Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Being the Bigger Mama
I really hate that expression "be the bigger person." Whenever people think you should roll over or walk away they finish their advice with "be the bigger person."
I have had a couple of situations lately where I've been told to "leave it! Be the bigger person". Why? Why should I? Am I lesser of a person because sometimes I choose the path of most resistance? Maybe I am.
Let me paint you a picture. My beautiful spirited little toddler doesn't like being tied down. can't blame her. She is who she is and she certainly isn't sedate. She won't sit for long in a pram unless it is moving. Fast. So walks to the park are fine, but meandering around a mall is not fine. Not at all. She contorts and screams and does not stop until she is freed from her Quinny or Silvercross prison.
It is not my fault. I am not her. I am me. So when strangers roll their eyes at me and tut tut at me and say things like "shut that child up" and "what's wrong with you, why don't you discipline her?" I tend to blink back embarrassed tears and wonder why I am so lousy at this parenting gig. That was until a few weeks ago when the Tinker and I were out shopping with my mother and I suddenly grew some spunk.
Tink was walking beside the pram but we had approached the escalator and I needed her to sit in the pram for her own safety. So I got down to her height as I do and I said "it's time to sit in your big girl pram now just for a minute." She pulled away and wailed "noooo big girl pram" so I put my chipper voice on and said "yes it's time for the big girl pram and because you are such a big girl you can even have some cheese!" just as I said this a woman walked up to me and said "pfft. You are pathetic!"
So I put the Tinker in the pram and chased after her. Going fast was just the treat and Tinker started giggling. I called out to the woman "sorry I missed what you said before. I think you were giving me some parenting advice?"
She turned back and glared at me and slowly shook her head at me. The way I might slowly shake my head at a pair of stirrup pants perhaps. "I'm really open to suggestions, I'm trying my best with her, what else would you suggest I do?"
She swore at me. My mother appeared then, apparently her search for Sussan had failed. She was horrified to find me in the midst of an altercation with the woman in the stonewash jeans and bleached poodle perm hair. "Just leave it Carolyn. Be the bigger person."
Nope, no bigger person that day. I was the little person. The littlest person in that whole bloody shopping centre. Littler than my Tinker and littler than the Iggle Piggle toy I'd bought her when she cried near the check-out. I called out to the swearing woman "Really, tell me how I can improve my approach to toddler tantrums, seriously tell me I will take all the advice I can get."
You know what she said? She said "Fuck you, I'm a child psychologist" and then she ran into Big W. That's our Aussie version of Wal-Mart for my American readers.
Now obviously she isn't a child psychologist, or maybe she is? I really feel for the parents forking out a hundred and fifty bucks an hour to expose their children to such an inarticulate therapist if she is. I think she was just some nutjob who picked the wrong mummy to humiliate that day. Maybe I should have just left it, but she was straw that broke this mother camel's back. People are always rolling their eyes at me and criticising me when my Tinker throws a tanty in public and until that day I would usually just look away embarrassed or shrug my shoulders but that cow set something off inside me and I snapped.
Are you the bigger person in these types of situations?