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I feel ya Charlize, I feel ya

25 Feb

We’ve all had moments in parenting that have left us scowling, sweating, and questioning ourselves. Most of us, however, don’t do it with a pack of paparazzi following us. Because we’re not Charlize Theron.

However, Charlize Theron got the judgmental treatment from OK! Magazine, who referred to her as a “Monster Mom!” for allegedly “dragging” her 4 yr old son in a parking lot.

And every mother who read the story raised their fists in solidarity with Charlize.

Because obviously we’re all monsters too. Or, perhaps, the “reporter” behind the story is a childless recluse who has never interacted with a member of the preschool population. And whose mother is either dead, or calling them up going “Let me tell you what YOU were like at four!”

Seriously though, the “story” is stupid for so many reasons, but mainly because giving Mom or Dad a hard time in a parking lot when getting in or out of a car (usually in) is Preschool 101 stuff. Any one who has wrangled a preschooler has, at some point, hefted that child under their arm while said beloved little one screamed like a banshee set on fire. Possibly while they were saying “You’re not my mommy anymore!” Because that’s how they work, four year olds. They have meltdowns due to being overtired, over-stimulated, hungry, wet, cold, hot, wearing uncomfortable socks, being denied that thing they never knew they wanted so much until they finally saw it in the store.

And Mom mutters something about “I went to college for this?” while trying not to get kicked.

(Pro-tip – always hold the screaming child facing out – they are less likely to land a kick that way.)

Anyone who’s parented has also had that moment where someone just had to point out how awful they are at said parenting job. Mine was when my oldest as 3 1/2. We went to have a key made at Wal-mart. We had to pass the toy aisle. I said “We’re not going to look at toys right now.” Because I am a horrible person. My child proceeded to sprawl in the main aisle in silent protest. I gave him a choice (get up or ride in the cart). He didn’t like his choices. I scooped him up and put him in the cart. He decided to protest vocally. I decided that the entire store didn’t have to listen to my son, so took him outside, sat him on the trunk of the car, and calmly told him he was now in a time out, and could get down once he stopped screaming at me.

I was quite proud of myself, because I remained calm, wasn’t experiencing an ounce of anger at all – “I got this.” I thought.

The woman watching us didn’t think I had it. “Do you need help?” she called out from across the aisle, by her own white SUV.

I smiled. “No thank you, we’re fine.” I said.

She slowly put her cart in the corral. Then slowly made her way back to her SUV. All the time watching us.

Now, in watching us, she should have seen Collin calm down rather quickly, me asking if he was done, him saying yes, me hugging him, him getting in the cart, and us going back into the store calm and content and still liking each other.

Or, you know, she decided I was a monster. Because when I got out of the store with my happy kids and a newly made key, there was a note on my car.

“Children should be loved and cherished, not yelled at and humiliated.”

WHAT?

DID SHE JUST CALL ME A BAD MOTHER?

Wait a minute – I never yelled at my child. He was yelling at me! WTH? There was no humiliation. No name calling. No verbal abuse. I actually did what child experts said I should do! I removed the child from the situation, gave him time to calm himself, hugged it out.

But I was a monster to this woman. I scarred her enough that she left a nastygram under my windshield wiper.

I’ve been judged, I’ll probably be judged again, I’ve been there, done that, rinse and repeat. Anyone who parents has been there. We’ve all had our child do the crocodile death roll on us in public, the screaming hissyfit in the toy aisle, those moments where they try darting into traffic and you grab them and yell “Don’t do that, it’s not safe!”, and my personal favorite, the times when you’re holding onto your child safely, only for them to go boneless as you’re walking, so you do actually drag them for a step or two before being able to stop. Because they never give you warning before going boneless. Never.

Needless to say, I have reached the stage of zero f*cks given when I’m out in public with my kids. Granted, they’re now almost grown, but because of Maura, I still get to grab her arm before she runs into traffic, or have to sit down in the middle of the craft store while she’s screaming and kicking her shoes off because she doesn’t understand why she can’t just have the whole bolt of My Little Pony fabric which I get. I would like to buy all the fabric too. I’ve just learned not to kick and scream over it. Externally.

