Parenting In Public

Here's the scene:

You're at a busy sit-down restaurant trying the enjoy your lunch.  You're sandwiched between your wiggle wormy 3 year old and your temperamental 2 year old.  The clock is ticking closer and closer to nap time and as the minutes pass, the emotions rise.

In an effort to just ease the situation and buy yourself some time, you hand your 2 year old your already destroyed iPhone, because, really, what's the point in fighting it anymore?  In between bites of your cooling meal and shoving food into your 3 year old's mouth, you notice that your 2 year old is partaking in your biggest pet peeve... holding food.  He has been holding the same bite of food in his mouth for the last 15 minutes!

You decide to ignore it because at least he's not pitching a fit... at the moment.  But then, just when you aren't looking, he opens his mouth and out pours a stream of watered down, drippy, mushy, mac n' cheese.  You try to salvage what's left of your phone, scoop up the soggy mess... and then what?

It's your choice... you're the mother... it's time for parenting in public.

Here's what I did:

When I snatched the phone away, it immediately resulted in an outburst of screams and tears.  Then I brought his face close to mine and very sternly said "No, no, no... we don't spit food! No, no, no!" and I proceeded to slap him on the wrist once.

Unbeknownst to me, there was another mother seated nearby with a precious angel of a daughter, who I'm sure has never thrown a single tantrum ever, and her own mother.  They were gawking at me with phones poised to dial CPS.

It was brought to my attention by my own mother, who was sitting next to me, that I had a fan club.  I turned to see the grandmother staring at me with unwavering eyes.

It was a stare-down.

I looked at her.  She looked at me.  Faces unchanged.  Tumbleweeds rolled past and cowboy music started playing (in my head, of course).

I was itching... nay, BEGGING for her or her smug daughter to say something about my parenting tactics.

All the while Jonas is still pitching his fit next to me with tears streaming down his little red face.

Once she looked away, I scooped Jonas up into my arms and exited the restaurant to have a one-on-one chat.  I calmed him down, we hugged it out and walked back into the restaurant.

Thankfully, for her sake, she didn't say anything to me... because I was ready to put her in her place.  And my sister-in-law was there... and she's got one hell of a mouth on her!

The bottom line is this... I'm going to parent my children, inside of the house AND outside of the house.  If YOU don't like it, LOOK AWAY.  The rules are the rules no matter where we are.  And a slap on the wrist with a stern voice are the least of it... that WAS my public parenting.  

So how do YOU handle parenting in public?


Amanda C. said...

Well, I don't have any children, but I have to say that a slap on the wrist is better than the parents who just let their kids run rampant just so they don't have a melt down. They are your kids, that nosy lady should have minded her own business. lol

Melanie said...

I agree..if they dont like what they see they can look the other direction! Kudos to you for parenting your kids in public..better than letting them run wild like alot of parents do!

Danielle-Marie said...

You know, BEFORE I had kids I can honestly say I was totally guilty of judging parents. What a moron I was! Now, if I look at ALL while I see a stranger parent their child in public...I offer a sympathetic smile and move on.

As for what I do when my children have tantrums in public I usually pick them up and walk out of where ever we are until they cool down.

Tadeja said...


yeah, judging other parents is the national sport wherever you go. what i wanted to say / ask / point out - and please don't take this like i'm attacking you... but why are you so angry? i was catching up with your blog and it struck me that there seems to be this anger or aggression that i haven't noticed in your posts about a year or so ago...

Anyway, i hope you're ok and i wish you and your family all the best.

Shawna said...

LOL...I missed this post earlier.

If I'm being honest I'm someone who chooses not to pick (most) battles when we're out and about. If they are doing something where they could get hurt or are bothering others then that's different, but if we're at a restaurant or something I'll let them eat chips for dinner, etc. rather than pick a battle like I would at home. In general my girls are pretty good in public and I enjoy myself a lot more when I just let it go!

....but that said, I have no problem with other parents doing otherwise and choosing to pick battles in public. I hate the stare downs from nosey neighbors and they should mind their own business!