After five years of actual parenting, and writing about parenting, I thought I was pretty immune to mommy peer pressure. Hell, if I can shrug off trolls calling me "everything that is wrong with breeders today" then a stink eye over the swing set isn't going to phase me. Until it does.
Last weekend I caught myself searching for hand sanitizer after another mom aggressively offered me hers when my two-year-old shoved his hand into a disgusting pool of standing water. Honestly, I wasn't too worried about it, as he's stuck his hands into much worse things. And we still do have one rule in our house, and that rule is wash your hands before dinner. So why would I get my hands dirty by rubbing hand sanitizer into his little grubby paw? Because that other mommy made feel like I had to, or my son would get the first case of polio in the Los Angeles area since 1979.
This is pretty out of character for me, or so I thought.
When I did a postmortem on my actions born out of shame, I realized I'd been succumbing to the playground peer pressure quite a bit lately. In fact, these three times made me realize it's time to grow a pair:
Mother 'Effing Sharing
Gah, I hate this one. Two-year-olds don't share. Nor do they understand it just because you repeat, "turns" in a desperate voice. My older daughter has realized this and just lets go of anything my son grabs while screaming, "Mine!" Surely her submission in the face of a hysterical male won't have lasting implications. Right? Regardless, apparently other people's kids on the playground expect more from my little capitalist, and I bowed to the pressure recently while wringing a plastic shovel out of my little darling's hands and handing it over to the wailing baby next to him. That's right. BABY. I call it like I see it.
Put Some Pants on That Kid
My daughter loves dresses and skirts, but she also loves slides and monkey bars. One, "Oh!" followed by an incredibly fast scan for the mother-of-this-girl-who-lets-her-show-her-underwear-around-town caused me to pack a pair of shorts in the car for jungle gym emergencies. Or maybe we should just stop going to the "fancy" playground.
The Penis Incident
So a kid flashed my daughter on the playground. Kids will be kids. Then another dad (see moms aren't always to blame!) made me feel like I was doing a disservice if I didn't address it with the other parent. Gawd. Yes, it was awkward, and quite frankly I don't think either kid had as much agita over the deviant behavior as I did.
Do you give in to peer pressure at the playground?
Image via Eamonn/Flickr