Monday, May 20, 2013

The Bad Samaritan

This post is part of the series introducing you to my co-authors of the best-selling book "I Just Want to Pee Alone".

I love this woman. Is that weird? Because she is super funny and doesn't mind if I stroke her shiny hair. Actually, she might mind. I'm not sure. Here's more about the Ninja Mom:

Nicole Leigh Shaw consistently wonders, "Why did I come into this room?" Once upon a time she was a mostly serious news journalist, an accidental magazine columnist, and a mediocre editor. Now she funnels an enthusiasm for meeting minimum requirements into her blog, Ninja Mom, and finding pairs of socks for her kids that kind of match. With four kids under age eight (two are twins), she can say with confidence that she's finally gotten the hang of this birth control thing: Facebook. Because one cannot procreate and update statuses at the same time. Like her Facebook page and follow her on her back-up birth control, Twitter. If that's not enough, follow her work for NickMom.




---------------------------------------

I overheard a mom at an indoor playground telling her son that because she didn’t have the requisite socks, he couldn’t play on the play equipment. I felt an urge to rummage through my diaper bag to find clean socks (har har, there weren’t any) to give to her in her time of need. I stopped myself when I realized I didn’t want to be the Bad Samaritan (BS). Maybe she had an entire bagful of socks but she just didn’t want Jimmy on the playground. The BS would have hijacked her little white lie. You know the type. The BS “helps” when you need it least. Here are some examples:
Jimmy: Mommy, I’m hungry. May I have a snack?
Mom: No Jimmy, I’m afraid I didn’t bring any snacks.
Bad Samaritan (BS): Oh! I have some M&Ms, Oreos, and Twinkies. You can have one of each for your little Jimmy.
Mom: Oh goody. It’s 11:45 and we’re on our way home to slog through another round of “eat your veggies.” I’m so very grateful that you were here to provide Jimmy with the sugary, empty calories that will only fill him with bounce-off-the-walls energy until he crashes in a blaze of furious tantrums. And that’s to say nothing of how fully this will derail our consumption of lunch.
Jimmy: (drooling and mumbling) Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme . . .
The BS is everywhere and she is usually the most innocent and kind-intentioned person. She might pose as a grandma at a supermarket who helps retrieve a toy off a shelf that you never wanted your 2-year-old to get her hands on. She may materialize as a young mom with clean kids in clean clothes. She’ll be perky and invigorated by motherhood and will encourage your 6-year-old to participate in the free face painting at the carnival even though the line stretches into the next decade and your 4-year-old needs to pee in the Porta-Potty that’s 3 miles in the other direction. The BS will ruin your outing, your lunch, your intentions. The BS will cause you to curse all humanity as your will over your children is overruled by the allure of a free lollipop from the nice man at the bank.
Beware the BS in yourself. Fight the good fight and help mothers and fathers everywhere to maintain the little white lies of parenthood that help the necessary to happen and the distractions to stay safely hidden behind the bank teller’s counter.

(c)Herding Turtles 2009 - 2013

38 comments:

  1. Ha! What a great name for this! I had an experience recently that left me wondering what to call these people.

    I was at a party with my child who hasn't had swimming lessons in years, so when the rest of the kids started to go swimming I simply said, "I'm sorry, sweetie - I didn't bring your bathing suit." A BS then piped up [in front of my kid!!] with, "Well, he could just swim in his underwear." His eyes filled with hope... When I silently cursed and countered with, "Oh, but we didn't bring any towels either," she replied, "I could get you one." I then had to announce to her in front of my kid's friends that he didn't know how to swim. He was embarrassed, I was embarrassed, and the woman was still clueless!

    Really, she should have taken the hint at "Oh, but I didn't bring any towels, either." AND worse she was the hired entertainer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There needs to be a class in mommy-to-mommy communication. So, "Oh, well, I didn't bring [insert object], sorry kiddo!" is not an opening for some other mom to save the day. If they really want to help, they can pull you aside and say, "I have an extra [insert object], did you want to borrow it?"

      See how easy that is? Sorry you were sabotaged.

