I came across one of those mommies today. The kind that just rub you the wrong way with a look or the way they ‘properly’ discipline their seemingly ‘perfect’ children. It’s obvious that their intent is to attempt to model appropriate parenting techniques in the hopes that someone as hopeless as yourself can glean some valuable parenting knowledge.
I had the boys at the park. They actually were behaving (relatively speaking) for me quite well and it was turning into an enjoyable late afternoon. Then it started to get tense. Full Speed was off doing his own thing while little T.Puzzle was climbing up the slide and jetting down it into a pile of playground friends (who were all boys and who were clearly loving every minute of it). Since most of the kids were similar in size, I didn’t correct him. Soon enough, a little toddler boy waddles over and tries to join the mix. His mom immediately steps in and admonishes him not to climb up the slide and that it is ‘dangerous!’. I could totally respect this UNTIL she looks directly at ME and then says, ‘thank you!’ to her little boy like he is so kind and miraculous that he always pleasantly follows her command. She clearly was trying to make a point.
I get it. I realized as soon as the little guy came up, that T.Puzzle would need to change his game plan. And he did. I made him use the stairs or climb up the side of the playground equipment and use the slide ‘properly’ while the little guy was around. I am not oblivious to the needs or safety of other children when my boys are around. I do my best to keep everyone happy and safe and sometimes my guys sweetly comply (like today thank God) or they cause a big stink but eventually they do comply. Or, simply we leave the scene of the crime as quickly as humanly possible.
What I cannot tolerate are mothers who are so uptight that they wear their icy judgment like a coat of armor. They look at you and your kids with such obvious disdain, that it is almost impossible for you to choke down the words of frustration that are creeping up your throat. But I managed to keep these words at bay. I did my best to ignore her as she talked furiously on her cell-phone full of complaints about who-knows-what for the remainder of our time at the park.
As hard as I tried to tune her out, I couldn’t help but thinking that what I really wanted to do was to go over to her, remove the cell-phone from her hand, tell her to pay attention to her kids and end the interaction with a pointed ‘thank you!’.
Maybe she has something to learn, too.