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Should I have offered to help?

(13 Posts)
MissMap Tue 16-Aug-11 16:03:12

I am supervising various assorted teenagers today (5 of them). We attempted to walk into a Starbucks but a small boy was having a bit of a strop in the door way. We managed to negotiate past him and his harassed mum who also had a crying baby and an elderly mother with her.

I sat at a table and the harassed mother and children came and sat at the next table. It became apparent that the elderly mother had dementia. The little boy was still being difficult and the poor mother looked at the end of her tether, but she avoided making eye contact with us. I wanted to offer to sit at her table and talk to the little boy who was interested in my teenagers while she got her coffee. But I did not know if she would have welcomed the intrusion.

She could not manage to queue for her coffee and ended up dragging her party out without a drink.

I still feel quite cross with myself for not risking helping her out AIBU ?

Angel786 Tue 16-Aug-11 16:05:21

No, YANBU. It's not your responsibility and She may have taken offence. Next time just ask tho, would be a nice thing to do?

itisnearlysummer Tue 16-Aug-11 16:05:29

I think previously I would have done the same as you.

I think now, after reading so many posts on here, I'd be inclined to offer help and been prepared for her to reject it.

It's easy in hindsight, but you don't always want to give an already harrassed person one more thing to think about!

choclatelickurs Tue 16-Aug-11 16:09:20

did she really expect to go into a coffee shop and sit there nicely? you have to use your common sense as to what realistically is likely to happen

moomaa Tue 16-Aug-11 16:09:56

YANBU but it would be nice to offer help. I have been in a similiar situation, have 3 pre-schoolers and a mother with dementia. I think in this situation I would have been glad of help and would have taken it. I only would have refused if I though my DS's character meant he wouldn't have wanted to speak to someone ho didn't know.

I have learnt to be bolshy with asking staff in for help, I have been amazed at how helpful most people are.

I don't actually go anywhere with all 3 of mine and my mother anymore. It is too much. I lernt my lesson when I was in the supermarket and one DC was having a tantrum on the floor, one had run off to investigate the photo machine, I had the pushchair and shopping to manage and DM was trying to shoplift.......

moomaa Tue 16-Aug-11 16:13:04

choc - that comment is a bit mean. Maybe her children were normally easy to manage and maybe her mother was having a bad day, that combined with an unexpectedly long queue could easily turn a treat into a major hassle.

backwardpossom Tue 16-Aug-11 16:13:14

You probably could have offered to help, but I don't blame you for not. Don't beat yourself up about it.

MissMap Tue 16-Aug-11 16:26:06

The mother was not really a problem to her, she just sat quietly but could not assist her with her children. The poor girl was so stressed and white and looked like she needed a break, and a coffee. Despite it all she was very good with all her charges. I remember how hard it can be with little ones. Something about her touched me. I hope she has a kind word from someone today.

LolaRennt Tue 16-Aug-11 16:49:51

YANBU for not helping but ywnbu to have asked to help either, sometimes you can get it in the neck when someone is already a bit stressed. Some parents get a bit touchy as well as think you'r commenting on their parenting skills

purplepidjin Tue 16-Aug-11 17:03:10

Asking if you could help would have been polite, but above and beyond. Anyway, there were 5 other people with you - they also could have played peekaboo for 5 minutes, surely?

Ok, SB is self service. But a good staff member would have taken an order, surely.

My conclusion is that you were one of many people who could have helped, and there's no guarantee that it would have been gratefully accepted.

InstantAtom Tue 16-Aug-11 17:38:28

I wouldn't have offered to help with the children as it could be taken as criticism too easily. However nothing wrong with saying "would you like me to bring your coffee for you?" with a smile.

MissMap Tue 16-Aug-11 18:12:21

I wish I had done that Atom. My British reserve held me back and I've been kicking myself ever since. Next time I WILL help!

Thanks everyone for the replies.

GetAwayFromHerYouBitch Tue 16-Aug-11 18:23:22

You sound lovely. I think it is all about the way you offer help. Doing it in a very concrete way as InstantAtom suggested is a really good idea.

I helped a lady on a bus with two toddlers recently by distracting the younger one out of a tantrum. It could have gone tits up - the mum was harassed and lots of people on the bus were tutting, but it worked out well and we ended up having a nice chat. You can feel very isolatedin public places with small children.

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