Someone I know posted a "tug at the heartstrings" article about judging other parents and how you don't realize it's awful to do until it happens to you. Cliff notes of the article- this mom has a two year old who came down with some mysterious illness that they were told was most likely neurological. The child had been in the hospital and was just discharged. They were in the drugstore getting him medication. The father was carrying him in some kind of carrier. A woman angrily said to the father that the child should be walking, he's old enough to walk and the father wasn't doing him any favors by carrying him. The tired and weary parents just looked at each other and decided to ignore her. She came at them again. Finally the mom said that he's sick, just got out of the hospital and can't walk. The woman wasn't really sorry, just said she didn't know and walked away. The moral of the story basically was that the mom in the story said she was upset by this incident but it also reminded her of times she judged but didn't know the whole story. So don't judge...
I agree. Keep your mouth shut in most cases of other people's children. You don't know the backstory, so you don't know what they're dealing with.
BUT- there are cases of just clear cut disregard for people around you. When you are affecting other people's environment in a negative way and you don't have to be, you don't have some tragic or special snowflake backstory, that's when we're going to have a problem. Sometimes, you're just plain out of line. Is it feelings of entitlement? I'm not sure that's even the word. Obliviousness? Rudeness? All of the above?
It seems like the school of thought that you are a special snowflake because you have more than one child. Or just that children are all so cute and fun that they should be able to do whatever they want? Or that you have more than one so others should just have to make concessions for your other kid(s)?
E takes a dance class. The waiting room set up is not really ideal. The room where the dance floor is located is not a fully separate room from the waiting area. There is a folding partition that isn't a secure "door". It can be easily pushed on or pulled back by small children. However- as parents, we know our kids, what is going to be enticing to them to play with, and we should know if our child can handle being appropriate in a waiting area situation for an hour. The set-up in this dance studio WOULD be ideal, if parents adhered to any kind of common courtesy. But they don't.
Every week I take E to this class and every week I want to jump out of my skin and scream at some of the mothers there. The age range for the class is 6-9 years old. That pretty much goes without saying that it technically is a drop off class. No parent HAS to stay. I stay because I have one kid, I've allotted that time for him, and I really am interested in watching his progress. There have been a few times where I am the only mom there for the duration of the hour long class. But most of the time, I'm there with one or two other mothers of older girls taking the class, who have little boys who are one and a half to just under two years old. BOTH of these moms let their little ones run amok, touch everything, and RUN ON TO THE DANCE FLOOR. They laugh, they chase them around the waiting room, THEY TAKE PICTURES OF THEIR KIDS RUNNING AMOK. Interestingly enough, there are around 8-10 kids in the class. These two with the small boys are the only other two besides me that ever stay! It's not like if they left they'd be the only parents who leave!
Every time, all I can do is sigh. Loudly. What I really want to do is scream- "DOES THIS LOOK LIKE A PLAYGROUND??". I haven't, but every single time, I feel like I'm having an out of body experience. I can picture myself, head exploding, just screaming like a lunatic. I do my best to convey my extreme displeasure. As the one kid is pulling on my stuff, trying to grab my iPad or my keys, the mom is giggling, I sigh, cross my arms, roll my eyes, and shake my head. Yet, nothing penetrates.
Do either of them bring something for these kids to do? No! NOTHING. That's probably the worst part. You HAVE to be there? Ok then, if that was me, I'd be armed with a bajillion things for my kid to do, snacks, a straight-jacket- whatever it takes to keep these kids from wreaking havoc in this tiny space. The one asks to have a shovel moved out of the waiting area because "he's probably going to run around and he can get hurt". What is WRONG with this scenario? How about he shouldn't be running around there in the first place! Why should they have to move their shovel?! It's a dance studio where kids are going to be dancing- not running around a waiting room pulling shovels off the wall! If you think your kid is going to be decimating a waiting room- HE SHOULDN'T BE IN THERE.
I can't imagine how one would think it's okay to use the waiting room of a class an older child is in as a play space. This isn't an inexpensive class either. I take E's extracurricular classes seriously. As if they are school. He's there for a purpose. To learn something. These little kids are distracting as they're running on to the dance floor. Even just that the kids in the class can hear their little siblings is distracting. They all start looking toward the "door", not paying attention to the teachers. It's ridiculous. Yet, every week, these moms are back, with their kids, as if they don't have a care or clue.
It's not the fault of the kids, but I just want to punt them across the floor when they're touching me, my stuff, and pulling stuff out of the cubbies in the waiting room. These moms can't even use the excuse of wanting to see their older child dance. I've yet to see either one of them be able to watch more than a minute or two of actual dancing. Why? They have to spend the entire time chasing the kids around. They literally don't have a MINUTE to watch the dancing. So WHY STAY? I'd rather drive around for an hour than chase a one and a half year old around a confined space not designed for small children to play. I wish they felt the same.
Where does this entitlement or rudeness come from? I also have to mention that almost every kid in the class is late on top of this mess in the waiting area. I don't understand this. You're PAYING for this class. Being late is disruptive to everyone else. They're working on group dances. They can't practice a group dance without the GROUP. So why can't you get your asses there on time? This kind of thing can't be blamed on having multiple children. I have plenty of friends with more than one kid that are perfectly capable of getting everywhere, especially extracurricular classes, on time. I don't know if they have the opposite feeling that they're paying so they can do whatever they want? Who knows. But I can't deal and I shouldn't have to.
I don't understand why an extracurricular activity space would be looked at as any different than a school or doctor's office or anywhere else you're supposed to have some concept of decorum and proper behavior. Although, these are probably people who would have no regard in other spaces as well. I'm pretty sure the one woman sees my hate-stares and just thinks I despise kids. I don't despise kids. I despise parents who think the world should revolve around them and their children. I might think your kid is cute in some other circumstance- a backyard party, a kiddie gym, a play space. I do not think your kid is cute when they're running around like Lord of the Flies in a place where I'm paying for a class for my own child to learn. And I definitely don't think your kid is cute when you're smiling at him as he's grabbing my umbrella and shrieking. Get your shit together!