Obviously, I'm not lumping you all together. Only maybe 80% of you. I will also confess that this post is brought on by a Dr. Phil episode (because you know I DVR them like a loser) and I was so heated I tried to go onto the message boards and rant. Except that only highlighted that this episode was from like 2007 so those boards had been closed. But had they been opened, *hold me back, bro*.
The episode was about restaurants who ban children which of course opens the conversation about if that is right or not. They had restaurant owners basically loving it, wait staff who are loving it, some parents and customers loving it and then you have the group of like five super angry moms railing against society for being assholes. Well guess what?
I bet your kids are assholes.
Now, as a parent of two kids who are not perfect 100% of the time, I feel completely in the right for saying this. I am what Matt lovingly refers to as the "Nazi Parent" because I am extremely strict. I tolerate absolutely no shit. I do time outs, I assign quiet time alone in their rooms, I've been known to spank for especially outrageous offenses, etc. And before you start screaming child abuse in my face, I can count on one hand how many times I have ever spanked my kids combined in six year so settle the fuck down. Sometimes when your kids graffiti an entire room and then proceed to flood the upstairs of your house, a time out isn't going to cut it.
I have been that parent who is in the middle of Target and out of nowhere your two year old starts screaming for the box of condoms near the tampons that has a really cool box. You're a mix of complete shame and embarrassment that you have a two year old reaching for condoms as other parents and shoppers stare at you for your obviously questionable parenting skills while you're helpless. No amount of coaxing or bribing is fixing this until that box is in there hands. The only reasonable solution here is to leave.
Yeah, you read that right. You abandon that cart and you leave the store. And don't get all judgey. I can count the two times in my life we have ever done that and let me tell you something- it happened with each kid once and never again. It was that moment that my kids realized I am serious and I mean business. I will end a play date, leave a store or playground, I will cut a family day out short if I have to.
But my biggest pet peeve ever is other people's kids. I cannot tell you how many times I have been at a restaurant and see the spawn of Satan screaming and making a complete scene and the parents are doing the, "Oh honey, stop it. Please calm down." Bitch- you've passed that stage. You are in full blown melt down and no amount of coddling and tears of frustration from you is going to fix that. That ship has sailed and sunk. Please do the rest of us a favor and take your kid out of there. Even if it's just out to the car or something to get them to calm down. If your kid tosses their Cheerios all around the floor at the restaurant, don't be a douchebag- pick those up. If your kid smears ketchup all over the seat and table? Wipe it up. (Side rant- if you have a big table and a ton of plates, how about you not be a dickhead and maybe stack stuff up so your waitress can just quick grab it? We always do that and every waitress has thanked us because hello- she isn't Stretch Armstrong.)
I have taken my kids everywhere with me since birth but I also recognize their limitations. Sure, I'd like to have a casual hour lunch with a friend, but a kid under two is only going to make it maybe 30 minutes strapped to a germ infested seat and that's only if you have non stop snacks and activities. Deal with it. I also understand that instilling manners and appropriate behavior is hard if you have a kid in daycare. Those teachers can't always get that concept over to every kid so to do it essentially part time for them is difficult. I've been there, I've done that. So when I see a stay at home parent with out of control kids? I feel even angrier because I want to ask what exactly are you doing all day? These are the kids who turn into rude teenagers. The college kids who are loud and rowdy and make everyone around them uncomfortable. The adults who are politically incorrect and general workplace assholes. You aren't born that way- you're raised that way.
And let's face it- not every public place is appropriate for children. Even my very well behaved kids don't go to certain places because you never know. I have had people come up to us in stores, restaurants, museums, theaters, etc and tell me Matt and I how great our kids are. I had one older couple (who were cute as hell sharing bites of their lunch and they had to be in their 80s. Seriously- so adorable.) come up to us and give us a gift certificate for that restaurant because they wanted to congratulate us on being good parents. It made our day and our kids beamed because they knew it was because they were so well behaved. So when you see well behaved kids out in the world? Don't be afraid to tell the parents that- it's called positive reinforcement. Use it.
Is it always perfect? Nope. We do our best and sometimes we take impromptu time outs in the van while our lunch gets cold. Oh well. Parenting never stops even if you're hungry. Be mindful of those around you. Be aware that just because we've been there and we know it's hard raising kids, it doesn't mean we want to hear you beg and plead with your child to stop because we both know that's not going to work. And for god sakes- if you say no on something... stick with it. Don't give into your kid because you aren't doing them or yourself any favors, you've just set a dangerous precedent.