Perhaps the one thing we all agree on is that you should keep your judgement of other parents to yourself.
Luckily, I have a blog (and possibly a secret Facebook group) where I can air my grievances.
So here goes.
Last Friday, I took my almost four year old to the Chicago Bulls Family Fun night at the United Center. We are not season ticket holders, nor have we ever been. In fact, my kid is signed up for the free “Kid Nation” membership, not even the “All-Star” level of a mere $35 a year.
Anyway, I decided to RSVP and see how the day would shake out since the event started in the evening.
In the email it said American Express card holders could arrive half an hour earlier and receive some extra perks. By way of my company, I’m an Amex member, so I decided to take advantage of the business gold card I literally use to park my car downtown occasionally for work.
Last Friday it was cold. I didn’t look at the windchill, and opted out of wearing a coat because I’m dumb. But my kid had a thermal shirt, a warm-ish coat, mittens, and a hat.
To no one’s surprise, there was a line outside of the Amex designated gate.
A father and his young son, who was maybe three, were standing behind us. The kid was having a full on meltdown. Not a tantrum, not a whining fit, not a complaining, moaning impatience, but a very upset, cold and miserable toddler who was begging his dad to take him home.
Now, I get it. This dad drove from who knows where to give his kid a fun experience. Or maybe it was for selfish reasons, who knows. Either way, they’d made it this far, fifty people deep in the line and it was 5:30.
He started to gripe about them not opening the doors. It’s cold, he explained to everyone who was also experiencing the weather which if you had stepped outside at any point during the day, could have confirmed. Those people inside don’t care because they are warm. OK, maybe. It’s 5:35! How rude! Sure, yes, five minutes is annoying.
His son in shivered sobs said he was cold and asked for his mother. “Please take me home!”
But instead the dad told his son to hang on. He kept complaining about the situation as if he had no control.
Except that he did. He had 100% control of this situation and that is, he had the means to relieve his kid’s discomfort by going the fuck home.
Anyone that has a kid or has watched a kid or has been a kid knows that the unpredictability of stepping foot outside of your own home means there can be No Plan. No Expectation. No Automatic Happy Ending.
Meals, movies, grocery runs, play dates, trips to the zoo, museum, park, what have you, anything that would normally result in some kind of agreed upon conclusion is all fair game.
Sometimes there is no amount of preparation that can prevent the “It’s Time To Bail” situation. No snack. No toy. No change of clothes. It just is what it is and you must accept your fate, which is to drop everything and just leave.
This is the contract you sign, whether you know it or not. It’s the one thing you have power over, as your child who doesn’t have their drivers license yet is unable to exit a place they no longer want any part of.
So I raged and raged internally thinking “this guy DEFINITELY voted for Trump” and other not nice things and then almost lost my shit when he tried to cut in front of us assuming we were not American Express card holders when the people in front of us were not. To which I quickly pointed out his error in not asking me.
However I did refrain from the one thing most of us also agree not to do: Judge a person’s parenting to their face.