Monday, May 7, 2012

A Drive-By Parenting, Eco Shame Edition

You know how you usually think of the right snarky response to someone who has said something stupid - two days after they've said it, that is? (Yes, yes - we're meant to turn the other cheek and such, but . . .)

Like Mary, there's just something about parenting . . . it just brings out the judgment, and not in that festive Judge Judy sort of way.

Part of me gets it. Parenting is often a terrifying thing, such an overwhelming responsibility if you over-think it, that the temptation is there to act as if there are ALL CAPS BLACK AND WHITE ANSWERS TO IT ALL. (Hence, those braggy Facebook updates about how someone's epidural-free pesticide-free fun-free child is better than yours.) Trust me, I want to believe . . .

. . . unlike the "X-Files", though, my experience is that there is a lot of grey area. I should note given the current reading pop culture that this "grey area" is not to be confused with Christian Grey, though both frequently make me want to beat my head against the wall (and not in a kinky way).


Case in point - my Friday excursion to Target, that monument to American excess (*foreshadowing*). Master P & I do our usual spin through the Baby section, quickly grabbing the necessities before he becomes bored with shopping (usual start-to-whining time = +/- 5 minutes).

I proceed to the checkout with the shortest line and encounter what seems like a kindly, middle aged female cashier, whose smile began to wither as she spies the toddler snacks on the conveyor belt.

She visibly recoils as she sniffs in the direction of Master P's squeezable organic veggie packets, "What a shame - all this packaging material that isn't recyclable." She raises a brow and pauses to give me a significant glance.

"Holy (stuff), only in Austin," I think to myself, "Here I am just trying to buy my kid nutritious snacks. What is it with me, cashiers, and the parenting judgment?" 

Foodie in the making or eco terrorist?

Unlike that previous incident, though, I do not act as if nothing has happened. Oh, no.

Instead I summon my sweetest, I-was-in-the-Junior-League-dammit smile and chirp, "Oh, I completely agree (snark-free sidebar: and I do - yay recycling!). The thing is, we feel it's *so* important that he eat organic whenever possible, and this is how he'll eat his veggies at the moment. I'm all ears on how I can get him to eat them another way?"

Silence. Our eco-hero the cashier sighs and, with a vague air of defeat, continues scanning our items.

Boom. (Recycled) paper covers rock. I'll see your Smug Eco and raise you a Smug Foodie.

Of course, this isn't a big deal in the grand scheme, and you can find insults everywhere if you're looking for them, blah blah blah. Miss Planet Earth had a point, and I'm sure she meant no harm.

That being said, it sure is fun to stun the Smug into a few moments of blessed silence, isn't it?


Mrs. Type A said...

You're better than me. I probably would have been like "recycling? What's that? We just throw everything out in our house. BYE!" Just to mess with her.

{Jessica} said...

Love this! You are too funny. Love that you can pull out the quick-wit at the perfect time. That's def a skill I am still working on...

Amy @ Forever 29 said...

Wow, M, you continue to get the bad end of the judgies! I can only chalk it up to the fact that you and MP are too pretty to leave about your own business- organic snackage included.

Kathleen Lisson said...

I would have raised an eyebrow and asked the cashier what she was doing to get her company to add to their stock of recyclable products.

Rachelle said...

Seriously? You work at Target and you're fussing about recyclable packaging? She needs to go check out that new home improvement emporium - TreeHouse. Wow. But snaps for the saucy retort. Much faster on your feet than I've ever been!

Solar Powered said...

Haaahaaaaa, good one! Love your Texas city but I cant imagine the patience it requires :)

Mary said...

I love recycled items..but I can never remember my reusable bags at the store. Recyclable organic package..bring 'm on.

Kristen said...

You're good. :) You handled it well. One of the reasons I suspect I'm not *quite* ready for little ones is I'm just not good at dealing with that kind of snarky criticism from stranger yet (ever?). And I see how much my mommy friends have to deal with! I usually use the kill-em-with-kindness approach if anyone criticizes me. Now I just need to get rid of the self-doubting part. Easy, right? :)

Erin said...

I think if a store SELLS something, they should have a policy against their employees judging you for buying it.

Similarly, I was in Target a couple of weeks ago. I unloaded a pair of shoes (because she keeps growing), a couple of sundresses (because she keeps growing), some jammies (because she keeps growing), and about 12 of those non-recycleable pouches (to make sure she KEEPS growing but also because she's allergic to wheat & eggs & milk, so avoiding anaphylaxis at snack time is nice, too).

The cashier asked if I wanted a gift receipt, and I replied, "Nope! Shockingly, this is all for my own child." (smiley face) And not even missing a beat, she wrinkled her nose and said, "Wow. She's spoiled."

I'm sorry. I came here to spend money, and you act surprised when I blow my husband's hard-earned salary on luxuries like food and clothing? Whatevs, Target lady.

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