Before You Talk Crap About Parents and Kids…

KK kids in strollerI didn’t become a parent until I was 30-years-old.  I didn’t grow up around lots of babies, didn’t think much about babies and kids as a young adult and didn’t hold a newborn baby until my son Rowdy was born.  Before parenthood my life was not very kid-friendly, and quite frankly, I’m still not always great at being kid-friendly.  I don’t prefer to watch cartoons or Disney movies.  I like the f-word (although I avoid using it around kiddos for a couple of different reasons).  And I don’t know a thing about arts and crafts.  Before my husband and I became parents, we sometimes felt disappointed when a family with kids sat right by us at a restaurant or flew on a plane by us.  It’s almost like we felt put-out by the fact that we might have to listen to someone’s kid whine, cry or even scream.  Why should we have to deal with this?  It’s not our kid.  But no matter how we felt at the time, never did we ever make rude comments toward or near those parents and children.  That’s something that falls into the complain-about-it-when-you-get-home category.  Being ugly to those parents wouldn’t have solved anything.  Well, on a recent trip to a local farmer’s market with our kiddos in tow, we witnessed rude comments being made about us from a total stranger.  It was a Saturday around lunch time and the market was busy.  There were all sorts of people there – adults of all ages, parents with children, adults with dogs on leashes – it was really neat.  Our kiddos were riding in the stroller, and all parents know that sometimes maneuvering a stroller in certain places is cumbersome.  But I was doing good working my way through crowds and avoiding hitting anyone’s ankles.  Everything was fine.  Unfortunately there was a chick standing close by that didn’t think things were fine.  As she looked at our stroller and another one nearby she said, “Why do these people bring goddamn strollers in this crowded ass place?”  Okay.  First of all, it was pretty crowded and loud and I still managed to hear her clearly.  I immediately turned and looked at her from only about 6′ away.  Her eyes met mine as I continued to stare at her.  But instead of shying away she decided to push harder and said, “Mmhmm, yeah…”, as in, You heard me.  So many things went through my mind at that very moment – Hey, fuck you.  Are you a parent?  Tell your kids I’m sorry they have such a rude mother.  Nobody asked your opinion.  Jealous because I’m hotter than you?  But then my calm, rational side stopped me and I thought to myself, Britney, just turn away and walk off.  You are with your children and you have more class than this woman.  This is not the time to have some crazy woman twice your age take a swing at you.  So I simply said, “Okay, babe” with a smile on my face and walked away.  Guess who missed the whole thing?  My husband, of course.  He didn’t hear what she said so he had no idea why I was looking at her.  It’s probably best that he didn’t hear her.  I’m not so sure he would have kept quiet the way I did.  For the next few minutes I had a nauseous feeling in my stomach.  As sensitive as it may sound, by her making that comment with that particular tone and look on her face, it was almost as bad as her insulting my children directly (if she had done that then I can’t imagine how I could have kept quiet).  I was offended by her rudeness, and I’m not usually easy to offend.  I’m the one that’s always taking other’s feelings into consideration when it comes to my kiddos.  If they start to cry in a public place I address it immediately and will even leave if needed.  I stress out and work so hard when I fly with them so that we don’t cause too much trouble on the plane.  And I’m particularly cautious while operating the stroller in crowds.  I even get onto my husband when he gets too close to someone’s ankles.  But as kind and considerate as I might be to others, there’s always going to be a jerk in the crowd.  I don’t know her story.  It might be bad or it might be great.  But with that hateful attitude I’m guessing it’s the former.  This little crappy experience confirmed to me that we were right to never make a fuss over someone else’s kid in public.  I would never want to make a parent feel the way that I did.  There’s always an exception – a kid that’s just being incredibly ridiculous with parents doing absolutely nothing to help.  But most of the time, the kid’s behavior isn’t really that bad, it’s short-lived and the parent is trying to make it better or get the heck out of there ASAP.  So, before you talk crap about parents and kids in public, stop.  Don’t do it.  Save it for later.  Be kind.  And if you’re looking for a 100% kid-free experience, go to the bar, an R-rated movie or a retirement home.  Otherwise, keep in mind that humans reproduce and then have to actually function in this world with those mini humans in tow.

Categories Parental EtiquetteTags ,

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