3.02.2010

You have a baby. In a car.

I sat down today to write a fluffy, lovey dovey post about Nate, but am distracted by something that happened to me a few hours ago.

Nate and I were in the car on our way home from the bookstore this morning and stopped at a red light, waiting to get on the highway. Karl is in DC this week for a meeting so I pulled out my phone to see if he had called. The VI (very important!) meeting was this morning so I was hoping he had called to update me. The second I whipped out my phone, the woman next to me started honking. I glanced over to find her waving at me. She mouthed (very clearly) "You have a baby" and then made some imaginary texting/phone motions with her hands and THEN A "tsk tsk" motion with her finger. I looked at her in disbelief as she repeated "You have a baby" again, pointing to Nate in the backseat. I mouthed back "I know" and pointed to the red light to indicate traffic was stopped. She again shook her head and repeated the baby thing. Yes, lady, got it. I have a baby. In a car. I am aware. He is properly buckled into his properly researched and installed car seat.

I was INFURIATED. I wanted to follow her, talk (yell?) to her face to face and list out all the activities and precautions and time and stress and LOVE (always love) I pour into my child's life. I wanted to scream "You don't know me!" (and not in a funny way). I wanted to not feel judged. It stings to feel criticism of your parenting - even from a complete (maybe crazy?) stranger - who I am sure thought I was an irresponsible teen mom (not that all teen moms are irresponsible) with my 12-year-old face, messy bun, baseball hat, and beat up old car. Maybe she did not think that but I get insecure sometimes when I'm out with Nate - like people won't believe I am his "real Mom" because I look young. And, also, because, at only 20 months 'in' I still sometimes feel like I have NO IDEA what I'm doing when it comes to parenting and occasionally feel like a poser. (I swear he came out of my body!) Both silly, I know, but the parenting waters are murky, and fear/insecurity occasionally rears its ugly head (particularly when prompted by the smallest of incident such as this.).

The thing is: Maybe I shouldn't have checked my phone. Maybe I shouldn't have it out at all in the car. For the record, before I even glanced at it, I had ensured that the person in front of and behind me were fully stopped. I don't text and drive. I do occasionally check my phone at stoplights. I also talk on the phone while I am driving. Maybe these are wrong of me. Either way, it's not her business, right? It's a decision I make and I feel okay about it. I mean, if she knew how much I hate driving and how much of a GRANDMA I am around town (It seriously takes me ten minutes to make a left turn across traffic. Road must be totally clear! I avoid most interstates because I HATE CARS!), maybe she wouldn't have felt the need to TSK TSK me. Additionally, can she say she has never changed her radio station at a stopped light because my glance at my phone at a STOPPED LIGHT has to be the equivalent to that, right?

I got angry. I thought about crying. Then I thought: YOU AREN'T GETTING TO ME LADY!! I am a parent and a damn good one and I won't let your overly coiffed hair and your overdone make up and your MORE WRINKLES THAN MINE (take that!) and your enormous shitty van ruin my day! Instead, I will blog about it while my child naps (safely in his crib which I am sure would also not pass your rigorous safety standards!) and get it out of my system. Then, when he wakes, I will take my child to the park or color pictures with him or read books and continue to spew love like I normally do.

There.

I feel better now.

Thanks for listening.


25 comments:

Brooke @ Parenting from Scratch said...

Ugh. It horrifies me how having a baby (and even being pregnant) makes us so vulnerable to others in ways we weren't before. First, we're vulnerable because strangers--and even friends or family--suddenly feel like they can say ANYTHING to us. And, second, we're vulnerable because it stings so much, even when we KNOW they are wrong. You are a fantastic mother, and I know that you know it. And everyone else who matters knows it. Even if the lady in the big van doesn't...

clif, somer, vivian, bauer & ? said...

it is ALWAYS the old ladies...in the grocery, at the mall, etc. this is my patented reply which you are welcome to use: "why don't you take your old ass home so you'll be safe from crazies like me. while your at it, read your paper in silence, tsk about what a nasty world it is, and enjoy your social security that IIIII and my hard working husband pay for." yeah...i guess i had a tangent, too....sorry! sending mommy love your way girl...:)

{lauryl} said...

Let's give her the benefit of the doubt and say that she's from California, where it is completely illegal to text and drive or talk and drive... where basically, if a cop sees you holding a phone while you are in the driver's seat of your car and the engine is running, he will give you a ticket with a thousand dollar fine.

Let's also give her the benefit of the doubt and say that she's from LA, where you don't see many babies around... and say she was genuinely concerned???

Okay, I give up. Pretty damn rude. ;-)

Kate said...

you.
are.
kidding.
me!

no way. she did not.

s a r a h said...

UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRG.

sdhorton said...

That is just crazy and makes me wonder and this person's mental state to totally get freaked out over nothing. I mean I could see her getting your attention if she saw Nate was in danger but clearly he wasn't. I of course would want to yell back too but since I do question her mental state probably a good thing you didn't.

