The Weez: Mommy, you always say “no”.
Me: Yes dear. You’re right.
The Weez crosses her arms in frustration.
Me: And what do I really mean when I say “no”?
The Weez (in a slightly defeated voice): You love us.
I just came from Target. Target, how I love thee. Let me count the ways. But not today! My entire shopping experience was under assault. Tyler, an intolerable, spoiled, 4 year old devil in spider-man shoes, kept squealing in delight at everything he saw. I don’t personally know Tyler but I sure did know his name. Mom kept yelling in a hushed, whiny, annoying voice (who was she kidding?), “Tyler! Sshh! Stop it! I said ‘no’! Tyler! Stop it. Tyler!” Oh yeah lady?!? You said “no”? I don’t even know you, but its obvious you’re an empty threat. I see your white knuckles clutching onto that cart because you really want to shop for your favorite shade of lipstick ignoring the fact that your damn kid is just loud enough draw the stares you fail to notice.
Now starts the internal debate. Of course, I’ve been subjected to my children’s terrible moods. I know what it’s like when you are forced to grocery shop with a sick child, an exhausted child, or a moody child. You see how much you can accomplish before complete melt down – on both of your parts. Been there, done that. Because I know the shame and embarrassment you feel in that moment, I’ve offered help to many moms I’ve seen delicately balance the grocery bags, diaper bag, car keys and screaming youngster toddling behind her. “Excuse me ma’am. May I help you load your groceries”? Or, I offer a look of sympathy and comforting smile in solidarity so she knows she’s not alone. If I can’t do that, I make funny faces at the kid. No, I don’t scare him. Apparently, I’ve been blessed with an incredible ability to make goofy looking faces to the sheer delight of children everywhere. Really, I should get paid for it I do it so well.
The point is that moms should stick together. Let’s help each other out when we see another struggling through this type of situation. But that was NOT the case with Tyler and his mom. This mom has no boundaries and certainly no consideration for the innocent, by-standing public who is ill-fated to shop at the same time as this toddler terrorist and his mom.
Tyler and Tyler’s mom first entered my world in the card & office supply section. “Tyler, no, You can’t have that. Keep your arm in the cart,” she nonchalantly directed. As we passed each other, I tried not to look her way because I wear my feelings on my face. I was judging her hard and my utterly disapproving look would have brought her to her knees. Nope, better not look at her. It is true that I didn’t know exactly what’s going on in her world so I tried to talk myself out of this first impression. It appeared she was heading to the exit and I thought, “oh good. She’s leaving.” Nope. She took a sharp left towards housewares as I scoured the office supplies for blank CDs.
Are you kidding me lady?! Tyler tried to reach out for everything. He tried to get out of the cart. This kid has been imprisoned in this cart too long! All the while, she’s holding up a rug on sale with her back to Tyler and dishearteningly chastises Tyler. She meanders through housewares, stopping to covet a coffee maker as I charge past her to the electronics selection since that is where Target stores the blank CDs, not the office section as I first thought.
This was not from my shopping experience, but this clip appears to be in Target and is a perfect example of a mom without a clue, like Tyler’s mom.
Tyler and his mom were half a store’s length from me, but I could still hear them. Kill me now. I have to get out of here before I have to smack her for her underwhelming parental skills and her failure to observe the oppression she is causing to the shoppers around her. You know the debate about some restaurants banning children of certain age or after a certain time? As a mom of 3, I, one hundred percent + 100%, embrace and support this. I love my children. I like most of my friends’ children, but children do not need to go everywhere with their parents. Children need to be taught balance and boundaries . . . and MOST DEFINITELY need to learn that parents actually have a life outside their children.
I don’t blame Tyler. I think he was acting like a normal, mischievous, 4 year old. He was having fun. That’s what kids do. However, he was over-the-top and mom completely missed the opportunity to teach Tyler how to behave in public. Her whispered yelling was fooling no one. It was obvious that the shopping trip was all for her. “To hell with all you other Target shoppers! I want to buy nick-knacks for my house to impress my neighbors I don’t like.”
I remember my ultimate mom-moment with The Boy and successfully adverted the brewing temper tantrum. He was about 8 years old and was doing his best to convince me to allow him to go to another friend’s house to play “Grand Theft Auto”. Yes, at 8 years old, he had friends who were allowed to play this game. Obviously, my answer was emphatically “no”. It goes like this:
THE BOY: But mom, I really want to play it!
ME: I know son, but you know the rules about games like that.
THE BOY: But mom! His mom lets him play it.
ME (in the most broken-hearted voice I could muster): OH MY GOSH!! His mom doesn’t love him as much as I love you! Oh how sad! I feel so bad for him that his mom doesn’t love him like I love you. I love you so much that I can’t let you play that game. Oh that poor, poor child.
The Boy’s eyes blink at me in disbelief. He hears the tone of my voice and can tell that I am genuinely concerned for his friend, but my words seem sarcastic. My insides burn from withholding my laughter because I can see this play out in his head. Needless to say, he did not go to his friend’s house to play Grand Theft Auto. It was at that moment that The Boy got it. Mom’s so mean! Yes, that’s true. Of course he didn’t fully grasp that I said “no” out of love but he knew that he might as well give it up. I said “no” and meant it.
After 20 years of parenting, I’m an expert at saying “no”. And an expert in saying “I love you”. I do love you, my children, The Boy, Mini-Me, and The Weez. I love you so much that I will always, always tell you “no” – mainly because I still can.