Friday, May 25, 2007

Unfortunately, Moms, your worst fears are true: they really are thinking judgmental things about you

Yesterday I was perusing my friend OmegaMom's blog. In her post "The divine destructive force" she had what appeared to be a funny link to a kid pulling one of those "OMG my kid did NOT just do THAT!" stunts. You know what I mean. We've all had those moments.

Mine was on Monday.

Now that the kids are out of school, we get to make grocery shopping a Fun Family Outing. <--- Now I am being facetious, ironic, and sarcastic.

My crime: refused to allow Persistence to eat a yogurt with her fingers in the store while shopping

My punishment: Persistence reached back, grabbed the package of yogurt and hurled it mightily to the floor, where it exploded, coating the floor, the basket, my feet, and the bottom shelf and all the products on it

My husband's was on Tuesday.

Remember the Adventures in Dadhood story? Did you catch that my husband sneaked in late and added his comment, as I had hoped? It was pretty funny. If you missed it:

Honestly, the expulsion...or rather projectile pooping, was sweet relief for everybody. I long ago lost my ability to be grossed out by what comes out of a child's arse...I think I've seen it all and then some.

TBH, this experience was so spectacular that Patience and I were watched in awe. She was beside herself with excitement. Just imagine what a child obsessed with poop would think of observing the rockets launch a good 5 feet through the air...landing in the middle of the parking lot...or the one that ricocheted of her dads chest. Not every child gets to live her dream at such an early age.

The bad part was the 15 minutes of standing at the back of the hatch with a naked child writhing around screaming owy...owy...owy as people walked to and fro giving me the "what are you doing to her" looks.

I was waiting for the police to show up any second.

Never a dull moment:)


See? We've all had these moments. If you are a parent or in charge of a child and claim that you haven't, you are oblivious, lying, or both.

And this kid, in Kansas City, had a pretty spectacular moment. It eclipses anything even my kids have done (so far). I first read the article and then watched the video. It struck me as purely one of those things that can happen.

Then I made the mistake of reading the comments.

Go ahead. Go look and read.

I believe you'll find---as I did---that there are a large quantity of lying and oblivious people, as is evidenced by the comments, which are a lovely examples of the leaps of logic, displaced anger, excessive judgmentalism, and lack of compassion we parents sometimes face as we try our best to do our best with our kids.

Apparently, parents do not "whale" on their kids adequately these days, and a single incident such as this is clearly indicative of a mom who overall is unfit to parent (among other prejudiced and pejorative invective) and ought to have her child removed, and placed with people who will beat good behavior into him.

Nice.

Of course not everyone is like this, but I find it an intriguing insight into the minds of people who judge parents harshly. It's unlikely that people would say this aloud, especially with such language, but that they will write it is proof that they are thinking it. I've suspected this on different occasions. I see the looks, the quick slant of eyes to and away, the narrowed gaze, the slight head shake, the whispers to the other person, or the louder more passive-aggressive comment to her own child about the consequences of behaving as my child is. I know it is in their head. I just didn't realize it was this vicious in some heads sometimes.

Of course I don't let it in, not personally. I do feel pressure to have my kids behave respectfully in public. And sometimes I catch myself starting to parent to the public instead of to my kids, but I stop that. I can't help what others think, and I can't let it be the sum course of my parenting.

Nevertheless...some of those comments are, well, far past disturbing. On many levels.

I can't say it any better than OmegaMom did in her follow-up to the story, I am a squishy liberal. Well said, Omegamom! I agree.

As a parent, I don't live in a glass house so I don't throw stones. Besides which, I know I don't know the rest of the story beyond one moment in a mom and child's life.

As more coherent commenters said....it's too bad more people can't show the same level of understanding and compassion that the monks did.

P.S. I did a second post today because I can't help but talk about dance. It's just below.

copyright 2007 Julie Pippert

17 comments:

Queen of the Mayhem said...

Julie,
It really is quite sad that parents judge each other as much as they do. I can honestly say that, especially Junior Mayhem, my kids have pushed me to the brink where I could honestly see how someone would snap and beat the holy hades out of them! I did not do it....but I could certainly see how that could happen.

