John Lewis has come under fire for apparently asking a mum with a screaming toddler to leave the store, and the Internet has since come alive with parents weighing in on the debate.
Mum Lindsay Robinson, 36, says she was left feeling ’embarrassed’ when she was asked to leave by staff, after customers complained because her toddler was having a tantrum.
We’ve all certainly been there, but whether you feel the store were right or wrong in their actions, mum of one Sarah-Jane Corfield-Smith knows that as a parent, she wouldn’t have even lasted through the ‘stares’ and ‘tuts’ long enough to be asked to leave before exiting of her own accord…
I was surprised when I read the story of a mum reportedly being asked to leave John Lewis because her toddler was being ‘loud and vocal’. Not only because I’ve always found John Lewis a safe haven when shopping with a small person in tow (they have some of the best mother and baby rooms I’ve experienced, not to mention café staff that have always offered to help me juggle a tray of coffee, babyccino, cake, my buggy, toddler and myself safely to a table.).
But I was also surprised, because you wouldn’t need to ask me to leave a shop with a toddler mid-tantrum, I’d already be halfway out the door!
I am the mum to an almost two year old and believe me when I say, we are very much in the midst of the terrible twos. This morning’s tantrums (plural) were triggered by me not peeling her banana correctly (who knew there was more than one way?!) and trying to put her tights on her legs, rather than her arms – which is her preferred place to wear them.
Until last week our tantrums had been localised to the four walls of our house, but then in the supermarket my darling daughter decided that me not letting her hold a tube of wrapping paper was equal to child abuse. There was screaming, wailing, kicking of legs against the prison that was the supermarket trolley seat. And you know what I did? I wheeled her straight out of the supermarket and into the car park because I didn’t want her throwing a tantrum in the store.
Why? Lots of reasons really.
Mainly I didn’t think lots of strange people staring at her and probably tutting or releasing excess air from their mouths would make the situation any better. She needed to be distracted from where she was and from the contraband wrapping paper.
I also felt like I was suddenly in the spotlight and quite frankly I didn’t want my parenting skills judged by others. Recently there were pictures released of Charlize Theron wrestling her four year old son, mid-tantrum, into the car and I felt wretchedly sorry for her. She was attempting to deal with a trying situation in privacy, but sadly for her there was some beady eyed pap snapping away and the next day the headlines read that she was a terrible mum for using force to get her child into the safety of her car.
Those are pictures that don’t need to be seen or goggled at by the public just as I didn’t want to be goggled at by an audience in the supermarket. I will deal with my screaming child on my own, thank you very much.
I know I’m only at the beginning of the tantrum pathway and there will probably be scenarios where I can’t so readily extract myself or my child from her tantrum location of choice. However, if it got to the point where a member of staff had to ask me to leave I’d let them know that I was already on my way, and would they help me get there faster?