Get Out of the Street!

I have this totally stupid thing that has been bugging me.

The new moms at my bus stop stand in the street.

I know it sounds silly, and I know it shouldn’t be a big deal, but what kind of example is that? How am I supposed to teach my kids to stay out of the road if there are seven moms standing in the street just chatting?

I think it is awful form.
ducksstay-out of the road

The thing is – how can I say to an entire group of grown women “Please don’t stand in the street. You are setting a crappy example for my children, and I would really prefer that my kids don’t get hit by cars.”

You know how women are? They would think I am judging their parenting – which I totally am – but I really don’t care what they do at home. The same way I don’t care if you smoke, Β are a snakehandler, participate in extreme rodeo, or choose not to wear your seat belt, I just don’t want you to do it in front of my kids.

What do I do here? Do I tell my kids that the other moms are wrong and risk them repeating it? Do I tell the one loudest mom that it bothers me? Do I drive The Goon Squad to school every day?

I’m not super over-protective, but we are pretty serious about life safety issues around here and standing in the street is just asking for trouble.

Am I nuts?

Wait. Don’t answer that. Instead tell me how to handle my first world problems gracefully.

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  1. Ha! I was so relieved to read a light piece on annoying bus stop etiquette and not anything about an actual parenting dilemma.

    I hate the bus stop. It is a place that I think all children should be left alone at after being introduced to it with the parents on the first day of school. I resented having to go stand in the freezing cold all winter at 7:30am just so the other parents wouldn’t think I was a bum for not walking over and standing with my more-than-capable children until they drove away while we all waved like good mommies and daddies.

    Bleeeeh, sorry to be in such a bad mood and to not offer any advice on how to deal with the other moms. :)

  2. Yes, you are nuts. Oh, wait. As a first time commenter can I say that to you? πŸ˜‰
    What I have done in situations similar to this, adults doing something that I for sure don’t want my two year old doing, I would just tell Marjorie that she can’t go into the street because she will get hit by a car. I say this fairly loudly and so far when the offending adult has heard it they have stopped doing the activity that if a small child would do it the likelyhood of injury was 100%. So if your kids ask why they can’t stand in the road you just tell them that the road is for cars and if they stand in the road they will get run over but loud enough for the other mothers to hear and maybe they will get the hint. πŸ˜‰ Good luck. It is so hard to raise your kids right when there are such bad examples out there once they leave our protective bubble of home. If I could keep them home with me and never let them be exposed to the real world I would, at least until my sanity disappeared. πŸ˜‰

  3. When it comes to shit like that, I always tell the twins that different people have different rules, and MY rule is don’t whatever.

    At our bus stop the options are standing in the street or standing in someone’s yard. Fun.

  4. I’ll be back to check the comments because I don’t know what to tell you. We do like Kate, which is to tell our kids that different people have different rules.

    Part of me wonders if you could get the kids involved? Like have them say something about being worried they might get hit by a car.

  5. I’d try to get one mom alone and play it cool like, but tell her you are not comfortable with the other moms in the street because it contradicts the safety messages you have been drilling into your kids. Ask her to pass on the message. Then if they don’t get out of the freaking road, they are assholes.

  6. Oh good, another reason why people should not be allowed to congregate.

    If you drive them to school because of this I will not speak to you for awhile.

    Sure, tell them the other moms are wrong and they are not to stand in the street regardless. Who cares if they repeat it? You have to enforce your rules (and sorry, but this is a pretty basic one. I don’t know too many moms who are all, GO STAND IN THE STREET NOW GO.) They’re already learning the difference between you and people who aren’t you, and that includes people who follow different rules even though those rules are incredibly stupid. Darwin.

    Are the kids of these streetwalker moms in the street too? Why does this seem so complicated all of a sudden?

    I have to admit, I don’t understand the bus stop brigade either. It just seems odd to me, but I was a carpool kid so I come from another planet entirely.

  7. smart aleck says:

    It’s called Darwinism–but in a perfect world the moms should have been hit before they procreated…

    Neighborhood politics are tricky…because you have to LIVE there, it’s not like you are at the mall and see the behavior.

    I say you show your kids the drawing above–you and the Good Squad are safe, the street duck is dead. Make it a bed time story…and explain that you are all walking to a concert featuring their favorite bands. It wouldn’t be very metal to get run over before the show, would it?

  8. I always tell my kids that different families have different rules. I also differentiate between adult behaviors and kid behaviors. I could also tell my kids in private that the grownups are not being safe and they wouldn’t rat me out at the bus stop. Well, the youngest one probably would.

  9. Ha, try taking the kids to Boston where every pedestrian crosses against the light and often into oncoming traffic.

    In their defense though, the traffic lights in Boston are very pedestrian-unfriendly. We’re expected to cross at the same time cars are turning.

    OTOH, they ticket you for jaywalking and you feel stupid waiting for a light to change when there are no cars in sight.

