Your palms get sweaty, beads of sweat for on your forehead and you feel like the world is closing in on you… the feelings that go hand in hand with thoughts of shopping with a child. Particularly during the festive season! I was blessed with a relatively calm toddler and his tantrums are few and far between but that said, he still has them and always at the most inconvenient of times – namely in a shopping center.
He’s very good when it comes to putting things back when told and he knows he is only allowed 1 thing so must choose carefully what he wants, but this goes out the window when he’s tired – queue frustrated grumbles and often the tears. I’m sure you know the look that is given to you by non-parents, those “you must be a terrible parent” or “why can’t you control your child” and the best “why don’t you discipline him/her” looks, don’t you absolutely love them?
Firstly dear non-parents: babies cry, sometimes they just do. Having a baby does not mean your life must stop all of a sudden so yes, people go out and they take their children with them (though I do frown upon those parents who take babies into a cinema) and no they don’t do it just to annoy you. Toddlers are at that age where they are pushing boundaries and getting frustrated when they cannot articulate what they want or get what they want as they are not wholly aware of the concepts that society instills on people yet, so they throw tantrums no matter how they are raised.
Other actual-parents are usually a lot more understanding when it comes to the shopping center meltdown’s and usually offer knowing smiles or (like I do) point out to their own “you see how ugly you look when you cry?” But! Don’t even think of disciplining your child in public as you might just be burned at the stake for being an even worse parent. My son knows that there is only so far he can push the line before he gets a reprimanding on the bum, and time and again I have had actual parents make snide comments about this only to find them two isles down or a few shops later with a kicking and screaming child.
Shopping with a child is daunting enough as is, adding all the above makes it a nightmare at times though it still needs to be done. In the end you simply have to do what you need to do, if you are the kind of parent who disciplines your child then stand by your choice, if your child is throwing a tantrum and you do nothing about it then stand by that choice as well. As parents we should all stand together because we know what it feels like, as for the non-parents? Let them stare… one day it will be them standing there with a colicky baby or a tantrum throwing toddler.
Share your worst or funniest shopping story with me so I don’t feel so alone!