Parents: You’ve been there. You’ve ALLLL been there. Don’t lie to me and say you haven’t. You’re in the grocery store and your kids are being little demons. You tell them time and time again to stop and they do, but it lasts a solid 5 minutes before they’re at it again. You’re clenching your jaw and making your way through your list while ignoring your kids as they
ask beg for everything damn corn syrup-laden snack item on the shelf. You think you’re doing great until you’re organizing your wallet when your precious angels start bickering over who gets to hold the receipt when you suddenly snap and scold them, telling them to knock it off. Then you look up and realize that everyone in the vicinity is staring at you and you feel like you’re being judged harder than Kate Middleton.
Okay, full disclosure time: That person in the above story? It was totally me. About 95% of the time both the girls are great when I take them grocery shopping. I’ll toss them a snack (the store we frequent offers fresh fruit or a cookie to their “young shoppers) and I can usually get my shopping done with very few issues.
I don’t know what the issue was during this particular trip, but everyone (myself included) seemed a bit testy. Isla wanted to buy every snack item possible, Norah insisted on holding every item I put in our car, and by the time we were at the checkout they were at each other’s throats. I couldn’t nose breathe for much longer but I knew we were almost done.
It wasn’t until I was putting my change into my wallet when they started screaming at one another when I finally lost it and the “Mom Voice” came out. I snapped at them. When I looked up, I saw a dozen heads turn the other way and knew that I had just drawn a crapload of attention to myself.
I’ll admit that at first I felt a little awkward and embarrassed by my outburst. No one ever sets out to be “that” parent in the public but sometimes it happens. I’m sure I was judged and labeled for being an awful parent by some of those shoppers, but I hope that the majority of them will take into consideration that they have no idea who I am and what was going on in my life at that point in time. I know I try my hardest to think that way when I witness similar situations.
The point of this whole post is to tell you that it’s okay to lose your shit in public. Believe me, I subtly told them to behave numerous times before raising my voice but when kids are in “the zone” chances are they’re not going to listen to a Snow White-like voice telling them to behave; sometimes you have to break out the Mom Voice to get the point across to your kids.
It’s unfortunate that the “voice” is usually the only thing strangers hear when you’re scolding your kids. Much like that photo of the Duchess of Cambridge, we’re judged on a single event and criticized for not being able to keep it together. That’s not okay. In our social media-obsessed world there’s too much emphasis on showing off how “perfect” your life and your kids are, and I believe this is affecting how we expect other parents to act and react while in public. We forget that there are as many low points in raising your kids as there are high points because we always attempt to emphasize and show off the good in our lives.
By no means am I saying that we need to start shaming our kids on Instagram, nor am I saying to dial back the #blessed posts either. I’m merely suggesting that we perhaps take a moment or two to remember not to judge if/when you see a parent struggling and scolding her kids in public. They’re trying their damn best to keep their cool so forgive them for not being a picture of social media perfection. Not having a screaming kid > Image of perfect parenting. ;)