Friday, January 7

The Day I Met Parenting Royalty

I would like to begin this post with a small preface.

I have a challenging daughter. She is a very strong willed child that will one day move mountains and heal the universe, but at the age of three, her power is unharnessed and often comes off as spirited.

The fact that I have a spirited daughter is well know to me; I assure you NO ONE in the world knows this fact better than I, her mother, the creator of her, the giver of life, and the 24/7 caregiver; me.

I am aware! That being established, I will begin with the story of my day.

This morning when English Sam and I decided to go to our first Weight Watchers meeting I was running a
little late because Nora had slept in a bit, but we did make it eventually.
When I arrived Sam was not there yet, so I started filling out the papers and getting everything ready, and thats when I met the first of 2 unbelievably miserable women who work there at WW.

After the headache of gathering all of the 7 million books and hand outs, inspirational stickers *eye roll* and a tiny pocket calculator I went over to the dreaded weigh scale. Ooh that was not my idea of fun. But it needed to happen.  When all of that was finished Sam and I went and sat down to listen to the meeting.
Nora was with me of course, and Sam's daughter Lara too.
The Lady began to speak and Nora was grabbing at my WW calculator, I said no and handed her my i-phone to play with. She didn't like that - she really wanted my WW calculator.
It was then that my spirited daughter did the fake cry very loudly and put her head on my lap. It was annoying but I just ignored her. Except that the lady leading the meeting stops, a tad annoyed, and looks at me and says "Is everything alright?" Clearly not really concerned.
I looked at her and said yes?
Then for pretty much the rest of the 20 minutes we were there Nora was rather loud and whinny because she wanted my new food calculator that I was trying to lean how to use.
At one point I took Nora out of the meeting and told her to stop with my teeth gritted together, she assured me she would and when we returned she picked up her awful behavior right where she left off. I was very frustrated but thought I would just make it through and never bring her again.

Already embarrassed by Nora's behavior up until this point, that is when the leader woman stops talking again and says "Could you keep it down?"

Ya lady I know, thanks.

So Sam and I leave. Sam needed to go pick up her other daughter from pre-school anyway but I just wanted to get out of there.

As I am putting Nora in her car seat I am so angry, frustrated, embarrassed and annoyed. Why is she always like this? Why did that woman have to be so rude about it? I decided no, Nora is not winning this. I payed my money and I need to learn this. So I go back inside.

We go back in and sit there until it was over and the lady sees I am the last one there. She says do you need anything? I said yes and I ask her to explain the calculator to me. She shows me how it works, she answers a few more of my questions and then I decided to talk to her about what she had done. I was not going to be rude, I just wanted her to know it was not okay.

 I said to her, I would like to talk to you about what you said to me and my friend during the meeting. She was smuggly smiling at me and said "what are you talking about?"
I said to her, when my daughter was having a hard time sitting quietly, there was no need to draw more attention to the situation and I felt it was rude. I was doing my best and I think what you did and said was uncalled for. I told her I had read through all the WW meeting info and it says nothing about it being child free, so I would hope in the future you would handle the situation with a little more love and kindness.

She said to me, and I quote. "I don't know why it was so hard, MY child would have never acted like that"
I was shocked.
I did not realize this was about how perfect a parent you are.

I asked her, You have 1 child?
She said yes. She's 2.
(are you friggin kidding me?  She's 2! You have one kid who's 2... of course she doesn't act like that yet).
Well I have 4. Then I said, All children act like this once in a while, everyone has bad days.

She then said that as the WW leader it's her job to keep it silent for everyone.

I looked at her confused and said, really? Funny you did not call out the two women to the side of me during the meeting for their CONSTANT cross talk and ask them to be quiet. I missed the whole thing on red cabbage because of their chatter. Why did you not ask them to be quiet? And how is that fair. I would suspect most of the women that were here were mothers and/or grandmothers and I doubt they actually had any problem with my daughter.

Then she got up and said that if I wanted her to she would write down some parenting ideas for me on how to deal with children.
I assured her I did not need any of her ideas, but thanked her for the offer. There are a few other things I really really wanted to say, and choice words I wanted to use but I opted to not; to just walk away and be the better person.  I'll have you know walking away and being the better person does NOT feel better nor is it as satisfying as ripping someone a new a$$hole - and it will likely never happen again.

I will not be going to that meeting ever again. But I will be phoning the head office in the morning.

What a great start to Weight Watchers!
I was so angry.

Sam took Nora to play with her girls after, then at 2 pm dropped her off so we could go pick up Seth.

