Saturday, July 31, 2010
So I have struggled as to what my first blog should be about. First I thought a hot topic item that I’m passionate about … Like breastfeeding, would be great, but that just didn’t seem to be the right start. Perhaps a heartwarming story of how parenting has made me a better person? Someday I will, but this time I wanted to dig deeper. To begin my blogging experience I have decided to start with a confession.
I am a judgmental person. I wish I could sit here and say that I never look at person with pre-conceived stereotypes or the “pshhh, I could do way better then that” attitude, but that just wouldn’t be the truth. The truth is I am and have been a very judgmental person. And nowhere have those judgments been more misguided then in my views of parenting.
I remember, after Zeke was born, seeing a mother in the store with toddler who was screaming in the front of the cart, and a preschooler wearing a filthy worn out shirt with jeans that had holes the size of Texas in the knees. She looked tiered, and exasperated, but gently kissed her screaming toddler… my gut reaction was “Why is she not disciplining him?”, “How could any mom dress her child like a slob?” I remember avoiding her looks as I smiled at Zeke and doted over how cute he looked in his overalls. While they were second hand they were clean and newer and he looked adorable as he sat there quietly in the cart. Flash forward six years and I feel shame for my judgment. Today Gabe wore the same Thomas the Tank engine shirt he wore several days in a row, it is dirty and stained beyond any hope, but he loves it none the less. Mikhaela’s hair was thrown into messy buns because her cowering at the sight of a hairbrush is too much for me to take, after all a day of messy hair killed no one… I promise. Barak threw fit after fit this morning. Why? Who knows? Maybe he is tiered, or teething, or growing, or the gloomy day had him down in the dumps? It happens, he is two, we have time to teach self control, and after all I’m pretty sure I threw a similar fit the other day.
I worked at a daycare a about 4 years ago. It used to drive me nuts to see moms bring their kids to the daycare in their PJ’s, with a doughnut for breakfast. I really felt like I was better them most of them. MY sons, after all, were nicely dressed, ready for the day, and already had a healthy breakfast. Course now after knowing so many moms from so many different situations I realize most of those moms were single moms, and they probably had already figured out something that I was too stubborn to learn till just recently: Don’t sweat the small stuff. A day in pajamas will do no long term damage to a child. A quick, not so healthy breakfast is sometimes the only thing to get the morning going. That looking at the big picture and letting go of the little things, is sometimes all you can do to get through the day.
It was my goal to get parenting “right”. I’ve carried the burden of this idea that if I didn’t get it “right” I would ruin my children forever. I can’t tell you exactly were that misguided notion began to change. I think it has been in my opportunity to meet more people over the last year and have come to realize that regardless of how their parents raised them, ultimately it’s up to each individual as to who they become. I don’t have to get it “right”, because there is no “right”. Most moms are doing the best they can with what they have. Most of us question and judge ourselves enough, we don’t need complete strangers adding to that burden. So far most of my “I will never…” predetermined thoughts on parenting have been forced back in my mouth with a bitter taste. 6 years ago I would have thought that by now I’d have the answers; I probably thought I would know it all. Now all I can say is that I hope have just enough experience to get me through tomorrow and I really don’t know much at all.
Slowly I am trying to be less of a judgmental person. I see other moms and wonder what it would be like to be in their shoes. That helps me remember that I know nothing about where they are, and the challenges they face on a daily basis. Some people are content with who they are… I am not, I want to be, but I have things that need to change first. One thing I am content with is the knowledge that I need to change. It gives me something to move forward with, something to strive for. Every day I strive to throw judgments aside and become a more understanding and accepting person. I think I am on the right track (but don’t ask my husband, poor man gets the worst of my worst!!). Maybe it’s only baby steps. I still see a screaming toddler in the store and want to inform the mother that my children would never do such a thing, course I am quickly jolted out of that judgment by my own screaming toddler. But its been a while since I have finished a judgment in my head without stopping myself and saying “Do you really think you know better?” Again; small steps, but at least those steps are in the right direction.