As a father of three boys ages 4 and under, even though I consider myself a very patient man, I find new challenges every day that test the threshold of my patience. Of course, the boys have successfully identified my pet-peeves and I’d like to think that they try their very best to avoid them. With the kids, I know they are young and still learning. I try to identify teaching moments and take advantage of the kids’ thirst for new knowledge. What really “grinds my gears” is adult behavior. Shouldn’t we get to a certain age and know better? How can we work so hard to teach children the right way to do things, and then have to contend with poor adult behavior that reinforces the bad, instead of promoting good behavior?
I’d like to share with you a few examples of challenging adult behavior I’ve recently experienced with my children.
Chain Smoker at the kid’s park.
I’ve seen it a thousand times and it pisses me off to no end. No, I’ve never done anything about it but as a parent, it is the most obnoxious thing to see another parent do around your own kids. Fortunately, I know better than to confront some jackass while I have 3 kids in my care— so it’s unfortunate for you, having to read about it.
Hock a loogie, pick your nose and wipe it on a bench, sneeze without covering your mouth, either one of those is fine by me. Drink a beer and don’t recycle the can, also fine with me, even though it violates 2 of the parks 10 posted rules. It is hard enough to find safe and fun outlets where kids can play in the outdoors. Why in the world would anyone smoke in a place that is designed for children to play outside in the fresh air?
I don’t go to your bar and show you pictures of my kids or smell of breast milk unaware that I’d been spit-up on! Okay, I’ve done both those things.
Having just celebrated the sweet 16th anniversary of my 21st birthday, I realize that I’m more aware, opinionated and outspoken than I was as a young buck. I like to think that I have always been self-aware in regards to smoking. I would be called out on it if I did not address but I’ve smoked on and off for the past 20 years. Even now I use an e-cigarette so that I don’t smoke regular cigarettes when tempted at the bar. It’s easy to quit smoking; I’ve done it hundreds of times.
When I waited tables and maybe a few years beyond, maybe 10 years is when I smoked the heaviest and I think I may have been a more successful waiter had I not smelled like an ashtray while serving food. No regrets though, I’ve known too many career-waiters in my day. I’m not knocking the job, being a career insurance adjuster was just as rewarding (and wearing), but as you know if you’re reading this, Career-Dad is where it’s at.
So, smoking aside, waiting tables is a nice segway into my next gripe. Having waited tables, I feel that I have a bit more compassion for those in the service industry than those that haven’t. I feel I tip well and never send food back, I prefer my food to be in as few hands as possible.
Shortly after leaving the Pall Mall smoking, over-worked Dad at Paramore Park this afternoon, we had a waitress today who set every single item on the table in the baby’s reach. This included a bowl of hot sauce, full drinks, silverware and plates that would have burned Jamie’s hands if my wife and I were not there to keep it from happening. Luckily, we were smart enough not to order sizzling fajitas, even though we were at a restaurant called, “Fajitas.” Again I like to think that I would have been more aware in her shoes and would have kept these things from the baby’s reach and quietly returned to the kitchen and then bitched about the family with 3 kids who was there for the free kids’ meals and ordered just waters.
Server, I understand the concept of up-selling and how increasing my check will increase your tip. However, please don’t suggest a specialty frozen kids drink or anything with chocolate or ice cream in it for dessert when my kids are listening and impressionable. This just means that I have to explain that they have had enough sugar through theft and bribery today and that they can’t have any dessert, because they hadn’t eaten their meals. They’re lucky I love leftover chicken fingers and soggy fries.
So, Mr. Chain Smoker at the park and Ms. Clueless Server, I’m sorry to have to include you in my article today, but I’ve seen you both before and feel the need to call you out.
How to Deal
Dealing with poor adult behavior is challenging and situational. If my kids don’t notice it, I try to ignore it and not get confrontational. I always put my kids’ safety. This is the most important. If my kids notice it, I talk to them about whatever the issue is. I know people tend to be set in their ways, it’s just unfortunate that children’s well-being is not always as important as that first drag. Let’s save the smoke for blowing out birthday candles. While I may be an American Dad and Family Guy, I only watch those shows for research and guidelines of how not to act. Exit Soapbox.
What Grinds Your Gears?
I wondered if my readers experienced any adult behavior that challenged your patience. If so, please share with NCDADS.