Only Jerks Tease Kids (Or Do Moms Have No Sense of Humor?)

teasing kidsMotherhood changes so many things. Your social life, your waistline, your taste in movies (seriously, no more torture porn or missing children movies, thank you). But the one thing I didn't think would disappear was my sense of humor. Alas, it has changed as well if yesterday's exchange at Starbucks is any indication.

Here's what went down: Daughter and I go into Starbucks. Barista takes my order then turns to my (precious, innocent) little girl, "So, can I get you an espresso and a cigarette?" Let me explain why that clever quip made me want to punch that dude in the face, when six years ago I would have laughed at the hapless mom trying to shield her daughter's ears from the edgy hipster collecting latte money.


First of all, she's old enough to know that something is being said to her in a teasing manner, but not old enough to know what any of it means. You need to know your audience, Mister Coffee, and time it right. Throwing this out to a new mom and a tiny baby, maybe. To a pre-schooler? That's just awkward.

Second, making my daughter feel like she isn't in on the joke, that is also at her expense (double for you, other Starbucks employee who thought it would be funny to tell her that "usually we make children stand outside"), just makes a kid feel lousy. After we left this Starbucks, that apparently is a training ground for aggro stand-up comedians, she was incredibly quiet. I asked her how being teased made her feel, and she said, "bad."

I realize this is going to sound very helicopter parent: No one should tease my child! It hurts her feelings! But I also remember the uncles who thought they were funny as they mercilessly teased me as a kid. It's not funny to the kid. It shouldn't be funny to the adult. If it is funny to make someone feel less than, than maybe you've got some other issues to work out.

Also, that baby onesie with "Proof that my mom likes to f**k" -- not funny. Keep that one to yourself and your childless friends.

Have you lost your sense of humor since becoming a mom? 

Image timgrable/Flickr

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