It’s a well known fact that parenting is like a ever-changing obstacle course with no map or signs that your on the right path.
Thankfully though, we are no longer in 1940 where women and men stay silent about their parenting concerns. We are lucky enough to have an endless supply of books, support groups, antenatal classes and even the internet to educate ourselves on what is going to be one hell of a ride.
In the last two years I have learnt there are many ‘FYI’s’ that are left out of the available learning material.
This became more apparent when recently I had a run in with a very obnoxious couple while I was out shopping one day. The books I read didn’t teach me how to handle these social interaction so I had to improvise.
This couple was young, clearly did not have kids and felt the need to express their self-entitlement.
I was in line for food with my 2 year old and yes, I had my pram. Because a pram is the most vital piece of equipment to help stabilise an unpredictable toddler, hold my shopping bags and keep my sanity intact (put that in your advertising Kmart!).
The line moved forward so naturally, I followed.
While I stood there this couple started walking in my direction. I figured there’s a tone of space behind me so surely they’ll walk around me right? In a way, they did but they sure made it clear they weren’t happy about having to take approximately 3-4 extra steps to pass by.
The comment from the male: “Way to block the fucking path with your pram.”
Followed by an ignorant murmur from his underage girlfriend “Wow…your so smart lady. Fuck sacks.” said sarcastically.
They both gave me evil looks as their shopping bags purposefully smacked the pram.
First of all, I was lucky enough to get through 1 hour of shopping without a tantrum.
Second, as a reward for being an awesome kid we were in line for ice cream and we were having a pleasant day up until this point.
Third, do you think because I’m a mum on my OWN that it’s ok to make loud comments like that? Would you have said that if her dad were with me?
Fourth, did I look like someone who was going to ignore this? Did I have ‘I’m a chicken shit’ written on my forehead? Answer: NO.
For some odd reason they assumed I didn’t hear them and they walked by with a thick layer of smugness on their face.
So they got one hell of a fright when I went all Cookie Lyon on them and said
“Excuse you! We’re you talking to me? Cause it sounded like you were. Care to explain?”
Both look pretty stunned because I guess they weren’t counting on a response. After a few seconds of what I thought was a glorious stare down the guy finally said “oh nah” while he looked at the ground and continued to walk away. His girl was long gone too cause we all know those hoes ain’t loyal.
In that moment it was like catching an under sized fish and thinking ‘should I let this go?’ I had every fibre I my body saying ‘going on, give him a piece of your mind!’ However I looked at my kid and thought, no. You’re too young to embarrass now, I’ll save the good stuff till your older. So I let him leave with his newly descended testicles. But of course not without one final intense “fuck with me and see what happens” look.
The point is that shit like that happens all the time and the more comfortable I’ve become in my parenting role the more apparent these situations become.
If the above scenario were to happen when my kid was around the 6 month mark, I most likely would have just ignored it. Because in the back of my mind I may have thought ‘maybe they are right? Maybe I should have stayed home? Maybe I should have made of an effort to move my pram? Because after all, I’m new to all of this.” Thank god I’m not that person now!
Most times your too focused on your kids to even notice or sometimes you do notice but feel it’s not appropriate to say anything.
My advice? SAY SOMETHING.
People may stare at you, give funny looks or whisper about you to their friends. None of that matters. What matters is letting that ‘other person’ know, that shit is not ok.
To summarise, I’ve made a list of scenarios that have occurred in my short parenting time and what my reactions were. I strongly suggest aligning your attitudes to be some what similar ….
Let us begin:
- Prams are big and clucky, that just the reality of them. Whether they are designer or the warehouse they are not meant to be invisible and people will need to walk around them.
- When your kid cries in public, people will look.
- When your kid cries in public, people will judge you.
- When your kid cries in public, people will expect you to flick that magic switch to make it stop, they will be super confused when you don’t do this immediately.
- When you’re at a seated event with your toddler people will expect good behaviour. If your kid kicks the back of their chair they will give you the ‘why did bring your kid here?’ look. They may even request to move seats.
- When you approach the counter to order food with your kid and you maybe trying to teach them some independence by letting them pick and ask for it themselves. You will get toe taps, coughs and loud sighs. These are signals that people are impatient and want you to hurry the hell up.
I hope you enjoyed this weeks episode, until next time!