Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mind Your Business... And Your Manners, Goddamnit.

One of the most aggravating things about having kids is that everyone and their uncle’s monkey wants to give you unsolicited advice on how to raise them. Especially if you are a young. Mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts… everyone has something to say about the diapers you use, the food you buy, the music in your car, your state of mind. Of course, it’s expected for friends and family to drop some unneeded commentary your way. It’s easier to let it slide. But then… then there are the more and more abundant cases of complete strangers offering their opinions. That’s when it becomes an entirely different ballgame.

Setting the tone...

Before I go on, let me provide you with a little bit of background info:

My husband and I have two girls – Midget (age 3 and a half) and Munchkin (age 17 months old as of this entry). Midget is in that phase where everything she does infuriating and everything she says is laced with a poor attitude that rivals that of even the most angst-ridden of teenagers. This is not because she is treated badly at home or school. She’s just three.

Munchkin is at the age where she is wandering around, getting into everything, and trying to emulate others – particularly her big sister. Her vocabulary isn’t exactly expansive at this point, so she is also trying to play around with the best ways to express herself and her emotions. This leads to much shrieking, and, more recently, hitting. To discourage her random acts of violence, I have found that the best approach is to swipe at her. You know, like an angry, declawed cat. Quick, abrupt, to the point. She knocks that shit off immediately when I do that.

 Kind of like this... just... without claws. And probably not as cute.

Which brings us to the supermarket.

It was the tail end of our trip, the cart was overflowing, and Munchkin was getting restless. My husband and I decided that it was time to GO. Naturally, it was then that we realized that we forgot something. So, being practical, Jeremy and I decided to split up. Him and Midget would go get the… bread, was it? Munchkin and I would proceed to the checkout lane. As I pushed the cart forward, Munchkin flipped her shit over something food-related. Can’ t remember what it was, but she hit me. Hard. So, me being me, I swiped at her, fingertips grazing the edge of her coat, and said very firmly, “We don’t do that!” And guess what? She immediately got ahold of her escalating temper and went back to being her usual jovial self.

I continued down my path, noticing that a woman at a checkout lane was glaring at me. Like, absolutely staring daggers at me. I looked directly at her as she stopped some random bloke and asked him if I was his wife. Obviously, he was like, “WTF? No.” So, since she couldn’t tell this random guy to put me in my place, she looked at me as I steered into the next line over and said, “You shouldn’t hit your kids!”

At that moment, so many different things ran through my mind. Like, who was this painted up cunt and what gave her the right to tell me what I should and shouldn’t do with my kids? Why did she feel the need to wear so much makeup? Why was it so poorly applied? Did she have kids? Did she know anyone with kids? Had she ever dealt with the stress that comes with being a stay-at-home mom? If I went over and punched her in the neck, would it really be such a bad thing?

Since I am such a classy broad, I just looked at her and said very bluntly, “No. You are not going to tell me how to raise MY kids.” I expected her to say something back, but she didn’t; she just left. But the damage had been done because now my Sunday afternoon was marred by the fact that this person who had no idea of what she had just seen decided to make an assumption about me and comment about it in front of a whole mess of folks.

The cashier pretended not to realize what was going on, even when I looked at him and chortled, “Goddamn, someone somewhere always has something to say, yeah??!” while the girl bagging my groceries shot venomous glances my way the entire time I was checking out. When Jeremy came back with our missing item, I immediately told him about bitch-face and he (in typical Jeremy fashion) told me not to worry about it. Easier said than done. I was on edge for the duration of our time out, half-expecting a police officer to show up and start interrogating me about every mark on both of my girls.

Obviously I made it home without any further incident, but I was in poor spirits. I mean, I didn’t even hit the baby! Shouldn’t that have been obvious from the lack of crying, tears, or marks on her? And let’s say, for shits and giggles, that I HAD hit one of my kids for acting a fool in the candy aisle? So what? If I need to smack one of my daughters upside the head for being a brat, then guess what? It’s going to happen, and no amount of snide comments and holier-than-thou attitudes from outsiders will change that. Plus, said outsiders should stay out of it anyway.  (Unless, there really is something foul going on. Like, if you see a grown man punch a kid. That’s when you should jump in.)

Not that I am endorsing child-abuse, mind you. But when I grew up, times were different. My dad had a belt, and would whip some ass if the situation called for it. (Though, he didn’t like to do it, and so he stopped using the belt altogether. My hiding it may have had something to do with his decision, too…) That’s just how it was. If you acted up, your parents were going to knock some sense into you, be it with a switch from a tree, a belt, or the fabled chancleta.  All of my friends experienced this phenomenon, and the ones who didn’t get ass-whoopings at least once a week for mouthing off or trying to shave the dog were the odd ones out. 

