Let's Take It Outside

There have been a few times when I have had to stand up for my kid and some of those times I should have shut up and walked away.  After one bad argument, I decided that I needed to apologize or stay quiet and get out of there before the bite marks show.  Even if the other parent is wrong you look better and feel better if you just say you are sorry.  But what if you say you are sorry or correct your child every week and the mom still yells at your kid?  At some point I’m gonna break.  There is only so long I can be reminded that my son is an awful kid in this parent’s eyes.  And if I try to leave and you try to lecture me, I’ll have to fight back. 

Our first fight was when my son was only about one and he pushed a girl.  The mom yelled at him.  I was so upset because he was only one and the girl wasn’t hurt.  I was on my way to handle it, but I was pregnant and a little slow and not that close to the situation.  The mom said she didn’t care if I was pregnant and that’s when I learned other moms don’t care if you are pregnant and I said some things I shouldn’t have and she said them back and we got out of that children’s museum fast.

The worst one was when my other one-year-old stepped on a boy’s homework on the stage at a book store and the mom made sure to point it out to me.  I ignored her, but she got in my face and repeated herself and said she knew I was looking to start a fight.  I thought I was ignoring her.  But we did argue a bit and I also said some things I shouldn’t have and she called my kids dirty and we again got out of there.  I thought the stage was more for play and she thought the whole store was open for her son to do his homework.  We never went back.  But after that I told myself I just could not do this again.  I had to just say “I’m sorry” and everything would be okay.  If I had just said I was sorry, it would have all been over.  I think.  No one was going to win anyway.  Most parents accept “I’m sorry.”  They just want you to acknowledge that your child did something bad.  But recently a mom who kept yelling at my son weekly pushed me over the edge. 

But when DO you step in?  There seem to be two kinds of moms.  There are those who stand back and let the kids handle it, or wait for the other moms to step in and handle it, or they just take their kids away.  Sometimes they do so nicely and sometimes rudely.  And there are those who tell other children when they are behaving badly.  I actually see both sides and hear that it is a good thing to step in and that you are actually helping .  However, sometimes they take it to the extreme.  I am the first kind of mom.  I don’t believe in yelling at other kids because I don’t want mine yelled at by other moms.  I have only yelled at a few kids when no moms were around and I thought they were being unsafe for my child, unsafe for themselves, or mean to my son.  I think sometimes parents think you are ignoring your child, but when you have two or more to watch you have to decide which one is in more danger or more likely to hurt someone and watch that one and sometimes you pick the wrong kid. 

I am now not bothered when a mom corrects my son if I did not witness it and I just feel bad.  I am bothered when they do so after I already corrected my son or do so every time we see them or are too extreme in their reaction when no one was hurt.  But then I just need to get out of that situation and keep my mouth shut.  Recently at the Morton Arboretum a mom yelled at Dylan for throwing rocks in the water.  He shouldn’t have and I didn’t see it.  It bothered me, but I let it go.  Then later she yelled at him for pushing through when her one-year-old was on the shaky bridge.  He should have waited, but her son was also probably too young to be on it by himself.  Another kid slightly older than hers had just fallen off.  So I stayed quiet.  I told myself I would say something if it happened one more time, but it didn’t. 

There seems to be no right or wrong.  There are many different situations and many different kids of all ages.  But I can say that I appreciate the moms more who say “That’s okay” when your child accidentally hurt their kid, cut in line, stole their toy, or got in their way etc. as long as you have tried to set your child straight or correct the situation yourself.  Or they might nicely say something like “Honey, you should watch when little kids are around” or “Be careful when there is a baby.  You might hurt her.”  It’s when they just start yelling that really bothers me.  If their child is not in immediate danger, I would appreciate it if the parent talked to me first.  Sometimes it is more in the way they do the yelling or if they yell at my son in a meaner way than they would yell at their own child.  If they yell at my son in a nastier way than I would in public, then I am not a happy mom.  And other parents might have a different discipline method than yelling and it might not work on the child anyway.

Of course, it might be different if the child really did hurt yours intentionally.  But even that you have to be careful about. Recently a boy hit my five-year-old in the stomach.  After the boy hit my son with a stick and no mom was around I told him that that wasn’t very nice.  After he was hit in the stomach I told the teacher of the class.  She told me that the boy had issues, told the mom, and the mom told me her son was in therapy for aggression.  Having a wild child myself, I did not get upset.  My son eventually stopped crying and he did not need medical attention.  He will be hit again.  I was more worried about comforting my own son than going after the kid.  That child has more to deal with than my son who probably faked half his crying anyway.  And frankly, I am always happy when a child behaves worse than mine. 

The different kinds of moms make me fearful every time my son does something.  I often over apologize or yell at my son too much to get him away from another kid fearing the reaction of the parent because I don’t know which kind they are.  They often tell me they are okay with something another parent freaked out about.  Recently my son was lying on top of another kid under a parachute.  I moved him and apologized, but the mom said her child gets it worse at home.  But I knew the other mom there would have gone off on Dylan.  She yelled at him when he jumped on something her son was playing on before I could get him off.  Other moms there have just waited for me to remove him and say it’s okay and sometimes offer to share.  I never know which kind of mom I am dealing with and it makes me anxious. It might sound like my son is a terror and he is definitely not perfect, but we made it through 35 minutes of no problems until the mom showed up to class the last ten minutes.  And after our argument he went to her without my permission and told her he was sorry his mom was mean to her.  So he can’t be all that bad.  There are just different ways the moms out there handle different kids and maybe it all depends on what you are exposed to with your own child or the ones you know. 

And to finish the story for those of you who are not following me on Facebook, I passively aggressively told Dylan to stay away from that mom because she was mean to him every week.  It was loud enough for her to hear.  This was after I had to hear her yell twice in the first few minutes she got there, roll her eyes, and make rude comments to herself in relation to my son.  After weeks of this, I couldn’t take it.  She seemed to be picking on my son from the first day we met her when he was waiting for a child to move from a door and then for someone to help him open it and she stood behind him and kept repeating “Excuse me” instead of helping him.   I told her why he was waiting, but she just glared at me.  This time Dylan did run between her and her son and blow out the bubble meant for her child.  He was being a jerk, but he wasn't harming her child.  After the last time she yelled, I had just planned to leave and not return on that day anymore.  We would be going back to work and school in a few weeks anyway.  However, she stopped me on the way out and tried to lecture me on safety and I could not handle it.  I told her I didn’t want to hear it, that I did not want to be lectured by HER, and that she made our time miserable there every week and I left.  The real fight would have happened if I had stayed to listen to her.  I knew I was in no state for a rational discussion on child behavior.  It would have gotten ugly if I had stayed. 

There is no answer to when to step in and when to sit back.  I don’t get the mom world.  I’ve witnessed mom arguments of others and they always involve other moms who have stepped in.  My childhood is fuzzy so I learned from watching other moms and doing what I thought seemed right and what I would want done to me and my kids.  I get it wrong all the time.  But for now we won’t be returning to the place on the day when the weekly yeller hangs out and I’ll just go back to holding my tongue and getting out before the bite marks show.

Filed under: Bad Mom Tips

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