Do you want to tell me your life story? Do you think we'd get along and be bffs? You're not alone. I'm not saying that I feel that way about you, but there is at least one person- usually a waitress or cashier- everywhere I go that thinks I want to know all about their drama and ridiculousness. I don't. It isn't that I'm not social, or that I don't love being with people, I just don't have time or energy for asinine, elementary bullshit, especially not when it belongs to strangers. Today at the pet store for instance, I can tell you when that woman bought her house, where she moved to and from, her relationship drama, all about her dogs and their different personalities, and also what bra size she wears. Sadly, this is not a joke. I'm not sure what it is about being the woman with three toddlers climbing in and out of the cart, who is constantly saying, "No! Stop it! Put that down!", that makes people think that I want to spend thirty or so minutes nodding my head and saying "mm hmm", but let me assure you: I don't. I can think of dozens of other ways I'd like to spend my time- including, but not limited to, waterboarding, intense FBI questioning, hunger strikes, and bamboo fingernail torture.
As if the pet store was not enough, I also had this experience with our waitress at lunch. Are any of you parents? If so, you've probably had this happen to you. You show up with your kids and you're trying to get their order straight, open crayons, check and see if someone has to go potty and your waitress stands there and tells you that her kids are that same age, she has boys, blah, blah, blah. It's not that I don't want to chat with my waitress, and I understand that she's trying to be chatty and get a great tip, but here's the deal. I already knew I wasn't the only parent in the world, and I assumed, from being present in my kids classrooms, that they were not the only children on the planet their age. I also know that if you have children there's about a 50/50 chance that your kids are the same gender as mine. I don't need a conversation about this. If you are a waitress or waiter who has kids, then you should know that the first 10 minutes of being in a restaurant are busy, if you want a good tip, don't interrupt me when I'm trying to parent. If you feel that I simply must know all about your little snot nosed brats, cause mine aren't enough for me, please wait to tell me until you're dropping off my bill- I am much less busy at that point of the meal and would be far more generous with my listening skills.
After lunch we took the kids for haircuts. This was the highlight of the errands. We just go to one of those $10 haircut places and sign in, but the one we go to is incredibly awesome. When the kids get cuts they enter into the computer what the kids had done. This means that I can walk in, tell them who needs a cut, and they get them in a chair and do it, or at least usually it means this. Four people in my family got done and we were in and out in 25 minutes. Incredible. However, here again, I'm confronted with chatting. I'm busily running back and forth between three chairs and carrying on three different conversations, some of which are taking place across the entire room. Do I care that you had a picnic last weekend? Nope, sure don't. But the kicker for that trip? The girl cutting my 5 year old's hair telling me that she had a son who was 5 so she knows all about that age. Like all five year olds are the same and don't have their own individual personality. *gigglesnort* Apparently her five year old doesn't like to be spoken to because she completely ignored my daughter the entire time she was in the chair, this is not impressive. Treat my human child like a person, please. I'm not sure if maybe this is too progressive, but I figure that my kids are big enough to pick what they want done with their hair and I always make sure to tell whoevers doing the cutting this very thing. "Oh, just let them choose. It's not my head, I don't care what they pick." Yet each and every time I have to be called back to the chair for every little decision regardless of what my child is saying.
Do you want her hair parted on the side?
I don't know, does SHE want her hair parted on the side? And then I hear, well, she said yes. Ok, so why are you asking me?? Even when you tell people what you want they're too busy telling you about their kid to listen. I hope to God I don't ever turn into that parent.
I read an article the other day that was shockingly true. It was about those parents that just let their kids run amok and don't bother parenting. We know those parents, right? I have a huge dislike, borderline hatred, for those parents. That said, when you teach your kids that the world revolves around them you do them a great disservice. Eventually they're gonna grow up and become part of that world that's supposed to worship them, and you know what? That world doesn't think they're the greatest thing since sliced bread. In fact, in most cases, that world doesn't even know they exist and they're gonna have to follow the rules and work hard to be noticed. When did you plan on teaching them that part of it? 10? 16? 18? How about right from birth? I'm not saying you have to be mean and treat them like they're worthless, but making them feel like the sun shines out of their nether region is also a no-no. The other thing I don't get about "helicopter parents" (look it up, it's a real term) is the complete control they like to have over their kids. I have enough issues dealing with my own stress, I can't possibly even be paid to care what kind of haircut you choose, whether you like yogurt or not, or whether you're ordering chocolate milk. I feel that letting my kids make their own decisions and not questioning that, most of the time anyway so long as there is no danger, is showing them that I believe in them and I know they're capable of doing things for themselves. Doing every single thing for your kid teaches them that you think they can't make it on their own, they're too dumb to make their own decisions, etc. This also is true, there have been countless studies, look that up while you're at it. Do I claim to be a perfect parent? Oh heck no! I screw up on a daily basis, sometimes in huge ways, but at the end of the day I'm glad I let my kids be their own people, as long as their appropriate about it, and that they feel good about the people they are.
This is the link for the article I referenced. It's called, 'Permissive Parents: Curb Your Brats', and I think it's spot on- http://articles.cnn.com/2011-07-05/opinion/granderson.bratty.kids_1_airtran-flight-kid-free-tantrum?_s=PM%3AOPINION