Having A Kid In The Car Doesn’t Entitle You To Police Other Drivers’ Habits, So Kindly STFU

By  | 

happy child in car seatKids are little sponges, absorbing information and behaviors from all around them, and that isn’t something that stops the second they’re strapped into their car seats. So when we see them taking note of the bad habits that drivers in other cars might have, what should we do? I’m not sure, but I can safely say that the answer is not posting a screed to the Internet about how no other drivers should ever do anything that you think is icky.

Blogger Dresden Shumaker writes about her experiences chauffeuring her toddler around, and the instructions she imparts to fellow drivers to ease her highway headaches certainly warrant her self-bestowed title of ‘driving manifesto’:

I’ll also never forget the day we pulled up at a red light next to a garbage truck and I heard this from my back seat, “Mama!! Garbage truck!! What’s that thing in his mouth?” Somehow my son had managed to be completely oblivious to cigarette smokers in the suburbs of Philadelphia, but put a stick in the mouth of one of his heroes and it was now time for a conversation. The spell of city workers had been broken and I started to dread seeing a police officer, firefighter, or sanitation worker while we were out and about.

Look, I think smoking is gross, and smoke makes me cough, but I don’t think other people should be expected to shield me and my children from the mere sight of a cigarette.  Shumaker’s moral panic over having to explain smoking to her precious pumpkin reminds me of the whiners who complain about having to explain seeing people with tattoos or same-sex couples kissing to their kids. God forbid you take five minutes to have a discussion with your child because someone else dared to be living their life somewhere that you could see it!

Shumaker’s list of driving no-nos where a child might be involved includes swear words (I guess the windows on her car don’t roll up like all the way like everyone else’s); obeying traffic laws (am I only entitled to not getting hit by a speeding car if I have my kids in the back seat? I didn’t know I should expect to take my life in my hands if I make a solo trip to the coffee shop); and horn honking. This last one might be the most aggravating to me, because Shumaker equates someone honking at her to let her know the light has changed to people honking at a school bus carrying a child with a sensory disorder. Sorry, lady; I know it sucks when your newborn gets woken up because you zoned out in a new-mom-haze at a traffic light, but that is not remotely comparable to the struggles presented by a neurological disorder, and co-opting a suffering child’s problems to prop up your own whining is gross.

Other drivers are going to do things you don’t like, and if those things are legal, then it’s not your place to stop them. The world isn’t going to change to conform to your desires – if it did, my world would have a lot more comic books and a lot less laundry. If you’re a parent trying to instill certain values in your child, driving-related or not, your choices are limited to 1.) keep your kid locked in the basement away from other humans forever, or maybe try to get him adopted into the Duggar family, or 2.) get used to having a chat with him about the things you witness in public. You know, doing the whole ‘parenting’ thing. And you can put that in your pipe and smoke it.

(Image: Ruta Production/Shutterstock)