Other people's moms

So, swim lessons at the neighborhood pool have begun, and it has been a very good thing. Jacob gets to swim with other kids, I get to chat with other moms, we all get some sun and some exercise and go home happy. But there is this one family whose kids are, frankly, extremely bratty. The first day we pulled up to the pool, they came out and said to Jacob, loudly and in his face, "You can't go in there, you don't have any shoes on!" Jacob is sort of opposed to footwear of any kind, and I had already told him he didn't have to wear shoes at the pool. (We have to pick our battles, ladies.) He looked at me for some sort of confirmation of this new rule, and I gently said, "It's ok, Jacob. Guys, he'll be fine." Jacob looked back at these kids, and they kept saying, again, up and yelling in his face, "Nunh-uh, he can't go swimming. You can't go swimming! You have to go home!" Jacob was seriously close to tears, and he hid behind me and sadly said, "Mommy, they said I can't take swimming lessons! Do we have to go home?" Now, this is not the only time they have done something like this. They are, like I said, pushy, bossy, thug-like little monsters. Their mother, bless her, does nothing about their behavior. She calmly sits by and lets it happen. She never says a word. And it's driving me bananas. Do I say something to her? Do I clue her in that her children should be nicknamed "BratSpawn?" (If I did say something, I probably would come up with something more polite than "BratSpawn", but it has a nice ring to it, don't you think?) Or do I just correct the kids myself whenever they send my 3 year old to me in tears because they refuse to let him on the steps of the pool for whatever evil reason they have come up with at the time? We still go to the pool, and we sort of just ignore those kids or avoid them when we can. But when Jacob gets up into one of their faces and shoots him in the eye with his watergun, you won't hear me complaining.


Anonymous danithew said...

At the right moment, when you've absolutely had it (or in other words, when moved upon by the Spirit ... hehe) I think you should let this mother have it.

Honestly, if this is a chronic problem, she probably does need some negatie feedback. But perhaps in reality (unlike my meanspiritedness above) there is a way to express it so that she gets a clue without being too offended.

But what do I know. No kids yet.

7/27/2005 06:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Sara R said...

Could you speak to the children yourself? For instance, in this situation, after the kids challenge your kid, you could say, "Actually, I'm Jacob's mommy, and I said he didn't have to wear shoes." If you want you can add, "Different moms have different rules" or "When you're the mom or dad, you can make rules for your own kids" for good measure. If you can make yourself look intimidating while you say it, so much the better.

7/27/2005 06:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Nichole said...

This is so funny! I'm a Mormon mommy too and it's hard sometimes to be Christlike and stick up for your kids. I like Sara's idea of saying something about moms and rules to the kids. I would especially do in within earshot of the other mom so she knows you're bugged. Good luck!

7/27/2005 07:23:00 PM  
Anonymous ESO said...

I do feel that in a situation like this, there is a certain amount of "collective mothering" allowed. Pretend your OWN child were saying these things and respond to brats on that level. "Look, you have made Jacob sad, why do you think he is sad? ... What can you do to help him feel better? ... That's right, and you are such a big boy to help a friend like that." It may not change their behavior at all but hopefully their mom will hear and realize that you do not find her boys' actions acceptable. Then she can decide to be more proactive with her kids or to become a pariah at the pool.

7/27/2005 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa M. said...

Yup, I am all for telling the children, how it is. In earshot of the mother.

Even if she does not get the wake up call, the children should.

7/28/2005 07:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Vanessa said...

Could she really be so dense about the behavior of her children? Or does she just not care?

7/28/2005 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Suzie Petunia said...

Devil's Advocate says:

Maybe the mother of the "BratSpawn" is picking her battles as well! Who knows what these children act like at home. Maybe going to the pool is the time this tired mommy of difficult children has allowed herself to "take a break" during the day from reprimanding her kids. I know my limits...maybe she knows her's as well.

7/28/2005 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger annegb said...

I probably would have said something like "I own this pool and I just let people like you guys swim here. If you don't take off those shoes, I'm going to kick you out.....NOW! Hey, lady, call off your kids." You know, you get a little older and look for ways to entertain yourself.

7/29/2005 09:28:00 AM  
Anonymous JKS said...

I wish I knew you in person, annegb. It sounds like you'd be really entertaining to have around.

7/29/2005 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


You're probably right. I get the impression that she zones out more than anything, and really isn't paying all that much attention to her kids. I ave told them to back off sometimes--in the nicest possible way, of course.

7/30/2005 12:13:00 AM  

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