Remember the ‘smug marrieds’ from the hilarious Bridget Jones’s Diary? Well, I dare to coin a phrase – “The Smug Parent/s”.
We have all had those days, where nothing goes right, milk gets spilled, things run out and kids run free…and by free I mean completely and utterly at their own discretion no matter what you say or do!
Today was one of those days. A day where I was outnumbered, out gamed and outwitted by three three year olds and a six year old. It was a very solid win for the kids resulting in a very defeated mummy! I think I wanted to have a tantrum and lay on the ground crying for no real reason other than my sibling had moved my shoe to the left a little (yeah real story!).
The day was chock full of ‘no you can’t make me’s’ and ‘muuuuuum _____ (insert sibling name here) pinched/licked/moved/ate/took/rubbed/whatever my ________ (insert complaint here) & “muuuuummmm I’m hungry”. You get the picture? So my normally loud but amenable and *reasonably* well behaved kids turned feral at the shops come grocery time after the school run. I get it, its nearly 4pm, the day is nearing an end and it is hot and humid and it is boring doing the groceries (it really is!). But, it is a necessary evil. But everything was an argument. Everything. It was one long fight to get any level of compliance! I felt wretched, and outnumbered. And then the smug parent/s. Now I get looks packing triplets – I do. But these smug looks were insulting. The condescending looks from people as I tried to round up the kids and have a semblance of order. I had one lady tell me she knew how difficult it was, she had a child (who was not with her) that was 18 months old, and ‘feisty’. Right lady, I get feisty, I get it all day – but this, this was spectacularly bad behaviour by my kids, which thankfully has only really only ever happened on a few occasions or I think I would be looking for serious coping strategies!
They were being cheeky, loud and just belligerent. Whining about things like “Emma looked at me funny” (now I suppose I don’t help when I say back to them “well you do look funny”) or “Caitlyn has more things in her trolley” or just general complaints. So I did not need the smug parent look when I had a trolley half empty and two kids almost simultaneously melting down because they were being looked at ‘funny’. Hayden was almost as bad! Someone gave them a balloon each – which is fine, I don’t object to balloons; much. Caitlyn nailed hers and it popped within minutes. Tears prevailed. Then it was banging each other with them ad nauseum. And seeing as Caitlyn did not have a balloon she used her stick to hit with. You get the picture – total chaos! So, the smug looks happened.
Now, in my defense, my kids are not normally like that. But seriously, why are we so judgmental? Or smug? Do you feel better because your six month old baby is perfectly behaved in the pram (because trust me they won’t stay like that and in 2 years it will be you running around with a kid and a balloon and feeling like you have no control) and mine are running around hitting each other with balloons? Or do you feel the need to compare your version of ‘difficult’ having your one child shopping who is not with you? That to me makes no sense! I don’t judge, compare or ever smug look a parent. I know your pain. I know the depths you would go to to get your kid to stop whinging, or to behave at the shops and wait for it – listen! Should we not instead share a look of ‘I know how you feel, and I know next time it is likely to be me’. A bit of camaraderie in a parental world of self doubt would be just fantastic!
You give them warnings. You tire of doing so after four. It makes no difference. They are not listening, and know now that Mummy is ‘getting cranky’. They giggle at you and goad you, you don’t want to give in and just laugh with them as you feel so worked up about how they are behaving…it is a never ending circle! You have to be firm, show them who is boss…so many rules! So, I had ‘a talk’ with the kids in the car on the way home. “Guys, not one of you has listened at the shops today, and you need to listen to Mummy at the shops…” Guys??? Caitlyn pipes up ‘Mum we are not listening to you as you said we were not listening so we stopped” She then proceeds to poke her tongue out and blow a raspberry. At that moment, I feel the frustration ebb away, and I laugh hysterically. I mean, she is three. Who says that. And we are on the way home, and they are three, and they don’t always listen, because I say a lot of boring things apparently (Caitlyn further says that she thinks rules are boring!!!) and I know that I am always going to be outnumbered! I called a good mate on the way home as I was close to tears – and she says to the kids (we were on handsfree) “Are you being good for Mummy?” Not one of them answered! But they said hello and goodbye!!! After we hung up, Emma said “Mummy, we were not naughty, we just did not want to do all the boring stuff today”. I guess it is tough being a kid in a parent world where groceries are more important than dandelions, fairies, trucks, cars or just spur of the moment fun!
So, lesson learned. But whats with the smug?