I’ve wanted to get this out here for a while, but kept putting it off. Maybe I don’t want to risk sounding like an asshole (excuse the language on my normally “family friendly” blog today) or possibly parenting has pushed me into a more passive-aggressive mode. Whatever the case may be, I need to get this of my chest.
What happened in society that we have decided to allow ourselves as adults the liberty to say anything, to anyone, at any time? Do not misinterpret me as I do feel there is a place and time when honesty needs to be addressed. However, at what point did parents stop teaching children to be respectful? When did the phrase “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything” become a thing of the past?
Shortly before I moved to our new town, I was in the grocery store with my boys. Lil Mister is now 3 and LJ was around 16 months at the time. It was an evening after work and with Hubby not around, I didn’t have much choice but to load up the boys and view the city lights.
It was May and starting to cool down in preparation for the mild winter our old town is accustomed. The nights were coming earlier and to be honest after 6 weeks without Hubby….my nerves were coming shorter too. My boys can sense this, you know. Kids know when things are…off, even if we do our best to hide it. They see through hypocrisy better than anyone.
After quickly grabbing them up after work and getting to the grocery store, I loaded them in the trolley and did my best to make our trip quick and sweet. I threw a couple of needed items in the trolley and grabbed some bananas and yogurt for the boys’ snacks the rest of the week.
Standing in line at the till, I knew it was already getting late. They are beginning to rub their eyes and the guilt is setting in that I had to take them out in the evening as opposed to our normal routine. That was when the blow came. Lil Mister was crying, not screaming or throwing a tantrum, simply crying because I refused to buy a chocolate. The cashier then felt it her right to say, “yes, but you are naughty” directly to my son.
But you, miss cashier, what made you think you had the right to call my children naughty? Where in your life were you given a pass to tell anyone anything that crossed that narrow mind of yours?
Were my children running up and down the aisles of the shop? Were they screaming at the top of their lungs or throwing items across the till? Even if that had been the circumstance, who are you?
Yes, my boys were making a small scene over a chocolate I refused to buy. My boys are toddlers and not aware of the “proper” means of self-expression. And for your information, this is something we, like every other decent parent in the world, are teaching our children!
What would you suggest I do? Must I give them the chocolate simply because it would make your experience as our cashier more pleasant? Or should I have walked out with them very well knowing that we had no bread or milk in our house for them? Maybe you’re an active disciplinary and believe in physical punishment….would you suggest I should have spanked them in the middle of the store for a small crying fit?
Did you for one moment consider the circumstances they were under? Their father, who is their best friend, was currently living away from our home for work. They saw him maybe one night a week! They were plunged into a new routine as Mommy learnt to balance this single life style for a few weeks. Their house, their place of comfort and security, had been turned upside down in the midst of packing and preparing to move. They were taken out of routine for a quick trip to the grocery store when normally they would have been bathed and sitting down to dinner.
Yes, as an adult, it is probably hard for you to understand how upsetting this is to a toddler, but for my boys….the trip to the grocery store was just the icing on the cake in an already distraught situation!
However, my larger concern is that for the next 20 minutes my 3 year old felt the need to repeatedly ask me “I’m not naughty?” He felt confused and quite frankly hurt by your unfitted remark. Caught in the artless mind-set of your self-absorbed world, you failed to realize that he not only heard you but understood and acknowledged what you said.
Yes, his behaviour was unacceptable in my eyes. Yes, it was uncalled for and deserved attention. However, as his mother, it did not deserve attention at that moment! His behavior at that time needed disregarding until I could address him properly and patiently. Honestly, his crying was better than me losing my temper over a simple fit of crying. Sometimes as parents, we have to let it go at that moment in order to make it more than a bit of discipline and rather an instruction for how we act!
Do you even have children? Do you understand that you took an opportunity of teaching away from me and my child? Because of your remarks about his behavior, I spent the next moments consoling him and explaining that you were rude rather than instructing him that his behavior was inappropriate and that next time we do it differently!
The point I am making is that you are not in a place as a community service member to ridicule, pass judgement, or reprimand my child! Obviously, you did not take the time or concern as a young adult to learn the proper respect in public but let me educate you now.
As a cashier, your job is very important. Without your job, I would have to juggle my children and doing it myself. You are a huge convenience to me. There would be thousands of people across our country without jobs and therefore, I’m thankful that our country has not switched to the self-tills as many other. However, your job is to ring up my items. It is not to comment on what I purchase or how much I spend or to pass judgement on whether my children sit as statues or express themselves in a very common manner!
As a person in public, your job is to be considerate and courteous. This applies to us all! If my child had been throwing items, making a mess, screaming at the top of his lungs or any other outburst as such, I would have set my trolley aside and kindly excused ourselves to the bathroom where his discipline would have occurred in a manner both respectful to him, myself and the people around me. Never is it my place to judge another person for any reason! When I see an elderly person, barely able to see trying to reverse….it is my duty as a decent human to allow them room not to judge their situation! When I see a single father, struggling with his two children while trying to decide which nappies he is supposed to buy, my job is to give a nod of encouragement not criticize that his back was turned for 2 seconds!
I feel sorry for you, not my child. Because in life, my son will face ridicule and judgement and will someday have to learn how to deal with this. I feel sorry for you because your verbal diarrhea will one day cost you more than my post. It is going to cost you respect.
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