Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Bit of a Rant

Ok, I have to say I"m getting a little tired of random strangers criticizing my parenting choices. In the past week and a half I've had two strange men call me out on small parenting decisions without bothering to A) look my in the eye or B) offer to help me correct what are obviously grievous parenting deficiencies.

The first time was just after the transmission on my car died. We were experiencing an apocalyptic rain storm that day which I was, admittedly, unprepared for being that I didn't expect to have my car go completely belly up on a Saturday morning in a torrential rain storm. Trust me, if I could have somehow anticipated that I would be stranded in the Pearl District without a car you can bet your ass I would have come better prepared.

So AAA has towed my car away (seriously, if you don't have a AAA membership, GO GET ONE! Totally, 100% worth it.) and I have to wait for Morgan to come pick me up in the rental car (we only have one car now which is normally FINE). So I can either choose to sit with a vocal baby in the waiting room of the salon where I have just gotten my hair cut or I can run up the street to Powell's where Finley can make all the noise she wants and not stand out like a Hummer in a sea of Priuses. I go for Powell's. I mean, its only two blocks from the salon and while folks are drawing up plans for the Ark (i.e. its raining real, real hard), its warm and I'm wearing boots and Finley is partially covered by the shade on the stroller so we go for it. And we have a lovely time. And I get some Christmas shopping done. And people ooh and ahh over Fin and I'm thinking Wow! this has been a really crappy morning but things are working out. Yay!

So, Morgan calls and he's waiting for me and Fin and I walk toward the salon where he is meeting us. And yes. It's raining. But 1) we live in Portland, we're used to this. We regularly make fun of people who use umbrellas. Seriously, what a sissy. And 2) its 61 DEGREES! If it wasn't raining people would be out in skirts and shorts and sundresses. And 3) IT'S TWO BLOCKS. This is not a tremendous distance even in the rain. Even with a baby.

ANYWAY...I'm waiting at the corner and it's definitely my time to cross and this guy has to come to a screeching stop so he doesn't hit me and Finley (FORESHADOWING) and I think Oh phew. Glad we missed that guy. So we cross and then I'm crossing the other way and as he drives by me he takes the time to roll down his window and yell out at me "HEY LADY! GET YOUR DAMN BABY OUT OF THE RAIN! JESUS CHRIST!"

Ok, tough guy. Let's go ahead and list out your asshat-ery
1)what kind of jackwagon yells at a random stranger on the street? Seriously? Get a job or a hobby or spend some time of Facebook. Maybe you can be one of those Dungeons and Dragons freakshows. If you find that your thoughts are so consumed with the weather & travel habits of strangers, that you need to yell at them out of your car window, you need to enrich your life.
2)clearly you are not ACTUALLY concerned with me or my baby because if you were, you would have stopped and offered to, I don't know, hold the umbrella over the stroller or something.
3)and yes, you're very tough and helpful and cool or something to yell out the window at me and refuse to make eye contact when I look at you in surprised amazement. That's right, buddy, drive on. It's easy to be critical and a general ass clown when you don't actually have to back up what you say. Just yell it out the window. Very helpful. Thank you.


I took the kids to the library yesterday and because I forgot the stroller I was wearing Finley in the Ergo, carrying my diaper bag on one arm and holding Conor's hand with the other arm. Well, I was holding his hand with my hand but you get what I'm getting at. He's aware of the handicap button that will automatically open the doors and I usually let him push it for me because he likes to (kids like to push buttons, both real and figurative) and because generally I do have my hands full and while, yes, I am physically capable of opening the door by myself, it usually involves some sort of body contortion where I open the door with one side of my body, smash up against it and try to usher Conor through all while desperately attempting to keep hold of all the items I happen to be holding in my hands. So yes, I take advantage of the handicap access door. I also use the handicap bathroom and GASP! use the auto open doors at Target. I wonder how long my prison sentence will be?

ANYWAY! We're going through the second of the set of double doors and this man behind us snidely says "these are not toys, you know". And I look around because What? He's can't be talking to me and he sure as hell better not be talking to my son. But there is no one else around me. It's just me and Conor and him. And I look at him like What? Are you talking to me? And he won't even meet my eyes. Just makes his little comment and walks on. I walked the other way but kept looking back over my shoulder at him like, seriously? Was he really talking to me? So you criticize my parenting choice but don't offer to help with the door. In fact, you GO THROUGH the door you've said is not a toy.

So, yeah, I get it. I'm a pretty hands off parent. It's not that I neglect my children but I walk out of the room and leave Finley alone. And I don't insist that Conor hold my hand every second that we are out. And I don't put him on one of the wretched kid leashes. I allow my kids to experience rain drops (Quick! Call Child Protective Services!), and I allow my kids to let go of my hands to push the handicap button on doors (Quick! Call the cops! She doesn't have the appropriate handicap placard!) I don't keep them in perfectly-secure-no-harm-may-come-to-you bubbles and I guess sometimes that can call my parenting choices into question.

But more than someone disagreeing with a parenting choice I've made, it's the way you disagree. A comment hurled through an open window on a rainy day or snidely tossed over your shoulder is obviously criticism not to be constructive or help the situation but criticism just to criticize. Or maybe these two guys just like to be ass monkeys. Who knows?

This is about 10 paragraphs longer than I anticipated but I actually feel tremendously better from having vented. Whew.

It's unlikely that I will post again before Christmas so I would like to say that I hope you and yours have a day that is merry and festive. And hopefully spiked with a little somethin'-somethin'.

Also?  This is my 200th post!  YEE-HAW!  Merry Christmas, y'all!

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