Saturday, April 24, 2010

why "mommy and me" can bite me.

It's no secret that I don't do mom's groups and other things of that nature. It isn't because I'm a recluse or anti social, most of the time, it's just that I don't have the patience or energy to deal with the other moms. I'm know some moms are great and live in reality, but the few who aren't really get to me.

I can't deal with the sense of entitlement, lack of perspective and general BS that those few present. And you know you know the BS type: the ones who somehow manage to wake up early and get dressed, have perfect hair and makeup, make their kids a full hot breakfast from scratch, do the school run, spend an hour at the gym, come home clean their house from top to bottom while managing the responsibilities of being the PTA president and church Bible study leader, have a martini lunch with their gal pals, go to playgroup, spend lots of floor and play time with their baby, wash, dry, iron and fold the laundry, pick the big kids up from school, do arts and crafts time with the kids, do their science fair project for them, make 500 cupcakes complete with gum paste animals for the school bake sale, make a wholesome and organic dinner, clean the kitchen, bathe the kids, knit a sweater for their friend's new baby, be a good wife and "spend time" with her husband, set everything out and make lunches for the next day and still get a full night's sleep, only to wake up and repeat it all again. Yeah, them. There's no way they do all of that. None. I'm not buying it. I think they only say it to make themselves feel better and to make the rest of us little people feel bad about letting our kids watch DVDs and feeding them fast food every once in awhile. And if they do manage to do it all, I'd like to know exactly how and if they are popping their kids Ritalin or not.

I also can't deal with moms who refuse to control their kids and I really can't deal with the moms who think their kids are perfect and can do no wrong and refuse to implement any type of consequence. Honestly, those are the worst behaved kids of the bunch. Am I saying my kids are perfect? No. Absolutely not, of course they have their moments and some days they have quite a few of them. But I make darn sure that I am raising polite and respectful kids who know that there are consequences for their actions. I am raising them to know right from wrong and to be kind to those around them. They know they are not entitled to anything and if they want something, they aren't going to get it, just because they want it. They are quickly learning they are going to have to wait for it and/or earn it because that is how the real world works. And there seems to be a serious lack of this in the rest of society.

Case in point, story time today at the book store. Allow me to paint the picture:

14 kids, ages 7 months to 5 years. Half the kids had attentive parents and were sitting quietly, listening to the stories being read. The other half had parents who didn't give a tiny little rat's butt about what was going on and their kids were climbing and running all over the place, getting in everyone's way and making it so no one could see or hear. One kid even knocked the book out of the reader's hands. One mother was drinking her second latte and reading a magazine. One father was playing games on his cell phone while his wife chatted with her friend. Another was busy doing a game book and the other was practically asleep. And all but 1 of these parents had kids age 2 and under. Why you would not pay attention to your child who is less than 2 years old is beyond me. Am I being judgmental? Quite possibly, but I'm just stating the facts... just setting the scene...

When we got to the book store, there were quite a few kids playing at the train table. W and CB wanted to play but I told them we would wait until the little kids had left. We waited, did story time, and then went back to the train table while all of the other kids were still in the story area. W got the train he wanted to play with, Toby, and put it in line with all of the other trains. Keep in mind, there weren't any other kids around. Within minutes, one of the other kids came over and plopped down right next to W. And when I say next to him, I mean the kid literally sat on W's shoes. This kid was probably a little older than 2, and he was one of the kids who had ruined the story time earlier. The kid wasn't interested in playing with the trains, but was playing with the stuff on the side of the table. Then he suddenly decided he wanted to play with Toby, and he grabbed it from W's train, while W was playing with it, and ran off with it. This, of course, upset W and he voiced his concern that this kid had just jacked his train. And before I could say anything, the kids mother looked at W and said, "Well, you have all of the train cars, there's no reason YOU should have all of the trains, if he wants that one, he can play with it".

Um, what?! Oh no you didn't just reprimand my kid while your kid just jacked something my kid was playing with, without asking. I tried to distract W and explain that we needed to share and blah blah blah. Keep in mind, there was no one else around before this kid came over and the kid wasn't playing with the trains before so of course W had all of the train cars. Yes, the kid is 2, he probably doesn't know the "rules" but his mom sure does. The kid should have asked, or SHE should have asked W if the kid could play with it. If W had known the kid wanted to play with the trains, he would have shared. He's cool like that.

Almost immediately, the kid lost interest in the train car. The mom took the train car from the kid and just held it. And kept holding it. I finally asked her if W could play with the car because her kid wasn't and she set it down. W said thank you. Then he went to rearrange the train cars he was playing with (which was only half of them because he had put some aside for other kids to play with) and as he was picking up Toby, the mother scooped in and GRABBED IT FROM HIS HANDS, saying that her kid wanted to play with it.

OH. NO. YOU. DIDN'T. Someone hold my earrings and call for an ambulance because this chick is gonna need one in about 34 seconds. Seriously?? SERIOUSLY?! You are going to take back the toy you just put down so your kid can play with it, and just stand there holding it, when your kid isn't even nearby or wanting to play with it? And GRAB it from my kid? Literally TAKE it from his hands?!

W got really upset and so did I. He started to cry, I told him very loudly, so she could hear, that it was VERY VERY rude for someone to take the toys someone else was playing with without asking, and she was not right for doing that, hoping she was paying attention and would feel at least somewhat bad. But no, she didn't, and proceeded to defend herself to her husband and then bash my lack of parenting skills. Yes, yes, your kid is perfect and can do no wrong and you are mother of the year, I get it.

