December 12, 2011 by Melissa
Before I had kids, I was, apparently, an expert on parenting. I freely judged other people’s parenting styles and strategies. Then I became a parent and all that came back to slap me in the face. Here are a few of the judgments I can no longer be a part of:
-playing movies or television in the car; I used to wonder how people couldn’t keep their kids from the tv for a few hours-now I know that there are just some times you don’t want to be having to entertain your children and turned halfway around in a seat, straining to turn pages of a book or dig out the crayons/dolls/toy animals/paper is one of them; the kids get bored and agitated in a chair for so long, especially when they don’t sleep like some children do so, dammit, we have a DVD player and we put in the Tinkerbell movie or episodes of Sid the Science Kid
-staying in a public place when your child is melting down; while my two year old doesn’t melt down often, and I sometimes can take her out of the store and come back later, it’s usually not an option; we need to get these groceries/diapers/greeting cards today and I don’t want to deal with making sure the baby is fed and we’re not interfering with naptime then bundling both kids up in an effort to save everyone else from her temper
-being out past bedtime; sometimes it’s a special treat to be out and about a little later than normal-doesn’t mean it happens every night or even once a month but there are times when it’s ok to go outside the routine
-watching tv; darn it, there’s just some moments I need to myself to fold laundry or sweep the floor so we have PBS on in the morning for an hour or so so that I can get dressed, do the dishes, plan our day, and maybe have a cup of coffee; Lucy knows to turn the tv off after Cat in the Hat at the latest, then our day together can really get going-I’m refreshed and ready to handle it all
-caffeine while pregnant; for my first pregnancy, I swore off the stuff and didn’t touch it until I was done breastfeeding, then I became pregnant with my second while having a toddler at home; sue me, those early mornings and mid afternoon times I needed that little pick me up, still do
While these are by no means all of the things I used to judge about and no longer can, it’s a basic start. My friend June told me once to never judge people who have more kids than you or whose kids are older than yours. That’s a good rule of thumb but I’d go even further because you never know when someone is having a rough day/week/month or whose child knows how to get on their last nerve and they just need a second to regroup. I smile and say “we’ve all been there” now when I see someone trying to get through it.
Are there any things you used to or still do silently judge other parents about?