I stood in line at the local Aldi with my own 4 and 5 year old children with a male of my age who will remain unnamed, (not my husband). In front of us was a woman not much younger than I was trying to wrangle her groceries onto the conveyor belt with a 18 month old little girl screaming and writhing in her pram like someone pulled off her leg, the mum, clearly upset and frustrated let the child out in a last ditch attempt to get her to stop screaming Aldi down.
It did not help her.
I watched on feeling really terrible for her because I’ve been there. I have done that and most of us with kids have; I have been the mum carrying a baby that is suddenly now running awkwardly down an aisle chasing a small human that’s screaming because I wouldn’t let him have a stupid chocolate, people stood and just watched me, my face red with embarrassment, my babies head bouncing around, my breastfeeding boobs reaching heights and depths they’ve never seen before and all with no help in sight.
Oh how I’ve been there.
The Aldi mum began to load her groceries into the bags as we loaded our own to be ready to be scanned but as she did the quite adorable toddler ran behind us down the aisle, the mum abandoned all her things and begrudgingly ran over grabbed the child by the arm. She dragged her bundle of joy kicking and screaming back to the pram; while also attempting to load the shopping into the pram and pay all at the same time.
I still watched on, unable to help her because I was struggling with my own two who wanted to take everything out of the trolley themselves and they were both attempting to thieve kinder surprise eggs.
My heart went out to her. I know how hard what she was doing was and how stressful it is, I sympathetically smiled at her and gave her one of those ‘please don’t worry, I’ve been there and I feel for you’ nods so she knew she wasn’t bothering anyone. She bundled that stuff and the kid in the pram so fast and she smiled at me and got the fuck outta there.
I felt lucky that my own two are at an age that they understand reasoning and bribery. Kind of.. to a point, okay, not really.
Thats when my male companion turned to me and said “Thats why people need to learn to control their kids”.
My blood boiled, my face went a pretty crimson shade and my chest was hot with fury….but…
I kept my mouth closed because I knew that he could never understand the pure pain of shopping with children… or life with children in general.
He’s the kid of guy that scoffs at the idea that mums sometimes just give in to these little soul devouring plebs all day long just to keep the peace and to keep the suffering at a minimum, he also scoffs at the fact that sometimes toast with jam is absolutely a great nutritional dinner. Which it is.
So what I wanted to say was: “How did you feel the last time someone tried to control you? It’s not people that need to control their kids, its people who need to learn to control the shit things that come out of their mouths because you can never control a person, no matter how big nor small that person is, and a child is no exception.”
Fucking BAM. Mic drop…..
But I didn’t say any of that for argument sake, because some people; like children can not always be reasoned with.
Being a parent is all about control, but not about controlling the kids, but in controlling ourselves in some of the hardest situations in our parenting lives such as mid way through shopping trips,a simple drive in the car can ruin a mum or dads day or tantrums in department stores over toys they simply can not have.
Control is not losing your shit when your child drops his second cup of milk in a row and control is when you don’t want to be touched but being touched anyway and being able to not lose your shit right in their faces.
Control has nothing to do with anyone else.
Control is what us as people need to learn ourselves when dealing with children. Children can not control themselves because they simply act only on responses they feel and know, we need to learn our own control shit so that we are able to teach our babies as they grow that self control is an important skill to possess. Life with children is all about negotiation.
Its small minded people who make women like myself or that mother in the line at Aldi feel ashamed that we can’t control a child.
They are the ones that make us fear going out to the local cafe or shop to get milk because not only will we feel judged but we will also feel so completely alone, because people expect people to control other people but when in reality people can barely control the shit that falls outta their mouths.
So how can anyone expect us to control irrational, hangry, sleep devouring children?
I love my babies and sometimes I wish to the holey goddesses of the world that I could control them, but they wouldn’t be them if I controlled who they were.
Children need to be able to make their own mistakes, they need to push the boundaries, to push our boundaries to find their place in this world.