 These things will seriously fuck you up.

Oh! And if one of these indiscretions happened in public, no one would dare say a word!!  Amazing, right?

Okay, that’s it for my rant. I could go on about this shit for hours, man. HOURS!!

5 comments (+add yours?)

Twatty said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Dude, I sympathize.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

One time some idiot assumed my husband hit my son cause he has a fucking BIRTHMARK on his face. You know what the cops said when they showed up? "Who cares? You can spank your kid in the damned police station, we dont even blink. Sounds like someone needs to mind their own damn business."

Kelly Chenh said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Right on girl!! I would have told that snooty bitch to suck it and shove it where the sun dont shine!!! You were very classy about it...I would have turned all Riverdale on her and probably made an ass of myself. I feel that all kids are different and therefore all approaches of parenting should be different; if your child responds best to time outs, do it!, But, if they respond best to a good swift slap on the behind, go for it! Whatever works to shut them up, do it! And fuck everyone else who has something to say about it! We are awesome parents and dont need assholes with there stupid opinions to tell us how to do our jobs! Suck it you opinionated bitches!!

Megan said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I'm always amazed at the audacity of some people. I haven't had too many strangers get in my business, luckily, but I'm sure it's a matter of time.

Coming from a different perspective, I am more and more realizing that I don't believe in spanking. Not that I think it's abuse, just that I think it sends a confusing message. So, I'm going to try the non-spanking route. I say "try" because I am acutely aware of the dangers of speaking in absolutes, especially when it comes to parenting. Who knows? I may feel differently down the road.

Having said all that, I would NEVER presume to say anything to someone employing the spanking/swatting/swiping method with their kids. Unless, I felt a kid was being seriously hurt or cruelly treated, it's none of my damn business. It's just a different parenting technique.

Jen said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Yeah I'm really impressed with how you handled that lady. I wish I had said that to the lady who insisted Pnut needed a hat (despite the fact that my kid scream bloody murder when you force them on her, even now over 2 years later). I am totally stealing your line the next time I have to deal with a backseat parenting douche bag.

I do agree with Megan though, after seeing how Pnut has reacted and that she totally understands, "ok you don't want me to do this, so you should not do it either." I am ok with that. She knows that she can't drink my coffee, but she will tell me to be careful and ask me to come down when I am doing things like standing on a sofa to hang a picture (since I don't let her stand/jump on furniture). We also don't want cursing in front of Pnut & so I have stopped doing that even though it was hard for me (Chris doesn't curse anyway, so it was a non-issue for him). But not even words like "suck" or "crap" because just I personally do not like hearing children say those words, and she will totally repeat them -- she already has and it bothers me. I don't want her to talk like that until she's a teenager anyway. I'm really not ready to deal with trying to get her to not use curse words when she is only 2 and we aren't having meaningful conversations yet. I'd rather not deal with it until she is school age and my censoring powers become almost nil (O-O eek!) - so yeah, I am sticking to modeling the behavior I want her to emulate. She also acts out aggressively if she is being manhandled in any way. It makes her get downright violent. Even pretend swiping makes her get super MAD and then she will try to hit me for REAL. I really think she is someone who does better when she is given patience and calm and is reasoned with -- either in the moment or after she gets out her angst in a time out. The only thing that works is time outs, which is so ironic because all I'm doing is making her sit on a stool and telling her calmly "you are in a timeout" which is this crazily abstract notion. And yet it drives her to screaming tears, to just sit on this stool and be told by mommy or daddy "you're in a timeout." She's not an angel, and getting her to sleep or outside to play is always the best thing to resolve whatever is making her act all grumpity, but the time outs are effective in letting her know we won't tolerate any funny business. It's annoying to deal with in public though. Thank god we have a phone she can play with! She is so determined... I am sure this will pay off for her in life, but in 12 years, I know I will have a formidable opponent who will logically argue for a later curfew and I may be stumped to develop adequate retorts! lol

I do also agree with Kelly though. What works for one kid doesn't work for another, and in the end, as a good parent, you are trying to teach your kid to be a good person & trying to achieve that in the way that works best for your kid. I also think that young parents are entitled the opportunity to figure out what works and what doesn't and to be taken seriously. Sometimes I feel like people will never get respect at any age. When you are younger, there is always someone older looking down on you. When you get old, the young don't respect or appreciate you. Of course, these are generalizations and stereotypes, but there is a lot of truth in them.

Bottom line: To hell with that make-up'd jackass. Good for you for standing your ground...I am seriously stealing your line. It was the perfect one-liner & showed your strength without making it personal or having to stoop to her level to defend/explain what you were doing. Kudos

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