Parenting in Public

Guilty as charged.

Am I a different mom in public?

You bet your well-worn jeans I am.

I hope to the Super Moon and back that other parents are too because some of the sugar-and-syrup parenting I've seen in public places is enough to nauseate even me, the sugar-loving Queen.

I was at a restaurant recently and witnessed an eight-year-old losing her ever-loving mind at her parents because she couldn't have two desserts. And they were all, "Now pumpkin..." and "Honeybunches... are you really hungry enough for two desserts?"

It took me twelve deep breaths and a full minute of pinching the bridge of my nose to not intervene.

In the end, the girl wound up winning and got both desserts.

I didn't stick around to see if she ate them both or barfed right there in the booth but all I could think was I hope they have a different form of parenting at home or that girl is going to own them by the time she's 10.

So, no, I am not the same parent in public and at home. And my kids know this, they're kids. Kids figure out things like this waaaaaay faster than they can grasp shoe-tying or math with story problems.

Kids know if they want something there are two times to ask for it; 1) when you're on the phone and 2) when you're in front of another person who is likely to say yes to this.

This is like Kid 101, Chapter One in the handbook.

Obviously, then, things can go one of two ways. They can either hit me when I'm exceedingly vulnerable (also known as so sick of hearing the word "MOM" that I'm prepared to give in to any demand as long as it comes with a change in title.)

In which case they actually GET the thing they are asking for. (This is rare, but does happen. It is generally followed up with me coming to my senses and taking the entire car ride home to yell about the thing I gave in to. *Should note kids likely don't care about the yelling since they are still riding the high of the win.)

Or.... this happens.

The wide-eyed stare of death that is just shy of me actually taking my finger and making slicing motions across my neck.

When this happens my kids pray with all their might that the length of time between stare-of-death and car-ride-home is enough to allow some of the scary fury steam to evaporate from my ears.

I sincerely hope the parents of two-dessert girl were at their weak-moment-public-parenting. I hope they have a scary-death-stare in their arsenal and that their sassy eight-year-old knows that that look means BUSINESS.

I love seeing crazy stares on the faces of parents pushed to their limits. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy... and not alone.

Here's the long and short of this - if you ever see me in public and I've got "the look" on my face - you should take comfort that I'm not actually bringing the brand of crazy that I reserve for my home-parenting style. That kind would likely cause a scene and would require that you sit with the nice Officer and "answer a few questions."

You don't want that. You have places to be and people to see.

I'm sure of it.

Also, if you see other parents giving their children "the face," feel free to encourage this. Offer them a smile or a thumbs up. Something to let them know you understand their current torment and a reminder to stay strong.

Then scurry along quickly because nobody likes to be stared at. We aren't circus freaks - we're just parents... standing in front of our kids... willing them to please STOP ASKING FOR THE STUPID THING ALREADY!!