i should probably wait until i have calmed down about this instead of shooting off right now, but i can't help it. i'm loving this blog as a place to vent, even if i end up sometimes saying things i might not say after some careful thought.
we just got home from the park -- took the kids so they could play, and i met a couple of friends for some much-needed chatting time. well, not once, not twice, but three times i witnessed some other uptight mothers actually having the nerve to correct or scold my children. it's happened before, so i didn't have to waste time doubting what my eyes were seeing. this is something that really, really bugs me.
my children are not perfect. they do all the things normal kids do at the park . . . i've seen it happen again and again. you know, those huge offenses like sitting for too long in one spot and thus preventing another kid from passing. or even being slightly bratty and telling some kid to wait his turn or whatever. yeah, they do things they probably shouldn't do, but this is life on the playground, right?
well, three times different women went up to lindsey to scold her about something stupid like that. maybe some of you other mothers can help me understand why it is that these women are, 1) having a stroke about nothing, and 2) feeling like they have the right to correct my kid. i would never dream of doing that. if i noticed a child doing something that really needed to be reported, i would say, "hey kid. where's your mom?" and i would ask the parent to handle the problem, showing respect for that person and the child. i don't feel like i have the right to discipline anyone else's kids, and i really don't like anyone else doing that to mine. it sort of makes me crazy mad.
here i sit, not 20 feet from where my kids are playing, and i have to quietly watch these uptight women scolding my kids. MY kids. i think i'm pretty good about staying on my kids to make sure they don't break rules or hurt or even inconvenience other children, so it's not like they are running wild, acting like fools while i turn a blind eye. if i happen to miss something that is going on, it makes me feel pretty terrible, so i try to pay close attention. but now that i have four kids, and joseph thinks he's grown and able to come and go as he pleases, it's a lot more difficult to keep constant watch on all of them. so i occasionally miss something. but i think it's incredibly disrespectful for an adult to discipline someone else's child without trying to talk to the parent and let her handle it.
my friends kept telling me i should go over and just tell the lady, "i got it, thanks." but i know myself well enough to know i couldn't do that without coming across as angry, and the last thing i would want is some kind of confrontation. so i just had to ignore it and then call lindsey over to talk to her about it. i told the kids on the way home that they need to be more considerate of others at the playground, but that if there is ever a time when a grownup starts lecturing them about something, they are to immediately come right over to me. then i'll handle it.
this is an ongoing sore spot for me, which is why i'm so sensitive about it. i've had some trouble with the father of a boy my son plays with. i've overheard him absolutely reaming my son about touching his kid's toy without asking, instead of coming to find me and asking me to talk to the boy about it. (of course, this playmate was constantly -- and i mean constantly -- playing with toys that belong to us without asking, but parents rarely seem to consider the possibility that their own little angels might be at fault.) it got to the point, after a couple of incidents like that, where i was fighting mad and ready to go several rounds with this dad. but i didn't; somehow i restrained myself. i'm passionate about my children, and i know any encounter would get heated fast. i am pretty uncomfortable now about letting my son play with this kid if i know his dad will be around.
i'm not sure if this is a utah phenomenon or if it's pretty standard, but it really bugs me. in fact, i don't think i'll take my kids to the park again anytime soon. i guess it's better to avoid the situation altogether than to risk saying something i know i shouldn't say.
the overarching problem i have with this is the disrespect, but i also think it's ridiculous that parents expect that the playground is like their own personal backyard where their kid is king and gets to set the rules. and how about we let our kids interact with each other and learn to handle the situations that naturally arise. no, don't let anyone get hurt, but isn't it something they need to learn? heaven knows some of these adults could use some playground-style justice in their lives.
but that's just me.