Last Saturday as we were driving to our favorite sub shop, and it felt like all was right on the world. My kids had been so good all day. My daughter folded the laundry without being asked. My son was in a great mood and told me he had saved me a few squares of his chocolate caramel candy bar because he knew it was my favorite. It was inviting and cozy in the car. I felt like it was going to be a #blessed day and I was almost ready to buy them the puppy they’s been begging for for almost a year.
As we walked into the shop, I almost said, “Okay, let’s do the damn thing. Let’s go get a dog today! Let’s go right now!”
As I turned my head to tell my kids the good news with visions of what kind of dog we’d get, and where we’d look for them, my 13-year-old son blurted out, “WE COULD CALL HER PENIS!”
This wasn’t a mistake. He noticed the long line of hungry customers, heads bowed to their phones. He was aware of the silence and he wanted to break it so bad he simply had to take advantage of the moment. He knew exactly what he was saying and doing. He was intentionally being an asshole to try to garner the attention of strangers, despite the fact I’ve told him time and time again not to blurt out things like penis, butthole, and other bodily functions in public.
Once again, I made the mistake of taking my charming children out in public with the false hope of thinking they would be as good as the were at home.
Kids are magical like that, aren’t they? They can go hours at home keeping it all buttoned in, but rudeness comes loudly out of their mouths as soon as they’re around complete strangers. It causes parents great distress — a special kind of distress that gets saved for public places filled with lots of strangers ready to give us the side-eye and loads of judgment. And they know it.
Ever since my kids were little, they’ve mastered the art of acting like complete jerks in public. Things would be going swimmingly at home and I’d get so caught up in the moment I’d want to sweeten the pot by throwing in a trip to get an ice cream, or I’d somehow think I could do a grocery store run because, look how good they are being!
Most children are in no way interested in showing others the nice manners their parents have taught them. Nope. Not.At.All.
He was intentionally being an asshole despite the fact I’ve told him time and time again not to blurt out things like penis, butthole, or other bodily functions in public.
If feels like they want heads to turn and shake. They want their parents looking like they’re incapable of raising decent children who know how to tone it down in public and mind their manners.
They eat a variety of foods at home, but as soon as you go to a friend’s house for dinner they do the throw up finger in their mouth when they sit and the table and ask if there’s going to be anything that they will like at this “gross meal.” You bring them into a store and they whine and cry and throw their body around in ways you’ve never seen until you buy them the toy they “just have to have.” You take them to the store and they start yelling “PENIS!” for all to hear.
Children are in no way interested in showing others the nice manners their parents have taught them. Nope.
Since becoming a parent, I learned very quickly how many people I misjudged while I was getting my hair cut, dining out, or strolling through my favorite store on a Friday night. I thought time and time again, if only they were better parents they’d have better kids.
Now, I’m sitting in the corner stuffing my face with humble pie because I know you can win Parent of The Year and your kids will still throw down their inner asshole regardless of where you are, what their past consequences have been, or how much you bribe them.
Maybe they don’t feel like being in public. Their stomach or head might hurt, but they don’t know how to say it. Perhaps they hate their reflection in florescent lighting too.
I’d like to tell you this gets better as they get older. I really would. However, I cannot lie. I have three teenagers who tell me I’m the strictest mother in the universe and yet here we are. I’m trying to reel their inner-asshole in every time we go out of the house.
After my son shouted in the sub shop, I got exactly what I expected. I got side eye. I could read the lines on people’s foreheads as they judged my kid for acting like a brat. They were thinking I was a shitty parent and I should teach my son better manners because who the hell shouts, “WE COULD CALL HER PENIS!” in a room full of strangers who are waiting to eat meats and cheeses?
A child who has been “raised right” but isn’t perfect will do something obnoxious like that. That’s who. In other words, a typical child.
So, fellow parents, be warned and be humble. Because you never know when your kid will bust out their inner asshole and you’ll be reminded that, no, today is not a good day to reward them with a puppy after all.