Tuesday, February 7, 2012

decisions, decisions

today on the book i updated my status.
i know, you are shocked.

i put the following:

 I would like to conduct a survey.
Non-parents and parents -
You are in a public place, such as Target, and a child is screaming. You hear the mom say "stop screaming right now or I will take away your goldfish immediately." The child screams louder.

Which is MORE annoying?
A: The mom continues to give the child goldfish, negating the threat and not carrying through with disciplining.
B: She takes away the goldfish, following through with disciplining, but the screams get louder and more frequent.
C: Who cares and why are you asking such a ridiculous question on fb?

Thank you for your time and you may resume stalking more interesting fb content.

:::since i find myself in this situation more and more these days i truly wanted to know the answer.

from people with kids.
people without kids.
people who have older kids and may have forgotten how embarrassing kids can be.


i wanted to honestly know how people feel watching a parent dish out a threat and then follow through with it.

do people actually appreciate the effort of someone who follows through with an almost two year old in hopes of raising a non-bratty ten year old? or even worse? bratty adult?

look, i think one of the most valuable lessons you can learn as a new parent is to throw what everyone else thinks out the window and trust your gut.

for me?

that in itself has been tough.
i like people to be happy.
i tend to be a chameleon.

amp up my game here.
quiet it down there.
be funny here.
sit and just listen there.

i do care what people think.
probably more than i should.

this all had to change once i had kids.
they don't always follow the chameleon rules. this makes it tougher to keep everyone happy.

luckily, i've learned one thing i don't lack confidence in is being a mother.

maybe that is why it has been easier to shrug off criticism aimed at my parenting, than it was in the work force.
solicited or unsolicited.

it is also the reason why i don't mind being so transparent on this blog.
i want to be honest. and real.
i love my kids.
they love me.
we have hard days.
so do you.

let's help each other.
let's make each other feel not alone.

today at target.
while chloe was screaming.
as i was five minutes from the check out line.
i was done.
i had spent four thousand hours.
getting them dressed.
finding shoes. shoes that matched.
getting them in their carseats.
loading two into the shopping cart while carrying the other through the parking lot into the store.
unloading them.
and reloading them into the cart that fit three kids.
for the second time. because the first cart had a broken strap.
it makes me out of breath.
i was invested.
i wasn't walking out of the store and starting over tomorrow just to keep everyone else happy.

we were thirty minutes from lunch and with my kids? you don't mess with lunch.
that is a whole 'nother beast.
i knew i had to act. and i had to act quick.

and most importantly?
we were out of wine. i know, how does one let that happen?

as chloe screamed for the third time i simply told her::

"if you scream one more time i will take your snack away and you will not get anymore."

girlfriend went up two octaves and three decibels right as i set my first item on the check out belt.

there was a pregnant woman behind me.
i noticed she had a few toddler clothing items.
being that she was in such close proximity of my little mariah carey i felt comfort knowing she would understand.
i took the crackers away and said "i told you not to scream again or you would lose the crackers and you chose not to listen."

all hell done broke loose.

girlfriend had a full on meltdown.
the check out guy couldn't scan fast enough.
and i couldn't have been more wrong about the "understanding mother" behind me.
she was cussing me out with her eyes.
along with the elderly woman behind her.

at what point do you give up to make everyone else more comfortable?
my opinion?
you don't.

kids are smarter than you.
they know what they can and what they can't get away with.
and they like to teeter on the line with four toes on the "can't get away with side."
it's my job to bring that chubby little foot back on my side.

they prey on your fear.
and every kid knows public place = best situation for a potentially awkward showdown.
they know it. and they like it.

i get that it is annoying to hear a child scream.
trust me. my own kids screaming annoy me.
but, i also know that i am molding human beings here, yo.
and i don't want brats.
instant gratification every time makes for a bratty child.
in my humble opinion, that is.

like i've said it hear before.
it is embarrassing.
but being a parent is embarrassing. and humiliating.
but on the other side of that embarrassment is strength.
and confidence.

when i see a mother with a screaming child i hug her with my eyes, wink, give a half smile and a nod.
as if to say "you're good. you've got this. stay calm and don't let them win."

and i get it if you don't have kids?
and you want to punch me for ruining your shopping experience?
i get it.
trust me, i do.
i was a perfect parent before i had kids, too.
and my potential children would never do that in public either.
and i'm being serious, not snarky. it just doesn't always work out that way when potential children become real.

just remember, me nipping it in the bud now with a few minutes of awkwardness hopefully will result in you not having to deal with my adult child being a brat twenty years from now.

do you want to know the best part of the story?
i had my debit card in my pocket.
i got id'd.
i haven't been id'd in ten years.
i didn't even get my wine.


