“My 2 year old granddaughter had a tantrum in the grocery cart and my daughter was disciplining her (telling privileges she would lose at home) to stop screaming. A woman came up and told her she was mean and a bad mother. It's ridiculous that someone who wasn't taught common courtesy gives out parenting advice. From comments on her page I guess this is now common. Is this really what's happening out there?”
I posted the above paragraph on facebook yesterday morning. I was unhappy after reading about the event on my daughter's page, less happy from reading about all the other young moms that posted that this happens to them often. I was even more upset after we spoke this morning hearing more details. My ex-husbands daughter posted on my fb page that it "happens in Utah all the time." Really? We are now free to express our thoughts and feelings about others to strangers publicly? Heaven help the young mothers who are trying to teach their children self-control.
My daughter was so upset and questioning herself that she posted it on facebook to make sure she was a good mom. She didn’t want to call and tell me because I was a perfectionist (huge flaw on my part and I apologize constantly for it) and didn’t want me to think she’s a bad mom. I know this because a minute after I posted a supportive comment, she called me for reassurance. My daughter is a good mom. If we were in a store to this day and she treated another shopper like that I would quietly tell her to be polite. I did not raise my children to act like animals and it pisses me off that someone who is that mean, rude and ignorant is trying to make my daughter feel inferior.
My daughter, who babysits an 18 month old from 5:30 am to 3 pm, had a flat tire on the way to the store and was already having a bad day, Kamal was late for her nap and testy. While checking out Kamal was done and started to have a meltdown in the cart. Winco doesn’t have baggers, any nice person would give her a kind look or even offer to help her bag her food instead of insulting her. She turned to the woman who had told her she was mean and told her to mind her own business. The woman then got in her face and started yelling that she didn’t know how to raise a child and people like her shouldn’t have kids. Of course Kamal started screaming louder because she wanted her mother’s attention in the first place and my daughter was now completely focused on this woman. A woman who with a few minutes of observation assumed she had all the knowledge necessary for her pronouncement and the right to be rude and mean. My daughter finally told her to get out of her face. I’m sure little Kamal took the exchange in completely.
A few months ago in Albertson’s Kamal was crying in the cart and a woman stepped up to her and harshly told her to stop crying and that she was a bad baby. Of course Kamal started screeching and my daughter rushed to get between them and told the woman get away from her baby. The woman then started to yell at my daughter telling her the baby was making noise and bothering all the other shoppers, that she had a bad baby and was a bad mother. Really? Like this Empress of Everything wasn’t yelling at a baby and my daughter and bothering other shoppers?
Pronouncing that one who is struggling is inadequate or bad and yelling at them is not helpful, the intention is to harm or shame another. It’s hard enough to parent without someone else telling you their farts smell like roses and yours stink, they have all the answers in the universe, and trying to make you feel bad about yourself. I’m outraged and frankly, quite pissed to find out that some think it’s acceptable to yell at other mom’s or yell at babies in public. I’m saddened that instead of trying to help someone who is obviously having a hard time that bashing them is what some choose to do.
More importantly, I'm distressed about the lessons these self proclaimed parenting experts are teaching my granddaughter. She saw that it's okay to be mean, insult, and yell at a stranger in public if you feel like it. It's hard enough to teach a tot not to yell as it is. I hate to think that they’re out teaching this lesson to children every day. It spreads and I’m as susceptible as anyone else, kids have no resistance built up.
Those realizations escaped me since this is new to me, my tots weren’t exposed to this type of behavior publicly 30 years ago except from teens and back then they didn’t dare yell at adults. My daughter asked me for advice and unfortunately I gave her bad parenting advice by telling her what she did was right. All I offered was support and that’s not what she asked for. Young children don’t just mimic their parent’s behavior, they will mimic anything that gets their parents attention. Since this is now a common occurrence with some adults I need to tell my daughter I was wrong. These are teaching moments just like all the others and Kamal observed her mom engaging in someone else’s bad behavior. The next time some stranger behaves that way she should turn away from the person and tell Kamal she’s not to behave like that and it’s never okay to walk up and yell at or be mean to someone else. We can’t control how others behave or how they treat us, all we can do is ask them to honor our needs. If they don’t, then all we can do is turn and walk away.
Once again, I’m receiving more from this child than I ever expected. This is not just a teaching moment for Kamal, it’s one for me to learn again.