When I got to Seth's school I went and sat down at the tables. I am feeling tired, a little deflated about the morning and my back is sore and I could not take anything because I had to drive. While I was waiting for Seth another mom came and sat at the table with me. I smiled and said hi.

She says J, can I ask you a question?
Sure.
If you can even believe this...

She says to me, last week when I pulled up in the morning to drop (her daughter) off at school I saw a mom leave her child in the van and go into the school. While she is telling me this she is so angry and shocked.
I just sat there and listened to her tell me how awful this mom is, she says, I can't believe she would leave a child in a van. Doesn't she know how children get stolen all the time? How could she risk a childs life even for a second? How does she not know how precious children are. She said "[she] was disgusted." Pretty strong words and invoking a pretty strong emotion to say the least.

I asked "What did you do?" She tells me that she almost called the police.
I said, "Wow!"

After the day I just had, I was so sad for how angry and judgmental this woman was being towards a mother she knew nothing about. I felt sick to my stomach and I asked this woman, how long did you sit and watch the van to make sure the van did not get broken into and the child stolen?

She actually said to me, well, I didn't. I was late I had to be somewhere.

Ooh so you were frothing enough at this behavior to rip this woman apart to heaven knows how many people, but not upset at the action enough to actually make sure the child was safe? I asked then how is what you did any different? And she just stared at me with a stunned face.

I am not saying leaving your child in a car is the best decision ever made, but cut the woman some slack, you have no idea what is going on in her life. Maybe next time offer to sit in her van so she can run her other child in. Or at the least keep your actions consistent with what you are saying - watch and make sure the child is safe before you talk to the mom about it.

Thankfully Seth showed up then and I could leave because I was breathing pretty heavy and I was ready to open up on this poor woman.

Had I know I was going to be in the presence of Parenting royalty not once but twice today I would have worn nicer clothes and put perfume on and worn one of my cute hats. I would have brought my rose petals to throw beneath their feet and a notepad and pencil so I could have taken notes on their expertise.

Geesh!

J

Today:

I am grateful for time away tonight. I really need it.

I am grateful I am going to see some of my oldest friends this weekend. I hate that it's because of a funeral, but I am looking forward to seeing everyone.

I am grateful this day is over and my lesson has been learned. I fear for the next person who crosses me or questions my parenting.

5 comments:

Amy said...

I think I had my mouth gaping open for that whole post. wow

Amber said...

I can't believe that ww lady! Don't worry, I'm sure that one day soon her perfect little 2 year old will make her sorry she ever said a word. Some people are so horrible.

Amanda Adams said...

I actually made noises out loud while reading this post!!! WOW!!! What an arrogant woman!!!! Good for you for confronting her! There will come a day when he child will behave as children do and someone will judge her...I hope in that moment she remembers what she said to you. On the flip side Lucy and I have joined a really cool free calorie counting website. Its called myfitnesspal.com. If you join then add Lucy and I to your friends!

Tracy said...

You are courageous. For speaking up with the WW and confronting her with what she said. And for speaking up with the mom at Seth's school who was so quick to criticize but not help out. Good for you. I don't think I would have been brave enough to be assertive like you were at those moments. Having challenging children myself, I can relate. I still cry when people attack my child or my parenting when they assume that because a child is X number of years old chronologically, that they automatically "should" perform a certain way. Hang in there my friend.

Sam and/or Monika said...

HAHAHAHAHA! jo, i love you. i love that you confronted the ww woman. and i love that you made the other one think a little more before opening her mouth.

honestly, i am constantly surrounded by parents with less children than myself, younger children than myself....and they are shocked at how my children argue with each other, or how they are so rowdy, whiny, blah, blah, blah. "oh MY child NEVER does that!"

and i am reminded of a story my mom told me. once at church a lady looked down at my mom struggling with her three rowdy boys and said, "why can't you keep your kids in control? my daughter never acts that way." my mom just smiled as she huffed and puffed along with the crazy boys. i asked her why she didn't have some kind of retort. and my mom said, "because at some point in life, she'll understand." and she did. four years later, she had two more kids. a boy and a girl. they both were OUT OF CONTROL. they kicked and screamed and cried all through sacrament meeting and the poor woman was near tears. my mom consoled her as she cried.

so, now when i hear the other mothers give me their opinions i just smile and think, someday she'll understand. and actually, one of the mothers came up to me just a couple months ago and said, "i was so judgmental of you and i just had no idea that these behaviors were normal." (once her kids reached the age of mine at the time).

on the other hand, i am grateful for wonderfully aged mothers who do understand and give me some slack. sometimes i would leave the baby in my running car as i rushed makayah into preschool. my mother friend of five children, graciously offered to take makayah in for me whenever i needed her to.