ShoppingWhen you become a mother, you have to come up with all kinds of strategies to learn how to deal with your kids. They’re small, but those bad boys have strong personalities and the nerve to be stubborn. The greatest challenge for some moms, though, seems to be taking their little ones shopping. I was in Target last week when a little boy went off because his mama took a bag of candy out of his hands and put it back on the shelf.

Good for her, but her smart health move came with consequences: his lip trembled, his face broke up, and — you know what’s next — his head flew back like it was on hinges as he opened his mouth in a gigantic wail. He cried. And cried. And cried. There was no section of the store where you could escape the sound of his bellowing. But his mother’s tactic was to ignore him. She was steady pushing the cart along, pretending that her child wasn’t screaming like an air raid siren.

That might be the way to do it at home. I applaud the woman who can really show her children who’s boss and not bow and scrape to their every little sniffle. It’s hard to do for a couple of different reasons: they tend to be loud, for one, and for two, you hate to see your babies upset, even when those babies are all big and towering over you. That’s part of the big kid get-what-I-want technique. Be as ear-grating as possible so mom and dad will hurry to quiet me with whatever it is I’m asking for. So kudos to the mothers who don’t fall for it. Grandmothers? Not so much.

But for crying out loud — literally — when you’re in a public place packed with people like me, just trying to pick up my Dove body wash and knee high socks for The Girl, that’s not the time to put that strategy into play. When your child is raising the roof off the sucka with his 5,000-decibel cries, you can’t ignore that it’s happening because it’s inconsiderate to the other shoppers around you. I served my time in toddler land, ma’am. So why am I being victimized by the bouts and battles you’re having with yours?

I only had a problem with Miss Skylar one time in the store. Once. We were in a Wal-mart (I guess I should say that these are like my major hangouts, Wal-mart and Target), and she, like this little dude hollering his head off, wanted something or another that she’d been denied from getting. She started crying at the register, and after I finished paying, I took her hand to walk out and she pulled the ol’ fall-out-like-her-knees-turned-to-Jell-O trick. I dragged her along for about five steps before I let go of her hand, thinking that that would make her pull herself together and try to catch up with me. Instead she fell out on the filthy, disgusting floor.

I swatted her butt two times and ain’t had a problem out of her since.

I’m not saying the little alarm in the front of the cart needed a spanking. If that’s not his mother’s parenting flavor, that’s cool. I just needed her not to subject the rest of us to his temper tantrum. If that’s how it’s going to be, I’ll kindly ask her and other mothers who use the same modus operandi to do their shopping at www.target.com, thank you very much. There’s a link in case you need it.

As another alternative, she could’ve taken her child to the car, waited for him to get his behavior back into civilized order, then went on back in to finish doing what she had to do.

You get off a hard day at work — or in my case, a bunch of back-to-back deadlines — and you’re tired, hungry, maybe even PMS-ing. Maybe you missed the bus that evening. Maybe your car is acting up. Maybe you just dropped your cellphone in the toilet when you were in the ladies’ room. Whatever. We’ve all got stressors in our lives and you know what we don’t need? Mothers teaching their children a lesson when it involves nerve-wracking screeches and screams from a Mariah Carey-note hitting toddler to aggravate the situation.

This has been a public service announcement from a disgruntled shopper.

What annoys you about other parents when you’re shopping or eating out?  



Image via USACE Europe District/Flickr