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