Like the overly eager parent I am, I peer pressured Seth into letting us take the boys to the Henry Doorly Zoo on Monday. In case you’re wondering, the weather was beautiful (it was definitely a beach day). And in case you don’t remember, it was Memorial Day. So, no, it wasn’t busy at all (HAHAHAHAHA).

The parking lot was full. There were people everywhere. I was sweating before we even got out of the car and the only thing that held Seth to his promise of going was Matty sitting in the backseat yelling at the top of his lungs in excitement. The zoo is easily one of Matty’s ultimate favorite places on earth (as he knows it).

But forget about the zoo, can we talk about the inevitable truth that no matter where you, anywhere there’s a crowd there are always five types of people you cannot escape. They are the five types of people that remind you just how fucking weird the general population can be while simultaneously making you regret ever attempting to take your kids out in public.

Let’s talk about these people.

The perpetually lost souls who have no regard for where they’re standing or who’s way their in. It doesn’t matter where you are in a crowd there is always one of these people within a 5 ft radius of you. Just fucking standing there. Maybe they’re just looking around aimlessly, without a care in the world, nowhere to be. Maybe they’re slightly flailing their arms and talking to themselves, looking around like they lost something but not really acting like it was important. Maybe they’re literally walking in a zigzag pattern, looking around relentlessly and humming to themselves entranced in something as boring as a fountain. Or maybe they’re just walking slower than everyone, in a weird zombie-like manner, bumping into people and never once addressing the fact that they’re in everyone’s way and fucking everyone’s live’s up (99% of my experiences are these people). Regardless of how lost they may seem, one thing is for sure. They don’t care about you, your time, your space, your sanity, your kids or your agenda and they make it crystal. fucking. clear. BAH.

The parents who treat the establishment like a babysitter. Listen, I don’t care where you are – your children are your children. You could literally be living in a real life Dr. Seuss or Eric Carle book, you could be at a fucking babysitter’s convention or a nanny retreat and I would still hold you responsible for your kids. The zoo is a place you visit. The Children’s Museum is a place you visit. And, newsflash, I paid to get in just like you did and WEIRD but I did not pay to watch your kids. These are not places you take your kids to run rampant and do whatever they want while you peruse your phone in the corner and give 0 fucks. This is not a time to break off a piece of that KitKat bar and chat it up with your girlfriends while your kid throws water at other children or rudely runs over other kids to get somewhere or yells at people to get out of their way. And if your kid is doing that, I reserve the right to educate him on how to behave in public. Because TAKE NOTE: THIS IS PARENTING. If you need a babysitter or a break (which I completely understand) get one – don’t let your children loose in an already unwieldily environment and depend on the rest of us to do your job. I mean, I will because if I don’t, who knows who it will be – but just know IT SHOULD BE YOU.

The entitled asshole. Ugh. These are my least favorite type of people. You know them. They’re the ones who act as though they don’t need to use basic manners, the ones who don’t think the general rules of decency apply to them because, wouldn’t you know, they’re far more superior than those things. Manners are for the lowly. Lines are for peasants. They don’t seem to understand how life works – if we’re at the same place, a la the zoo, we have paid the same amount to be there. They didn’t pay more to be there, this isn’t like choosing to sit first class on an airplane where you paid for perks and me and my children are denying you that privilege – this is a fucking zoo, our “privileges” are the same and you’re ruining mine by being a complete and utter asshole.

The creepy man/woman who stares just a little too long and says the weirdest shit. No, this isn’t a Bonnie Rait song where staring a little too long is a good thing. This is real life where staring too long, saying creepy shit and all together lingering just a little too closely triggers a high-level security alert and makes me zero in on my kids’ whereabouts like I’m hunting the fucking Predator. I’m big on gut instincts and intuition. I have no tolerance for bullshit that gives me the heeby-jeebies especially if it has to do with my kids. So, seriously, if you’re going to daze off at the zoo or the children’s museum or say weird ass shit to kids – avoid me like the plague, please. The last thing I want to do is make anyone feel bad for being spacey or eccentric, but I definitely will not apologize if I get the wrong vibe and run in the other direction. I call it self-defense. Plus, Oprah said a woman’s intuition is legit and Oprah knows everything.

The know it all super parents who have no idea how to mind their own business. Honestly, I love you for being an amazing, super parent but also – I don’t need your advice or help and I really don’t need you giving my kids unnecessary pointers on their (perfectly fine) behavior or etiquette. I don’t need you to tell me how to raise my boys to be your ideal, stereotypical alpha male and I’m sure that other mother doesn’t need you telling her how subdued her daughter should be. I don’t need a lesson on nutrition, I don’t need you to passively insinuate my kid needs more sunscreen and I don’t need you to tell me what my kids should or should not be doing in “this weather”. Honestly, what I need from you is nothing more than a friendly hello – but really, I don’t even need that. I need you to micromanage your own kids and leave mine alone. You can raise your perfect little neurotic type-A and I’ll raise my kids to be whatever they will be – and whatever that is will be fine with me.