Mom Etiquette

I know there isn’t an Emily Post for moms, but sometimes I really think there should be! Maybe I’m on to something here… Anyway, I’m just so tired of the mom that sits there and does nothing while their child is disrupting the class. Case and point: tumbling. We did a tumbling for tots class and every week there were these 2 moms that just chatted and chatted the whole class. One mom especially always had her back to the class, her kids, everything. How many times can other moms or the instructor move your kid of the wedge so she doesn’t get kicked in the head by the next kid doing a somersault down it? And sometimes, it was only out of concern for the safety of the child that I even stepped up…like the time she was heading out the door with me and mom was, you guessed it, blah blah blahing away! I could keep going, but I won’t. I’ll let this article do the talking for me. (And I’m sure, somewhere in the blog universe, some mom is blogging about my bad mommy manners. I’m not perfect…but I try to be present).

Taken from

Every Tuesday morning I take my 2-year-old to a gym class, where the teacher leads the children in songs, dances and tricks on balance beams and mats.

Most of the parents participate in the introduction and play along with their child. But at least one mom often is using her cell phone to text while the teacher is speaking.

At storytime at the library, the kids sit in front of the librarian and listen to books and do crafts. Parents either sit with their child or nearby. While most parents pay attention, one mom rests against the wall reading a book.

My friend leans over to me and says: “Do you see that lady? That is so rude.” Is it? What is appropriate mommy etiquette in these situations  Let your child’s best interests be your guide, the experts say. “As a parent, you’re kind of committed to doing an activity with your child,” says Cindy Senning, a director and parenting and children’s etiquette expert at the Emily Post Institute in Burlington.

“Both for your child’s sake and for the others that are around you, you should be participating in the activity, not doing something else. It’s a little bit disrespectful.” Senning, author of “The Gift of Good Manners,” says that etiquette in the mommy world is really no different from any place else. Texting during a business meeting or reading a book in a corner would be inappropriate, right? Same thing with that behavior during a parent-involved class.

Parenthood opens up a bunch of new situations that call for careful handling. For example, what do you do when you are at a park and a child wanders over and asks to join your picnic and their parent isn’t on the case?

My friend usually offers the kid an apple slice and asks him where his picnic is. Senning suggests saying: “We’re about to have our lunch now, so maybe you can go back to where your mom is and you can come back to see us in a little while.”

Jennifer Polk, a mother of two from Morrison, Colo., says she can’t stand it when another mother scolds her child for doing something inappropriate, yet doesn’t discipline her own child for doing something similar.

“And, along the same lines, are mothers who totally ignore their children’s behavior at places like play areas, and their kids get away with everything,” she says. Disciplining other people’s children is a tough subject, and Senning says the rule of thumb is that you really don’t do it at all unless the behavior is hurtful or potentially hurtful.

The trouble with trying to discipline other people’s behavior is A: it doesn’t work and B: you just create a confrontation. It’s a worthless confrontation,” Senning says. (But parents can ask other children to meet their standards when hosting a play date in their home by explaining the house rules.)

So the message is this: don’t bring distractions to parent-involved classes, pay attention to the teacher and if you can’t say something nice about a kid, don’t say it at all. Wait. This all sounds familiar. Isn’t this what we’re trying to teach our kids?


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