Why I don’t care if my child is ruining an activity for your child

Sometimes I think the worst part about being a parent is dealing with other parents.

Every child is different and responds to experiences and environments differently, just like people do.

I think many of us can we say have been approached by strangers with comments about our kids. Sometimes we get the good ones about how cute they are. Then, we get the ones from people think that we are supposed to lock ourselves in our homes with our strong-willed kids until they learn how to behave in public.

But the funny thing is that in order to learn how to behave in public, or how to behave during an activity, is to practice partaking in that activity and being out in the world, right? Why aren’t we born just knowing how to behave ourselves, dammit!

We, the parents, get it, kids hate grocery shopping. Kids hate banks. They hate restaurants. And commercials. And anything else that involves them to sit still, or to be quiet. That’s kids, especially young kids.

I recently signed my two-year-old up for a gymnastics class. Her pediatrician said it would be good for her, to get all of her energy out. The class was labeled “2-3 year olds.” My daughter was 2 years, 4 months old at the time. I noticed right away that other parents seem to act like the month’s matter, like, “How old is your kid?”

I usually reply, “2.”

Then, they say things like, “Mine is 30 months, he will be 3 in January.”

I always try to process in my mind how that matters. Your kid is fucking 2. Mine will be 3 next May, big shit.  They are both fucking 2.

My daughter’s first day at gymnastics, she was excited. She was wild. She was bouncing off the walls. Again, she is 2 years old.

Ten minutes into the class, the teacher gave me that squinty eyed glare from behind the glass. The glare said, “Come deal with your pain in the ass kid,” without having said an actual word.

While the teacher and the three other two-year-olds in the class were stretching and standing still on their circular mat’s, my kid was running in circles around them. She pointed to everything in the room and asked, “What’s this?” Like I said, she is 2 and it was her first day. She was the only new kid this round.

I went into the room and redirected her back to the class activities. But my two-year-old refused to wait her turn and continued to cheer to herself and dance in circles.

The teacher then ignored my kid. She picked her up and just removed her from the mat while the others did tumble salts. At this point, being excited and hyper turned into being upset and hysterical.

Then came the meltdown…

I ran inside to soothe her. After I calmed her down in the hallway and sent her back in the room to participate, I was approached by another parent. This parent said something along the lines of,

“Your daughter is ruining the class for our kids.”

Pre-mama Me would have lost my shit on this woman. I would have told her to mind her damn business and to go worry about her 30-month old little brat who is dressed more like a prostitute than a 2-year-old gymnast.

But I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t. My daughter was having another meltdown because she wanted to go through the tunnel but the teacher just put the tunnel away because we were out in the hallway during tunnel time.

I got another glare from the teacher and the parents; It’s always the parents who glare the worst. At this point, after yelling at my daughter and packing up her stuff, I forcefully carried her out of the room and we left. She was hysterical the entire ride home and cried, “No go.”

In that moment, I realized that I reacted to the situation. I made life easy for the people around me and punished my two-year-old for being a kid. I treated her like she did not have a right to be there because she is not perfect.

I doubt those other kids were perfect and composed on their first day. This was a new experience for my daughter and I pulled her away from it because I felt embarrassed by her behavior. It felt wrong. The entire thing felt wrong.

Why is it okay to expect our kids to be perfect? Why do we want to exclude the kids who are not? Why doesn’t anybody want to embrace the concept of how much work we have to put in to help them grow and mature. All kids should be able to participate in activities without this aggravation.

I often find myself wondering, how many parents am I going to have to get into fights with? How many are going to run their mouths today, at this place? At that place?

I know my kid is not perfect. Neither is yours. I acknowledge the fact that some days, my kids can both be obnoxious little shits that I don’t want to deal with either. I can understand why others wouldn’t want to. I own that. But they are kids and they are learning and growing into better people every day. Maybe it is the adults that are the problem.

Toddlers are emotional, bossy and sometimes strong-willed little people. It is in their nature, it is who they are, it is common and it is normal. They will give us kisses and hugs one second and be flailing their little bodies on the floor because they we don’t carry pizza in our diaper bag the next.

Yet, we always seem to have the parents who have those rare “well-behaved” children who try to make us feel like us and our non-perfect children do not belong someplace.

I decided in the future that my daughter is not going to be excluded from things because other people have a problem with her. She has just as much of a right as any other kid to participate in activities.

