Public Parenting

f8d3218b3c04fde6_1380326_10151938822840250_1465537036_n.xxxlargeAre 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.

 cover_1.3-2 *Attention Snarky Friends, I have a brand new book out. It’s the second in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! 🙂


20 thoughts on “Public Parenting

  1. Mary Catherine says:

    You must know my sister-in-law. Instead of telling her kids to knock it off or be quiet at the grocery story she’ll launch into a 5 minute lecture about everyone using their quiet voices. The one who needs to use her quiet voice is her – permanently.

  2. Susan says:

    I encountered a similar situation in Starbucks, while the mom was giving her daughter a lesson in finance. Starbucks is not a good place for this. People NEED their coffee in a NOW kind of way. It was completely ridiculous, and the mom was talking super loud so we could ALL benefit from her lesson on spending. I never did that, but kids watch what you do. For example, my 20 year old just called to tell me that she scored her spring formal dress for $5 at Urban Outfitters. That’s my girl.

  3. Yeppers says:

    I public parented one time many years ago, but the little bugger backed me into a corner. We were at the market and she said, “If you don’t let me have that toy I’m going to scream.” Alrighty then. I used my outside voice to say, “Hey everyone, my daughter is going to pitch a big, ugly fit and she doesn’t want you to miss it. Go on, darling, everyone is watching now. Go ahead.” That was the end of that. Chap my buns in public and the crappy behavior is usually met with the stink-eye and/or a firm shoulder squeeze, both of which say, “Knock it off. You’re in trouble.” This time I had to take her up on her dare. It’s not quite the same as public displays of teaching as mentioned in the post, but same wheelhouse. And I do not regret it because it never happened again.

    • Kelli Burnett says:

      You had to call the bluff. This is one case where public parenting was so called for and done well.

  4. Annie says:

    I’m sorry. Now that you mention it, the mall really IS the wrong place to discuss how “menstruation is a natural part of life and nothing to be ashamed of.” I don’t know what I was thinking. I will do better.

  5. Pearl ;) says:

    I am picturing you getting your drink on, and then opening the flood gates for the landscapers. How thoughtful of you, to guard the fountain soda for them. Sounds like this mom just got her Social Media Smackdown. I just don’t take my kids unless absolutely necessary. Cuts down on all the “lessons of life” that should be private conversations. Like my life under the radar. Quiet and calm here 🙂

  6. Therese says:

    A few years back…I was assaulted by a praise craving “public parent”. Saturday night, really happy to b at Target w a toddler. Every aisle I went down, I heard (in a very high pitched..singy voice. “You went pee pee on the potty!!!! Now u get big girl pants!!! Do you know why u should go pee pee on the potty? Yes u do!!!Mommy knew she teach a 18 month old how!!! Mommy knew!!! Congrats Bitch. I was so irritated, that when she got in line behind me…I started grumbling to myself out loud. The girl in front of me..asked me if I was ok. No. No, I am not.

    • Janet says:

      Am I going to hell because I was hoping you would say that the little girl proceeded to wet her pants in the check out line? On mom, the cart and all the stuff they were purchasing…

  7. Katie says:

    You nailed it, Snarky! Not only do people want to be the center of attention, but they disregard others in order to do it. Narcissism is running rampant!

  8. Rhonda says:

    My style of public parenting is the finger snap and the evil eye. My kids know that means they better get in line – QUICK! If they don’t, it’s off to the bathroom! I can’t stand it when parents have to have the spotlight while “teaching” their kids. All I can figure is that somehow it’s a huge ego boost for them.

  9. Ali says:

    Unfortunately, I end up having to do some stuff in public because both of my kids are on the autism spectrum. But trust me, it’s only the minor stuff, even if it doesn’t look it to others; and this is with using all the tricks from my SPED teacher bag! I do have to try not to roll my eyes and laugh at some of the stuff going on around me, though ;!

  10. wisegal says:

    Get behind the Mom using coupons and having her kid “help”. It’s pure torture. Especially if money saving math is involved.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s