You pull into the parking lot at your grocery and hop out of your car. You hear screaming. A child screaming. Horrible, intense screaming. You look over and see a van with a mom standing outside with the door open and a minority kid in a car seat.
You make all your glances and second looks, then mind your own business and go in to shop. You come out 30 minutes later, 45 minutes, an hour later and the situation in the parking lot hasn't changed except for one thing.
The screaming kid is now kicking van windows, pounding their own head and screaming obscenities at the mom. The minority kid is still in the car seat.
You give more glances, you push your cart close to the van taking a better look while acting like you're heading to your car.
You can hear the mom saying things like, "Please put your seat belt on, would you like my help and don't use those words please".
You give some more glances, get in your car and drive off after you give the mom some more looks.
Who are you?
Are you the person in the parking lot giving the glances? The one debating about calling the cops? The one silently yet obviously judging?
I'll say it, when I'm not the one with the screaming kid, I'm easily the one giving the looks.
We all are.
I'll tell you what though, when I'm the one standing in the parking lot, you're not subtle. You're not helping.Your interest gives my screaming kid attention and fuel for tantrums.
I'm not saying you should ignore kids in trouble or need. I'm not saying turn the other way and ignore a child being abused.
I'm saying this is why I'm a mom with a chip on my shoulder.
This was me in the parking lot last night.
One of my kids pitched a fit for an hour. A huge fit. For a solid hour. Screaming, kicking, self harming and plenty of obscenities.
Lots of people gave their glances, took their second looks, tried to offer me some sad pity smile or just plain stopped and stared.
Plenty of people waited and debated what to do.
I fully expected someone to call the cops within that hour.
I thought about what my answers would be.
I thought about what I'm allowed to say and not say to protect the privacy of the birth parents.
I thought about how to do my job caring for this child.
So who are you?
The person giving looks in the parking lot?
Who am I?
The mom outside the van waiting out the tantrum.
Who am I?
The parent with a chip on my shoulder.