While they never officially said that we weren’t welcomed back at gymnastics, I got the message. We signed up for dance instead and my daughter loves it. Each week she gets better. And I am not pulling her out again because of what any other parent or teacher has to say about my kid.

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When your toddler is hurting others…

You are not alone. I have crossed over to this side; the side no parent wants to be on.

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All daycare parents know who that kid is, the one that hits and bites our kids. The one we all dread; the poor little kid we hold a ridiculous grudge against. Every class has one.

But what I didn’t know, was that this month, my kid was going to be the problem.

I received my first pink slip. It said, “She scratched a friend on the face.”

For the first time, my kid was not the victim. I was stunned. I didn’t know how to react. I was so familiar with the receiving end of this situation. My kid has been bitten, slapped, kicked, hit, scratched and tackled.  I never imagined myself dealing with this. I was a good mom. My daughter was a good kid. This only happens to bad kids and bad parents right?

Wrong.

That night I cut and filed her nails as short as I could get them. I told her repeatedly that we don’t hurt our friends.

“It is not nice,” I told her, “We are nice to our friends.”

The next day I got another report. This one said that she scratched three more kids that day. I couldn’t believe it.

I tried to find the root of the problem, to find out why she was doing it. But there wasn’t a reason– she just scratched them and walked away. They weren’t fighting over a toy or a snack. Nothing.

I filed her nails again that night. I talked to her as much as I could talk to a 2.5-year-old about it. But it kept happening.

I met with the teachers and the director.  We had talked about re-direction, teaching her to use her words and I even sent a written letter giving the school permission to give her time-outs, because time-outs are against their policies. I wanted to stop it from happening.

A few weeks went by, it continued. Each day my daughter preyed upon random innocent victims and she scratched them.

By now, every parent had figured out that it was my daughter who was scratching their kids. I know because during drop-off and pick-up, I got dirty looks and icy cold glares, the same glares I all used to give that kid’s mom.

I wanted them all to know that my daughter is a good kid, she is a sweet kid. This is not like her. I am not raising a little asshole. But I know it won’t matter, even if I say the words out loud. When it comes to our kids, anybody that hurts them is an asshole. It’s part of being a mom, or a dad, it’s an instinct we get, a grudge we hold against anyone who dares to hurt our babies.

I spent countless hours on the internet researching this and trying different methods to prevent it and control it. I had several talks with my pediatrician.

During this time, I learned that it is very common for toddlers to do this. My daughter was not acting out– she was acting 2. It is a phase – a phase that will not define or determine who she will grow up to be.

It turns out, it was just a phase. And it lasted for about a month. And then it was over.

Being that parent of that kid who hurt other kids was one of the hardest months of being a parent.

Even thought she was acting like that kid for a short while, she is still a good kid.

Maybe we should stop to think that perhaps all of our kids are good kids, while being that kid is only a phase. Maybe we need to be more supportive of other parents during this phase. Or maybe not. But we should stop judging everyone for how their kids act and how their parents parent. It’s all hard and we are all doing our best with what we’ve got. I’ve been on both sides—they both suck.

Why I let my daughter climb up the slide

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That kid at Gymboree class who is on the floor screaming, throwing her fists in the air, and flinging her little body around like frying bacon because I told her “No.” She belongs to me.

I told her she could not climb up the slide, for no other reason that it was pissing other parents off
. They all have to correct their kids, “No, No. We go the right way.”

Whenever my kid wants to explore the slide and other climbers from the opposite side, I notice the eye rolling and little comments to their children about doing things “the right way” from the other parents.

During circle time, my daughter stands in the middle of the circle and claps, cheers, sings, and even runs and gives the teacher a hug. It’s adorable and charming, and I encourage it. The other kids are sitting on their parents laps like cute little puppets.

When she has had enough singing and dancing, my daughter runs out of the circle and back onto the play gym and dives through the tunnels and tries out all of the new climbers.

Again, I see all of the parents irritated dispositions. When I have tried to pull her back to the circle and redirect her attention to the group, she throws herself on the floor and has a full blown tantrum. All she wants to do is go-go-go on her own.

This troubled me because I want her to be happy and I don’t want to ruin the class for the other kids. I almost gave up my membership and pulled her out of class because of it.

But then one day, she was climbing up the slide again and made it to the top in all of four seconds before I could correct her, another parent said to me, “She’s got some leadership skills.”

