I’ll never understand why parents take their kids to activities or events then proceed to ignore every other kid and every other parent at that activity?
Today I took my wee, sweet cherub to a gymnastics class for toddlers. I was very excited because for the last two years I’ve been dealing with some pretty intense post-natal depression and my little bloke had been badly suffering from reflux and colic and has been in and out of hospital, so we both needed to get out of the house and start meeting other people.
We arrive way too early (in pure excitement for what was to come) and my dear, sweet angel begins to get frustrated and runs around causing havoc.
Finally the other mums turn up with their angels…. all well behaved little girls. They even sit next to their parents and don’t move!??? What sort of sorcery is this? While these dear, sweet darlings behave impecably, my son runs around jumping on all the carefully laid out gym equipment.
Finally, the class begins and my son decides to throw a tantrum. The teacher tries to placate him and I decide to sit on the side and let my partner deal with the mess. All the time, the same parents are continuing to ignore each other and the other children.
While the little girls patiently make their way around the class and do what they are told, my son screams every time he doesn’t get his own way, runs the wrong way and just behaves like a wee animal. I try to make up for his behaviour by commenting on how cute the other children but I get blank stares from their strange parents.
Then a grandmother turns up and sits on the side, I try to make small talk with her, to no avail. Which is about the time my son decides to have a complete melt-down, throwing himself on the floor, tears running out of his eyes, all while the other two sit quietly paying attention to the teacher.
At that point, I’ve reached the end of my tether and I tell my partner we are leaving. I turn around to the grandmother to smile and try to make my exit polite and she glares at me with pure judgement in her eyes. I walk out the door, get into the car and both my son and I cry our eyes out all the way home.
Suffice to say, we won’t be going back, but not because the class was bad, or because our child is bad. He’s a great kid usually, it was just an off day. The teacher was amazing. What really got to me was the attitude of the other parents. No, your kids aren’t well behaved because you are great parents and I am not. You just have quiet kids, they are all different.
Also, when you see a kid misbehaving and the guardian is trying so hard to keep him under control, and they look like they are on edge and they apologise profusely, don’t make them feel worse by tut tutting, don’t glare at them. Just give them some support.
It’s not easy parenting a toddler and it’s about time we all had each others backs and realised that we all have bad days and it is not a time to sit there judging but rather a time to pat someone on the back, smile and say ‘you’re doing the best you can Mumma/dadda/grandma etc’.