Ooh, I’m rude. I think that sometimes but so far, coming up to five years of DD and her funny behaviour, I’ve managed to keep that thought to myself. I’ve rolled my eyes or given people the evil eye but I have heroically managed to avoid telling someone to shut up if they’re not in my situation.
That said, I felt a twinge of recognition when reading Danielle Sparks’ Heckler column yesterday. Go on, click on the link and read it. If you’re a parent, you will probably recognise that feeling. Of course, if you’re self-centred and pompous and only remember bringing up children who were perfect from Day 1 and you beat them with the jug cord regularly, you will of course feel nothing for the mother and feel she had it coming because she had the audacity to take a child to Ikea instead of keeping the child at home in a quiet room until primary school.
I’ve had enough of people being rude about kids having a ‘moment’ or a tantrum in public. I’m not happy when it happens during a movie unless it’s the Mums and Bubs session at the local cinema (specifically designed for kids who have those sorts of moments). But shopping? Hey, parents have to shop at some point, not all can arrange some convenient home delivery, and kids have to get used to different groups of people, crowds, shops, atmospheres and so on.
The drawback is that occasionally a kid will chuck a wobbly, sometimes an A-grade wobbly, and people will give you “The Look”. I remember it. It’s the “How dare you” look, the “Thank God I’m childfree” look, and the “I deserve peace and quiet and have never, ever created a fuss in my entire, perfect, blame-free life”.
Thank goodness for the women and men I’ve seen at the local supermarket where kid-sized meltdowns often happen after tiring or hot days. These are the people who resolutely ignore the noise coming from the aggrieved child – thank you. And sometimes there can be a gentle word: “You’re doing OK.”
Yes, tantrums and wailing children are horrible things to hear. No, these tantrums are not designed solely to hurt people’s ears. No, it doesn’t mean we’re bad parents or the child is defective.
And if you have the nerve to say “When I have children, they won’t do that”, I may then have a hard time struggling to not say “If you don’t have a kid, just be quiet.”