16 February 2009
Hey look, I'm apparently the worst mother in the world!
I met a friend for breakfast and by the time I got to Wal-Mart to do my grocery shopping I absolutely had to use the bathroom. So I plopped my 20 month old in a buggy, strapped him in and planted the cart right outside the stall I was using. I could directly see him - in fact, we were making faces at each other. No biggie, right?

I finished my business, and when I came out to wash my hands, no one was there. By the time I turned around with a wet paper towel to wash the breakfast crusties off the baby's face, there was a woman standing in the outside door, the one to the main store. Based on the blue of her shirt and the color of her hair, I was pretty sure I'd seen her come and go while I was still in the stall. (And she didn't wash her hands, either.) Her arms were crossed and she was scowling as she stared at me. Hello negative body language, what's this about?

"Just so you know," she said, "I could have stolen your baby and been gone in a second."

Excuse me? Is she seriously starting this with me? But all I said, and rather calmly I thought, was "I could see him."

"That doesn't matter. By the time you got your pants up, I would have been gone." She started to say something else, but I cut her off.

"If someone was stealing my kid, I wouldn't care about my pants." And then I turned my back on her. I've found that while people really, really don't like when you do that, it often effectively ends confrontations. It seemed to this time, too, leaving my cheeks hot and my stomach churning with rage.

It actually wasn't over though. When I left the bathroom, we passed each other again. "Just so you know," she snipped, "in my job that's called neglect and we could have cited you in an instant."

What I wanted to say was "Well then cite me." My mouth even started to form the words. I bit it back though, choosing the high road (and the path of least resistance.) But I'm still obsessing over the sanctimonious bitch. (I've mulled over her "my job" line and I now have this image of her as a secretary for Child Services, knowing just enough to be dangerous.)

Seriously, who did she think she was? And really, I have no problem with what I did. I chose having him in my line of sight over having a curious fingered toddler in a public restroom stall. I would have had absolutely no compunction with rushing out of that stall, pants around my ass, screaming my fool head off if someone tried to snatch my kid right in front of my eyes.

Oh fuck it. I'm still pissed, so I can't really process the thoughts I have going on, which seem to revolve around "Really? That's the worst she's ever seen a mother do in public? Get over it."


Blogger Sarah S. G. Frantz said...

Your last question....oh yeah. I once saw a father at a restaurant purposefully slam his child's leg between a wall and his chair as punishment for her getting out of her chair. I rushed over, saying, "She's caught, she's caught, be careful!" thinking he was doing it by accident. When it became obvious he was doing it on purpose, I just kinda whispered, "Well, be careful," and slunk away and I still hate myself for it. THAT was neglect and abuse. You being able to see your kid was perfectly fine and certainly WAY better than leaving him in the cart OUTSIDE the bathroom altogether, which I have ALSO seen.

People suck.

Blogger Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

I just have this vision of you with your pants down around your feet running after the person who would try and steal your baby. I have seen so much worse, parents letting their kids run away to the point they are in the next store and the parents have no clue.

Blogger Carolyn Jean said...

Whoa, how enraging that somebody would spend her energy on what is so obviously not neglect when there are real problems in this world.

I don't see anything wrong with what you did at all. People are SUCH freaks sometimes.

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