Finally, somebody else who doesn’t want their child to be perfect.

“Exactly!” I shout, proud of my daughter. That is exactly what she’s got.

You know the fine motor skills it takes a kid to climb up the slide at only 20 months old? A lot. And my kid can do it and she does it well.

And it makes her happy and she cheers, “Hooray” when she does it, proud of her little accomplishment. I’m proud that she is curious and independent.

I am tired of hearing these wannabe perfect parents of their imperfect children talking about the “right way.”

I’m raising an explorer, an out of the box thinker, a little leader. If my kid climbing up the slide bothers you, you should probably pull that 4 foot stick out of your ass because my kid is going to lead the world into greatness someday.

The Typical Day of This Working Mom

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  • 6:19 am Sneak into the shower before toddler wakes up and get ready for work.
  • 6:45 am Wake up toddler who cries under her blankets, “No!”
  • 6:48 am Get toddler dressed and brush teeth.
  • 6:54 am Sing songs with toddler.
  • 7:05 am Give toddler breakfast.
  • 7:06 am Toddler throws her eggs because she wants a waffle.
  • 7:09 am Gives toddler a waffle.
  • 7:13 am Toddler takes two bites and says she is all done. Asks toddler if she wants a banana or yogurt. She refuses.
  • 7:19 am Argues with toddler about wearing shoes while toddler hides under the kitchen table.
  • 7:25 am Wrestles toddler into the car seat. Runs and grabs laptop and purse and gets back into the car.
  • 7:27 am Toddler screams because she wants to drive.
  • 7:29 am Puts on Pandora Radio Disney to soothe toddler.
  • 7:31 am Pulls out of the driveway.
  • 7:34 am Half-way to daycare, Realizes wallet is at home; Turns around to go home and get it.
  • 7:39 am Toddler asks for banana in her demanding screechy voice.
  • 7:41 am Goes inside to get wallet and banana. Toddler takes one bite of the banana and draws on the window with it. Toddler ignores moms yelling.
  • 7:43 am Back on the road to destination daycare!
  • 7:50 am Walks toddler into daycare classroom. Toddler wraps herself around Mama’s legs and screams, “No go Mama!” Tries to divert her attention to other things…
  • 8:01 am Running to the car after sneaking out on toddler.
  • 8:02 am Wipes banana marks off of the window.
  • 8:34 am Arrives at work, gets a cup of coffee and before returning 11 missed calls on the work cell phone.
  • 8:35 am-3:45 pm Drives like a mad woman from place to place visiting work accounts.
  • 3:45 pm Realizes lunch has passed and eats half of a Panera salad or sandwich in the car.
  • 4:15-5:00 pm Wraps up work related paperwork and day.
  • 5:00-5:45 pm Rushes to daycare to get toddler before they close at 6:00 pm.
  • 5:49 pm Toddler runs to hug and kiss Mama. Some days she runs out of the door and others she cries because she does not want to leave. Today she does not want to leave.
  • 5:51 Bribes toddler with snacks to go home.
  • 5:55pm Toddler demands promised snack, specifically a hot one like mashed potatoes or pizza. Toddler settles for animal crackers or freeze dried apples. Drives home.
  • 6:08 pm Arrives home. Starts preparing dinner in between bathing toddler.
  • 6:30 pm Lets toddler watch her shows while preparing dinner.
  • 7:15 Dinner (husband usually arrives home at this time).
  • 7:45 Plays with toddler.
  • 8:00 Toddler has the entire family room covered in toys. Helps the toddler put all toys away.
  • 8:15 Toddler brushes teeth and reads a story.
  • 8:30 Puts toddler to bed.
  • 9:00 Toddler is still awake and singing. Goes to check on toddler, toddler is naked and has peed in bed.
  • 9:15 After changing sheets and toddler, puts toddler to bed again.
  • 10:00 pm Toddler is officially asleep.
  • 10:00 Watches Netflix.
  • 10:15 Momma is asleep. Repeat daily.

8 Questions NOT to ask Working Moms 

I’ve probably said half of these things to people before I had kids. Before I realized, that trying not to wake up a kid while we get ready for work, is like trying not to wake a sleeping lion while blowing an air horn.

Between getting dressed and brushing our teeth, and the toddler (who is now awake) who must put tooth paste on her tooth brush four times so she can wipe it on the wall, we are perpetually late.

