So tonight I may not have exercised my best judgement, but how was I to know I would be running into the bride of Satan at an IHOP in a rural county of VA?
I took Little M to dinner, and we were having a pretty pleasant time, except for the slightly loud remarks we were hearing from the next table. The mother was griping and criticizing each of the four girls she had brought with her about one behavior after another, and they seemed like they were out of control, from the way she kept telling them to straighten up. Finally, I'd had enough, and here is where I probably should have turned off my desire to be AT ALL helpful in the situation, and just sat there and listened to the bitching and criticizing of those girls.
But NO, I am not that kind of person. Besides, she's a mom, I'm a mom, I thought that MAYBE if they heard what she was saying from someone else, they'd actually listen. So I turned around and mentioned to the girls that my son was watching them and copying everything they did, so could they please behave for their mom? Then I looked at the mom to see if we were on the same page, and she was just blank-faced.
I have never before felt the hair stand up on the back of my neck so much, but It was like I could feel the venom start to spew in my direction. First she started off with how rude I was, and how some people just ruin things for other people. Then I got to hear about how they were just out to have a nice time and how if "SHE" wanted to provide that kind of example for "HER" child (who, by the way, was just playing a game on my phone and was completely oblivious to everything going on), then that was just fine with them. She then complained about me to the waiter, who sent another waitress over to ask her what the problem was, she didn't give any details, just pointed at me, I said I didn't have a problem.
They offered each of us a chance to change tables, and I guess I was second guessing what I said, the fact that I said anything at all, and the whole situation, but I figured if it was so rude of me to say anything, then I deserved to pay my penance by having to listen to whatever she dished out.
The entire rest of the meal was punctuated by little jabs and remarks from her about me and my parenting. I even turned around and offered her table the ketchup bottle from ours when they had asked for it TWICE and her answer was "We'll wait. You shouldn't have been rude to us in the first place." Then she got up and went to get another (apparently uncontaminated with my rudeness) bottle.
Maybe I WAS the bitch for saying anything to her, but then, consider this:
Before I said anything, those girls were acting up, and the mother was bitching at them like there was no tomorrow.
After I said something, they were all behaving, and they had a common enemy to bitch about, ME. Nevermind that the things she was saying to a bunch of 10-year-olds were entirely inappropriate, that's on her. But I saved those girls from a meal of being the emotional punching bags for that woman. And if for no other reason than that, I'm glad I said something. Even if it WAS uncalled for, or RUDE. Those kids still had a meal without her venom, even if it ALL landed on me.
(Her waiter, by the way, was on his first day BACK, after having been gone from the restaurant for awhile, I felt SO bad for him, he was not at ALL attentive to their table, I think he was just scared of her! Plus, I explained the entire situation to the manager, who frankly thought I did the right thing, and gave us coupons for free stuff.)