Control Your Brats! And Get Outta The Way!

Today I wandered to Morriston to get a bus into town. I’d hit the cash machine and wanted to grab a drink at a newsagents before catching a bus.

But I couldn’t get into the shop because standing right outside the doors were about a dozen mothers, all with pushchairs.

I felt like Nick Angel.

I’m not sure where this misguided sense of entitlement that some parents gets comes from but someone needs to explain to them that just because you have a kid doesn’t mean the world needs to work around you. I suppose it probably comes from the attention you get when pregnant and just after the birth, along with the fact that to the baby you are the most important person and it probably would go to their heads, especially if they’re not getting much proper human contact.

(It speaks volumes that the four people who liked my Facebook status about this don’t have kids while 2 friends who criticised it were mothers themselves, and so it must be universal amongst child bearers).

The gaggle of mothers were all jawing away, not only blocking the doorway but somehow managing to have positoned their prams and pushchairs so that they took up the entire pavement, like a barricade built after looting Mothercare.

I weaved through them with polite “excuse mes” and even apologised. Why? I wanted to get to the shop and they were in the way! I hadn’t done anything wrong, why was I the one saying sorry? Damn you, manners, why can’t I feel the same way as Elton John on the subject of apologies?

At one point, I brushed past and grazed one of the prams. This elicited a sigh of irritation from the owner (the mum I mean, the kid in the pram was out for the count). She sighed. At me?! I wanted to say something sarky to her; “Oh, I’m sorry, are we pedestrians interfering with your mother and toddler meeting?”

I didn’t say that. I think I may have apologised again.

What’s wrong with me?

Anyway, as I reached the door I faced another obstacle. Two hellions, clearly belonging to the group were playing in the doorway. One was spinning around and around while a little brat lay on the floor wriggling around.

The mothers didn’t seem to see any problem with this, at least not immediately, and it was a few minutes before one screeched at the kid, who had one of those modern, stupid names like “Hatchett” or something to move. He did so after a few more bellows from his mother.

I guess I could have stepped over him, but due to the wriggling it was hard to figure where I’d put my foot. And if in the process I’d stood on him or simply booted him out of the way, I’d have been viewed as the bad guy.

I bought a drink and some other stuff and they were still around when I went outside. Hatchett, or whatever, was still twatting about but the woman was so engrossed chatting to her friend she didn’t notice.

I wanted to yell at her, “Control your spawn, you idiot!”

I know kids will mess about, and that’s fine, when they’re in a park, or at their own home. But out on the streets you teach kids how to behave, and discipline them when they don’t. I’m not saying you should hit the kids, I’m against that, my parents only struck me a few times and never severely, but I remember more than it stopping me misbehaving it just made me feel scared and betrayed by two people, who 99% of the time were lovely to me.

And I was probably a handful, but most of the time I behaved. Why? Because I’d been taught how to.

This woman however resorted on just shouting at him occasionally. He’d respond after a few bellows and then go on to find a new way of being a pint-sized fool.

The thing is, as I’ve learnt from Supernanny (something was bound to seep in as I drooled over Jo Frost) you have to explain to kids that what they’ve done is wrong, and ideally without shouting.

Mmmm, Jo Frost, insert cliched "naughty step" joke here

Later as I waited for a bus I saw the gang (what is the collective noun for mothers?) moving on, all yacking away, taking up most of the pavement and forcing everyone else to take evasive action. Someone needs to explain that while they might be the most important person in their child’s world, in the real world they’re just another person.


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