We are always rushing, always juggling and always running marathons to make it to work, and arriving less than fifteen minutes late.

Sometimes we just need support from others, not condescending questions and guilt trips. You can start by not asking us any of these questions:

1. “But can’t your parents just watch the kids?”

No. They can’t, and they won’t. Watching kids is a full-time gig, not to mention it is exhausting.

Some of us have young parents who are not retired.

While some of us are lucky enough to have parents who are retired and are enthusiastic to give up their leisure days and take on a second round of raising children, most of us aren’t that lucky.

Some parents are done raising kids and want to travel or golf, or just watch Netflix.

Our parents barely want to babysit our kids (probably because they are insane). And that’s okay. They are our responsibility, not our parents.

2. “But isn’t daycare so expensive? How is it worth it?

I hate explaining this one. By the time my daughter is five, I will have spent over $55,000 on daycare. I agree, it should be in her college fund instead. But it won’t be, especially if I don’t work.

Yes, even though it costs “more than college,” it doesn’t cost enough for me to quit my job.

Let’s say I spend $1,000/month for my daughter to attend a leading brand daycare in NJ full-time, roughly 45 hours per week. Let’s just say there are 4 weeks in a month and she attends a total of 180 hours, that comes to $5.55 an hour for child care. What babysitter is going to work for that little? How about a nanny? I don’t think so.

 $5.55 sounds like a stellar deal now, doesn’t it? 


3. “Can’t you just get another job when the kid(s) start school.

Um, no. I did not bust my ass going to graduate school and establishing a career while investing a decade into a company that provides me with awesome amounts of vacation time, a pension and 401k just to start over again in ten years when I’d be in my 40’s.

Maybe someday, when my kids have kids, I’ll be able to retire and help out so that my kids can get the break I never got. Or maybe, I’ll have no hair left by then and run.

If I were to quit my job and stay home for ten years, I’d abandon my 401k, lose my pension, and be forced to downsize our house. For my family, this just doesn’t work. And that’s okay!

4. “Can’t you just get a work from home job?

Easier said than done. People forget, working is work. Taking care of small children at home is even more work.

What would I do, plaster them in front of the television all day so that I could work? How is that better than daycare?

Being home with kids and trying to work for a company is extremely challenging.

If you know of a company that is going to pay me what I make now, in my professional field, and not care about low productivity and screaming children in the background of phone calls and teleconferencing, sign me up!

Working from home with a sick kid is rough, doing it for a living in my line of work just sounds like I’ll need to drink more.


5. “We offer dance classes on Monday’s at 10:45 am or on Wednesday’s at 3:45 pm, which works best for you?”

WTF? Who the hell thought these were convenient times for anyone? Why aren’t you open on Saturday?

Since my daughter fell in love with dancing at the open house, I now go to work at 6am so that I can leave by 3pm, grab my kid and get her dressed to dance at 3:45. It is total bullshit, but I make it happen.


6. “It must be nice to interact with adults all day and get out of the house. Do you enjoy your time?

Say what now? What part of this “time” belongs to me? Singing half-songs in the car while my work cell rings eleven times before 9 am?

Between dropping my crying child off, hugging her fifteen times before I can sneak away, commuting to work, eating lunch in my car, working diligently to come in early on Wednesday’s to finish early to rush to some crazy 3:45 pm dance class, who has time for socializing?

(See next post The Typical Day of This Working Mom | mischiefmomma https://mischiefmomma.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/the-typical-day-of-this-working-mom/)


7. “What do you mean you WANT to work and not be home with your kids?

Why do we all have to act like we desperately need the money, even if we don’t? Why am I an asshole if I say that I like having nice things and spoiling my kids.

Yeah, we could sell our nice house and cram four of us into a small apartment and live on one income in New Jersey. I think we could learn to love it, maybe.  But some of us don’t want to.

(Kudos to those that make it work, I admire you. But I like working, I choose to work.)


8. “The doctor’s hours are 9am-5pm, how does 11:45 sound?”

It sounds fucking horrible. It sounds like I would need to take an entire day off from work for a well visit.

There is usually a sign of irritation on the other end of the phone when I mention that I have a job.

I am tired of it. I am not sorry I work.

What happened to the days of not saying anything if you can’t say something nice?

How about this, if you think you need to ask a parent any of these questions, how about you just STFU instead?!!

We are not The Stepford Wives.