The Judginess Of Strangers

My son and I had an extremely rare weekday date at Panera today.  While we ate lunch, another toddler on the other side of the restaurant threw a rage of a tantrum.  We couldn’t see her, but my son incessantly told me “a baby cryin’. “

A young-ish guy sat alone eating his lunch, and two other young-ish women sat at a table across the aisle from his.  I gathered after a few minutes that they knew each other, and I figured out quickly that they worked in the mall.  The women had been gabbing loudly, and didn’t so much as feign an attempt to move out of my way when I tried to gracefully push my stroller, diaper bag, Build-A-Bear giant house box and 22-month-old in a too-small umbrella stroller past their feet that needed to be out in the aisle instead of under the table.  I had written them off long before I heard them complain about the screaming child.

To be fair, I know that people don’t go out to lunch to hear other people’s kids throwing a fit.  However, I can speak from my own experience, in that we mothers try to leave our houses at optimum time – probably waaaaaaaaay before or right after a nap.  Sometimes friends or family want to meet up with us, and our weirdly early meal times generally are too strange for them to handle, and so we mothers of small children take chances, even though we’re dealing with tiny human beings who are really more like animals sometimes.

So Youngish Guy and Youngish Girls begin complaining about Tantrum Thrower.  Shaking their heads, laughing, making faces.

And then Youngish Guy says, “I’d smack the shit out of her,” fakes a criss-cross slap across an imaginary kid’s face, and then laughs.

I’ll just let that settle for a moment.


I was mad.  Actually I guess I was disappointed that people like him are allowed to breath the same air as my child.  And then I felt really bad for the mom who I couldn’t even see.  Not in a way, like “Oh thank God that’s not me.” More like in a, “This guy’s an asshole.” sort of way.

 As my son finished up his lunch, he spotted Youngish Guy and started showing him all of the fancy makings of his turkey sandwich.  I figured the guy would just go about texting or tweeting or doing whatever losers do. I mean, previously noted a-hole comment aside, he had his shirt tucked in, but wasn’t wearing a belt on his black Dickies pants, so I’m going to go ahead and assume he’s a loser.  Yes, he opened the flood-gates of cattiness from this mama.

Surprisingly, he stopped and asked me how old my son was.

And then told me he has a one-year-old daughter.


Hold up.  What?  You have a child? You have a baby?  You have an almost toddler who could very well be screaming her head off at this very instant?  Oh my God.  Oh. My. God. I wish I could be present the day your daughter dares to lose her cool in public somewhere, preferably in a cozy booth in Panera – save me one by the fireplace.   I will make sure I buy one of those 1,000,000 calorie double chocolate cookies and really soak it in as you panic, because, of course, I’m guessing you wouldn’t really “smack the shit out of her,”  would you?

 Today a mom lost the lunchtime lottery.  I’m sure by the time they got back in the car, her child was smiling and I bet, much to the mother’s chagrin, that child fell asleep on the way home instead of in her bed for nap time.

Shame on that loser for thinking it is acceptable to openly mock a person who is molding the childhood of another human being.  Shame on him for thinking that parents always have control over how our children act in public.


I hope his daughter teaches him humility someday.




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