My top 5 parenting pet peeves

Lately, I’ve had a plethora of moments that have become blog fodder in the way of parenting pet peeves. These aren’t in any particular order because they all bug me just about equally.

Please don’t interfere with me trying to teach my son a lesson - particularly sharing. Brandon and I recently had an interaction with an acquaintance and their child in which the children were each playing with the other’s toy(s). For a little while things were going well. When my acquaintance needed to leave, Brandon was upset that he had to give back the other child’s toys. He pitched quite a fit. My acquaintance offered to let him hold on to the toys and get them back later. A generous offer, but I’m trying to teach Brandon how to share and give toys back when it’s time. I think that’s important for him to learn, even if it’s harder given that he doesn’t have any siblings. I had to explain this to get my acquaintance to understand why I wouldn’t accept the offer.

Humans have to make judgments in life, but that doesn’t mean we should be judgmental. The aforementioned acquaintance made a point of letting me know that their child was very good at sharing. Yes, a 20-month-old is good at sharing. SO WAS MINE at that age; he was also easily distracted out of wanting something. Then he figured out how to fight for what he wants. (You had to be there to hear the comments and the attitude - judgment was being made, but I didn’t take it personally.) Said acquaintance may never have issues with their child sharing, but to assume that it’s all figured out at that age is a bit presumptuous. I’ve no doubt that the future will bring some challenges to their current beliefs they hold as gospel about their child. 

Teach your children how to be safe by example - follow the rules of the road! I wish I had a dollar for how many times I’ve seen parents or caregivers ushering their children across the street without a walk signal. Recently I saw a woman with two kids in a double stroller rushing across a six-lane road when the light had already turned green. She knew before she stepped into the road that she shouldn’t have, but did it anyway. Personally, I trust myself far more than I trust any other driver on the road. If I don’t have a walk signal, I’m not going to cross - especially with my child in tow. This goes for cycling, too. Just today I saw a man with a young son cycling through a crosswalk and then in the middle of oncoming traffic lanes to more conveniently get where they wanted to go. Cyclists and drivers can safely share the road if both are actually following the rules of the road.

Discipline is good for children. It teaches them boundaries. I get regularly frustrated at the park and other public play places when parents let their children take toys away from my son. I stand there telling him over and over that he has to play nicely and share and to ask other children if he wants to play with a toy they have. Other parents hear me and then watch their child do the opposite of what I’m telling my child to do and say nothing. Different families have different values (some can be attributed to cultural differences), but this seems a basic thing that every child should know to get through life. That is, unless we want to perpetuate the current sense of entitlement that’s practically epidemic in western culture.

Comparisons are inevitable, but just how valuable are they? I often ask my friends when their child(ren) have done this or that. I take their answers with a grain of salt, knowing that my child is different and that a hundred different variables could affect when he does or doesn’t do something. While I find the information interesting and sometimes reassuring or useful, I hope it’s never perceived as an opportunity to brag on Brandon. Nor do I want to engage in comparisons with other parents that turn into them bragging about their child.

If our children grow up to be healthy, responsible and independent adults, then we’ve done our job as parents and none of this other stuff even matters at that stage anymore.

What are your parenting pet peeves? 

Pet Peeve Parade

I have pet peeves. Don’t we all? But we go through life every day running across people who grate on our nerves with these behaviors that annoy us, even though often we’re guilty of doing the very same things. Here are a few of mine (and I will freely admit that I do, or have done, most of these things myself).

