Have you ever tried to do that? I don't know what it is about us as people that we are so quick to judge others and what they are doing (myself included)? I think we as people are especially hard on parents. I've done it. Seen that mom yelling nastily at her child in the grocery store and thinking to myself what the heck is wrong with her?! Or when I saw young parents with their 2 small children in Walmart at midnight? I couldn't help but think I didn't want to be there, I can't imagine that 3 year old did. Or that mom at the park who let her kid knock over mine 3 times and didn't notice because she was sitting on the bench on her phone? Hello lady- can you please pay attention?
And then, I became a parent. And at first, I think you judge even more harshly, because you've got this precious, perfect little bundle of a baby. The thing is though, that little bundle of baby isn't talking back, throwing a tantrum, hitting you, or ignoring your instructions.
I think that now more than ever I have started to really try to not judge other parents. Not that I think I was consciously doing it before, but now I'm consciously trying not to. Trying to think about all of the things that I go through on a daily basis with my kid (some awesome, some not) and how those can effect my behavior toward Everett. This quote has been swirling around in my head as a result.
The other reason I've started reserving judgement is because I want others to do the same for me. Case in point, Saturday it was Everett's bff's birthday party. I already knew things might not turn out well because 1) Aaron wasn't going to be there with me to tag team and 2) on the way there Everett kept crying calling it his party. Ridiculous. We got there and everything was fine, but as soon gifts started being opened my child started trying to open them and call them "his". He also threw a tantrum every time I wanted him to do something that he didn't want to --- like eat chicken nuggets or share a toy or just plain obey his mama. It was a nightmare. I felt awful and when I got in the car to leave, I started crying. I partly blame pregnancy hormones. But partly, I cried because parenting can be so humbling sometimes. Sometimes no matter how much you try to teach your kid to be kind and share and love other people, it doesn't always show. And sometimes, that comes out at the worst times, the most humiliating ones - like the grocery store or church or a birthday party.
And so I'm coming to realize that maybe that mom at the grocery store- maybe she was up all night with a sick kid, her husband is out of town on work, and her kid has ignored her requests to sit down in the cart the last 15 times she said it. I might (would) lose it too. And maybe those parents at Walmart in the middle of the night? Maybe that 30 minutes was the only time they got to spend as a family because they both work different shifts and don't always get to see each other. And just maybe that mom who wasn't paying attention at the park- maybe she was dealing with an emergency or a family crisis? I don't really know and I probably never will, but I do know that there have been days and times that I've needed others to not judge me.
So next time you see that parent with their kid and you wonder what the heck is wrong with them? Remember that they might just be fighting a hard battle. And even if they're not? We've all had bad days and aren't perfect.