It’s today's hot topic and at the same time, it’s an age old argument…People telling other people what’s wrong with their kids. It’s not like I don’t realize it! I know my kids have their moments…I know they can be obnoxious and naughty and defiant…I know they get tired and crabby and bored…I absolutely know that my sons can be total brats sometimes…but the truth is, I don’t want YOU pointing it out!
It’s like when I unload to my husband about my best friend and the ridiculous fight we had. I can call her every name in the book and tell him I never want to see her again…but HE can’t! Why? Because it’s MY friend!
The same goes for those strangers in the restaurant or at the mall or the grocery store. The reason they can’t say a word to me about my bratty kid is because he is MY brat! And when they question his behavior, secretly, deep down, I know they are questioning me and my ability to raise a decent, well behaved human being…and that is what is truly making me angry.
I mean let’s face it, it’s not as if I’d be “right” no matter what I do. With so many studies and beliefs, parenting styles and classes…there is no way on the planet that I could possibly discipline my child in a manner that would please everyone, so I just do what I think will work in that moment and hope no one is watching.
That doesn’t work so well in public places like restaurants; when we are all under the “good parent” microscope as soon as we walk in the door. I may as well have a squirrel on my head as I haul my infant carrier in on one arm and my 2 year old on the other. The stares alone are enough to put me into fight mode and I can just hear the remarks flying through the stranger's heads as they envision the torture they will have to endure sitting next to my kids.
As soon as Max utters a groan at the food choices or infant Alex lets out a squeak to let me know he’d like to be picked up, a thousand visual daggers fly in my direction letting me know that I’m being judged by a jury of been-there-done-that’s and I had better NOT mess this up!
So I take my baby out of the carrier to feed him…and I’m judged.
I put him down and let him cry for a minute…and I’m judged.
I tell Max he cannot have ice cream until he finishes half his dinner which makes him throw a spoon…and I’m judged.
My husband raises his voice to get Max to settle down…and he is judged.
I take Max outside to talk to him about manners…and I’m judged.
I walk the baby to get him to sleep while I’m eating…and I am judged.
Finally, as we walk away from the table, little Max says a cheerful “goodbye” to every single person in the place and they all smile and wave at him as if nothing happened... And I am left boiling in the Judgment.
It’s that judgment that makes parents defend themselves. It’s the critisism & ridicule which turns us into angry, defensive Moms gone wild!
So here's a tip for you stranger: The next time you see me and my boys out and about, if you should happen to catch us in a moment of “imperfection” and you just know that you could make a difference in my life by telling me everything that's wrong with my kids and how I should fix it…Please DON’T!
Because I am their mother and you can’t talk about my brats like that!