Sunday, February 5, 2017

Rules Apply to Everyone

OK, pet peeve time here.

Rules. They apply to everyone.

I'm not just talking about laws, although I've seen plenty of people break the "little ones" they don't think matter. But I'm talking about guidelines that the school, or the gym, or the store puts in place. The policies.

Even if you think they're stupid. Even if you think they're annoying. Even if you think they were obviously dreamed up by someone who definitely doesn't understand your situation.

For example, the grocery store express line. I get it. You're there, along with your kids, who are getting cranky. You only needed a few things, but a few turned into a few more, and now you're in that middle ground. You don't have a full cart, but you definitely don't have ten items. What do you do?

My pet peeve is the people who don't think twice before jumping in the Express Line. Because "close enough". And they have kids. And the kids are cranky. And it doesn't really matter anyway. People need to understand that they just need to get their kids out of there.

Or the car pick up line at school. Every school has a system, but almost universally, if there's a line of cars moving, the rule is that you don't get out of the car. If you need to get out, go park.

But I was in a message board discussion the other day, and I was astounded by the number of women who said that they totally ignored this rule in the school pick up line. They didn't like the idea of their kids buckling themselves (lots of pre-k and kindergarteners in harnessed boosters) and had absolutely no shame about getting out of the car to go around and buckle them properly. As others on the message board told them to a) pull over once out of the line to check the buckle or b) park and walk their child from the school to the car, the rousing cry was that they couldn't. Because they had a baby in the car they didn't want to take out to walk to the school. Or because it is completely unsafe to pull forward with a carseat that may not be fastened. And, of course,

"It's a stupid rule anyway! These teachers don't get it! They just want their day to end, and they don't care about me/my baby/my child's safety! It only takes another thirty seconds. And if the people behind me can't wait thirty seconds..."


Compare to "it's ok to park in the handicapped because I don't want my baby out in the cold for too long" "it's ok to leave my cart in the lot because I don't want to leave him in the car while I return it/don't want to have to carry him to return it" entitled attitude. Because you have multiple kids, or a baby, does NOT entitle you to have a free for all in lines and parking lots.

Yes, there are things that are tough about having small kids, but you aren't the first. You aren't the only. And trust me, you don't have it even close to the hardest.

And there are things you can do. You can do these things EVEN IF YOU DON'T FEEL LIKE THEY'RE YOUR IDEAL CHOICE.

You can teach your kids to buckle and unbuckle themselves. I taught both girls when they were about four years old. Not only was it helpful for regular situations, but gave me some peace that if we were in an accident and I was somewhat incapacitated, they could free themselves.

You can park by the cart corral, rather than closer to the store. When the girls were babies, this was my prime spot. I didn't mind walking across the entire lot, as long as I knew the cart return was right there.

You can give a snack, or bring a toy, or heck, even hand over your phone to a fussy kid in a long line. We know, we know, you're the kind of mom who doesn't use technology as a babysitter. We get it. But sometimes, it works. No kid friendly apps? Let them take pictures!

When we all follow the rules, even the silly ones, things run smoothly!
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