Junior Mayhem is my shame me in public child. I have just decided I have to get over it....or never leave the house! :)

Mary-LUE said...

I could make quite the list of transgressions my children have perpetrated on the unsuspecting public. And I KNOW that I have been set on trial, found guilty and sentenced to Bad Mommy Hell by people. You can see it in their eyes.

I had seen this story on the news last night but had no idea people would be so vitriolic about it. Get over it, people!

Magpie said...

I suspect that none of those commenters have kids, and have never experienced the speed with which a toddler can move. And the mom clearly boogied because she was mortified.

Kyla said...

You know how I feel about the judging, evidenced by this week of posts alone. But it is an impulse, everyone has it...but now I call myself on it and rethink things. We never know the whole story from the outside.

thailandchani said...

Well, I don't have kids... and the only time I rant about children is when their parents allow them to yell and scream in closed places... example: at the grocery store.

At the same time, I'm very aware that I don't have to fix the situation so there's not much I can say about it.

I avoid the screaming though because it is literally painful and I am extremely environmentally sensitive, particularly when it comes to noise.

On all other issues, I'm actually reasonably laissez faire, knowing that stuff happens and kids do things. More power to those who can cope with the everyday frustration.

As for people who pontificate about how parents are not harsh enough, not "whaling" on their kids enough, those, I agree, are usually people who don't have children.. thankfully.



Peace,

~Chani

Gwen said...

We judge because it makes us feel better about our own flaws.

I have been thinking recently about how accountable I really am for the fact that my youngest daughter can be such a pissy little bitch, especially to the friends that try to shower her with love and that she pushes away with the disdain of Power. On some level, I realize this is a personality trait, one I can't simply fix by waving my magic parent wand over it (once I had a student's parent literally suggest that I should have a teacher wand of fairy power to make his unmotivated, pot smoking son all together perfect; that was such a fun discussion, I had to go all tangent here to share it). I also know we will be "working" on it for years to come. What I tell myself, when tempted to judge other parents, is that my own children just have different issues, ones that are similarly distressing to others.

But oh, oh, for the patience of those Buddhist monks!

slouching mom said...

1. I don't blame the child at all, quite frankly. This 'installation' looked fun!

2. If the mom is guilty of anything, it's of inattention (he would not have gotten the art quite so mucked up if she had gotten there a bit sooner).

3. Walk a mile in her shoes, and then see how ready you are to judge her.

slouching mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen said...

Oh, I'm just hoping she never reads those horrid comments. Who knows what she felt afterwards. I have a very
"busy" toddler/preschooler myself. Those monks, their innocence is what impresses me, their openness, their complete acceptance. I hope they never read those comments either, because it's a waste of a beautiful gift their were trying to give when they offered real, actual forgiveness...the kind where you aren't secretly still mad inside.
And, what adult in their right mind thinks I have had time to teach by toddler what a hanging cord means? It's not like we are at lots of red carpet events and he's had so much exposure to them at film and gallery openings...I have a tough middle child. I know I'm being judged when we are out and about. I do my best and usually cry in the car on the way home. Last summer we stayed home for three months straight as I was unable to cope with judging in a postpartum state. He is older and a bit easier now, more verbal and very charming, but sometimes, the staring when he cries, it gets to me.

Christine said...

You are so right--those monks were far more forgiving than anyone else was! i didn't watch the video, but we all know that kids are FAST and do crazy things at break neck speed. Isn't it funny how easy it is to parent someone else's kid?

Once i lost my 2 year old at an apple orchard. I was watching him and my daughter so diligently, so carefully. I wasn't ignoring or chatting or anything. He was just gone. Fast. I found him after of about 5 minutes of hell. Later I heard that a friend's husband (who barely knows me personally) thought i was doing a bad job of parenting and obviously needed to watch him better. I was horrified and hurt. I WAS watching! These things happen and fast, we have no idea what other children or families or like. We simply need to be more open to understanding other people and their kids.

"And sometimes I catch myself starting to parent to the public instead of to my kids" ---this is such a prefect way of saying what i often find myself doing, but then get angry at myself for.

Lawyer Mama said...

Ah, the judgment. It's amazing.

