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We’ve All Thrown A Stone or Two (cont)

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…that the car seat spent it’s time on top of the covers between me and my husband? It’s the only place she would sleep. How she knew when she was on the floor beside me vs. between us is still dumbfounding to me, but she did. So night after night I tugged at the covers to try to stay warm since they were being pulled into a vortex under her car seat. 

Again, the mommies who had children who slept through the night would give me their best condescending “you’re just not doing something right” judging smile when I would talk about my plight. I was blessed with my second and third child when it comes to sleeping. Since they were little I would put them in their beds and they would just go to sleep. Both of them, for their naps and at night. They still do it. It’s a miracle. I actually feel compelled to apologize about this to new moms who have non-sleeping children so they won’t hate me. I try to assure them that my first child was possessed and the god’s felt sorry for me and gave me two that were sleepers to make up for the first one so there is hope for them too.  

The list goes on and on, the stories of my imperfect children could fill a book. The truth is, I don’t think I would have believed anyone even if they had told me the real nitty-gritty truth about parenting anyway. After I had kids, I became less judgmental of other parents. I try to give the benefit of the doubt in most cases. But I would be a big fat liar if I said I didn’t ever make judgments against some parents no matter how often I give myself the speech not to. I’m sure I’m not the only one. I didn’t say it’s something to be proud of, but when you’re talking to a trusted friend I bet you’ve uttered something about someone else’s parenting style or kid’s behavior as commentary on the parents. That’s how I know I’m not the only one.

Pre-kids we made judgments about parents based on our imaginary perfect kid that we were going to raise. Post-kids we judge other parents based on our own kids behavior. If my kid says “please and thank you” why can’t your kid? If my kid sits nicely in church, why doesn’t your kid? We mentally skip the part about how my kid throws himself down on the floor at the mall when he doesn’t get what he wants. Why do we do this? Why don’t we go down the road of empathy instead of turning against our fellow parents? Are we all in the same boat or is it every parent for herself? I think it’s just our backward way of making ourselves feel better about our reality if we can point out the same in others.

The one thing I have learned about children is there are things parents can affect about their kids behavior, there are some things we can affect with much time and effort and there are some things we cannot affect no matter how hard we try. Sometimes they are just going to be who they are and if we’re lucky they will outgrow the bad behavior. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to get our children to be little citizens, that’s a part of the not so fun to be a parent deal we all signed off on the minute the little blue line appeared. But there are some things that want to stick behaviorally that we’ll hopefully get to look back on later and say, “Remember when you used to bite your Great Aunt Hilda every time she came over?” and everybody will laugh.

That being said, the next time you see me and my three-year-old walking down the aisle of your airplane and we unfortunately sit behind you, please know that this jackass mother is doing her best to restrain his flailing feet. And if they wrangle themselves free from my death grip and cause you to lurch forward and spill your drink, I not only don’t blame you for your evil eye cast upon him, but I encourage you to use your superpowers to turn him into stone (as long as you reverse the spell when we land). His siblings will hi-five you as well.

Author: Shari Dabby

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