Parenting in Public: Judgement Come Forth

Today, my child was in a mood.  Now to begin with, he woke up at 6 am pretty happy.  But as the day wore on, with no nap in sight, we went back and forth a bit on the toddler mood spectrum.

For those of you who do not know my child, he is loud.  And I say it with love. I have a loud kid. He just is naturally loud. If you have met his father, you’d understand.  And generally, it really doesn’t bother me. Kids are loud anyways.  We chase each other with swords through the house screaming at the top of our lungs. We run yelling outside, and we dance like idiots. He is two. Some people I know love to tell me just how loud my kid is, like I haven’t noticed (that gets a bit annoying).

And he is a little extra loud. Oh, especially when angry.  And my child throws the occasional “I am utterly pissed and have no way to express it so I shall scream now” fits.  They aren’t fun. But they are rare.

I had Book Club today. An event I love, that happens once a month.  Most of the time Xander isn’t there – I usually tutor before hand so he stays in Brownsville with my awesome sister-in-law.  However, he does like Barnes and Noble, and today there was not tutoring. So off we went, backpack and shoes on, and he even got over not riding around in his car and having to get in the actual car, no problem.  He fell asleep. Ah, yes, the long awaited, oh so needed nap.

And shocking, he stayed asleep when I moved him to the stroller, for almost another hour. But when he awoke in Barnes and Noble, we went full on grumpy mood. I tried to appease him with trains, but there was another kid there, and he decided he just wanted to be held. And he stayed grumpy. He wanted to go outside to the car.

Honestly, I gave in. And I gave up. Because I know how loud my kid is, and especially just how loud he can scream.

And I hate the screaming. But even more so in public. It’s harder to deal with. It just plain is.  Parenting in public is difficult, and annoying. Even when your child is only minorly upset, you know you are instantly thinking about what everyone is thinking about your parenting. We have become a society that throws judgement around like we all know the perfect answer. And we don’t.

There are a million examples of this.  Mom bloggers.  Breastfeeding vs Formula. The recent gorilla incident, and then the Disney incident which ended much worse.  It takes a millisecond for other parents, or even NON parents (who honestly, can be much more frustrating), to start throwing out blame or advice. “I wouldn’t have done that” “Why wasn’t she watching her child” “Well, I never would have let that happen”

And on it goes.  And in public there are people who stare. And people who try to offer advice or judgement to your face.  Some try to be nice.  Some are downright rude.  And that, my friends, is stressful.

So yes, my child wanted to be held.  I held him.  Yes, he was grumpy and rude to my friends. He wanted to go outside, and screamed when we couldn’t walk through the window. I talked to him calmly, fussed at him, told him he could not talk to people that way. I put him in the stroller, and out we went.  And I just decided to leave.

Because no matter if I had continued to walk around holding him, or if I had let him sit in that stroller and yell at people or just be downright meant, it was no longer a fun experience for me. I can’t shop or talk about books or any of it, when I’m worried about my child. And really, I shouldn’t. I should do what is best for him and me. And in that moment, as much as I didn’t want to, leaving was it. We went and got him some juice.  We went and waited for his dad to go on lunch, and he heard birds and got all excited. So we drove from tree to tree while he said “here bird” and made that noise we all make to get dogs or cats attention. It was cute. And he was happy.  And I was less stressed.

So why did I go on this giant blog rant? Well, partly because a friend asked me to talk about this stuff more here so I’m trying that out.  Partly, because I’m still frustrated about something someone said.  Also, it’s been a rough day. I’m not sleeping well these days. Xander woke up at 6 am. My ear has been hurting nonstop all day.  He peed all over himself and his blanket and sheets when I tried to put ear drops in my ear, and then I had to give him a bath (which he loved). I went to make sure my dogs had water, and found a dead kitten by one dog’s doghouse. That upset me a lot. I drove to Bowling Green. I had a quiet hour with my friends, and then he was upset. It just was not the spiffiest of days. So when it came to dealing with the terrible twos, I took the easy road.

Posting this is opening myself up to all the advice, comments, judgement and drama possible in the land of internet.  And that is sad.  I hear people complain because we use Facebook to make ourselves look perfect. But if we ever open ourselves up to our insecurities, things go horribly wrong. People are mean and rude.  And Judgemental. At least most people in public couldn’t get the nerve to say to me what they would online (and we all know that is true). Then again, I have friends who love to repeat parenting advice, or give me that look when they disagree or really wish I’d let them handle it. I also have the friends/relatives who automatically try to yell at or discipline my child when I’m literally standing RIGHT THERE trying to talk to him.

It takes all kinds. It used to take a village, right? We used to give more support, and offer help, and just be nice to one another.  Now we feel like we have to one up one another in the internet land.  We say whatever we type, not thinking about how it affects someone else. And its sad.  We need to stop judging. I’ve seen some great posts from fellow moms who say the same thing. When you see a mom struggling, or doing something different from you, stop, think, and possibly just let it go.  They may be having a horrid day. They may not feel well.  But honestly, they know their child.  They know what works. And they know what actions will cause what.  It’s their choice.  Its their family. And as long as they aren’t beating the child in front of you, or doing something damaging, you need to let it go. I can work better on this than I do, even now feeling it from the other end.  So let us all breathe.

I know my child. I kiss his “hurts” and hold him when he cries, and get him to sleep at night.  There is two people on the a list that can pretty much say whatever they want to me about him and give me advice (and honestly, they hardly even do, which may be why they are on that list), and that’s about it.  I appreciate support, love and understanding.

(PS – Shout out to my book club for pushing my stroller for me, and following us around while I tried to make him happy.)

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One thought on “Parenting in Public: Judgement Come Forth

  1. This is awesome. I don’t have children, so I don’t know what it’s like to be a parent. I only know something damaging, as you said, when I see it. But as far as swaddling, breast milk, organic baby food, coddling, baths, sleep schedules, sippy cups…I know nothing, and I have no opinion. And it’s none of my business what a parent does or doesn’t do.

    I will admit that I have had strong opinions regarding discipline or safety when I see certain incidents in public, but I keep them to myself or otherwise only discuss my thoughts with my other non-parent friends, after which we agree that we really don’t understand and are just making conversation, and that we would never make a comment to a parent online or in person.

    It’s like my dad said recently: “Has nobody heard of minding their own business anymore?”

    A new mommy friend of mine recently had a few hours to herself, so she went shopping. While she was out, she saw another new mommy struggling nearly to the point of tears with one of those little backpack/baby carrier things. My friend went to her and asked if she needed help. When the woman accepted, my friend admitted her own struggles early on with the same product and showed her how to easily operate it. As she finished, she said, “Just know that you are the best mother for this child. You are doing the right things. You are her mommy, and you know her and love her like no one else. Keep it up.” I wish more moms could hear that encouragement.

    Liked by 1 person

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