    Here the moms drive their kids to the bus stop. And we wonder why there is an obesity epidemic.

  10. in Seattle. They ticket you for jaywalking in Seattle.

  11. I don’t have any advice, but I’m trying to picture this and having trouble. Are there not sidewalks? When we waited for the bus, it was at a busy street corner, and we stood on the sidewalk because otherwise we’d be dead.

  12. I think this is where you explain the pedestrian vs car game and then loudly talk about how many points each mom would be. I would assign different points for pajama bottoms, uggs, and designer sunglasses.


    This would make me TWITCH.

    Realistically, I’d just tell your kids, loudly, to “stand back! We NEVER stand in the street. We don’t want to be hit by a car!” That way, you’re just stating what should be an obvious fact, but it’s not directed at anyone in particular.

    …but that’s just me. :)

  13. Hmmm this is a hard one. I think in this case, the only thing you can really do is tell the kids that standing in the street is something your family doesn’t do, even if others do it. You know, for fear of WINDING UP DEAD. Ahem. Even if you said something, they’d probably still do it.

  14. I have a question for you. Since when are you bashful about voicing your opinions or concerns to others? I’m just wondering.

    I have lots of ideas, all seem totally wrong. Either way, I agree, they are setting a very bad example.

  15. This is something my husband would do, go and tell them. Then everyone would hate him and give him mean looks and I’d be forced to move. It falls under the no good deed goes unpunished, so I’d stick with the different rules speech with a little passive aggressive talk thrown in for good measure.

  16. Can’t help. My kids are in private school–no buses and when I was a kid growing up in the 70’s parents never went to the bus stop. EVER.

    I do often say things LOUD when other people or parents are doing something we don’t allow.

  17. I’d put your kids up to it. The next time you’re at the bus stop have them ask you (loudly) how come these grown ups can stand in the street when, if they do it, they get yelled at?

    Ahh yes. Nothing like starting the passive aggressive approach to conflict management early, no?

  18. In cases like that I just tell my kids that every family has different rules. In our family we, for example, don’t stand in the street. But every family can make their own rules.

    Getting into it with the other moms will just bring you grief.

  19. Your annoying sorta-judgy parenting dilemma is better than mine (probably because we do not yet have a bus stop in our school worlds, what with preschool dropoff). Mine is when the mom CLIMBS UP THE SLIDE WITH HER KID at the playground. How many damn times have I not let my own kids climb UP the slide, and she does it WITH her kid?

    Yeah, BEYOND silly first-world problems. But it still annoyed the shit out of me.

  20. I HATE PEOPLE WHO STAND IN THE STREET. Gosh, it feels good to get that off my chest. I don’t know what to tell you about the moms waiting in the street. Isn’t that what sidewalks are for? So we don’t have to stand in the street with the cars? I see people at intersections waiting to cross standing in the gutter! Are you insane?! Do you WANT to get hit by someone turning right?! Man, I guess I’ve been holding my rage in for too long. Thanks for giving my an outlet!

  21. because standing in the street will make the bus show up THAT much quicker…

    Here’s my opinion as a professional – no really, I’m a crossing guard, it’s my other part time job. Tell the parents they are setting a bad example by demonstrating it is alright to stand in the street. Even if the kids “know” not to stand in the street, the parents are still demonstrating it is acceptable by continuing to do so, sending a mixed message.

    If your kids aren’t worried about being friends with these other kids, you are authorized to refer to them as “bad parents” to their face.

  22. smart aleck says:

    I keep thinking about this–I grew up without parental supervision at my 80s bus stop (parents could see us out their window but were never there with us) at a bus stop with as many as 8 kids…and we knew to stay out of the street.

    I’d say go with your gut instinct, but also follow the rule I used while living in a small town…be careful who you flip off, you never know who might end up as your future in law. You don’t want to end up with a Capulet / Montague issue 20 years from now!

  23. You have standing in the street we have walking down the middle of the road. Seriously, every damn day I watch parents walk their kids up the street to the bus stop and not on either of the two sidewalks we have on our street. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM? They all also walk their dogs in the middle of the road. It makes me insane! I want to shake sticks at them from my front step.

  24. I’d be annoyed too. I’d probably just tell my kids that different families have different rules, and my rule is no standing in the street.

    I did this when I had to explain to Ada that she could not play in our (or anyone else’s) car, even though the neighbor boys are allowed to play in their parent’s car. (Hell, their parents don’t say anything when one of the boys stands on TOP of the car, either.) They have their rules, we have ours. The other moms might read in some judgment, but you are just telling your kids how it is going to be.

  25. I like to loudly tell my kids what we don’t do and why we don’t do it. Just to let them know I AM judging their parenting. Let’s face it, they are setting a bad example. THEY ARE DOING THE WRONG THEM. You are going to have to find the path that allows you to see these idiots every day plus gets across to your kids HOW unacceptable this is.

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