      Delete
  2. Love this! Unfortunately, our most common BS is my mother-in-law... Ugh!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a whole different can of worms. Good luck!

      Delete
  3. Don't you just LOVE the BS? (sarcasm font needed) And how well I know the "yeah. thanks a whole HELLUVA lot, there" wide-eyed glare you give her. With the tight little smile. The best ones look like they wish they could suck the words/snacks/toy/whatever back, but can't. The worst give a little "Oh, is that a *problem*?" eyelash flutter/poutyface. And I want to slap that face with a sandwich.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Slap that face with a sandwich," best line ever.

      Delete
  4. Hate the BS!! Just this weekend...

    Me: "No, Littlest Progeny, you may not stay up late. You did not take your nap today."

    Littlest Progeny: "But Nana said that I could watch my Lion King video!"

    Mother-in-Law: "That's right, I did tell you! What a smart boy you are for remembering!"

    Result: Littlest Progeny gets a grand total of 6 hours of sleep for school today, which will probably end with a note to me from the teacher, saying that LP fell asleep in the supply closet.

    My MIL is the BS. And I have always wanted to say that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you finally got to say it! And curse to the Lion King promising MIL.

      Delete
  5. Also in the form of helpful clerks who tell your child that they do, in fact, have the chocolate cake balls on a stick today....I look back fondly on the days when I had my children convinced that Sonic only sold diet coke and the pictures of French fries were just for decoration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you really?! That's classic! I love that pictures of french fries gag. Too, cool, you smart momma.

      Delete
  6. While I waited at a check out line, One BS opened the carton of mini yogurt that I had convinced my 2 year old to keep his ands out of until we got home. I only realised the intervention when I saw that my baby was covered in yogurt that he tried to eat with his hands as there was no spoon. Why, thank you lady.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's almost criminally BSery.

      Delete
    2. Omg! I would have lost it on that god awful person! Seriously tho who does that!?!?

      Delete
  7. This is so true! I was with my 3 and 2 year olds at a play date with my friend, and the kids spotted markers. They asked if they could play with them and I said, "Oh no, I'm sure it's not coloring time at Mrs. X's house right now, let's play with something else." And of course Mrs. X jumps in and says," Oh SURE you can color!" and got the markers right out for them. I mean....come on. My kids had just gotten baths the night before, and it takes about a year and a half for the "washable" markers to come off my 2 year old's hands. So not cool.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's right back to the point that we need to have mommy-to-mommy communication classes in addition to pre-natal classes about breathing through contractions.

      Delete
  8. Hmm, while I certainly respect the point of the article, and will try to do better not to be a BS in the future. I think there is a thin & fraught line between being a BS and ignoring a frazzled parent who really could use a helping hand from a GS (good Samaritan) out of fear of doing the wrong thing.

    Can we get some kind of universal 'bat signal' established?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes please. I am often the BS because as a single mom with 2 small ones I often forget the snack/towel/tokens that we need, and I want to pay it forward when I can.
      I try to catch the other mom's eye and hope she can read my lips, but sometimes that's really awkward.

      Delete
    2. We do need that! I think it's actually easy to be the GS. Just ask the frazzled mommy, "Can I help?" Maybe we need to teach that in school, too.

      Great point. Let's not slap the hand of the GS trying to help us out, provided her hand is not holding a magic marker, mini yogurt, or candy.

      Delete
  9. My almost-two-year-old was throwing a fit in a grocery store today because I wouldn't open a second (yes, I'd already given him one) package of squishy applesauce. Screaming, terrible, angry, get-my-way-or-else-I-will-make-you-go-deaf tantrum that I refuse to give into because soon he will be a teenager doing the same thing over a fancy new cell phone. But who saved the day? A BS who handed my little terror two cookies. He shut up immediately and his halo appeared over his cherubic little head and the BS smiled and said "your welcome" before I even had a chance to protest. This post came perfectly today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's exactly what this post is talking about! I don't mind a little help, but don't undermine my parenting with unasked for treats. It's like saying, "Hey kid, I've known you for all of 30 seconds, but I wanted to take this opportunity that I know what's going on here, and reward your nearly insane behavior with an Oreo."

