Are you kidding me? Has this mother lost her ever-loving mind? Seriously, she’s doing this at a convenience store during the lunch rush? These are the thoughts, along with some very bad language, rushing through my mind as I stand in a line that is so long I’m having 2008 Disney flashbacks. (FYI – The Haunted Mansion so not worth the wait.)
The line I’m languishing in is for the carbonated beverages. I, along, with at least 15 landscape crew workers are unable to get our 44 ounce drink on because a mother is teaching her preschooler the mechanics of pressing a lever. Her cherub is gleefully filling up a cup with ice and then an assortment of fluids all while the mom holds everyone at bay from until her child finishes his lesson. Oh and it’s a lesson. She’s using a teacher voice and trying to explain carbonation. Every so often she would smile at all of us waiting in line. It was one of those “Look at me I’m teaching my kid hands on science. I’m a great mom or what?”
Hey lady, news flash, you’re not a great mom. You’re what I like call a “public parent” so in the interest of all the thirsty and sweaty dudes I’m standing next to your science lesson is coming to an end. As soon as she started teaching her kid rhymes by saying the drink name Rooster Booster over and over I had to intervene because dear Lord I was about to boost her rooster and I think that’s illegal.
So, I did what had to be done. I grabbed a 32 ounce styrofoam cup and did a full frontal assault on the drink area. While I filled up my cup with chunky ice the surprised mom give me the extended arm and said, “We’ll be done in just a minute.”
I smiled at her. It’s the smile I save for idiots who think they’re geniuses. It’s kind of a regular, everyday, friendly smile but my eyes and the tilt of my head are saying you do not want to mess with me. Rooster Booster seems a little taken aback. This is where I make my move to the Diet Coke and then give an over the shoulder to the landscape crews and say in my best mom voice, “C’mon guys you need to stay hydrated.”
That’s all it took for the drink machines to be liberated and for the to mom stomp off (well as best as one can stomp off in flip-flops) with her preschooler. (P.S. They didn’t even buy a drink.)
Now, I don’t know what’s going on but lately I’ve seen a proliferation of these public parents. Moms and dads that seek a spotlight or audience as they perform mundane parenting tasks. Take Rooster Booster. Was using the convenience store’s 36 different drink dispensers a cool way to teach science? Maybe. (Okay, my real answer is no because it’s wasteful and for the love of commerce at least buy a drink.) But why do it during the lunch rush? And why insist on commandeering the entire drink station?
I’ve got similar questions for all the parents sharing on social media how they punished or taught their children a lesson. Are you not a good mother unless one of your parenting techniques goes viral? Do you have to post a “parfie” (parenting selfie) of you making your daughter clean her room?
At Target, I’ve seen moms give their kids, what amounts to behavior modification monologues like they were defending their Ph.D thesis or something. Sadly, everyone within the range of the frozen foods to the shampoos gets to hear it. What’s happened to the time-honored tradition of removing your child to the restroom and privately having this conversation or even better the side eye of doom. Why isn’t the car still the number one location for having a parenting moment or melt down? I know a lot of times you need to discipline your child on the spot and this is NOT what I’m talking about. I’m referring to the latest style of parenting that desires a grandstand to showcase their mommying talents.
All this has me worried. It’s seems more and more of us crave a stage for anything we do. We are a “look at me world” when quite frankly all of us could benefit from more of a behind-the-scenes approach. Privacy is a good thing and learning to be private and to keep things private is a life skill. Also, not needing to be the center of attention is necessary to having any prolonged success or happiness in your life.
So for you Rooster Boosters out there take a deep breath, step away from the beverage station, and enjoy a parenting moment or two in the cocoon known as family solitude.