Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Somehow my children have survived this long.

I just got home from the grocery store and had yet another experience where I was made to feel like a completely unfit mother who has absolutely no business having children of my own. I'm a little sick of having these experiences, but don't know how to go about reacting to them or alleviating them - unless I just never take my kids to the store with me.

Here is what happened:

I dropped Nora off at preschool and continued on to the grocery store with Ryann and Georgia. I don't normally do my major grocery shopping with more than one child at a time, however, I just needed a couple of things (milk, buy one get one free pot roast, baking stuff - you know, just a couple of things that turn into a basket-ful). We grabbed a cart and as per our usual routine, Ryann goes in the basket and Georgia sits in the seat.

We're cruising along, getting our couple of things and eventually Georgia turns around in the seat. Fine. Ryann has been standing the whole time in the basket and flies from one side to the other as we turn corners. Ahhhh, now Georgia is also standing in the seat and holding onto the bar.

And just so you know - this is typical and I am very, very careful with both of them doing this. I have found that it is less stressful for me to allow them to stand and do these things while I carefully push the cart and keep a hand on Georgia the whole time than to insist over and over and over again that they sit down. The whole sitting down thing for either one of them will certainly involve lots of crying and tantrums and lots of firm words and warnings from me, so I prefer to be careful and let them stand if they want. I have been doing this since Ryann was Georgia's age and she insisted on surfing in the seat - I have years of experience in this regard;)

And now that you all think that I'm completely unfit, I'll continue with the story...

We've made it through the entire grocery store now and are looking at the small gift basket displays so I can pick something out for my dogsitter who will be sitting twice over the holidays. We are right next to a huge display of champagne bottles and Ryann almost reaches over and grabs one, but since I am the alert and aware mother that I am, I quickly redirect her hands and her attention to something else and get her the heck away from the champagne bottle display.

I'm looking at the gift baskets... one hand on Georgia who is sitting in the seat and an ear on Ryann who is doing exactly what she has been doing the whole time we were there (playing with the food that is in the cart). A woman comes running from two aisles away and grabs Ryann and starts spewing things about how she was about to fall (she wasn't) and how "the floor will really hurt your head - I guarantee it." I thank her and she leaves. I had some other choice things to say to her, however, I held my tongue. I'm guessing she had some other things she wanted to share with me, but my demeanor told her she'd best be moving on her way.

I have this all the time. This time was a bit worse and more extreme than others (as in the lady's attitude was a bit worse this time), but it happens a lot. Do I really look like a completely ditsy, unable to care for my children type of woman? Do I look too young? too irresponsible? too neglectful? too unaware of my surroundings? What is it? Or is it simply the neurosis of these older women?

And as an aside - while I'm not meaning to offend anyone who happens to be in this age group, it does tend to be women in their 50's who do this to me. Women in their 40's generally look at the girls, smile and very sweetly (and patronizingly) say something along the lines of "Honey, you'd better sit down, you don't want to fall and get hurt." Women in their 60's tend to look at the girls, look at me, smile, tell me how cute they are and continue on their way. But the women in their 50's seem to have trouble keeping their opinions about my mothering skills to themselves - and they don't come right out and say things, it is more of the passive aggressive comments that they say to the girls that are specifically designed to let me know that they think I'm doing something wrong.

So tell me - how am I supposed to react? Have you had any situations like this? Am I being hyper-sensitive? (I normally don't really care, but this woman kind of ticked me off because her attitude was so judgemental and condescending) Any thoughts on the age difference and difference in attitudes? Am I the only one?


April 3:11 PM  

I have people correct me too when I am in the store. One time I stepped 4 feet away from my cart and someone scolded me for leaving the kids alone. Sorry, I was right there and there was nothing to worry about! In any case, biting your tongue (in my opinion) is really the only way to handle it. Truthfully, nothing you might say to them is going to change their thoughts on it and it might encourage them that they were right to question you. At least you can walk away with your dignity and YOU know that your kids are all in good hands! By the way, I always have a kid in the cart and a kid in the seat standing up. Will just is determined to stand up in the seat so I just keep a good eye on him too! It all works!

Jennifer 9:45 PM  

at least she didn't fall... :(
I was pregnant w/ #3 when #2 decided he would fall head first out of the buggy. I scooped him up and headed out the door and a woman stopped me NOT to tell me I was a bad mother but to tell me that I should sue Wal-mart. After giving her an ear full about how she is the reason milk is 4.97 a gallon I made my merry way to the doctor's office.

melissa :) 9:52 PM  

Hmm. I have lots to say about this, but I'll just mention a few. :)

#1. No one should ever touch your child. No one. If anyone ever touches my child, I will be touching them. (yes, there's that anger management class I need again).

#2. Like Jennifer, Cade fell out of the basket too. I also let my child stand up in the basket part. Not the seat though. Anyway, when Cade was about 2, I was checking out & he leaned over to touch something & Lord have mercy, there he went. Yea, those floors are hard & he hurt his head. A little. He was completely fine before we even left the store.