::p.s.:: stella just had her first chocolate chip. i'm sure if she could talk she would thank her brother and sister.


  1. I am so with you on this! I, too, do the wink and a nod when I see a mom out and about with a child in meltdown mode.

  2. Oh Mo, I can't wait until the pregnant lady behind you squeezes out a kid and that kid throws themselves on the floor in the middle of everyone and says "I can't walk, my legs are broken." I now call Avery Susan Lucie because it's obvious she's auditioning for a soap opera everyday of her life. I was the mom who would just give Av a snack because I didn't want to listen to the meltdown and it was just easier. Albert nipped that right in the bud. He stuck to his guns, she cried and kicked then I cried. He put her to bed early without any snuggle time and I would cry but then a few days later it was like she was a different child. So I hopped on his skills and it worked. She loves me no less and actually behaves, well most of the time. F those crazy bitches in line, they'll get it soon enough. Three kids under 2, they should release balloons when you walk in the door at Target. Next time, turn to the people in line and say "what would you do in this situation?" make them feel uncomfortable. Then hand them a card with your blog address on it.

  3. Again, one of the best ever! I hear ya' baby & totally agree. If anyone questions your parenting skills have them ring me up and I'll set them straight. By the way, I was in the checkout line the other day when a Mom of 3 (one in a Bjorn & 2 toddlers) was behind me. It was close to lunchtime so the older ones were beginning to melt down. The old lady behind her started talking to the walkers and telling them if they didn't behave they wouldn't get their lunch!! I very quickly told the Mom to go before me and could see the immediate gratitude in her eyes. I thought of you the whole time!!
    Also, well said Lauren.

  4. oh sista, i got anxiety reading the blog..i'm do you not just run to the wine aisle, grab a bottle, & tell the munchkins I'm done?? VERY impressive, way to hold your ground. ugh, i have been there, when it is meltdown city, right in the middle of the store. ooh rayne knows how to show mama some drama. I totally agree w/Lauren's comment. Next time ask the ppl behind you if the they want to take over. we will see who has the last laugh.

  5. thanks for not raising bratty kiddos.....i'm not either. and despite how embarrassing it might be at the time, bratty kids and teenagers are more embarrassing than screaming toddlers, in my opinion. sorry about the wine...that sucks.

  6. Marissa! Best line ever!
    "i was a perfect parent before i had kids, too.
    and my potential children would never do that in public either."

    I agree with you 100%!!!!!! You are an awesome mother, I don't care what others think! sometimes I use to tell Gage to look at everyone looking at him because he wasn't listening or being bad, it would work to my benefit most of the time, Just do what you tell them you are going to do because later girlfriend it will pay off and they'll know when you are serious ;o/

  7. Oh we have all been there and will be again (unfortunately!) You are doing the right thing by sticking to your guns and not pacifying your kids with bribes to keep strangers happy (even though it is SO embarrassing!) Well done you...keep it up!! And stuff those people who don't give you the encouraging wink..their parents raised bratty kids!! xxx

  8. I would totally follow through. You're right, we can't let them win and they know what buttons to push and how far to go. Very smart. I imagine I would just smile at everyone and pretend I don't hear a thing. On the other hand, if mine had been doing that the whole time in the store, maybe I wouldn't. I'd give my famous "look of death" to anyone judging me with their eyes. Keep molding you children the way you do. You are doing great. Thanks for your posts. I love them.

  9. Loved this post...well I love all your posts. My son will be 1 this Saturday and I fear my day of meltdowns will be coming soon. Thanks for your honesty. I cant stand when moms try to make their life sound perfect...which then makes you think you most be doing everything wrong bc yours isnt. I appreciate REAL life and REAL people. Thank you.

  10. Great post! Thank you for your honesty. I'm right here with you.
    You're good. You've got this. Stay calm and don't let them win.