I was 18 yrs old and very pregnant with my oldest son. I had all these dreams and expectations of motherhood, and was excited about the journey I was getting ready to embark on. I was standing in the checkout line at Wal-Mart and the family in front of me had a beautiful little boy. He looked to be about 1 or 2 and he had blond wispy curls. When he turned his head in my direction I realized he had a great big shiner on his left eye. I then realized he had tiny little bruises all over him and I immediately judged his parents. Why kind of people do that to a baby?
I remember going out to eat with our son and how well behaved he was. I remember starring at other children who were loud and running about and thinking my kids will never do that. What kind of parents let their kids act like that?
I remember passing a mother in the grocery store whose young boy was flailing on the floor and thinking why don’t you just pick him up and go home? What kind of parent let’s her kid act like that?
I remember watching a friend of mine cook separate meals for her son because he would eat what everyone else ate. It was to this or to that. I remember telling her that she spoiled him and that he should be made to eat it. What kind of parent let’s their kid act like that?
There are more examples of my judgmental self righteous attitude towards children and their parents, but I’ll stop here for now.
Even after I had my oldest son (who was way too easy of kid) I sat in judgment of these parents, who obviously didn’t know how to parent. After all parenting was something I came at naturally, just look at my quiet well mannered little boy. He never threw tantrums, never turned his nose up at food, and always did exactly what I expected him to do. I was a pro!
It wasn’t until my Roo came along and turned my world upside down that I realized just how judgmental and self righteous I had been.
I got to be a stay at home mom with Roo. We had started a mommy and me class when he was four months old. He was huge for his age and at 4 months wore a 12 month outfits. He couldn’t sit up on his own and the other mothers asked me “what’s wrong with him?” I was so mad! What’s wrong with him, what’s wrong with you he’s four months old!!! At 9 months old he still wasn’t sitting up, his head was so big he couldn’t balance it, and again “What’s wrong with him??”
At 18 month’s he started pulling up on furniture and trying to walk. One day my boy fell face first into the coffee table. He received his own shiner too boast his accomplishment. That year we had to have his picture taken in long sleeves and long pants to hide the marks of his new found skill.
We tried several time to take him out to eat at restaurants and he would throw tantrums and cups, and run wildly away. Nothing helped, nothing worked! And the stares and comments from on lookers. We stopped going out to eat. I couldn’t take him shopping.
What kind of parents let their kid act like that?
I’ll tell you that your (my) initial assumption is (was) a parent who is lazy and doesn’t give a crap! And, just for the record sometimes that’s true. But sometimes, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes that child is facing a challenge that is not seen outwardly. Sometimes what people need are compassion and help, not judgment and condemnation.
To any parent that I have thought badly of and judged over the years I truly am sorry, I didn’t get, but I get it now. I am sorry I was rude and judgmental. I’m sorry if I stared or sneered at you or child.
To those of you that are in the place I was in 8 years ago. Stop it! Have some compassion. Don’t assume incompetence. Try to see the big picture, be helpful.
I use to do it too … now that I am living the flip side of the coin I get to see a new perspective. I will do you the courtesy of not judging you back, but I will ask of you to try. Try to understand the otherside of the coin and treat people with dignity and respect.