There’s no handbook for parenting — that we know. And just when we think our sweet cherubs are playing nicely, making friends, and sharing the trains at the play center, we are caught off guard when our own kid rips a train out of another kid’s hand. Yikes! We’ve all been there. None of our kids are perfect, and they deserve forgiveness and patience. But what is not cool is when we are oblivious to our kid’s misbehavior. And one mom is calling out some parents for being just that.
Laura Mazza of Mum on the Run recently shared on Facebook what she admits is a bit of a “sanctimommy” post. I disagree, sanctimommies judge unfairly. What Laura witnessed is a case of poor parenting … and she had every right to step in.
Mazza starts off by stating the facts we all know: “Kids will be kids. Kids are snotty, they’re possessive, they’re demanding, they’re cute mostly, but they can be little aggressive ninjas sometimes.” True. All true.
And we all know that kids’ play centers often bring out the snottiest and most aggressive behavior our kids have in their arsenal … so it’s up to us to watch them.
As Mazza says in her post:
“When we are [at] play centers I am a little hellicopterish. Not full helicopter, but one eye is on my mum friend and my latte and the other is on my child. I like to make sure they’re safe, that they play nice, that they don’t snatch, or sock a child in the face … I am responsible for my own child when it comes to this.”
Exactly. We can (and should) do both — socialize with friends, enjoy a latte, and watch our kids.
A basic premise of play centers is that kids have to share and play safely. And if your kid is in that “I don’t share” or “I want to break my face” phase of childhood (not judging — my kids have been there), then it’s up to Mom and Dad to watch for that and address it.
Mazza’s post goes on to say, “Just because my son wants a go and drive in a little toy car that little Tommy is in, it’s a case of too bad Son, you are not entitled, you wait your turn. When little Tommy gets off, then you can play.”
My kid can’t snatch something from your kid. And your kid can’t snatch something from mine. Why is this hard? There are 11 slides and 27 toy cars and a sand box and coloring center at some of these play centers. Here’s a thought … wait your turn or go play with something else.
Well, apparently other kids (and parents) at this play center didn’t get the memo. Mazza was left with no other option but to intervene and discipline someone else’s child. Why? “Because no one else was gonna do it,” she shares in her impassioned post.
Mazza says she “watched two 5 year olds ram one of those mini drive-able cars into my daughter and laugh while she fell over while I was helping my son into the ball pit. (This was at a 4 and under play centre).”
She continues, “I watched a little boy climb on top of a jungle gym where his mum had no idea that he was about to come falling down, and I caught him. She came over when she saw a stranger carrying her kid and gave me a dirty look while she snatched him off me.”
And finally, “I watched two kids push and smack my son while he was trying to go down a slide… and I actually found myself saying ‘that’s not nice, stop!’”
What was happening?! Why were several kids acting like jerks and making unsafe choices with only one mom intervening?
Listen, I get it that helicopter parenting has become an epidemic. We aren’t letting our kids fend for themselves anymore or figure things out and that’s a problem. However, if we don’t teach our kids how to be kind friends, who will? There has got to be a middle ground.
Mazza ends her post by saying, “I’m not perfect, not even in the slightest. But I’m polite and I’m not in the business of raising a**holes. I’ve been up all night too, I am desperate for social time, too. I’m lonely, I’m tired, my neck hurts and everything else … but I also don’t believe that my kid is entitled to pull your kids hair because I want a hot coffee.”
It takes a village, moms. So can we all join together to raise kind kids so that they grow up into kind adults? I’ll do my part if you do yours. We all need to parent. Our kids deserve it.