I was waiting for a group meeting to start, milling about with the other attendees. We all kind of sort of know each other and engage in chit chat before the meeting.
I mentioned that I bought something at Small Pricey Grocery Store. One of my acquaintances looked at me a bit sideways and said, “I never go there… I wouldn’t know. It’s so expensive.”
My husband and I are frequently questioned about our reasons to shop there and I responded truthfully, but lightly, “We shop there because there are never any kids at this store. No meltdowns in the candy aisle. Haha, tantrums are the worst, amiright?”
All of the other women in the room were parents (I’m not), so I was really hoping that I didn’t rub anyone the wrong way, but I immediately regretted answering the way I did. Even though my initial feeling was that no one enjoys a temper tantrum, so it was a safe thing to mention.
My acquaintance launched into a description of a meltdown she saw the other day in Large Discount Grocery Store and what her internal reaction was. She wanted to tell the parents to take the kid out of the store. Her story telling tone was harsh and judgemental. Her kids are adolescent and I got the feeling that she had been waiting for a chance to pontificate On Parents Today.
Another woman piped up, “I would have been furious with you if you had said that to me.”
Acquaintance says, “The parents weren’t addressing the situation properly and they had to do something.”
Tension levels went WAY up and I felt pretty gross for starting the subject. Conversations do have a life of their own, but parenting discussions are such a minefield, I feel like I made a tactical error that lead to the entire group being uncomfortable. I probably should have just said something bland like, “Oh, we like it. It’s a nice little store.”
Given the passionate viewpoints people have on parenting and discipline, I’m wondering if these are topics that shouldn’t be brought up in social situations, much like religion and politics?