How To Avoid Getting Punched In The Face

I was a little torn on whether I should address this on my blog at all. I was going back and forth in my mind all day, wondering whether it was truly relevant to my blog, if anyone even cared about my two cents on the matter, and if it was even worth blogging about in the first place.  Then, I reread the news article, and I became so passionate and incensed all over again, that I felt like I needed to vent my frustration over it, even if it meant venting on a blog that only a couple dozen people read, if that.

The other day, a friend of mine posted a status on Facebook regarding a situation that went down at a Nordstrom store in California. Apparently, a mom was waiting in line to pay with a toddler that was having a pretty intense tantrum.  A 20 year old fellow patron at the store asked the mom to quiet her child.  That went over as well as you could possibly anticipate, and it came to blows in the Nordstrom parking lot, with the mother initiating the physical altercation.

In no way, shape, or form does this blog post condone or promote violence. I, for one, am not a violent person, I don’t believe violence can solve anything, and I don’t think the mother choosing violence is beneficial to anyone involved.  The only time I believe in violence is if you’re going for the last Krispy Kreme doughnut, because I will choke a bitch.  Not only did the 20 year old come away from it with several injuries, but the mom is most likely looking at charges pressed and a court date, and maybe even jail.  Also, I assume the child witnessed the altercation, which is clearly not the greatest way to demonstrate problem-solving skills to your young, impressionable child.  Unless you’re trying to raise the next Hulk Hogan or Jeffrey Dahmer.

Now that that’s out of the way, I can get down to the nitty gritty of this blog post.

Throughout my life before children, I was known to cast stones pretty regularly. I used to be pretty judgmental, pretty harsh, and pretty petty.  I can say only one thing regarding that person from the before time:  I have no fucking clue who she is, where she went, or why the hell she was such a bitch in the first place, because seriously?  Homegirl was a douche.

Parenthood strips everything down to the absolute basics. Some days, it’s a marathon, and at the end, your prize for running this trying, draining, exhausting, exasperating, frustrating marathon today is your survival.  You’ve survived.  Congrats.  Get ready to wake up tomorrow at 5 AM and do it all over again.

When I’m faced with people who I assume are childless casting stones and judgment upon a parent who is not obviously mistreating, abusing, or neglecting their child, I feel a very real, urgent need to inform that person that their tune is gonna be a-changin’ if ever they decide to have children. Not only is it the greatest, most fulfilling, most joy-inducing thing ever, but it’s fucking hard, man.  Not only is it hard, but the stress of dealing with small, unpredictable, cranky, emotionally immature people all day can many times be compounded by outside stressors, such as finances, hectic schedules, work, marital issues, family problems, illnesses, and other real world problems that contribute a great deal to our mental and emotional well-being.

Maybe this mom in Nordstrom was in the middle of the juggling act so many moms find themselves in the middle of each day. Maybe she was stressed out over work, financial difficulties, a fight with her spouse, car trouble, maybe she was preoccupied over test results from routine bloodwork, maybe she was tired that day, maybe she stayed up the entire night the night before wondering how she was going to make ends meet that month.  Then, on top of all of this, she has a small child, pissing all over the entire Nordstrom parade that day.  That, alone, is stressful enough as it is.  Compounded with all the other potential stressors?  I can see how she might have been on edge.

Then, here comes the expert. Dr. Sears reincarnate at the ripe old age of 20 years old, childless and clueless, but with the incredible insight to suggest that the child’s mother quiet the child down.

REALLY?! YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT HE COMES WITH A ‘MUTE’ BUTTON!? If I would’ve known that, I’d have been using that thing this entire time. Thank you for your wonderful insight! You must be a member of MENSA with that incredible brainpower of yours.

What a lot of people don’t understand is when small children have reached that hysterical, inconsolable point, there is no calming. At that point, you need to just ride that wave until it crashes on the shore, and let them boomerang back from that.  There is no talking that child off the ledge.  At that point, they need to just fall and come back to planet Earth, as messy, loud, obnoxious, and ridiculous as that may look and sound.

I can see that less than helpful “suggestion” by the 20 year old setting the mother off. I can see why she would tear her a new one, I can see why she would let her have it, and I can see why she would lose her cool, because I completely would’ve, too.  Would I have hit her?  Probably not.  But I would’ve given her a verbal lashing thorough enough to embarrass her in front of all of our fellow shoppers, and make her rethink ever saying anything potentially out of line to anyone ever again.

This brings me to the point of my post: people need to be sensitive, compassionate, and show empathy, instead of being judgmental, rude, and obnoxious.  In this life, none of us know anything.  We are all just doing the best we can, with what we have available to us.  This parenthood journey is a learning curve, and we are, for some reason, always given the test before the lesson.  Maybe it would do the world some good to give a knowing, sympathetic look instead of a disgusted glare next time you see a kid having a tantrum at a department store.  Maybe we could ask if mom needs a hand with her groceries, instead of rolling your eyes at mom and her sideshow circus act of wild, heathen children.

I mean, if you’re not down with that, I guess I’ll just have to punch you in the face.


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