Jennifer said...

She's a miserable mean lady and I plan on finding her this weekend and kicking her ass. Perhaps that bitch needs a good latte or a workout.

Endorphines make people happy and happy people just don't go around shooting people.

Eve said...

Sorry that crazy lady tried to ruin your day. Why do people think it is ok to judge other people's behavior? I hope the rest of your day with Nate was better and that venting here helped a little.

Aubrey said...

So sorry about the incident, friend. You're a freaking FABULOUS mommy, and Van Lady can take her unsolicited parenting advice and go screw herself.

Anonymous said...

Is this a joke? God I hope it is because I can't believe you would be so stupid to get pissed off because someone is pointing out that you are doing something really stupid. Checking you phone at a stoplight will lead to you talking on the phone while driving because you were sure to want to hear about the important meeting and DRIVING WHILE TALKIING IS STUPID. I am sorry that you have insercurities about your parenting (we all do honey so get use to it) but taking it personally that someone (whatever they looked like) is pointing out to you that you are endangering yourself and your child shows how really selfcentered you are. Youe were not only endagering yourself, your child but anyone else on the road. And don't try to jusitfy that you drive like a grandma because if you were such a cautious driver you wouldn't talk and drive. Grow up.

Megan said...

OMG, the audacity of some people.

clif, somer, vivian, bauer & ? said...

oh no you didn't anonymous!!! whoever the hades you are...if you are gonna rip someone a new one (especially one fine lady like this) have the kahunas to own up to it!! oh and btw, you suck!! and in case you need to know...my name is SOMER.

sorry kat, love ya, girl!

nicole said...

Yo, anonymous, go f*ck yourself. Thanks!

Angela said...

I hate when people leave crappy comments like that and don't have the guts to leave their name. Maybe the crazy lady found your blog and wanted to be a bitch again! Kat, you're a great mom and I'll help Jenny hunt down the van lady and kick her ass this weekend!

Jennifer said...

Anonymous,

I completely respect your opinion regarding phones and driving. I also completely respect your right to share that opinion, but why do you have to be rude and hateful about it? Additionally, if you feel so secure in your opinion why hide behind the whole "anonymous" cover. I feel confident you wouldn't have felt the need to hide your identity if you could act like a mature adult instead of being so bitter and hateful. You should have a drink (not while driving of course). Speaking of danger to children, you might want to stop and think about the dangers posed to your children from growing up in a household with a mother with so many anger issues. Have an opinion, be proud of it, but don't belittle people to express them. It just makes you look like a hateful, vindictive person.

Our Happy Married Life... said...

Wow! I cannot believe how rude that lady was at the stop light. As I was reading this I was thinking "wow, who does this?" and then I had the pleausre of reading anonymous's comment and HOLY COW are they serious!? I talk on the phone and drive all the time. Heck I even text at times if it's a super quick one (yes, I know, I shouldn't) but we all make mistakes in life and if messing with your phone while stopped at a red light is your biggest mistake, you've done good girl.

Anonymous, get a fu$king life you miserable human being!

m-m-m-melissa said...

a little late to the party here, but i have the following to say:
1. you are a great parent.
2. insecurities happen to all of us, about all kinds of things. nothing fixes that, and i'm proud of you for not letting her get to you too badly.
3. that is the mother of all anonymous comments. jesus christ. there are no words.
4. okay, maybe there are a couple words, but no one wants me to go on a four-letter rant here, right? so i'll just say BIIIIIITCH PLEASE.

Susan said...

double you, oh, double you!

First, I've had people express concern cause Setler was standing up in the grocery cart! I want to say, "You don't know me, and you don't know my son. If I had any fear he'd get hurt, I wouldn't allow him too stand. If I didn't let him stand and he was screaming and hollering cause he can't stand to be strapped in, you'd also be giving me dirty looks, wouldn't you?! Besides, he could jump out, do a double front flip and land on his feet. So, shut your mouth." P.S. He's a little BOY!
Second, you should have lit up a cigarette and smiled back at the lady. JK, I do get pissed when I see people smoking in a car with a baby. However, I look at my phone at red lights after assessing the situation. I also talk while driving. I try to dial when stopped then put it on speaker so my hands are free.
Third, you're doing a great job parenting, Kat-a-lac. There are days I'm confident and patting myself on the back with my skillz. Then there are days I could fit right into an episode of Super Nanny. Sigh. We'll have it licked by the time we really are GRANDMAs! lol.

Andrea said...

I would have said "The jerk store called. They're running out of YOU".

Probably not...but seriously, she needed to chill out on the finger waggin'.

Anonymous said...

wow. i can see someone honking at you if you were texting while DRIVING and about to hit them or something, but in this case i say MYOB (mind your own business) to that lady. i'm so sick of nosy nellies. besides that, talking on a cell phone with a speakerphone or hands free stuff isn't bad, and at a red light, who gives? i hope you gave her the one finger salute.

(NOT the same anonymous as above)

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