Touchy topic! As Mom's, we have our standards, rules, and our major pet peeves God help the person who crosses any of them at the wrong (or any) moment.
The other day the whole family went to the library, we also had the baby girl I baby-sit with us. It came time for us to go and check out our HUGE stack of books. I tend to always use the self-check out because I am too impatient to wait in line for the slow library workers (kind of rude, I'm working on it). While Lupe and I were getting all of the books checked out, I instructed my girls to sit on the floor beside me with the baby carrier to wait, and they did so nicely. My "Mommy Alert" (you know, that chilling feeling when the hair stands up on the back of your neck because you know you just heard/saw something inappropriately directed towards your children) went off as I heard, "You girls need to get off of that floor, it's very dirty and you should not be sitting on it!" Hahahaha (in an evil tone), I know that lady was just talking to my kids (who were sitting perfectly criss-cross-applesauce and VERY quiet). My kind response was, "It's okay, and they are doing exactly what I asked them to." What I really wanted to say? "Would you rather them standing up jumping, running, swinging off of the dividers like the others?" or "Maybe you should talk to the library about cleaning their carpets rather than correcting children who need no correction?" or "Thank You, but they have a Mom and it's not YOU!" I know, not very Christian of me- aren't you glad I gave her my first response? Which of course she said, "Well, these floors are really dirty and..." which is where I stopped listening and turned away (for her sake and mine).
Now, don't get me wrong- there are times that I welcome someone to step in: when a child is in danger, clearly breaking a rule or needs some type of help. But, when a parent is very present and the children are being of no problem to anyone- I think you may cross the line.
Wouldn't it be more appropriate, to go up to the parent and say quietly, "I just wanted to let you know that these floors aren't the cleanest just in case you were concerned about that type of thing..”? We teach our children not to talk to (or listen to) strangers universally, yet a stranger steps in to correct a child who is doing no wrong in front of a parent.
I remember one time picking up Tenly from school; you only walked up the sidewalk to get them- you did not have to go inside. Gianna was asleep, I did not want to wake her- so I did the unthinkable- I let her sleep in the car as I walked up the sidewalk (our car had key-less start up, so I did not leave the keys in). I did get "reprimanded" for doing that by one of the school workers. She nicely explained to me what I already knew, but obviously needed reminding of. It's not fun being corrected as a Mom, but done in the right manner and circumstances it can be a much needed and welcomed learning experience that will bring change and better parenting. Let's just say, I have never since left my child in the car- key-less start up or not.
Maybe I am to sensitive, or maybe I should be more concerned with dirty floors than I am (they are kids, 75% of what they do has to do with some type of germs or dirt). But, I do not appreciate another person (especially one I do not know) correcting my children- especially for being obedient to their Mother. As much as I would think this is common sense, it apparently isn't.
Believe me, I have moments when I see kids doing something and it takes everything in me not to take them up to their parent and yell, "Have you lost your mind? How could you allow...!!!" But, I know my place and that isn't it! I will be the first to step in and help a child in need and given the opportunity have a word or two with the parent.
A couple weeks ago, I took the girls and I had a play-date with a friend and her kids and we took them all to the pool. While there, another little girl kind of attached herself to our group and we all welcomed her. She had no floaties/life jacket on, so I assumed she could swim- that is until she stepped off the steps and went under. I quickly grabbed her up and back on the steps, I then asked where her family was and she said they were inside playing paddleball. Ummm, excuse me!? What kind of parent leaves a child who cannot swim unattended...and without any type of safety device!!?? What would have happened if I hadn't been standing there? Believe me, my friend and I were about to come unglued at someone being so irresponsible with their child, their most precious gift. Yes, that would be a time (and was) for words to be said- kindly, of course.
Enough rambling! Obviously, this is a major pet-peeve of mine! I respect "parenting boundaries" and would hope that others would do the same. Since this is probably not the last time it will happen, I need to continue to pray that God would help grace to abound from me...something else I am continuing to work on, lol!