I try not to judge other parents. Okay, I guess saying that is about as stupid as the bumper sticker I saw the other day that read, "I brake for children" -- like, what, you want a medal for that? "Trying" not to judge my fellow moms is like "trying" not to be a total human ass-nugget: it's not exactly a virtuous, brag-worthy pursuit.
But the truth is it does take effort sometimes, because it's not always easy to be a serene, different-strokes-for-different-folks mama who minds her own beeswax and doesn't pass judgement on the parental choices of others.
For instance, here are 5 situations that always turn me into That Mom. You know: the side-eyeing one who's mentally calling you out, because DUDE. I'm sorry, but you suck.
You let your kid kick the back of the seat in an airplane. Flying with kids is hard. Everyone knows this, and the people who get all pissed off about having to sit next to a baby who can't help but occasionally do baby-like things, such as crying, are the worst. But. BUT. If you have a small child sitting in his or her own seat, and he or she is repeatedly -- like not just once or twice, but CONTINUALLY -- kicking the occupied seat in front of them, and you do nothing to stop it? You are a total jerk who gives every other traveling parent a bad name. Even if there's a medical reason your child can't help but kick, I'm saying you need to pay for the seat in front, or make sure you're in the bulkhead seat.
You bring your small children to an inappropriate movie, and when they cause a scene, you DON'T LEAVE. I have heard the argument that parents should get a free pass on this one because not everyone can afford a babysitter. Pardon me while I roll my eyes so hard they briefly get stuck in the back of their sockets and I have to dig them out with a grapefruit spoon: find something else to do. I'm not talking about bringing a kid to a matinee showing of Wreck It Ralph, I'm talking about people who drag noisy toddlers into R-rated movies at 8 p.m. and don't hightail it out of there when the kid -- shocker! -- gets restless and starts distracting other moviegoers. DICK MOVE, PARENTS.
Your kid makes a giant mess in a restaurant and you do nothing to help clean it up. I guess there are reasons why someone would let their kid dump spaghetti and milk and mashed-up crumbs all over the floor of a restaurant, then leave without making even a token attempt to help sop up the results. Like maybe they had to leave in a big hurry, or the waiter assured them it was fine, or something. But for the most part, this is just unforgivably lame. If your child created a bunch of extra work for the staff, get down there with a napkin, dammit -- it's literally the least you can do.
You don't intervene when your kid is hurting another kid. Look, the last thing on EARTH I want to do, EVER, is discipline your kid for you. I would never in a million years scold a stranger's child for being noisy or even being obnoxious, but if your kid is repeatedly, aggressively, and deliberately causing my child pain while we both observe from the playground bench? I'm going to put a stop to it, and it's awful and uncomfortable and oh my god, I am SO MAD AT YOU for putting me in that position.
You smoke next to your baby. You made your baby's milky head smell like an ashtray. For shame.
What situations trigger your parental judgey side?
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