Public Meltdowns: Birthday Party Edition

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I’m here to discuss the epidemic that is the public melt down.

I just have one question for all of you young children that are totally reading this blog right now…WHY!?! Why you gotta be like that!?!

You see I don’t believe in being the sweet “butterflys and rainbows” mom when other people are present and then as soon as the doors close I turn into sergeant mom. No, no, no my children are much too smart for that and they would never listen to me if they knew I had to contain myself. I am the type of parent that doesn’t parent differently outside of my house than I do inside my house, which means I’m not afraid to scold my child appropriately in the presence of whoever. This tactic however can cause concern for other parents because if this is my outside momming they can only imagine what I must be like behind closed doors. Not the case people!

So today was one of those days where my outside momming should have maybe been downgraded slightly.

Ill set the scene.

Imagine a warm cloudy day, we’re at a children’s birthday party in a large open park. My daughters friend has her birthday close to her other two siblings so they had invited all the kids from all three of their classrooms. Tons of kids, tons of parents, my daughters teacher had even made an appearance. This mom totally rocked this party too. She had asked everyone to bring snack platters instead of presents, which she had set up under a large post and beam building along with a cupcake decorating station, sidewalk chalk, and large sheets of paper for their little imaginations to go wild. There were bubbles to go around, along with sports balls, and rackets for everyone to play with. There were kids running around, playing tag, hide and seek, rolling down steep dandelion covered hills. Just having fun being kids, such a great idea! Free range parties are my new favorite thing! My daughter was set in the sandbox with a handful of her classmates about twenty feet away.

Almost two hours passed of me making it through my insane social anxiety, trying to make awkward conversation with the fellow moms all the while wrangling my puppy that was acting a fool and barking at everyone man, women, kid and leaf that came into vision. I had thought it a good idea to bring her along as a buffer, I was wrong. I felt at this point it was socially acceptable to pack up my little one and start the journey home.

I approach my sand covered offspring rapidly digging a hole like a dog, no doubt to China. I tell her its time to go and of course, she’s not ready.

“One more sand castle please mommy!”

Not an unreasonable request, I will allow it.

Not one second after I say Yes to one more, she decides to let me know that after that sandcastle, she’s going to build three more because I don’t get to tell her when to leave she will tell me when she’s done.

Umm…no. Of course at this point other parents would say something stern but allow a couple more minutes of play before dragging them back to the house. I was not that parent. I have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to talking back especially with the authority that she assumed she had at this moment in time.

“Please don’t talk to me like that, lets go right now then.” I say, grabbing her jacket from a nearby bench.

“NO! You said I could have ONE MORE SANDCASTLE!” She screams…Then come the waterworks.

“You lost the sandcastle privilege when you decided to speak to me disrespectfully now get your coat on and say goodbye.” I say, still calm like at this point.

One thing I will say about my youngest daughter is that she is a self assured, determined, strong willed child. A born leader really, fantastic qualities to have as an adult and will most certainly help her become a lawyer or a CEO later in life. At this point in time, not a fan of those qualities.

Her friends are letting her know they will continue the architectural wonder that is her 50th sandcastle and that she should go with her mommy. I agreed, she did not.

We exchange back and forths for a good 6-7 minutes while all the parents and her teacher look on and I eventually start to walk off assuming she will follow.

She took me leaving as a victory and she sat down with her sandcastle and said

“Good no one wants you here anyways you’re rude!”

Oh helllllll no child.

I storm back to the sandcastle, pick her up and drag her away from the audience, trying to wrangle her jacket on and start the 20 minute walk home.

This is where it gets bad. My daughter screams at the top of her lungs,

“NOOOOOO ALL YOURE GOING TO DO IS HURT ME!! YOU JUST WANT TO BRING ME HOME TO HURT ME LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO!!!!”

In front of all of her friends, all of her friends parents, and her teacher…

****JUST SO EVERYONE KNOWS this child does not get hit and the fact that I have to say this is mortifying. I am an ALLLL bark and no bite type of parent. My husband gets on me for it all the time. I can yell and debate until the sun goes down but I’m right in her room 10 minutes later hugging and making up with her. The worst thing this child has ever experienced is time outs in her room without toys.

So now, what is my move? Dragging her along by the sleeve of her jacket (because she refused to put her arms in the sleeves) out of the park and all the way home. The entire way home she’s crying and screaming OW OW OW to which I ask what could possibly hurt on you right now I’m holding onto the fabric of your jacket. She has no response.

We get home and straight into her room she goes.

Now I’m sitting in my kitchen bawling trying to figure out why I am such a shitty parent and how I am allowed to parent one child let alone four.

I’m thinking every single one of those parents watched as a crazed child beating mother violently dragged a screaming disparaged kindergartener against her will 25 blocks back to our house of horrors to finish her off.

This would probably also put a damper on all of the social progress I made with said parents that fateful day. Meanwhile my daughter is sitting on the edge of her bed whistling a tune, completely oblivious to what she has just done to my parental confidence.

Looking back on it now, I know most of them probably didn’t even notice what was going on, while the other ones have been through the same (maybe less dramatic) thing.

Would I change some things about my parenting style? Yes
Do I think I’m the perfect parent? …..Hard no.
But I’m doing the best I can with what I got and my children are (generally) pretty respectful, happy, smart, and fulfilled. The fact that all of that happened and she forgot about it within an hour has to say something.

ANYWAYS. I had a point to this whole post other then treat it as a total vent sesh. The point was this; Whenever you see a child having a meltdown in a Walmart , or a park, or what have you, always give that mother a smile or throw up the mocking jay sign to say

“I’m with you girl, stand tall! We have all been there!”

And to all you mamas that, like me, don’t shy away from discipline in the public eye, keep doing you. You are the only one that can parent the way that you do and no onlookers should make you afraid to do what you feel is best for your child (and your sanity) at any point in time.

Signed Sincerely,

The meanest mommy in the whole wide world

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