There are two things I am passionate about. (Okay, there's a third, but I never get any, so it's a moot point.) Anyway, those two things are theatre and parenting. I guess my title kind of gives away which one this treatise will cover.
I went to pay my rent today. My landlord's office is a little hole-in-the-wall located in a storefront downtown. As I'm leaving the office, there is a mother and her two small children (2-3 years old) waiting in the hallway. The little boy (around 3-ish) has his back turned to me and is blocking the hallway. His mother can see this, so I just wait for a minute or so for the mom to ask her son to move so I can get by. She just sits there and stares at us. So, after a couple minutes I gently put my hand on the little boy's shoulder and say, "Excuse me, sweetie." He moves. As I'm walking down the hall, the mother starts cussing (literally) at the little boy, saying she will bust his ass, etc., etc., I guess for not having eyes in the back of his head so he could see that I was there.
It pissed me off. I didn't do anything about it, because I'm about to open a show and I sort of have to/want to be there alive, but what the fuck? It was the MOTHER'S JOB to ask her kid to move, not mine. I already did my time telling my kids to behave in public, I've clocked out.
Here's the thing: Parenting is a Job. The most wonderful, frustrating, rewarding ,terrifying, exciting, monotonous, invigorating, exhausting job you will ever have; not to mention the most important. Ever. Some days you will do well. Some days you will fuck up. Some days you will wonder why you ever wanted kids and some days you will wish you had a dozen. Okay, that last part isn't real, but my point is: It is a job. So do it. Tell your kid how to behave in public because, unlike puking on the expensive carpet and shoving peas up their nose, kids do not come hotwired with how to do that. You have to teach them. That is your job. Also, while sometimes it might be your job to yell at your kids, this should not be at the core of your curriculum. (I know I'm mixing metaphors, shut up!)
Now I'm sure there will be absolutely no permanent repercussions from that Awful Woman not doing her job and swearing at her kid, he'll probably grow up to be a fine, upstanding axe murderer. But come on, people.
These are not pieces of equipment, these are pieces of you, that reach up and take your hand and give you sticky kisses and hugs and call you mommy/daddy and break your heart every day, because you love them so goddamned much it hurts. Do your fucking job.