Hey, crappy Mom in Target.
YOU’RE BLOCKING MY AISLE, DUMMY. MOVE YER ASS OVER!
What? You don’t like getting yelled at? Hmm….I would have thought that you would have considered yelling to be a very effective form of communication, seeing how you just yelled at your little girl to BE QUIET, SIT DOWN, AND STOP TALKING. I think I remember hearing a threat in there, too. Something like, and I’m paraphrasing, if she didn’t shut up, she wouldn’t get anything at all. Did I hear that right?
Oh, so you DONT like being on the receiving end of a verbal smackdown, huh? My bad. Well, can you just move you cart over then? Thanks.
You know what? I changed my mind. I'm super crabby, and you wouldn't be the first or last person I pissed off, today. So let's talk about what I just saw.
What's that? It’s none of my business?
It was the whole store’s business, Missy Acid Wash! Or at the very least, it was the business of everyone shopping in the toothpaste and shampoo aisles. There was nothing private about what just went down between you and your…. four year old? Five year old? (There’s no way that that little girl has more than five years of life experience …) And I think I speak for a few of us when I say: that was super crappy parenting.
Sure, I can play devil’s advocate. I can say, Well, I don’t know your daughter, or her little brother riding behind her in that double stroller of yours. Maybe they are just incorrigible. Maybe I have just no idea how hard it is to handle them, her especially.
But I kind of think maybe you don’t know how easy it is to handle them, because from where I was sitting, your daughter was just trying to talk to you. The reason it SOUNDED whiny to you was because she had been trying to get your attention for about a minute, and you had completely ignored her the whole time. She was probably a little upset about feeling invisible to her Mom.
But you were very busy talking to your friend walking next to you, pushing the single stroller. You needed your daughter to shut up so you could finish your story about what a douche your about-to-be-ex has been lately. (Wait, was that their dad you were ripping apart?)
But let’s stick to one point, here, which is that you speak to your daughter like she is a trouble maker in a jail yard, and you are some hard-ass warden.
Riddle me this: Would you let anyone ever, every, ever, ever talk to you like that? Would you even let another adult talk to your kid like that?
I can tell from the very little time we have been exposed to each other that you wouldn’t have put up with that crap for even a minute. How dare they speak to you like that!
And yet you choose to speak that way to that little person in your Care: a young soul, brand new to the ways of the world. Hmmmm…..
Oh. That's how your parents were? You don’t know any better? Bullshit. Yes you do. In fact, if that’s true, and if your parents did speak to you like that, you absolutely know better. More than most.
Oh, I’m too soft, am I? Kids need discipline? Maybe when they break the rules. (I guess.) But does she know the rules? Because it kind of seems like she might not. Are the rules in her world consistent? Or do they change depending on your needs/wants du jour? I ask because, in my experience, kids want to please their parents more than they want to piss them off. Seems like there might be some confusion about what pleases you.
Um, where are you going? You come back here right now. I'm not done, here.
Yeah see, you keep saying that, but I think it is my business. Because here’s what’s gonna happen. I sense that your kids are spoken to like that on a daily basis. Why do I think that? Because a) she shut up, immediately. And b) you did not skip a beat before returning to your Very Important Conversation. Clearly, you knew that she would respond to your threats. You knew they would be effective. From experience.
This next part, I will admit that I suspect more than know, but here goes: Having been so close to Source not that long ago, your daughter knows that there is something so not cool about the way in which you sometimes speak to her. Doesn’t sit right. Doesn’t feel like an action taken with love.
(And then there's that whole "public humiliation" thing goin' on..)
And every time you speak to her like that, a little piece of her heart will harden, and eventually break off inside her chest. That chunk is gonna and lodge itself somewhere on the inside of her body.
And those chunks are gonna pile up. And they're gonna get heavy. She's gonna get tired carrying those around. And grumpy. And sad. And confused.
Because there is no way that a little girl can be repeatedly told to “shut up,” in so many ways, in so many tones of voice, and become a person who truly believes that she MATTERS. .
But you can bet she is going to seek out validation from her world in a ton of other ways. Because your telling her to “go away” does not, in fact, make her invisible. Her humanity does not “go away” because you told it to.
And she will eventually find other ways to be seen. And she will feel her way to that place without following any good map or model of healthy expression.
And she is going to be wounded. And she is going to take it out on everyone, until it does or doesn’t get healed.
And then it becomes everyone’s business. See, she is your kid, but that is not all she is. She is also my neighbor. Our colleague. His wife. Their Mother. Someone’s teacher. My friend.
And we see how you are treating our neighbor/colleague/wife/Mother/friend.
And we want you to be a little nicer to her. Starting today.
We want you to speak to her like she is a good person. Not a brat. So she will grow up to be a good person. Not a brat.
But you probably don’t even realize I’m talking about you.
Fine. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go spend more money than I planned on spending. I have a Red Card, and now I’m going to go use it. Hard. So move yer damn cart…
..oh Good Lord yes I know! It's none of my damn business! That's why I'm writing an imaginary conversation that didn't actually take place in Target yesterday. Yeesh....
That's my piece, and that's my peace. Thanks for taking the time to read my silly words. It means the world. Carry on...
Old Single Mom
New to my blog? Sometimes, I'm less Mad/More Flabbergasted, and I write about When Adults Fall Down!
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