In the comments yesterday Holly clearly articulated the problem with people’s inconsiderateness when parking. I had hoped to make a slightly larger point. People, by and large, are more inconsiderate of others than ever before in my lifetime (31 years). And most of that is a direct result of the parenting of children.
I do want to mention that in the case of these two parents, these only children will remain only children as both women have told me at parent events, ad nauseam, about how after their child was diagnosed (on the autism spectrum, this school primarily services children like Shelby) they made the decision not to have any more children and had tubal ligations. Then they give me “the look.” Because, I continued to have kids after Shelby was diagnosed.
“The look” is something I get from the public at large when Shelby is making noises instead of talking, they see I have more than 2 kids, and when people figure out or find out Shelby is my oldest and autistic, and I went on to have 2 more. Probably most surprising to a lot of people is that the worst judgment I often get is from other parents of autistic children. They feel that I have burdened my boys with their sister and that I cheated my daughter of having the “complete parent” (as one father put it) an autistic child needs.
I want to be clear not all parents of autistic children feel this way. My friend Michelle, for example, whose son Lars is a year older than Shelby, had hoped for more children and was unable to have them. Similarly, my friend Ashley, whose twin boys are autistic and Shelby’s age, is expecting her 4th child next year (she has an older son as well). But it is rather shocking the number that do.
Which is why I am a pariah among parents at school sometimes. They moan and groan when they see me coming in my double stroller, but I certainly manage to get 3 kids through the door by myself rather than ask them for help and get the eye roll and loud sigh. It’s just not worth the effort, they have made their feelings clear, and guess what, I’m proud to say, look you could do this too if you put as much effort into it as you do rolling your eyes at me! And I offer up plenty of prayers for them as they are much more likely to have the meltdown child in the hallway than I am.
But, by no means is inconsiderate parenting confined to only-child families, I am reminded of a large family in my parish. One Sunday I watched as they arrived in separate groups including the grandparents and teenagers who showed up during the opening hymn. The mother of this group asked a married couple with a baby and toddler who had been sitting in the pew BEFORE this family had shown up to move so her family can sit together. Uh, no. Sorry, but I would not have gotten up and gone to the back of the church like this couple did. I would have politely informed her that unfortunately I would not be moving and her teenagers could find seats elsewhere. They were late, that’s what happens to people who are late to church, the find a seat where they can, maybe it could be a lesson to her teens that if they want to sit with the family, they need to wake up earlier and get ready on time. But instead, the rules didn’t apply to them. There are ten children in this family and unfortunately the older children are not setting a good example for the younger ones and from this discourse, it’s easy to see why. Mom and Dad can bail them out at the expense of other parishioners.
This is becoming an epidemic in society of parent being inconsiderate of others and allowing their children to believe this is acceptable. I am trying to teach my kids that if we miss a deadline for a sign-up, we miss the activity because it is our responsibility to follow-up on what we want to do. Not throw a fit in front of the person in charge about how they are persecuting us our lack of regard for schedules and rules. Similarly, I am parking correctly in my spot, because it makes life easier for all of us.