I had to leave. What was I supposed to do? It is my responsibility to set a good example for my kids and going off on her or rearranging her face wasn't exactly going to accomplish that. Besides that, I don't really want to spend our spare cash on bail money.

I wish I wouldn't have left. I wish I would have come up with SOMETHING to say to her. Anything. But I couldn't. I was too upset about what she had done. And you know that is a big deal for me because I can pretty much always come up with something to say. All I can say though is homegirl is VERY lucky I don't have any pregnancy hormones coursing through my blood and that the doctor gave me a nice little pill to help control my raging PMDD because she really would have been leaving in an ambulance and I would have been leaving in handcuffs.

So I ask you, my fellow wise and good mothers who control your kids in public and aren't self entitled jerks, what would you have done in this situation? What should I have done? Was I wrong in anyway? Am I just as responsible for the situation as she was? Did I violate some secret train table code I'm not aware of? I'd really like to know because 5 hours later, I'm still really upset about this.

And this is precisely why I don't do the group thing. I just can't handle the stress.


EnviroGeo said...

I tell you what...You're stronger than I am (given that if I was put in a situation like that). Good job!

BUT...if I really let myself go and react to her, I would have taken the train out of her hands and said, with a wink, "How about them apples?"

I just can't believe how rude she was...but for your children's sake, and you do teach by example, you did well Mama! Otherwise it would have gotten really hairy in there... :)

BTW: Nice layout design!

Liz said...

Woah...seriously would have really, REALLY made me mad. And, I don't get mad all that easily. I'm sincerely proud of you for holding it together.

You know I teach part-time early childhood music classes. I'll tell you what makes me soooo mad, is when the moms come and talk amongst themselves, leaving their kids to fend for themselves, as I try to hold their attention. I had to lecture a class last week and as much as I hated to do it, I was fed up, even more.

I'm so sorry you had to deal with that. Especially b/c you are one of the most incredible mamas I know...

xoxoxo (so glad you're back---I looove the new design! ;)

Anonymous said...

You're back!!! Thank You, Joanna- how I've missed you!!
No advice, though. Sorry!
I hate those bookstore train tables - noone ever makes their kid share or play nice there- if they pay any attention to their kid at all!
That was always Twinz favorite things to do- so we either avoided them like the plague - or went really late at night when normal kids were in bed.....
What can I say? I'm the cowardly one who lives vicariously thru you. Nice job keeping your cool, though. Those local PD's aren't fond of foreigners... : D


Wild Banks' said...

You are truely amazing me with the patience you had with that rude woman! My kids are not perfect and obsessed with trains, so have been removed from such tables for far lesser offenses than what W was victim of. That you held on to the 'rude person' explaination for as long as you did. And yours are the very reasons we avoid play groups too.
You are being a wonderful mother and amazing example to your already great children!

Marie said...

Yay! You're back blogging!

I cannot believe the rudeness and ignorance of that woman in the bookstore. You must have superhuman self control. I was in one of those indoor playspaces a few weeks ago and experienced that same sense of disbelief. Here were all these kids under 4, running completely amok, and the Moms were all sitting there talking amongst themselves. I get so stressed out at those places I can't go more than a couple times a year. Gives me too many gray hairs. :)

Lanie said...

Yay! Good to see you back! I LOVE reading your posts... I always have!

I wish I had advice. I am always at a loss for words when other mothers behave that way.

Hope you'll drop by for a visit too...

TaraC said...

SO glad you are back!

I can't say I would have handled that situation any differently. I'm ALWAYS the one that thinks of something great to say 3 hours after the fact.

Charmaine said...

So glad you are back Jo! I missed your blog posts....very few bloggers in the world are actually good enough to make me miss them :) W looks so adorable, I haven't seen a pic of him with hair until now! The girls are all gorgeous of course! I'm sorry to hear about the SPD, I'll have to learn more about that. As for the stellar mom group thing, yeah, I hear you. I have had to get up and leave more than once to try and not blow in front of the kids. I haven't always succeeded though LOL....oh well, someone take away my mommy badge! You did the right thing girl! Charmaine

Name Nazi said...

I would have done the same thing except I probably wouldn't have said anything outloud for the mom to hear to W. I probably would have left, and once in the car explained that it was a horrible thing to do, but that everyone has to learn how to deal with horrible people because the world is full of them. And I probably would have turned it around to how she probably doesn't have God in her heart and that's why we have an obligation to invite our friends to church ...

You handled yourself really well and your kids are lucky to have a good example.

I want to think that parents like all of us are the majority, but I wonder what the break up really is? 60/40? 70/30?

Monday said...

You were wise for leaving the area with your children.

This type of stuff needs to roll off your back. Otherwise it's just too consuming when you allow it to get to you.

You cannot control other peoples actions, or how they raise their children.

I think this got to you because you were already worked up and stressed about the annoying children at the reading.

Moore Musings said...

I'm glad you said what you said. I likely would have said something to the other mom... not raging, but something. That is simply unexceptable. I see these moms a lot working as a nanny (not the woman I work for, thankfully). I get the added joy of having many not speak to me because they know I'm "the help".

I actually have a really hard time holding back from correcting other kids when they are out of line. I think it comes from my years in afterschool care... they ALL were mine for about 5 hours :)

Likely good you left though. You handled yourself respectably

James Family said...

I totally understand not doing Mommy and me groups. There are some real... challenged people... in those groups. Judgemental too.

You are doing great JoAnna!! Hang in there.