  1. I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now and I must say that really crack me up with some of your posts. This one in particular is quite noteworthy! I've only been a parent for 6 months, but I can honestly admit that I've been one of those non-moms who was judgemental when seeing something like this in public. Now just after 6 months... my outlook has changed! Great reminder.

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  2. This post rocks! Us parents all (well mostly all) do the best we can. Sometimes the kid melts down, sometimes we are having an off day. The stares are the worst.

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  3. I can compare dragging a tantrum child around to what it might be like to walk 1mile having shit your pants. It's awful. People stare. And you really just want to go home.

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  4. Amen. I myself will never judge a crying baby on a plane, after having to fly cross country with a sick child. Even angel children have their off days and no amount of advice or snarky looks will change that.

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  5. My husband is the starer and the sneerer.. and it PISSES ME OFF!! It's so embarrassing for ME to have to continue to sit there with him or walk with him after he's made some rude comment just loud enough for people to hear. He does, however, know that one day he will be the dad with the kid.. he's just currently convinced he will not have a SCREAMING kid. I beg to differ. All kids scream sometimes. Thank you for this post! You've given me a few key comebacks for his next moronic remark!

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  6. Also, over new year's we were walking down a busy pedestrian street when we heard a kid screaming and pitching a HUGE fit. When we finally passed by this kid, we saw Dad gently holding the little toddler's hand, looking out to the people walking by with an apologetic look on his face and his little girl screamed with a red face and kept trying to push him.. It thrilled me to see him so boldly stand there in public meeting the gazes of those who would stare to wait out her temper tantrum. It was great! My husband didn't even sneer. I really kind of wanted to stop and applaud!

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  7. I hope Dash 1 is feeling better now, poor guy! I must say I love your posts on parenting (and tweets too), it has given me a lot to think about while awaiting the arrival of our little one. I've only had one experience with kids and fits in public and it was when I had taken my nephews (aged 4 and 5) to Old Navy. They both started crying because I didn't buy them flip flops! It was embarassing and I felt like I looked like a bad Auntie, but seriously? Flip flops? I think they were just tired and grouchy. So we left with both of them sniffling. Oh well. I'm sure that is only the tip of the iceberg of what I will deal with as a mom. Thanks for the tips!

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  8. Thanks for sharing ... and reminding us to not always be quick to judge. Sometimes, yes it's bad parenting but a lot of the time there is more to the story than meets the eye.

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  9. I'm not a parent, but I teach 2 to 5 year olds. I have seen every sort of fit imaginable. I applaud you for saying what you have and I give mad props to all the parents out there. I am overwhelmed at times, and they aren't even my kids. I HATE when parents judge. HATE. I had a mom once say to me, "So & So is so bad because there is no discipline in the home." I want to smack her, but that is not appropriate. Instead, I smiled and said, "you don't know what goes on behind closed doors." And walked away. I don't know if that response was helpful, but hey, don't judge lady. So my point? Kids will be kids. Hell, I have bad days and WISH sometimes I could throw a temper tantrum.

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  10. I love, love, love this post. The longer I am a parent, the more I learn not to judge. I am stilly guilty of snap judging other parents, but I am finding myself doing it less. For instance, a few weeks ago I saw a kid in just a diaper being carted around walmart. Normally I would have given that a huge judgy eyeroll, but now I know better...this may or may not have to do with the fact that my kid was recently spotted in her diaper in walmart because she peed her pants.

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  11. So how about a look of commiseration, as in, i-feel-your-pain-and-i-too-know-how-much-it-sucks-to-be-dealing-with-a-screaming-child?

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  12. So funny and so true. . . I have LOTS of grace for other parents. Lots and lots.

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  13. So true, so true.

    People are so quick to judge, but they have no idea what it is like when you are really "deep in the trenches".

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  14. this is pretty awesome.
    :)

    um, i REALLY hate it when people put soda in their kids bottles!! urgh!!!!!!

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  15. This post is exactly why I love you, and you should never ever stop blogging. :)

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  16. I love this post! My oldest son is autistic and bi-polar. I have dealt with his screaming and tantruming in public for 8 years now, and I have seriously been fed up with people judging something that they have NO IDEA about. Thank you....

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  17. Well said. Truthfully, I think we moms are the hardest on other moms when we need to be there to support one another through this crazy thing called parenthood - not judge. (Although, I do judge on the soda in the bottle thing. That is just plain wrong.)

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  18. I love your blog.

    I'm not a mom yet (soon though, 26 weeks prego), but my sister has a boatload of kids, and I grew up with all of them so I learned not to judge or sneer. I wish more people were understanding, but the truth is, until you are a parent, you won't fully understand, and what goes around comes around. Those rude people have it coming for them.

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