The monks seem to be the only people who really got it. I can completely understand why the toddler danced on the sand. I have the urge to touch beautiful things all the time. And when you add sand in to the mix, well, who could blame him?

I'll have to remember to "whale" on Hollis the next time he throws a diaper at a random stranger in the mall....

Julie Pippert said...

Queen, I hear you 100%!! :)

My kids have a competitive streak and each always tries to take the prize. If one heads in a good direction (rare to never) then YAHOO! If one heads a bad direction...well, I ought to just be housebound, according to some I'm sure. In fact, despite a need for errands yesterday, behavior was such that we just...stayed home.

It's impossible to feel nothing.

But I do work to make sure that I am responding to what I think and feel, and my kids, not the public.

***

M-L, yes that is it! Tried, convicted and sentenced to Bad Mommy Hell---I can see it in their eyes too.

I know, the meaness of it surprised me.

***

Magpie, I think you are on to it. The mom never even paused. I am not even sure she realized! If she did, I'm sure her main thought was "remove child quickly from situation" in order to best handle it. Some comments def. seemed to be the people who call parents breeders, but I had the sinking feeling from some, esp. if they ref. their own kids, that many not only think this, but act it.

***

Kyla, you know, I thought of you! You are so right---it's an impulse. And it's up to us to be bigger than that.

***

Chani, my friend, my wise and wonderful friend...trust me there is no "allow" to the yelling and screaming. It physically pains me, shrikeing and yelling. And yet, my kids do it multiple times every day. But I have to say, it is heartening to hear all you say here. Thank goodness for understanding people like you.

***

Gwen, that's it: we have to remind ourselves that we and our children have issues too.

Patience.

Okay words fail me just now. Suffice it to say, I understand your wrestling with culpability. There is a deep well in that child. And often the water is brackish.

***

SM, yep, that's it.

***

Karen, wow, exactly. The monks' attitude was awesome, and you are so right, sincere, true, pure real forgiveness is def. a beautiful gift.

I also hope she doesn't see those comments, but I think it is impossible. I'm just surprised someone hasn't come forward with a name.

Good point about having timeto teach about ropes like that.

***

Christine, okay to find out that in a situation that could happen to anyone at any time, someone who knew me (even a little) thought poorly of me like that would really cut deep.

Asking that is asking for perfection. Can't be done. That father has goofed up too. I guarantee it.

You are so right---we need to be more open and understanding.

Yeah I have tobe careful abot that 'cares what others think' style parenting. :)

***

LM, I know, it seemed perfectly natural to me (what with the kids I have and all, who, BTW, came by it honestly) to be curious about duckig under a rope, then seeing what happens when you blur the lines. That doesn't make it OKAY, just understandable. And these things happen.

I wish I could be that great when it's not theoretical and it happens to me, LOL.

I guess my question would be: was that their FIRST thought or their LAST, those wonderfully compassionate monks? LOL

I do get irritated, like when P2 dumped the rice pudding all over my rug (first reaction) but then I work through it as best I can (in a split second LOL).

LOL about "whale" on Hollis.

I was talking to the Ps about this and P1 asked, "What's that mean, to whale?" And I KNOW she was picturing an adult putting a picture of a whale on a kid or something, LMAO.

Now that is stuck in my head, and TBH, I am glad b/c I far prefer that image. :)

Aliki2006 said...

When I first heard about that story I thought "Oh my god--that could have been me"--I could so easily imagine Tessa doing the EXACT same thing...and I agree--if the mom is guilty of anything it is inattention, and I have been there before.

jen said...

it sort of scares me how some brains work. not yours, dude. but some.

IzzyMom said...

Good gravy! What the hell is wrong with people?

And "whaling"?

*shakes head*

NotSoSage said...

I can't believe the time I wasted this evening reading such hateful words. I need some kind of a brain tonic to cleanse all those mean things out of my memory. My lands, people just can't help saying something, regardless of how ill-informed they are.

Stephanie mama drama said...

Heh!! You shoulda seen what people said on my blog when I talked about traveling by airplane with a pleasant but busy 10-month-old! Evidently, if we aren't "whaling' them, we should be hiding them or drugging them.

Whatever.