This post is for all of you moms who have had some stranger lecture you on how to parent your children in public. And you, random blonde woman in the mall. Especially you.
So tonight I was a the mall in the Apple store waiting for someone to help me get a new iPhone. Fifteen minutes into waiting for help the boys were getting antsy and wrestless and naughty. This happens every time we go to the Apple store. They hate to sit and wait in the stroller and I don't blame them. They were in a double stroller, Sam behind Toby. So, naturally, Sammy starts to kick Toby in the head, and poke his ears with chopsticks from our previously enjoyed dinner at Big Bowl. (Typical entertainment idea that pops into the head of a toddler.) Figuring that it probably would NOT benefit Toby in the long run to have chopsticks shoved into his brain, I immediately grabbed Sammy's hands, yanked the chopsticks out of his grip, and yelled, "Stop it, Sam!!" I think my husband grabbed his chin and turned his face toward his and also yelled "stop it!" Seems like a normal reaction to protect your youngest child from being turned into a vegetable, right?
My hubby decides to go take the boys to the soft play area while I continue to wait. They had a BLAST and I'm wishing my phone hadn't taken 45 minutes because I wanted to play with them too! But, as I'm wandering around looking at stuff, this random blonde woman comes up to me and says, "excuse me, it's probably none of my business but...."
oh, here we go. I should have stopped her right there and said, "you're right, it's not!"
But, being the civil person I am, I smiled, nodded, and listened. She went on to tell me that "when you were dealing with your kids just then, EVERYONE was watching!"
(in my head: "um, so what?! I care about my kids' safety more than the opinions of random strangers!"
) She goes on, "I just wanted you to know that it really bothered me to see that..."
(uh, once again, so what?! Who the heck are you again? Oh that's right, some completely random stranger in a mall who knows NOTHING about me or my kids!) ... "and you know children are a GIFT!"
I resist the urge to punch her in the face,
figuring that it wouldn't help my case that I happen to be an insanely loving and quite capable mom.
Well, I was in such shock and disbelief all I could say was, "uh, okay," and "I didn't hurt anybody." And to her last comment about children being a gift, as she walked away from me I added, "Believe me, I KNOW THAT."
She of course had no interest in what I had to say as she walked away while I was talking. But after the fact of course I have all these things running through my head that I wish I had told her.
So, random blonde woman in the mall, if you ever come across this blog post, here is what I'd like to say to you:
#1 - Yes, you are absolutely right, it IS none of your business how I parent MY CHILDREN.
#2 - I have never hurt either of my kids, nor do I ever plan to. ever. If I were abusing my kids in public, then yes, you may be the hero of the day. Didn't apply here.
#3 - You are telling ME that children are a gift?! You have no CLUE what we went through to get our two most precious gifts in the world and have a heck of a lot of nerve to even suggest I don't know that with every fiber of my being. Yes, they are precious...too precious to ruin by lack of discipline or by a foot to the skull.
#4 - You say you and "everyone" in the store were "watching." I'm sorry to hear how concerned you are with what strangers think. Must be a lot of pressure for you. But did you happen to notice that one child was about to scramble the other's brain with a pair of chopsticks?! Because I think if these gifts are so precious I wouldn't want one of them mutilated by the other. And I'm guessing you didn't turn your head until we were yelling "stop it" and had no clue what we were trying to stop.
#5 - And heck, as long as you're here, why not take a stroll through my blog history. You may notice how much I dedicate my life to my boys. How I spend every waking and sleeping moment with them as a full time mom. How I put their best interests above my own on a daily...no, minute-ly basis. See how happy, well adjusted, loved and blessed they are.
I am actually embarrassed to say that I let her get to me at all. That on my way home I was so infuriated and that tears were welling up in me at the thought that anyone on the planet, even a complete stranger, was doubting that I did not love and cherish my precious boys more than life itself.
To you, random blonde woman, and all random people who think they know how others should handle their children and feel the need to tell them, I tell you this. Unless you see someone actually ABUSING a child, not preventing physical harm like I was, Keep your opinions to yourself, because that's all they are...opinions, first reactions with absolutely no background information or context. If the first words out of your mouth are "it's probably none of my business," that's your flag to shut your mouth. I understand you probably had good intentions, that you do have kids yourself, and that you were looking out for my kids, and I appreciate that. But take a second to think before you judge someone you don't know based on nothing more than the information you gathered from the one thing I did that was loud enough to catch your attention in a crowded mall. Somehow I am thinking the giggles, cuddles, kisses and hugs I gave my kids that very same night in the very same mall didn't catch your attention.
And to all of my wonderful friends and family on Facebook, thank you for helping me cool my blood from a boil to a simmer. I'm hoping it'll be lukewarm by morning. ;-) And from here on out I'm gonna try very hard to tune out clueless strangers and only tune into those who actually know me and my kids and care about us. And our brains not being scrambled by chopsticks.
DID I MENTION THE CHOPSTICK BRAIN SCRAMBLE THING YET?! Sheesh.