  1. Sniffling noses - I would rather hear 100 people blowing their noses every two minutes than one who is sniffling every 5 seconds. My husband has allergies and feels it’s easier to sniffle than blow. You can see how it might be making me crazy after nearly 10 years.
  2. Clipping nails - I don’t actually mind clipping nails, unless someone is doing it in the office, because it grosses me out. Maybe there’s some reason I’m missing that makes it good to do this at work? (I have never done this one, by the way.)
  3. Talking while chewing food - It was drilled into my head as a child that I was not to talk while eating. It got in so well that now it grosses me out when others do it. Sometimes it’s necessary for expediency, but most of the time I think people just don’t think about what they’re doing.
  4. Cashiers who don’t hand my card back - This happens to me all the time. I go to pay, the cashier completes the transaction, ignores my outstretched hand and puts the card on the counter.
  5. Open cabinet/dresser doors/drawers - My dad is 6’4” and if we left cabinets open in our house (we often did), he was in danger of concussing himself if he wasn’t watching closely. He also didn’t like when drawers were left open, because of the damage it could cause. That has carried over into my adult life and I’m the one in my house who doesn’t like things left open. Like my dad, my husband is 6’4” and HE is the one who leaves them open! Go figure. (Once, when I discovered a cabinet open in our apartment a few years ago, I decided to teach him a lesson. It was just before bed, so he wasn’t going back in the kitchen that night. I opened every single cabinet and drawer in the kitchen all the way and I knew he’d see it because he was always the first one in the kitchen. By morning, I’d forgotten my little stunt, so when he screamed, I went running. And then I started laughing, because he screamed. Hilarious! He’s been better ever since, though it still happens occasionally. Disclaimer: Matt’s head was not damaged by my little stunt - it just startled him.)
  6. Grammatical errors - I’m not an expert and I don’t catch everything, but I see things that bug me. Luckily, even if I notice them, it doesn’t stop me from enjoying a well-written piece. In this age of content needing to be up so quickly, thorough editing often takes a backseat (even if it shouldn’t).
  7. Too much information in a public setting - We took a childbirth class before Brandon was born. One of the couples was into reading about childbirth rituals from other cultures. Most of the things they shared with our class were completely irrelevant and wasted time - they also attempted to perpetuate some myths about childbirth, which was frustrating.
  8. Slurping hot drinks - It doesn’t actually prevent you getting burned or cool it off…so why?
  9. Over-the-shoulder readers - My thoughts sometimes when I’m riding the bus: Dude, I see you looking at my iPhone. Eyes elsewhere, please? What I’m doing is none of your business. Thank you!
  10. People who interrupt - I know I’m guilty of this one. But lately I’m trying HARD not to do it, because there is a person in my life who does it with every conversation. They try to guess what I’m going to say and usually they’re wrong. It’s beyond frustrating to communicate with this individual.

I’m sure there are more, but I don’t want to seem like I’m always in a bad mood over things people do, because I’m truly not. Besides, if you think I’m bad, check this out!

What about you? What are your pet peeves? 

Excuse me? That lane is called a bike lane for a reason - it's for bicycles.

Driving is one of those things that people often view as a right, but it's actually a privilege. Strong opinions about right this and wrong that are formed around driving as well. Here's one of my biggest pet peeves.javascript:void(0)

I was out running a quick errand the other night when I came to an intersection that frustrates me every time I drive this particular route. I was going straight and my side of the intersection has a left turn lane, straight lane and a bike lane. It just so happens that there is a constant flow of cars turning right from this direction – and they ALWAYS use the bike lane. I’ll grant that this side of the intersection certainly needs a right turn lane, but that doesn’t mean that in its absence the bike lane is an acceptable alternative.

I’ve always been annoyed by people who use the bike lane to make right turns, but my objection to this has increased about a zillion times since I drove by the scene near my house where 5 cyclists were hit – while cycling in the bike lane on a quiet Sunday morning last July. I actually forced myself to go out cycling through my area after that accident because it made me feel timid about cycling in traffic and I needed to get over that to enjoy cycling again.

I don't ever feel fully comfortable cycling in traffic because there are still too many drivers who don't pay attention to cyclists who are entitled to share the road.

I did a little research on whether it’s legal to use a certain portion of the bike lane this way, just to see if I have justifiable angst. I found an article about bike lanes on torontoist and they say “right-turning cars are also prohibited from entering the bike lane except in the final, short dashed section”. I have to say that I’m surprised that I can’t easily find anything addressing this in the Ontario Driver’s Handbook, but I’m going to make the assumption that torontoist did their research.

So, if you’re ever in an intersection that doesn’t have a right turn lane and there’s a “jerk” up ahead who’s hugging the bike lane so close that no one can turn around them, it might just be me. And if I find out I'm wrong, I'll move over so you can get through to turn right. Because that’s how I roll.

What are your driving pet peeves?