Monday, October 25, 2010

Hey lady! Parent much?

I try to follow the mantra of Judge not lest ye be judged. (Matthew 7:1) Especially when it comes to parenting.  I figure when I pass by another parent and see a moment in time, I don't know what preceded that situation, I don't know what special needs that child might or might not have, and I don't know what stresses that parent might be under. 


I also have a knack for assessing people's character.  I don't pre-judge, but I am rather quick to determine "what's up."  It's a handy skill and part of what makes me "smarter than the average cookie."

"What's up, lady?"

This past Saturday I was selling some kids items at a mom-to-mom sale when a mom approached my aisle with her stroller with babe and toddler.

Every mom-seller from 10 tables around watched in disbelief as she dragged her toddler on one of those child harnesses down every aisle.   Now, you might think the child was tantruming.... nope.  She was gaming, manipulating, along for the ride.  We were in a gym with a hardwood floor: she was being slide along by mom on her butt past dozens of tables and dozens of other mothers.

That blur is the young girl dragging herself away from mom as her latest attempt to get her mother's attention, and mom pulling her back, absentmindedly.
This is the child being dragged down the aisles by the child harness (leash) by mom with the stroller in front. 

This is me trying not to pass judgement...

After I took those blurry pictures, the moms next to me asked if I had really taken pictures with my cell phone.  When I said I had, we had a long discussion about how we could not believe how that mom could drag her child like that.  And how the child was the one "winning the battle of wills" with a smirk on her face as she was dragged down the aisles.  Just bizarre.

The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Time Mom


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Jennifer said...

Holy Cow...I hate those harnesses on a good some attention to your kid...teach them how to behave & you won't even need one!

Diane said...

Unbelievable! I too try not to pass judgement but it's REALLY hard not to when I see things like that!

That One Mom said...

I used to tell people that would harness their kids to get a dog. IMO, it's lazy parenting. THAT woman had some serious issues.

Jackie said...

Holy cow. That's nuts...& lazy at best.

Rachel M. said...

well you have 2 kids so you know how hard it is to manage but yours are older now so I have to ask, what did you do when your children were difficult in public?

I have a 2 month old who's usually strapped to my chest in a Bjorn and a 2.4 year old who does the following:

- after entering the first door at Target she lays down, it freaks everyone out coming behind us as they think shes been in an accident. I stand over her and talk her into getting up

- hides under clothing racks if we are near clothing

- runs circles through clothing racks - I'm getting a bell for her shoes b/c I freak when I lose sight of her

- has a screaming fit if I put her in the basket or seat of cart, even with cushion pad added so her walking is necessary & while I am strong enough to carry both kids I can't push a cart and hold both.

I try to only shop at the beginning of the day when I'm fresh, treat it as a "play" experience for Charlotte & I have a constant supply of gummies for bribery, still even on my best day I get tired.

My guess is the women you saw is beaten down, tired and overwhelmed.

kt moxie said...

Rachel -- Yep. My kids are older (oldest one is in first grade, the other is 3). I've had them act out in public. If they do, they get a warning. If they continue, then my plans change. I leave. I tell them that they are making it so that we cannot get the errand done, so we have to leave. No fun for any of us, but they learn the lesson. At least when I have done this, my kids have really been upset with themselves that they ruined mom's shopping trip, and that sticks with them. And, in general, my kids are good in public. I rarely have to resort to leaving (the last time was at least a year ago). I might have to give a warning; usually I just remind them to be good beforehand. They have learned the consequences of their actions.

However, in this case -- this kid was NOT tantruming. That's what was so bizarre. She was just trying to get her mom's attention. I felt bad for the kid -- she was just acting like a toddler. Her mom was just dragging her along in order to keep shopping. And the girl was "playing along" -- like it was a game -- being dragged down the aisle. The mom showed no signs of frustration or tiredness. Just dragging this toddler down the aisle so she could keep shopping. Like I said -- bizarre.

I really don't know what this women was going through. And I really do try to keep a good perspective on these things -- this child was not being hurt, at least not physically. If the kid *had been* tantruming, I would have had more sympathy -- at least then there would have been some kind of bad behavior from the child that the mother was reacting to. But the girl was just being a normal active kid.

I just *can't understand* what would drive a mother to drag her child down an aisle... repeatedly.

Rachel M. said...

I honestly think some parents become zombies, it's the only rational explanation!

kt moxie said...

Rachel -- you might be right! We might have another category of motherhood: Zombie-mothers. Just in time for Halloween!

Mo 'Betta said...

What can be said for that but ooooh emmmm geee!!

Rambling Rachel said...

Several times in the last few days, I've seen this quote: "Evil prevails when good men do nothing?" I think this statement applies and prompts the question: why was this mother's behavior allowed in the community of women?

I remember being a shrew in the grocery store, impatient with my children, mumbling angrily. A nearby woman said something--I don't remember exactly what (maybe "time goes quickly. It's going to be OK.") But I was able to stop and really think about my behavior.

If this woman continues to ignore her child, treating her inhumanely and demonstrating that her child has little worth--how will that impact the community? How will that child treat others as a parent, teacher, manager, spouse, healthcare worker, customer service rep, friend, stranger on the street? Will evil (or at the very least brokenness) prevail because we sit by and later blog our outrage?

I think a good conversation to have is--how to support other parents, to address child abuse and neglegence, help other parents when they're not at their best. What works? What doesn't? When to step in and say something? Sometimes it may be futile and result in a hostile response. If hostility and anger is the result, does it make our effort any less?

kt moxie said...

Thank you Rambling Rachel. I think you are right. I did think "Should I say something?" But, I didn't. No one else did either. And we were in a room filled with dozens of moms with young children. Moms who understand. She dragged her toddler through the entire building, and no one said anything.

I was not angry at this women. It was just disbelief. I think the other moms around me were also stunned into disbelief. I'm still not sure what I would say to her to affect her behavior.

I will add -- there is a "unsaid rule" that you don't tell other parents how to deal with their children -- especially strangers in public. Many people are very defensive even when someone says something well-meaning.

It's almost a catch-22.

Rambling Rachel said...

I'm really glad you didn't take offense at my comment. Sometimes I'm the one observing poor parenting and just calling a friend to talk about horrible he/she is.

It is a catch22. We should blog more about the topic.

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