Now, I see another mother with a screaming preschooler, lugging them out, and rush to get the door and let her know she’s not alone. Because what always made me feel better as I stood there with a screaming kid was another mother walking by saying “My kid did this to me yesterday, you’re doing fine.”

So Charlize, I feel ya. I’ve had to scrape crying kids off the blacktop too. You’re doing fine.

 

IMG_0947

My children, in earlier years, behaving like children.

 

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8 Responses to “I feel ya Charlize, I feel ya”

  1. franhunne4u February 25, 2016 at 9:16 am #

    Most mothers (99,999 percent) are doing a great job! The other get their payment when their offspring chooses the senior citizen’s home for them.

  2. Sara February 25, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

    Usually I really like your blog but with this I’m a bit confused so help me out here. I read your post about calling the police on someone for dragging their kid out of the car. And before you tell me that was totally different, please remember that how things to other people are not how they look to you. So I’m not following your logic. You call the police on a parent and that’s cool because they were really a bad person but people who step in to your parenting are also really bad people? That street goes both ways.

    • phoebz4 February 25, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

      I’ve called the police once in my life on a parent. A parent who yanked a teen who had some cognitive disabilities out of a car so hard that she fell straight to the ground, and was crying and upset for several minutes as the parent who did this stood looking angry and uncaring. It wasn’t a time where the child is screaming “But I want that toy!” while Mom carts him out of the store. That was actually quite different than my four year old throwing a fit in a store, so me calmly and safely putting him in a time out, then us coming to an understanding, hugging it out, and moving on happily.

      Sorry, but I’m totally playing the “totally different” card on this one. The young woman’s face still haunts me.

      • wiffette March 3, 2016 at 4:37 am #

        I thought about this a lot. I had a couple run ins with CPS when I was a high school student. I was a part of a group of troubled kids who had physically or emotionally abusive parents. The police and CPS won’t take any action unless the child in question has been harmed to the point where they have a physical mark larger than a pinprick. And this doesn’t include something that was an accident, say you are pulling a child and they fall down and scrape their knee. That doesn’t count.
        So unless you think a child has been kidnapped, or you see someone hurt them enough to leave a mark, calling the police is pointless and probably stresses an already stressed out parent more.
        Personally I don’t think people should hit their kids. I think it’s really damaging. But the USA is a democracy and more people believe in their ‘right’ to hit their kids. So when I said the street goes both ways, I really mean it. You probably did more harm than good calling the police and that person and I can see why the police didn’t do anything. In America the situation you describe it legal and to a judgmental bystander probably not much different from the situation where someone called the police on you.
        I see a lot of self serving bias at work here. You think these things are different, but I think it sounds hypocritical. And it makes me nervous to move back to American with my kids. You guys just calling the cops because someone looked angry? They probably were just having a terrible day like we all do sometimes.

      • phoebz4 March 3, 2016 at 10:40 am #

        Trust me when I say, I’ve been thinking about this ever since it happened, over a year ago.

        You seem to be missing what I’ve written. I didn’t call the cops b/c the dad looked angry. I called the cops because I watched a man yank a young woman out of a van so hard, so forcefully, that she flew to the ground, hitting it full force. Yes, he looked angry. But she also looked scared.

        This wasn’t an incident of a four year old going limp on their mom, or bucking because they didn’t want to get into the car seat. This was a full grown man and a full grown female. Honestly, I thought at first I was calling in a report of domestic violence.

        I would actually love any tips you may have about when IS the proper time to call the police on such an incident. Do I wait until they break skin, when there’s actual blood? Or should I just look away and never ever call? Because that was the first time I ever made a call like that, and when I ran it past my friends who are social workers, they told me I made the right call. But maybe they were being nice to me.

  3. TheJackB February 26, 2016 at 4:04 am #

    I once walked through a mall with a screaming five year-old boy under my arm. He had lost it and just needed some quiet time.

    We got most of the way to the car when some mother tried to stop me because she was concerned about my son.

    Looking back I appreciate her looking out for him, but I didn’t want a lady who had a sleeping baby in a stroller try to tell me I should talk to a kid who went ballistic because I wouldn’t buy him a donut.

    The best part was when my son realized she had raised her voice at me looked at her and said “Be nice to my daddy!”

    • phoebz4 February 26, 2016 at 10:09 am #

      OMG! Your son is awesome! Lol!

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