But then again, sometimes that village is effed up… The stories of the “free range parents” has died down with people freaking out about other parents letting kids out of their sight for 10 seconds. (I notice how only the middle class/wealthy people who judge others when the kids walk home from school alone, when the poor kids have been doing it for decades in the very worst of neighborhoods and nobody but their mommas seemed to care… but that’s another story.)
People are getting a little out of hand at “parenting” other people’s children when they really should be focusing on their own. We were accosted in a grocery store parking lot the other day with our brood of 1001 toddlers and tweens (or so it felt like) trying to get the multiple carts of groceries in the back of the van, get the kids in the van, with a fussing toddler, a kid hitting all the buttons in the van making things go on and off, up and down, another one poking his brother to tears, and we were trying to wrangle them and not drop the eggs and keep the ice cream from melting in the hot sun and as a man walked to his car with an infant in his arms, one of us dropped the f-bomb. His car was parked several spaces from us but there were no cars in between. He started screaming at us about how he worked for the state and he was going to follow us home and take our kids away from us because no one should say that word in front of kids. And He. Wouldn’t. Let. It. Go. We yelled back at him to mind his own business, etc, more as a way to attract attention for witnesses than anything, because what was this lunatic doing? He would take a few steps towards us, yell, and as hubs and I would stand together between our van (that was holding our children) and him, then he’d back off. Meanwhile I was digging through my purse to find my phone to call 911, not expecting to be threatened in the middle of the day in a store I visit weekly!
We did not back down, but neither did we take his bait and walk towards him or threaten him. We first tried ignoring but then he started walking towards us, screaming and yelling. When he said he worked for the state, I actually laughed, because my first thought was,what, the DMV? When I finally got my phone out and got his license plate (tried to get a picture of him, he thought I did but I didn’t), suddenly he wasn’t interested in sticking around and drove off, peeling rubber. I’m not actually sure his baby daughter was strapped in the baby seat, he had been so focused on us. What his problem was, I don’t know. What I do know is my children were frightened, confused, and now the grocery store parking lot is somewhere they don’t feel safe.
If we were hitting our kids, beating them, abusing them, and he called the police or intervened, yay for him. But we weren’t. “Normal parents” of “average kids” do sometimes yell and say things like “*&^&! Would you quit!” No one will ever convince me that “normal parents” do not get frustrated. When did we evolve to a society that thinks the children are in charge, and that parents should give control over to the kids? And when is CPS a threat to use against other people to make them parent “your” way? Isn’t it supposed to be for abused children, as in beaten, injured, neglected? Not because you don’t like the fact that their parents swore in front of them! No wonder so many kids are getting abused and killed in foster care, and many others are being left at home for the same, if this is the kind of calls they’re getting. (And if he did actually work for CPS, that would explain a lot about the screwed up system… but I highly doubt he does.) What has happened to common sense?
It’s bad enough as parents of traumatized children we have to be very careful in who is in our circle, those who will support our very special and thought out parenting techniques and not undo the work we’ve done, our methods individualized for each child, and where we take them to so they aren’t triggered, but this wasn’t even a RAD moment, or a trauma kid moment (although thanks to this guy my kids did get traumatized that day, scared that they’re going to get taken away, scared that the big yelling man is going to find them and steal them, etc). This was an every day, normal moment in the life of a parent.
If he really cared about the kids, why did he start out screaming at us? He could have said, hey, dude, it’s not good to say that in front of your kids, Jesus don’t like it or something to that affect and it would have been cool with us. He’s allowed his opinion, after all. But screaming at a van load of kids, their scared faces plastered against the windows, walking threateningly toward them while screaming at their parents – really? You’re concerned about their fragile little psyches?
Oh yeah, and by the way dude in the parking lot – if that’s how you’re going to live your life and act in front of YOUR daughter, you”ve got a lot more things to worry about than whether or not I swear sometimes in front of my kids.