Recently I’ve noticed a growing trend of people speaking up about things that bug them in this world. It really has turned into a trend. Similar to many things in literature, there’s also somewhat of a conversation amongst writers, bloggers mostly, about parenting, discipline, and children. I thought about throwing in my unsolicited two cents but decided against it. Why would I add my footprint to the conversation? I don’t care what other people think so it doesn’t matter to me to fix their behavior.
Unsurprisingly, plans have changed. They didn’t change when I flew solo across the country and some dirt bag dropped a heavy bag from the overhead compartment onto Isabella’s head, causing her to cry for the very first time on a plane, which I know is a hot-topic annoyance amongst the childless. It wasn’t when I read the countless complaints throughout articles about parents needing to “tame” their child. No, those articles just make me laugh and think, “you think you could do better? Be my guest, buddy.”
The idea of speaking up didn’t even occur to me when I was amongst a group of conversationalists commenting about the parents that had nerve enough to insist that people had to “suck it up and deal with their screaming child on planes.” That was an interesting conversation. The general pile-on opinion was that parents need to learn how to manage their children. They even threw in credible tips like, “bring lots of snacks,” “bring the ipad with movies and games,” and my personal favorite, “give them something to chew on when taking off and landing so their ears don’t pop so they won’t cry”. I feel so much better equipped to be a good parent after this conversation.
So when did I decide to throw my loose change into the ring? It was when I read one last FB post about another unsympathetic adult-child, who felt entitled to put a parent “in their place” by making loud, targeted comments, about that parent’s child and loaded remarks about a “lack” of parenting.
Here’s what I have to say about it, like I so eloquently suggested in a recent post, True Life: I’m a Mom, “Stop it.”
There is such a growing lack of empathy and self-righteousness in this world. When people see a crying child, best case scenario, they stare or ignore it. When people see a disabled child, they try their best not to make eye contact. A struggling mother walking the isles of the grocery store? Well, let’s just make her life easier by telling her her kid is probably overtired, it’ll be enlightening for her. Ah, those “diamonds in the rough” that love to make it rain with their two cents.
I’d love to return the favor, I will gladly make it rain starting with these two cents, shut up.
Do you remember how it feels to have a rough day? Maybe I’m having a rough day. Or, more likely, maybe my toddler is having a rough 30 seconds. Here’s a light note on how children work, click here for an extensive training manual. Oh, sorry, did that link not work? It’s because IT DOES NOT EXIST.
Do you hear my child crying on your red-eye flight to Miami? I’m sorry, I truly am. I’m trying to help her feel better because some dirt bag dropped LUGGAGE on her head but, there’s only so much I can do. I’d get up and walk out, as in most other venues but, on a plane? Well, we all know how that would turn out. I’d likely fall somewhere on the island of LOST.
Is my kid happily yelling to me across the isle for fruit snacks while we’re walking through Target? Yes, get over it for the thirty seconds it takes for me to distract her or feed her with snacks that I brought along for the ride. I know when my kid is hungry. I know when she’s tired. I also know that in the time it takes for me to leave the store, she’ll have collected her emotions and she’ll be happy as a clam.
I lucked out with a very low-key kid. She’s cool and collected the majority of time. Not every kid functions the same (revert back to the training manual linked a couple paragraphs above). Instead of worrying about how to change the situation by making a loud comment or tossing me a nasty look judging all of my life choices, elect to do something slightly less douche-baggy. Do what I do when I’m walking with my child and I encounter a kind soul smoking a cigarette, puffing smoke RIGHT as my child and I are passing in the line of fire. Do what I do when I pass another unaware, sweet citizen, throwing F-bombs in casual conversation like they solve world hunger. Or that golden gem of a person that coughs and sneezes all over creation like they’re spreading joy for all mankind. RELOCATE.
Usually I will do the relocating for you, if I find it necessary. Usually it’s not. If it’s a movie theater or restaurant, because I respect the time of others, if I see it’s growing out of control, I will remove my little from the situation so that we can collect ourselves before returning. But at times it’s important that you consider that I’m not under the table pinching my child so that she destroys your evening. Sometimes it’s necessary to consider that I can’t always leave the situation because there’s limited time in the day and I can’t constantly be relocating my child as nothing will ever get done. There’s also that token point that my little needs to learn how to control her emotions in public so removing her from the situation only makes matters worse.
Instead of your nasty glares that hurt me oh so much (really, they don’t, I just think there’s something wrong with your face, you’re about to sneeze, or that someone tooted and you smelled it first), consider passing me a smile, helping me pick up the goldfish that my my uncoordinated child accidentally spilled, or saying hello to my little as a distraction (yes, you CAN address little people, it IS physically possible, they DO understand).
I’ll end the flood with this note to parents. Stop caring. Not to the extent that you lose respect for all mankind and insist that you need to shove a crying child in someones face, that’s not my intention here at all. Just take all the nasty comments, glares, and targeted spasms of advice, and throw them in the same mental pile where we put crosswalks, instruction manuals, dietary information, and all other commonly ignored information. Treat it like your toddler treats you when you’re calling them off the slide to go home because it’s nap time. No one can accurately estimate how great of a parent you are without living with you day in and day out, much less some idiot at a supermarket. Ignore it. Move forward. Keep on, keepin’ on. This too shall pass. Yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah.
The next time you encounter one of these “friendly folks” trying to place you in the box where you belong with cowardly indirect, but oh-so direct comments, breathe. Just think, they definitely do not remember the struggle that it is to be in the same situation and it is likely, that they don’t know the joy that it is to be the parent of an independent, loving, and innocent, little.
In the interest of positivity, we want to hear from you about the good experiences you’ve had with people responding to you and your littles. Strangers, family, friends, load us up with happy thoughts. We know that the good does outweigh the bad in this world. It’s just not shared as much as it should be. Let’s change that.