Thursday, August 02, 2012

Thoughts on Parenting: Public Etiquette

I've only been a parent for three years and in those many years I have learned one important thing about parenting... it is really hard. Some days I have those moments where the kids are happy, healthy, and fed and I feel like the best mom in the world. Other days, the kids are crying, and I am crying, and no one will eat and I am sure that I am the worst Mom ever.

But, I've also gleaned some knowledge of other things that may be helpful to you other aspiring parents out there. Or, perhaps you will think, "This mommy is crazy!" Either way, you are the one reading MY blog, so you get to hear my opinions.

Public places and kids and sometimes non-mixy. When I take my kids in public (i.e. restaurants and stores) I want them to be on good behavior, I want shopping and eating out to be a stress free experience. But, as everyone knows, kids have bad days, kids are wild, and kids don't listen and every out is not always successful.

When I take the kids out to the store, I sit Dan in the cart and Nicole is suppose to walk beside the cart and hold on to the cart. Ideally, we would walk through the store symbiotically, collect all of our purchases and leave without incident.

But, this is what usually happens... Dan is crying and screaming and trying to get out of the cart and into my arms or onto the ground. He has even figured out how to wriggle out of the cart seat belt. I have tried holding him, but he always wants to escape eventually and then immediately runs away from me. I have tried putting him in the big section of the cart, but then he tries to lift all of our items in the cart and throw them out. It is super fun!

Nicole has gotten a lot better at listening in the store. She used to hide a lot in the store, but she has gotten better at staying with me. Her only problem is that she walks so very slow. She will often be a few steps behind me because she is so slow! I am constantly reminding her to stay with me.

Also, it seems like every time we go to the store Nicole ALWAYS has to go potty. Even if I took her right before we left the house and she hasn't had additional drink. She always has to go when we get to the store. Obviously, I'm glad she is potty trained and tells me when she needs to go, but it is just a little annoying and challenging to take her to the potty with Dan in tow.

One thing that I wish I was better at, but I am not, is controlling my crying children at the store. Sometimes they are so out of control and I am that embarrassing woman with screaming children who are throwing tantrums and I just ignore them and get my shopping done. What I SHOULD be doing is when my children throw a tantrum in the store, I should just leave my purchases and leave the store. I tell my children that if they won't behave in public, then I am just going to take them home, but my follow through stinks. I always finish my shopping and THEN take them home.

Restaurant etiquette is also something that I am trying to teach my children. In a restaurant it is inappropriate to let your children run free and rampant around the restaurant. It is inappropriate to let your child throw food or dump salt over the table or play under the table, or bother other patrons.

When my children attempt to do any of these things, we remove them from the restaurant and take them to the car. They sit in the car for time out and then come back into the restaurant. I think that if I am going to take my children out to eat, they better behave or we just won't go out because it is a privilege.

Sometimes it is really hard when we go out to eat. Dan is bouncing around the booth, and going for the knives and screaming with excitement. Nicole is laying down on the booth and refusing to eat and making a mess with the food and I feel like I am ready to give up. That it just isn't worth it to take the kids anywhere because my kids cannot behave.

But, despite the misbehavior in public places, I try my hardest to teach my children public etiquette. Because if they are never taken out in public, they will never learn how to behave, so I am training them for the future. Or, that is what I tell myself so that I am not always stuck in my house.


Sarah said...

Stressful. Sometimes Jack gets whiny at we throw toys at him and leave him in his carseat. It works out okay, for now.

Jasmine said...

I totally understand! I made the mistake of letting both girls push the little carts at the store a couple weeks ago, because I felt like it might help them feel more involved and behave, but it was a nightmare! They made a game of who could bash their cart into the displays the hardest. I spent three times as long as I usually do at the store that day (and I didn't even make it to the second store), because I spent so much time chasing each one down (just as the other one would run off). I was so embarrassed. One trick I've learned is that I bring a favorite snack (fruit snacks, goldfish, etc.) in the diaper bag and only let them have it if they sit nicely in the cart. (Yes, I bribe my children if it allows me shopping time.) And I have also been "that" mom pushing one cart with the groceries while pulling another cart with my children in it.

Going out with kids is fun... but hey, you're a super mom for even trying some days. Right?

Laura said...

Been there and done that...7 times! I found that the solution for me, for awhile until they got a little older, was to go to the store when dad was home and the kids were in bed. Of course that often meant going grocery shopping at 9 or 10 pm, but it saved my sanity and allowed shopping to go quicker and to be a semi-pleasant experience. Convenient? No. Sanity saving? YES!