#3. My all time favorite which I use ALL the time. "I'm sorry, is this child mine, or yours?" Enough said.


carrie 11:00 PM  

First off, you crack me up!! Who the heck cares what other people think anyway?!? I remember when Kylie was about a month old and some lady told me that she was too young to be out and about. I was wondering who in the heck was supposed to get the groceries then? I don't know why some people think that it's their job to point out what they seem to think other people are doing wrong. Don't they have enough in their own life to keep them occupied? I'm babbling now so I'm going to quit. But, Jana, you're a wonderful mom. And give me about 6 hours notice and I'll be there to beat up anyone who says anything differently!

melissa :) 11:30 PM  

Yippee! I'm rubbing off on Carrie! LOL! ;)

missy 7:02 AM  

Carrie, I can drive!

Just snub 'em. Or smile sweetly, you know that shut up or I'll hurt you smile and if they still don't leave you alone call me and carrie!

Sam is a store screamer. No matter what I do we always have a least one meltdown in the store. This one time I swear everyone in there had perfect children because they looked at me like we had three heads. I was so mad I didn't even want Sam to stop. I got really frustrated and decided after that it wasn't worth my time thinking about it.

Jen 2:56 PM  

That's it, I'm calling DCFS on you. HA! My favorite is people who comment on what you should or should not do when they DO NOT HAVE CHIDLREN!! I always smile sweetly and say, "Oh, is that what your peditrician says?"

I also agree with Melissa. Do not touch my kid. In any way. GGRR.

Cousin Jen 5:07 PM  

I had an experience at the place our kids take swimming lessons. After our lesson, I went in the hot tub with our 2-year old. I went in and she sat on the edge and dipped her toes in. This grouchy looking 50-plus woman glared at me awhile until she lectured me on the physiological changes your body goes through in a hot tub and that it isn't safe for my child was in there. I just said that I know what I am doing and she is safe. Hello! I have a college degree, I'm an RN, and I'm a smart Mom. Leave me alone! (& where are the 50-plus women replying to your blog Jana? I really want to know what is up!)

Heaven Sent 10:00 PM  

This has yet to happen to me, but I don't know how I'll react when it does... You held your tounge, and I'm very proud of you for that. Not sure I could have held back... I do find it hilarious that everyone is an expert in the parenting department. Drives me nuts!!

(Then again, I know I secretly think I know everything now that I have a child, but I just choose to keep it to myself! :)

Sgt 3:53 PM  

@Cousin Jen: If someone is mentioning that the hot tub gives them psychological changes. You want to grab your child and run. God knows what they did in that water.

As for the "free parenting" try being a man for a while. Well, not literally, but you know what I mean. Apparently as a man, I just don't know what I am doing and women feel the need to instruct. As if after 4 children I just don't get it yet.

And oh yes.. gotta love those advisors with no children.

one hot momma 8:35 AM  

ok, you had me in your corner until the 40ish comments...I'm rounding that number, just a couple more weeks to go. ok, well I guess I'm a bit testy about the age thing right now. I've been where you are, I've done the let them stand thing, even surfing on the side of the cart almost pulling it over on top of themselves. I've had the lady run over and stop me too...I just don't want to be one of the running ladies, I'm not ready to turn that corner yet!
So, you are NOT a bad mommy! You're the best kind of mommy, the kind that lets her kids make decisions for themselves while keeping a watchful eye to make sure they don't go too far. I know you had it under control! Keep up the good work with your kids! I'll just go and sulk a while over the 40 thing, really, it's me not you!

heid ijo 11:00 AM  

i too have watched my littleone topple headlong over the front end of the basket part of the cart - landed flat on his back after flipping heals over head. i was so gladhe had a coat on for extra padding but it scared the fire out of me! i was secretly relieved that no one seemed to see it - he was terrified. after that he ALWAYS has to sit in the cart. screams or not. if i'm going to the store for a long time i try to bring snacks OR (get this) :) i pick up something IN the store and open it before i pay for it (and YES, i DO actually pay for it). :)

melissa and sgt are cracking me up. :)

i am guessing these mom's mean well and just want to help... maybe they've lost just enough of their "care what other people think" to step up when they think we need it.

i did get pretty ticked at a lady (in the older than 50 category though) who was staring at seth - talking to him NOT me (now is that passive aggressive or what!) about how pink his cheeks were and how hot he was and how those footie (light cotton) jammies might be too hot)... here's the scoop. we'd gone from home in the middle of a texas summer (just trust me - it's HOT) to an air conditioned car, drove, oh, about 2-3 miles - 3 or 4 tops. got out of the AIR CONDITIONED CAR and headed into the walmart - which didn't have what i needed so we turned right back around to leave and stopped by the soda machines - where this lady was. she sees his scarlet red cheeks (which he gets INSTANTLY in warmth, just like his daddy - making it look more severe than it was) and starts talking to him about how hot he must be. PALEEEASE LADY! then AS she's walking away she says "YOU BETTER BE CAREFUL!" and turns around to keep walking. I simply said "NO THANK YOU." immature of me? ha ha! you know, if she'd have started talking to me and been in my face maybe i'd have reacted more strongly - or maybe if she asked me about his little pink cheeks i could have explained and her mind would be set at ease... it's just not right, i'm learning, to judge other families so quickly when we don't know the whole story. seth and i were going right back into our air-conditioned car back to our VERY COLD HOUSE (jas likes it very cool - thus seth was in a little cotton sleeper).... and seth's cheeks redden very easily.. he was just fine.

this is just a tough one and i hope i'm not ever that kind of person to other moms.

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