Late Night Thoughts

So…Neat

There are certain things that people say that bother me. Sometimes I’m not sure if they understand that what they’re saying comes off as offensive or if I’m just overreacting.

Today I was in the grocery store with my son. We were only there for a few things so I let him push the children’s sized cart. He loves to push that cart. The hardest part is getting him to leave the cart in the store. It only holds enough items for maybe three grocery bags.

We were on the bread aisle and my son kept trying to put all the bread in the cart. I did just what most mothers do. “No, no, no” and put the bread back while handing him the proper one to put int he cart. He grabbed the bread I handed him and said “thank you” as he put it in the cart. This woman was on the same aisle with us. By the looks of her, she seemed mid-thirties, maybe 5 – 7 years older than me.

She looks at my son then proceeds to tell me, “Oh my gosh, he is just well behaved and neat too.”

I just kind of looked at her. She took that as her cue to explain her comment. In the middle of all of this my son has picked up a pack of bagels and is trying to put them in the cart and as I stop him.

“He said thank you. His clothes are so nice and his face is so clean.”

All I could say was “Okay.”

My son is neat. Now the well behaved comment doesn’t bother me as much. A lot of children nowadays don’t know how to act in public. You see them running down the aisle, talking back, pulling things off the shelf, and full on tantrums. And you see the parents surfing the internet on their phones, not paying them attention, or begging them to stop versus commanding them to stop.

But my son is neat. I’m sorry did you expect me to not be taking care of my child? Was it expected that someone that looks like me would not wipe my child’s face or iron his clothes? Was she not used to seeing children dressed with love? That comment infuriates me. Usually when it’s said, it’s said in a superior tone. Almost as if it is unexpected for someone like me to actually care for my child. This tattooed, Afro hair pick, young looking woman could not possible care for a child.

It infuriates me.

I have tried to rationalize this comment. I look much younger than I am. I look like I’m about 19 years old when I’m much, much closer to 30. Do people expect young women to not wipe the faces of their children? Better yet, do people expect mothers to not keep their children presentable? Maybe it’s because sometimes in the store, I’m in sweats while my child is dressed as if he’s on the way to a play date or school. Shouldn’t parents dress their children better than them. I may be in the most wrinkled, mismatched clothes, but my child will always look like he has somewhere to be. As long as I dress him, he will look like somebody.

 

Maybe I am overreacting, but it has always been one of those comments that gets under my skin.

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