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Thursday, November 7th, 2013
Joe DeProspero has two sons, a wife, and is complimentary birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” He talks about the highs and unsettling lows of parenthood while always being entertaining and engaging in the process. Author of the dark comedy fiction novel “The Boy in the Wrinkled Shirt” Joe is working on releasing a parenting humor book. He currently lives in New Jersey and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.
Dear God, please send patience to the ugly woman behind me.
The room we’re in is clearly labeled “The Cry Room.” There is a rather thorough description of the room’s purpose posted on the wall. The very first bullet within that description reads as follows:
- This room is for the *exclusive use of families with small children
* In case you weren’t sure, exclusive loosely translates to “not available to everyone.”
You are not, nor are you the parent of, a small child. The main reason I know this is because there’s n0 chance someone has had sex with you in the past five years. But also, the male sitting next to you with the beard, uncombed hair, and sweat pants (who I assume is your college-aged son) is definitely old enough to sit in the main section of the church. He hasn’t needed the refuge of this room in quite a number of years. But I do. My family does. Which is why I’m put off by the frequent dirty looks I get from you when my small children whisper a little too loudly or hop out of their seat for the 18th time. I know how annoying it can be when someone else’s children misbehave and their parents do nothing to stop it. But I am doing something. For starters, I’m bringing them to the one room in church where they’re supposed to be. I’m constantly telling them to lower their voices and to stay in their seats. I’m bringing noiseless toys to keep them entertained. And yes, even though the sign says it isn’t allowed, I’m bringing small snacks to keep them as satiated and quiet as possible. Because the person who wrote those rules has clearly never met a child, nor do they understand the absurdity of expecting one to remain quiet for 60 straight minutes without being bribed steadily with food.
What you’ve probably lost sight of over the years is how difficult it can be to take children out in public. There are plenty of Sundays when I practically beg my wife to leave me home with my younger son while she takes our older son to church. It’s a constant struggle and one that is only made more difficult when you know the people around you are angry and unsympathetic. I now dread coming to church, because I have to deal with your eyes boring a hole in the back of my head, your relentless sighs that I hear exponentially louder than any prayer for the sick.
I know I shouldn’t let you get to me. But I do. Ever since I became a father, I’ve been fearful of being perceived as a disruption to those around me. What I need to accept is that, no matter how hard I try, my children are going to ultimately disrupt something…or someone. I simply have to do my best to teach them how to control themselves, and put them in situations where they can practice those skills. Naturally, since they’re, ya know, children, there will be plenty of bumps in the road. And I have to expect that. Unfortunately, I also need to expect that others around me (you, for instance) won’t be tolerant of this process, but instead turn their noses up and scoff at us.
All I ask of you is one thing. Remember. Remember the frustrations you endured as a new parent, the sleepless nights and how your patience was stretched to its limits on a daily basis by the now pretty manageable teenager sitting beside you.
I’m trying my best here. Just like you did, I imagine. So I suggest you either walk the 10 extra feet it takes to get to the main section of the church, or get used to being surrounded by me and my occasionally disruptive kids. Because much like that hairy mole on your neck, we aren’t going anywhere. And your teenage son wearing what is essentially pajamas to church is much more scoff-worthy than anything a child could ever do.
Do you ever find yourself in public with eyes on you because of something your child did? Did it lead to a confrontation? I want to hear about it! Add a comment below.
Check out the Best Tantrum Tricks you’ve never heard before. Then, take our quiz and find out what your parenting style is.
* Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
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Sunday, June 26th, 2011
I’m pretty blown away by all the comments we’ve received (and I say that collectively, because many of us are commenting on each others comments as well). These three posts over the course of one week have caused quite a stir. We’ve had the good, bad and ugly.
I bow to so many of you for commenting in such eloquent, meaningful ways. Everything from sharing your story as a SAHM because your child has autism, seizures and cancer (there were a few of you and my heart goes out to how brave and strong you are. Those are not easy cards to be dealt. For me, unimaginable)– to those who feel privileged to be at home or at an office working. Or at home working. It sounds like for most of us, the arrangements we have fit our lifestyle. And that judgment isn’t necessary. Yet we do it anyway.
