The littles ain’t been here before—but you have.

This kid just screamed in Target. He looked tired when I turned to look. His mom (white lady) snatched him up–BECAUSE she saw me looking. She probably thought I was judging her parenting.

I wasn’t. I just heard a kid in distress and looked just in case something was going down wrong.

It always amazes me the lengths we go to get kids to act a certain way in public–especially little kids. Like, they’re LITTLE. They have feelings that they have no words for. And we don’t tune into because it messes with how we wish to be perceived (in power and in control) and this rat race of a schedule we call “The American Way.”

I am guilty, too. Usually more so at home. But we gotta stop treating kids like freaking slaves and accessories. They are human and need more breaks and food and time. They ain’t been here before.

So here’s some things that adults can do to be more responsible and responsive to the needs to children:

  • Assemble Assistance.If at all possible: consider who is going to be consistent help for you in real time before the baby comes your way. Folks saying, “Call me if you need anything” usually need some specific tasks to choose from so they can make sound decisions. So while you having your baby showers, have a friend assemble a list of tasks: immediate, short term, long term. Then you will know who to call for what kind of help.
  • Delegate Duties. Why are you trying to go to every store all the time with a small human? We live in the world of Instacart and Walmart Shop and these places deliver. And they take food stamps. if you don’t need to leave the house to do a bunch of tasks, don’t. Spend that time connecting with your kid, or a snack, or a nap. Or some combination thereof.
  • Plan Ahead, Fred. I was the undisputed queen of pre-packed diaper bags. I had one for every car; one that I just carried, and one by the door in case family wanted to babysit. I kept snacks on deck, pre-created water/formula kits, juice, and toys. I packed a variety of clothes for weather changes and temperature shifts. There was always medicine and Vaseline in the bag. I keep blankets, a carrier, and little diaper clothes for impromptu naps. If you know you’re going to leave the house? Be prepared. Kids get hungry, hot, sick, sleepy, and sometimes all at once. Make your way easy.
  • Manage in the moment. Y’all kill me trying to complete your shopping while a kid is in full meltdown. Put that ish down, sis. Walk that cart over to customer service and tell them you will be back. Take care of your kid. Then come back to it. Nobody is going to die if you have to pause for station identification between produce and deli. You can get another ice cream. The oranges will survive in your cart. Deal with the most important thing: your upset kid! I mean how crazy are you looking in a battle of wills with a 2 year old? It’s not cute.
  • Give yourself grace. I have yet to meet a perfect parent, and the ones portraying perfection is sipping on gin and juice to wash down their edibles after they have administered melatonin to their child. Stop that! Parenting is messy and momentous. If you could control every aspect? It would be like the children of the corn outchea. Nobody wants that. It’s the bumps and bruises and failures and fallouts that create the intimacy you’ll be wishing for when they are teens.
  • Help other struggling moms. once you got it going on? Please don’t get self righteous! Help somebody else. You see a mama wrestling a newly formed octopus baby in the store? Go see if you can help. If you see a baby crying and upset, ask the mom if it’s okay to give the kid a snack if you have one. Be available. Offer a funny anecdote about your mom time to ease the embarrassment they may feel. Pick up their purse off the freaking floor where they had to put it to grab the Usain Bolt of their family. Y’all know what I’m talking about. Them little legs be goin!
Running little humans

I guarantee you: anybody judging you was harshly judged themselves. But you have the blessed opportunity to break that cycle.

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