Hey Kids, Look… It’s a Rude, Judgmental Woman

So our family just got home from a day at the zoo. It was a nice, sunny day, and all was going well. That is until I got in a small tiff with a rude woman. Here’s what happened…

We were walking out from the lion habitat, when my kids started to get a little rowdy. They were acting like lions growling at each other and grabbing onto one another. My husband and I broke it up, and everything seemed to be fine. So we proceeded into the next exhibit, the manatee house. Well, as soon as you walk through the door, there is a narrow bridge over an indoor pond. It was really crowded, so I went to grab my 3-year-old daughter to pick her up.

Not realizing it was me, my daughter turned around kicked me in the leg and says, “Get off of me, you butt!” An older woman standing next to us let out a huge gasp. Surprised, too, I looked at my daughter sternly in the face and said “Hey, you do NOT act like that! Watch it, or we’ll go back outside and sit on timeout.” My daughter immediately snapped out of it and was fine. I think she thought my son was grabbing her, not me.

Well, the older woman starts talking to her friend not realizing I could hear her… “Can you believe that? Did you hear what she called her? blah, blah, blah… Kicked her in the leg… blah, blah, blah… Timeout?!? I’d be dragging her to the car, and she’d be on timeout on the way home… blah, blah, blah.”

I was fuming. Should I ignore this woman? Or say something? What should I say? I thought about it and then decided to tap her on the shoulder say, “I’m sorry, do you have a problem with the way I discipline my daughter?”

I said it. It was on.

A little stunned, all the woman could answer back was, “I… I was just shocked.”

Not thinking what I’d say next, I responded, “Yeah, she’s a hand full that I have to deal with every day.” Then we just looked at each other and she walked away.

Damn me for not thinking quicker!

So then I spent the entire rest of the day thinking about the incident and wishing I would have had a better response. Here’s a couple of options I thought of:

–“Yeah, I’m shocked, too… That you’re oblivious to the volume of your voice when you are so righteously judging another mom.”

–“Shocked? Is that all you have to say? Seemed like you had a lot more to share when you were just blabbing about me to your friend.”

–“Yeah, I was shocked, too. My daughter’s behavior took me off guard. But, what was I supposed to do? We were on a tiny bridge, surrounded by a lot of people. I didn’t want to make a bigger scene than what was already happening.”

–Or maybe I should said, “Shut up, you butt!”

I really think my daughter thought it was my son grabbing her on the bridge. Not that fighting with your sibling is OK. Or calling your brother a “butt” is fine either. But, after talking to her, my daughter immediately realized she did something wrong and stopped. I wasn’t about to go ballistic in the middle of a crowd and drag everybody home.

So thanks for ruining my day, lady! Hopefully you felt a little guilty and embarrassed for realizing I heard you.

17 thoughts on “Hey Kids, Look… It’s a Rude, Judgmental Woman

  1. Every kid acts like that at sometime.
    At least u know that if a stranger tries to grab her.. she can defend herself! : )
    And they will do that and call their siblings worse things later on.
    Sorry you had to encounter that.
    Judge me fine, but judge me outloud so I can hear… then it’s fair game to confront.

  2. Oh my gosh, I just hate it when people act like that. Please Lord, never let me forget that I was going through all of this stuff when I get older. Way to at least call her out on it.

    My son was horrible yesterday at church, no less. He is wearing an “I love Jesus” sticker and when we came to get him he didn’t want to leave. He started hitting my husband and all of this in front of the bible school teacher

  3. It is too bad that she ruined your day. And I think all of us wish we could be quicker to retort when things like that happen. BUT children are going to act out when you least expect it and usually when you aren’t prepared. Maybe with the comment you did make the rude woman will think twice before she comments again on something that really wasn’t any of her business.

  4. OH I LOVE IT! 🙂 I have a very challenging 2 year old right now and a newborn & am constantly getting little comments on what I should or shouldn’t be doing. Good for you for saying something!!!

  5. Lord knows that I have all these witty comments to say to those who have their opinions about my child rearing–usually after the fact! I don’t want this to sound too “high & mighty” because that isn’t my intent, but I have made a conscious effort to not say anything in situations like that. Chances are, these people aren’t going to change the way they act because of what I’ve said to them, and I end up feeling worse about the whole situation. I guess it’s a whole karma thing for me!

  6. I spend far too much time in the oh-why-didn’t-I-say-that frame of mind!

    Sounds to me like she did exactly what a discipline is supposed to bring about- change! So who cares what the bitty thought? (Easier said than done of course!)

  7. Yep, looking back I’m glad I didn’t say more to this woman than I did. I’m sure I would have said a few choice words and would have regretted it later.

    I am glad I at least called her out on talking about us.

  8. love that you said something… no matter if you wish you would have said something else it is liberating. On a cross country flight with my 1 1/2 year old who was screaming this young woman kept looking back at me as he screamed (you know the look… shut him up) So I walked up to her row and said you look like you might have an idea for me about how to get my son to calm down… want to share” she gave me a blank stare shook her head and never looked back again! Not saying something would only have made it worse for me and you. GO MOM!

  9. I love that you confronted the woman and I think what you said was perfect. Just enough to say your point and not too much to go down to her level.

    On another note, I LOVE what Marla said on her flight, I’m going to have to use that tip. Because my sweet 11 month old is just starting to wind up and voice her opinion. Which now that she’s asleep and the house is peaceful I’m happy about. I want my daughter to keep her ground. Tomorrow, next year and in 5 years I’m sure I’ll be regretting that I’ve said this!

  10. Whenever I see a kid acting up in public, I just laugh. It’s a “I feel you and I’m glad it isn’t mine” kinda laugh.

    We’ve all had run ins with the santcimommy (or santci-grandmommy). I think the best thing to do is to just shrug it off as their problem and not yours. And not let it ruin your day.

  11. Is it wrong that I cracked up over your last retort idea? I haven’t heard anyone called a butt in years…

    I agree with you that it’s totally rude to comment on someone else’s parenting (regardless of whether they’re standing there or not). Parents out there need support, not criticism, and naysayers will never know what it’s like raising that particular child say most criticism is baseless, off the cuff blather that the world can merrily do without.

  12. I just ignore others. All children act up from time to time. I do the best I can do to deal with the situation. People need to be more respectful of others and not be so quick to judge and gossip.

  13. Usually the people who critisize the most are the ones with the least experience and their attitude stems from a lack of self worth.
    I’d hate to see the kids she’s raised.
    You did the right thing. You didn’t want your kids to see you give any value to a stranger’s ignorant comments.

  14. A wonderful Newsweek article was written on this subject. I tend to agree with the article. Yes, kids can "act out" at times. They always have. But that woman's generation and older would have handled it differently and maybe "correctly". This generation of parents is "parenting" differently than every other generation. Some ideas are better, some not. Shouting something back, either intelligently or smarta** like, just makes it seem like you have some guilt inside. If you know you're "right", what's the point in saying something?

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/43757

  15. Lol whatever! You handled it fine. I mean I have my judgy moments too — who doesn’t — but seriously? Not every situation requires the nuclear option, and why should your son be punished because your daughter acted out? My mom used to do that and I HATED her for it. I didn’t do anything wrong, why do i have to leave?

    I mean, I might be like what the heck? Why is that kid kicking her? And see what’s happening but goodness keeping your trap shut is still a thing, yo.

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