Why is it so hard not to judge? I have to catch myself all the time. Even the way I judge other members of my family or my neighbors–even my friends. I don’t know why it is human nature to feel superior. But for many of us, it is. Perhaps it’s insecurity or justification, but sometimes it just comes down to thinking your way is right and others are wrong. Why can’t it be that your way is right and other people’s ways are also right? It’s a work in progress for me.
I think the other theme I picked up on, particularly from the SAHMs is the lack of recognition they receive. And again, why is it that we feel such a need? Is it because the working people of the world get a tangible reward, i.e.: a pay raise, a compliment or a trophy? I know we moms get our kisses and hugs, which in many ways mean so much more, but it IS hard to not be recognized by your peers, your husband, your family when the job your doing is exhausting, and at times, thankless.
I took Fia to my in-laws this spring (a plane ride away), by myself. My husband was on a deadline. I went for two reasons: so that they could see her and so we could both be pampered. Yet, I was fishing for compliments from my husband on how above-and-beyond I was going.
“My mom friends told me how cool it is for me to be flying Fia to Wisconsin to see your parents.”
“But you want to go,” he replied, seeming puzzled.
“I know, but still don’t you think what I’m doing is pretty great?”
“Yeah, I love that you’re doing it, but it’s also benefiting you.”
Not exactly the response I was looking for. But in all honesty, I had 24 hour childcare (oh no, here we go again with that bad word. Kidding), time to write, workout, and just hang out and relax. It was great. Why do I feel like I needed to be recognized as a hero? To be told I’m wife and daughter-in-law of the year?
These are all questions we can continue to ask each other and ourselves. Let’s just try and be kind about it. Like I said in one of my comments, you catch more bees with honey than vinegar…. Plus, it tastes better too.
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baby, babysitters, being a mom, diaper, diaper bag, judgment, judgmental, judgmental moms, lack of recognition, mom, motherhood, recognition | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, The Sitter Chronicles
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
I was a bit surprised by the firestorm my blog set off. I was pondering it with my girlfriends Tuesday morning at the playground when a very strange thing happened.
A woman I had never seen came running up to us. She was almost in tears.
“Have you seen a blue baby blanket?” she asked frantically. (Her name is Julie.)
We shook our heads no.
“My sitter took it out with my son today and lost it!! It is his special blanket that was made from yarn we got in Australia. I let them take it because his father had to fly to Australia today and my son wanted to hold it. I even told her to be careful with it,” she said, clearly distraught.
My gals and I looked at each other, mouths hanging open.
“You gotta talk to HER!” my friend Stephanie said, pointing at me. It was like the universe sent Julie to me. Divine intervention reinforcing the point of my blog.
She went on to say, “You know the most ridiculous thing about this? I am paying my sitter to watch my son while I go searching for it.” I nodded. Been there too. It’s on my mom-crutch post.
Now before conclusions are drawn, let’s step back and think for a second what this argument is really about.
It’s about what we moms define as important. And what our expectations are. And it’s okay to agree to disagree. But I think it goes deeper than that. There was an underlying tone and theme in many of the comments. It speaks to the judgment we cast on each other, particularly the Stay At Home Moms versus the Working Moms.
And so begins Part 2 and 3 of my Sitter Chronicles.
Let’s first answer the question– how do things get lost? Sometimes it boils down to an accident. A mistake. And in that case, yes, get over it. But a lot of times it’s because tots fling things out of the stroller, or throw something in the playground. I know the few times I have lost stuff it’s due to texting while strolling (not something I’m proud of). Or not paying enough attention to what Fia is doing. I accept that my behavior is unacceptable. And I make a conscious decision to be better. So are sitters beyond reproach on that? I don’t think so. Because at the top of their job list is to pay attention to their biggest responsibility: The Child. Not their phone or their sitter friends. I believe that is exactly how Julie’s baby blanket got lost. And Fia’s things.
Dear lord. Diapers are a shit storm—literally and figuratively. I heard you all loud and clear on not checking the diaper bag: guilty as charged. Last Saturday was the first time it happened. And it bit me—and Fia—in the butt. It won’t happen again.
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accidents, baby blanket, babysitters, diaper bag, diapers, expectations, judgmental, judgmental moms, lose, lost, lost baby blanket, mistakes, mom, moms, playground, professionals, raising a child, responsibility, sahm, sensible, sippy cups, sitter, sitter responsibilities, sitters, stay at home moms, stroller, texting, texting and strolling, toy stroller, wipes, working moms | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Must Read