      Sorry you had that experience! Sheesh.

      Delete
  10. What about the man at the store who finds the need to give your kid a dollar? Or the guy at the pool who thinks your kid needs quick swim lessons?

    I think people see that I am alone with my kid and no ring on my finger, so they feel inclined to help in any way......or they're pervs. But I tell you, it is very annoying, and makes me want to punch them in the trachea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trachea punching is sometimes justified. Check your state for the laws on that. ;)

      Delete
  11. HAHA this is hilarious! And so true...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I love it when true and funny come together.

      Delete
  12. Hasn't anyone ever heard of a whisper before? I've jumped in a time or two, but always say it quietly, or under my breath, or behind the kids' back, just in case. Because I've also been the parent that utilizes the wide-eyed, almost invisible head shake form of "HELL NO!" to the BS, hoping they can read social cues.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's hard to read social cues when the BS is concentrating on unwrapping a king size candy bar for your 2yo.

      Delete
    2. Situations like these are why as a server I quietly ask the parents if they are interested in the Sunday bar for the kids. I don't want to incite a fit in their kids. If a kid asks for something from me I always look at the parent for a verbal or non verbal que to see if it's ok for the child to have that item. It's outragous that strangers would ever seem it ok to step in & give a child anything w/o a parents permission.. I have a 20mo & no one has tried that shit with her yet. If they do try to give my child anything they just might lose that arm! Thank god my daughter is absolutely terrified of strangers right now lol anyone trying to approach her even during a fit causes her to stop in her tracks & run to hide behind me

      Delete
  13. I have learned to stifle the BS in me!! And, yet I have been thwarted by the kindly stranger in the store. Especially when it comes to my special needs daughter!!! People LOVE to come to her "rescue" or give her everything she decides she wants as that moment. Leave it to you to turn that into a funny post!! Always love to read you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy, I need to start paying you for the great comments. :)

      Delete
  14. I love seeing you here on Rants, Nikki. It's like I died and went to Funny Lady Heaven.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, that's tomorrow when the even funnier happens. I think you know what I mean.

      Delete
  15. I never thought about this, but it's oh so true. Well done, Ninja Mom!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I should be clear that we've probably ALL been the BS at least once. It happens.

      Delete
  16. as a non-mon, this is good to know, and something I'm sure I've thwarted in my quest to be the helpful bystander. If only there was a universal "my kids don't need this" look to keep friendliness from being a hinder!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true! We need a secret code or something.

      Delete
  17. I have run into the BS and if it is something like I am ignoring my child's screaming to get her way because I don't want to encourage it in any way then I will not hesitate to say "Thank you for your help, but I am not going to reinforce negative, tantrum behavior, she is not going to have this cookie, candy, etc."

    I think I have been the BS before, but it is usually me jumping in when I see me not jumping in resulting in possible injury or something. Like jumping in front of children running around the parking lot like crazy when their mother had her hands completely full and was trying to get them to come back. I got glared at by the parent for stopping them and sending them to their mother, but that was better than watching them get hit by a car.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Yes! My favorite is when a BS looks lovingly at my little (ahem) angel throwing herself face-down on the grocery store floor and says "oh she's so cute", which instantaneously causes my toddler to glare at me over her shoulder with a pre-teen look that says "see- she gets it". I wish that I could say that a full day with my toddler would sufficiently shut the BS up, but they would both love it- cookies for everyone!

    ReplyDelete
  19. A Bad Samaritan at a Christmas party almost cost me my life when I was 3 years old by giving me MnMs. I went into anaphylactic shock because I am allergic to dairy. I never give a child food or drink of any mind without their parents' express permission. However, I am also trying to teach my daughter the value of sharing, and that it is rude to eat in front of someone who has nothing to eat without offering to share with them.

    ReplyDelete

ShareThis

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

What My 9 yr old is reading:

Stuff that Mini Loves

Popular Posts