One of the most frustrating things about being a Mum, is the judgment you face.
It’s bad enough when it is from a non-parent, one who has no idea of the trials and tribulations you go through to get by, day by day.
“Why do they eat that?”
“Why DON’T they eat that?”
“They go to sleep how late?”
“They don’t take any more naps?!”
“She needs to come out of her shell more.”
“She is too boisterous for her own good.”
“She craves attention from adults constantly” (this from baby girl’s kindergarten teacher – she is 3 for God’s sake!)
“She is very energetic!” (from the same teacher – and that is bad, how?)
But when you get judgment from a parent, one who has ‘been there, done that,’ and is well past the tried true and tested toddler stage, well, it’s shit.
Even worse if their critique is aimed not at your child… but at YOU.
“Why are you so stressed?”
Judgement, from a parent who knows how it’s like, is really upsetting. I often wonder how that parent felt when they were dealing with one, or multiple little people all at the one time, and think of how they would have taken to such life-changing advice, from someone who had almost all but forgotten what it is like.
“Don’t be so upset. Relax.”
Because it is that easy. While you are in the throws, in life’s midst of teaching your child manners, toilet training, speech, not to finger suck, how to play fairly, how to not break things, how to not crack the shits every time things don’t turn out the way she/he wants, I am just meant to turn a blind eye and go
“Oh WTF. Stuff it all. Let me down this tequila.”
I am meant to shirk all parenting responsibilities and duties, and let them be, as they want to be.
And then what happens –
When the finger gets stuck in the door frame
She falls down the stairs
She chokes on a tiny object
She falls into a pool
She runs off into a darkened crowd
She climbs under the DJ table pulling out a cord and electrocuting herself
She ends up in the middle of the Main street
She wanders off on the beach
She goes up to that strange dog
ALL because no one was around. Because I was chilling and letting my hair down and “not stressing, man!”
Who picks up the pieces?
Who is to blame?
Who is judged???
I am. The Mother. The one who gave life, is the one who is given the most crap. Time and time and time and time and time and time and time again.
Look, I get it. The having fun part. It’s not like I’m a stickler for the rules, and I actually enjoy yelling “no!” all the time. I remember what it’s like to party. I remember what it’s like, (though very faintly), to not worry about anyone but ME. I remember how it’s like to wander wherever I like at a whim, whenever it suits, child-friendly areas or not.
I give baby girl plenty of room and choices to make up her own mind and do her own thing. I am not constantly stressing, helicoptering around her and grabbing her hand at every curious impulse of hers. I hang back and watch, but I am also, always, on guard.
You have to be, as a parent. It’s a very fine line of letting her learn and discover, while trying to look out for warning clues of impending trouble. I mean, why would I carelessly put her in the firing line of trouble, when trouble and toddler are so unanimously tied together, naturally?
But I made a choice, about 4 years ago. I made a choice that in conjunction with Hubbie, we were going to love, cherish and nurture a little human being that was an amazing yet simultaneously super-challenging mix of the two of us.
When she gets hurt, she runs to me. When she needs comfort, she runs to me. Anything wrong that happens – she comes crying, yelling “MA!”Mum picks up the pieces. Mum needs to look after everything. Everyone looks to Mum, when baby girl is crying… no matter what, why, or how.
I don’t need someone who has passed the phase, to be telling me to relax. Turn a blind eye. “Chill a bit.”
I just want those parents to understand, and remember. That is all.
And for all those childless couples thinking that they will do SOOOO much better when they are a parent?