September 29th, 2009 in Parenting Tips

Well I did it. I did one more thing that I swore I would never do as a mother.

Do you have past memories of how someone parented you or how you saw a parent handle something that till this day you swear to yourself that you will never do, that you will never cross that line? Something you hold on to and sometimes even think, “Well at least I didn’t do THAT.” You almost use that experience as a parenting guide, a parenting how NOT to guide.

4 years ago I lived in Boston and worked as a nanny. In my church there was a mother with one girl about 6 years old. This mom could not let her out of her sight, could not let her sit by herself, was always touching her, fixing things. It was, well, it was a bit odd. What was even more odd was one day in the primary class where she freaked out. The lady leading the music had fun bells for a group of children to play, but was one bell short. She quickly said that she would sing the song again so the odd girl out could participate as well. Unfortunately it was this mother’s child, and even though the little girl completely understood, the mother started freaking out. “Oh my poor baby,” she started to wail. She ran up to her to not only hug her, but hold her and stroke her. Then the girl started to cry- very obviously NOT from having to wait her turn, but because her mother had scared her to death. Then the mother went on to rant to everyone in the room how unfair and mean this was to her poor little girl.

I remember thinking…never…never will I do this. Never will I embarrass my child like this, make something bigger than it should be, or “invent” something out of thin air to make a scene.

Well that “never” got crossed off the list a couple of weeks ago.

We were at the Oh Sweet Sadie Boutique a couple weekends ago. We were in that l -o- n-g (why don’t you have more than two ladies checking out) line (even though it was worth it), and towards the end of line was a booth with cheap (about 1.50 each) vintage toys that all the mothers were giving in and letting their children play with. My girls were very excited to get to THAT part of the line. They sat on the floor and quietly played while I zoned out for a bit, daydreaming about who knows what. My mind came back to reality and I turned behind me to check on the girls when I saw a lady in the corner of my eye harshly yank something out of my daughter’s hand, point her finger at her, and scold her. Abby looked stunned as the lady continued to scold her.

“What in the world do you think you are doing,” I said. “You do NOT yank something out of my daughter’s hand and yell at her. If you had a problem you should have said something to me. LEAVE HER ALONE.”

Well then, Abby who was just a bit stunned to begin with, was now terrified. For the next hour, she bawled and would not let me put her down. She would not let me talk to her and she would not lift up her face so I could see her crying.

Then, this is when it gets even better. Once I calmed her down, I called my husband where I loudly went over the whole situation. When I hung up, I heard her start to cry again.

Oh seriously Vanessa, I thought. What is your problem? She wasn’t terribly upset to begin with, you terrify the girl, and THEN as soon as she calms down, you go in for another attack.

SO I officially did become THAT mother today.

Not that I should not have told that lady what’s what, BUT it could have be done with my daughter in mind. And I should have been more worried about Abby’s feelings than venting to my husband.

I am sure I will learn all the other lessons the hard way too. They stick better that way.



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