Monday, May 25, 2009

Has this ever happened to you?

Dear Lady Who Sat at the Table Next to Us at The Cotton Patch,

I hope you enjoyed your lunch today. You probably didn’t notice the well-behaved preschoolers who were sitting at the table next to you. You didn’t notice them because they demonstrated fairly atypical preschool manners. They colored politely while waiting for their food. They said please, thank you, and yes ma’am to the server. They properly used their utensils and napkins to eat every last bite of their macaroni, green beans, and orange slices. As their mommy, I was extremely proud of them.

Let me explain why a 4 year old and a 2 year old can be enjoyable in a public place. It’s called discipline. When my husband or I (or any adult) give directions, they are expected to follow them. If they disobey, there are consequences. They are not always well-behaved in public, and they are punished on these occasions. Let me again say to you this is why you were able to eat without children running amuck. Sure, we probably were a little lucky today (and I recall a candy shop bribe), but I have to believe that part of their kindness was a result of the lessons we constantly try to teach in our family.

So the next time you see a mother firmly speaking to her daughter, feel free to mind your own business. When a 4 year old who has been told 3 times to sit on her bottom stands up on the stroller and falls and hurts herself, you can keep your mouth shut. I do not need you to give me condescending looks and comments. If I am scolding my crying child for not doing what she was told, I do not need you to inform me that she “just fell and hurt herself.” Logic tells us that if she had obeyed her mother, she would not have fallen. Therefore, she would not be hurt and crying. I chose to use this moment not to nurse her wounded pride but to ensure that she learned a lesson.

I realize that you must think it is cruel that my husband and I do not throw a pity party every time one of our children injures herself/himself as a result of their disobedience. I, however, believe that it would be a thousand times more cruel if we chose to indulge them every time they cry.

Sincerely,

Melissa
The Mean Mommy

p.s. Two minutes after we left Cotton Patch, my “injured” daughter was skipping happily to the candy shop!

7 comments:

Angela said...

Girl...you stated this so well! I love it! No, this hasn't happened to me yet...but I am sure it is coming...you handled it better than I probably would have. Wish people would mind their business sometimes! I also wish Hannah could use her utensils and get over the throwing food stage!!! We work on it every meal, but alas...nothing seems to work- punishing her, ignoring her, etc...this too shall pass...I hope!

Rebecca said...

Amen sista!! That is so true. Sometimes people just need to mind their own business.

Kristi said...

Preach on!!! Couldn't agree with you more.

Becky said...

Well said girlfriend!!! This has never happened to me yet, umm...at least to my knowledge, but I'm sure my day is in the works!

Love that we can take our frustrations out on our blog...it's our very own space to do with what we want.

How refreshing!!!

Dawn said...

As a mommy that constantly gets looks at her "I'm pretty sure - Asperger son" - I applaud this post! MIND YOUR OWN DANG BUSINESS!! Sometimes I get looks for spanking, and sometimes for NOT spanking. Braden was kicking his booth seat, which happened to be connected to another lady's booth. She informed us that he was bothering them. After I told her that he was mildly autistic and we were just glad he wasn't throwing food, or crying over a cut enchilada she promptly shut up. We wished her a good day, apologized that we were "more tolerant and hadn't noticed the tapping on the booth" and walked out while her husband assured me, "it's fine, no problem".

Way to go Trcka! We need more moms like you!

Amanda said...

Awww, man! Sorry that happened to you. I had a lady I don't even know stop me at church last year to criticize the way I was disciplining Bethany. Seriously, mind your own business people.

Now I just wish you could mail that letter to her!

Marie said...

AMEN! We are there too. I completely understand and I am pleased to know that I am not the only "mean" mommy, that takes an injury moment to make them keenly aware that had they done what I said/asked, that we would not be here.