(Originally published June 19, 2017- www.butterflyconsultations.com)
I am going to do something I rarely do – mom shaming.
Yep I am going there and I am not limiting it to a mom, I am including a grandma too.
I haven’t posted in months – my life at home and work has been beyond crazy and with another corporate expansion on the horizon and all of the issues surrounding that, I decided I needed to get away for a few days. No kids, no work, no plans, just some down time to focus and restructure.
So here I am on a plane – sitting in the plus section, paying more for a 2 hour flight than should be allowed just so I could stretch out, read a book, sip bad but free wine and start to unwind. Letting the thoughts of construction and inspection delays, staff issues and the costs associated with all of it just seep away… at least that was the plan.
Instead I had a mom, a grandma and two little kids sitting in the rows behind me. These girls were maybe 3 and 4 – although by listening to them you would think they were infants. Yep – two hours of screaming, crying, kicking seats and one temper tantrum that ended with vomit all over the floor. Yep it was that kind of flight.
I have 4 kids and I am far from a perfect parent, FAR from it and I have traveled with all of my kids. planes, trains, automobiles, cruise ships – you name it, so I know that they are never perfect angels and that shit happens when you have kids. I have been the mom with a crying baby walking the aisle apologizing to other passengers, been there, done that. I have also been the mom smiling knowingly to the mom passing by 15 times down the aisle apologizing every time she goes by with her screaming kid. I get it.
What I don’t get is this mom and grandmother – not once did they get up to walk the aisle with these kids, not once did I see a game, toy or candy come out as a bribe. Not once did I hear an apology to the 200 other passengers or frustrated staff for the beyond annoying behavior. Not once did I hear a ‘NO!’ or a ‘Stop that!’ – not from the adults that is, the kids said it or screamed it plenty.
What I did hear was, ‘It’s ok baby, let’s sing a song.’, ‘What can mommy do for you?’, ‘Wow, you are upset, I bet you won’t like our next flight either.’
Yep, for 2 freaking hours.
I have never been so close to actually intervening with another parent or actually disciplining someone else’s kid. It was so bad I actually turned my video camera on to catch the sound to play for my husband because I knew he would think I was exaggerating.
A grandmother who looked to be in her early 50’s, a mom in her late 20’s and two children who’s behavior was excused and even validated when completely inappropriate with zero respect or acknowledgement to those it effected.
I suddenly realized that this is our problem. Our society has created what is dubbed ‘the snowflake generation’ – it’s not a millennial issue or any generational issue by age, it is a group of individuals that have grown up being told that their feelings matter above all else, that they are free to express themselves anyway they choose whenever they want and they have never been told NO. They receive trophies just for showing up, pass classes at school even without understanding content just so they don’t feel bad and have their parents yell at their teachers when they fail to hand in homework. Homework that doesn’t matter anyway because they know they will never fail.
As business owners and managers we see them as people who enter the workforce not understanding expectations need to be met, deadlines or consequences. They expect unlimited praise for every step of every process, believe their feelings are foremost in every encounter with another human being and cannot take criticism at any level without melting down. (Get it – snowflake).
It’s not everyone, it isn’t an entire generation, but they are out there and I worry. I worry about the future of our society, the competitiveness of our country in the global market, now and in the future. I worry about our educational system. We have created this with every great intention in the world – to teach self worth and empowerment. But we have gone too far. And as my recent flight shows – we are still doing it. One more generation of snowflakes whose feelings come before all else and will enter the world as adults never hearing the word no and not knowing how to handle it when they do.
I hope my children know that their feelings matter. I hope that they know they can express themselves appropriately and that they matter as individuals. I hope that know that they can accomplish anything through hard work. I hope that know that no one has the right to disrespect or abuse their minds, bodies or emotions and I hope that they understand the difference between criticism and abuse. I hope they know that just because they can’t do whatever they want or have whatever they want whenever they want it that their world won’t end. I hope they know you have to earn the trophies and awards they get and I hope that they know that in life sometimes you have to do stuff you don’t want (like work) to get access to the things you want (like time off, vacations, shoes, rent, food…)
I hope that we start to find balance because a few more generations of snowflakes and this fantastic country of ours may not last another 150 years.