Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Mouthy Mom ... why do this in public?

Tuesday after work, I made what I thought was going to be a quick stop at Walmart ... on the hunt for the one and only sippy cup that E will drink out of (and I was on this hunt because PC left the one - of the one and only - cup we had at his parents last weekend. But sippy cups is a whole other blog post, which I will get to someday).

Anyhow.... having discovered Walmart didn't have the exact cup I was looking for, I ventured down the aisle and found some baby wipes and then over to the card section for a couple of birthday cards, and then grabbed some shampoo on my way to the cash. The cash was backed up considerably (why on earth a busy Walmart only has two cashes open during the after work rush is beyond me - but again, another post, another time).

All this lead up to say that I got standing in line behind a family of four: a mouthy mother, a disengaged father, an 'active' three year-old, and a cute, yet quiet 5 month-old.

Now you can probably see where this is going... but for the sake of this post, I will walk you through what I witnessed.

The mouthy mother appeared to be running short on patience with everyone... but most of all her 3 year-old son. He wasn't being bad in my mind, but he was, as I described, active. Running around the cart, touching some stuff on the shelves, complaining that he wanted to go, etc. I think his behaviour was valid given the time of day (supper hour) and the length of time the family had been in the store (their cart was jammed with stuff, so I had the impression they had been there for the good portion of an hour or more).

At any rate... the father said nothing, and the mother just continued to yell at the child at an octave loud enough for the citizens of Montreal to hear her. She started, 'if you touch that one more time, your gonna be sorry', 'why can't you listen', 'Mr. Attitude, knock it off', 'Stand beside the cart and don't move until I say so'. Of course the boy moves, and she flips - demands the father take him away out of her sight because 'I'll kill him if he makes another move' - to which I had to bite my tongue from saying 'I'm gonna kill you if you keep talking to him like that'.

Obviously, I have no idea the history of that family, or how the boy behaves on a regular basis - he may be a hyper active child, the mother may be a recovering drug addict, or brought up in an abusive home, I really don't know the details, but what I do know is what I witnessed... and what I witnessed was uncalled for and drove me bananas.

The bottom line for me is that your children are a reflection of you (the parents), and how the child's day is structured or not structured falls again, to you, the parent (ultimately - parents make decisions for children) so if your kids are acting up or acting out, you have to ask yourself as the parent, what can I do here as the adult to make the situation better?

For me, the mouthy mother could have started by recognizing that her child is at his limit for listening and behaving. Kids aren't adults for a reason... they have to learn and be taught things - and asking a 3 year-old after an hour of shopping to keep his cool while standing in a very slow moving check-out line, is probably beyond his comprehension at that age.

The mouthy mother could have recognized that she had the attention of half the store and taken a softer approach with her son, which may have yielded better results - but instead she continued to yell and talk negatively towards the child, for what seemed like the sake of entertaining the crowd.

It bothered me... A LOT, which is why its ending up here on the blog. I know that it sounds as if I am 'judging' the parenting of this mother... and maybe I am - okay I am - but I really don't like to see parents on a power trip for the sake of being 'parents on a power trip' in a public setting.

As the line-up slowly inched forward, the mouthy mother just continued to antagonize the child to an extent, so of course he was going to continue 'being bad'. The father rolled over and let his wife continue on speaking to the boy like that, and did not once try to diffuse the situation. The poor baby girl would smile and get excited the moment anyone would look at her, as if to say she'd love a distraction for the current situation.

I had a good 15 minutes of viewing time for this... and I stood there for the last 10 minutes wondering what is yet to come in my young parenting career. I am sure I will have moments when I lose all patience, and I am sure E and a future brother or sister (at some point) will push the limits - no doubt - that is what kids do, but I really hope I can keep my cool. I also know that PC would never allow me to carry on like raging lunatic ... and has the smarts to step in and diffuse the situation, because we're part of a parenting team.

This is me, giving you full permission to say something embarrassing to me in public if you ever see me talking like that to my child. I never ever want to be the 'mouthy mom' - EVER, so please have the intelligence to stop me dead in my tracks, as I left the store on Tuesday, wishing I had said something to that family, instead of just minding my business and walking away.