Why you need to stop judging parents in the public with their children

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Life with little ones.

Unpredictable.

I’m the mom that’s out in public, sympathizing with the parents of screaming children. While my 19 month old son is exceptionally well-behaved in public, he’s had his moments like every child does. Having only one child, I’m able to be vigilant about damage control. One parent, one child. I can usually calm him down, entertain him, or get through our ventures a little faster to keep him content. If he’s really unhappy and going to go into full on tantrum mode, I promptly leave. But add more children in the equation? I’d certainly not be able to control the situation.

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That being said, guess what world? Parents need to go out just like anyone else. We need groceries, stamps, we need to go to doctor’s appointments. Just like anyone else, going out is not optional. And why should we avoid going out? If anyone needs to avoid cabin fever, it’s those trapped talking with babies and toddlers 24/7, watching Minions endlessly, and cleaning up mashed Goldfish crackers from the carpet. We need to know that a world still exists outside of our life of parenting little ones.

Just a few weeks ago, I found myself in an odd situation. I was on my lunch break from my part-time job at one of my favorite local restaurants. The table in front of me consisted of two middle-aged working women, also on their lunch break I’d assume. Behind me, there were two moms and several little ones ranging from infant to 3 or 4 year olds. The children were restless, not sitting down, a toddler was taking her shoes off and joining other tables to see what other patrons were up to. My own parenting style wouldn’t allow my children to bother other paying customers, but I was not irritated, upset, or put-off by the children at the restaurant. The mothers there, were obviously outnumbered. One had a leg cast up to her hip. The two working women at the table in front of me were beyond irritated and made plenty of snarky comments. I suppose they were waiting for a reaction from me, as the one small child kept coming over and hanging out with me.

But they didn’t get a reaction from me.

Instead, I talked to the little girl and let her sit at our table for a few minutes.

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Children do not come programmed with emotions. And parents aren’t perfect. While children should be taught how to act in public, it’s not an overnight process. This was a family-friendly restaurant, not a place where you should expect to dine quietly or without some small annoyance. I often find myself conflicted about going out in public, especially to restaurants, where I fear that my toddler’s unpredictable moods could impact the experience of other customers. More recently, I’ve gotten over the fear of judgement and just done it.

Our littles can’t learn how to act in public if they aren’t allowed in public.

I think that people forget what it’s like to have children or have simply not been around them a lot. The level of annoyance that I see on a daily basis caused by small children is astounding to me. Most parents, myself and my husband included, are doing the best we can to raise a responsible, kind, considerate little person. I’m guessing it will take around 20 years.

So, the next time you’re in public and annoyed by a child that isn’t perfectly well-behaved, do yourself a favor and choose kindness over judgement or harsh reaction.

Sometimes all a parent needs to get through the day is a smile from a stranger when their toddler is refusing to leave aisle 2 in Target.

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Will She Remember?

As I near the end of my pregnancy (she’ll be here in 3 weeks!), I can’t help but be flooded with all sorts of emotions. I’m anxious about having another c-section and how I will recover with a newborn and a three and a half year old. I’m worried about getting PPD. Although I didn’t get it with my oldest, I never had anxiety like I do now until I had a panic attack when she was 9 months old so it worries me that I will get more than the normal baby blues this time around. I’m excited to meet this little goober who’s been kicking the shit out of me for months and who has been using my bladder as a comfy pillow. But the one thing that’s been getting me lately is guilt.

Over the past 9 months, my daughter’s life has changed. She’s gone from having a mommy that was always go-go-go and lots of fun to a mommy who has been too sick to play or to go outside and enjoy a beautiful day. She’s watched her mommy’s belly get ‘bigger and bigger’ in her words and watched mommy’s energy dwindle over the months. I’m worried how her new sister will impact her and how the relationship between the two of us will change. But I also wonder how much of these past 9 months she will remember..img_3561

Will she remember her summer being cut short because mommy was too nauseous to play outside in the heat?

Will she remember mommy laying on the couch instead of building a castle with her out of Legos?

Will she remember eating peanut butter sandwhiches several nights in a row because making anything else for dinner made mommy sick?

Will she remember all of the times mommy yelled and lost her temper because her hormones have been crazy?

Will she remember all of the TV and movies she watched so mommy could rest?

Will she remember mommy crying because she was so miserable from growing her little sister?

imageWill she remember the naps we would take together every day in
mommy’s bed?

Will she remember the laughs & giggles as we laid in mommy’s bed when we woke up from our naps?

Will she remember that she’ll always be my baby?

Will she remember that mommy will always, always be her bestfriend?

Will she remember that she is mommy’s first child and our bond can never be broken?

Will she remember that no matter what, mommy will always love her?

I’m sure it’s normal to feel guilty when having another child but I can’t help but be excited for my daughter as well. She’s going to be a big sister! A great one at that. So although I have a lot of guilt, I know that her new little sister will change her life for the better. I can’t wait to see them grow up together. To witness their fights over toys and the TV, the fights over clothes, who img_7001gets the car and of course boys when they’re older. Sisters are built in bestfriends and I couldn’t be happier to be able to give my daughter a friend for life. I hope she remembers that.

– Casey

The Dreaded Mommy Guilt

So…let’s talk about mommy guilt.

We’ve all seen it.

We’ve all heard it’s whispers.

We’ve all felt its stinging pain.

This week it’s trying to ruin my life and I’m about to throat punch it. For real. Why? Why? Why? It reared its ugly head after a visit to a friend’s house. A new friend. A friend I want to get to know. I walked into her dream home, aka my dream home, and almost gasped. Girlfriend has 5 kids…yeah, guys and gals…FIVE! Her house was immaculate! Beautiful, stain-free furniture. Perfectly decorated walls. Soft and clean carpet. Free standing shelves full of perfectly organized kid’s books. Strategically placed coloring books and every array of art supply you could think of beside the dining room table. I say strategically placed because as dinner time arrived all five of her children gathered quietly around the table and grabbed a coloring book or crayons, if they so desired, to color quietly before dinner was served. This was going on as my one year old screamed her head off, demanding her food, until it was sitting right in front of her and my two-year old stood on his chair talking loudly to whomever would listen.

Guys…this was only the beginning. The bathrooms were white and spotless, the kitchen cabinets were white and I’m pretty sure they were glistening, the basement was finished beautifully and topped off with an amazing play room full of built-in shelving, a mounted flat screen and every cool and trendy toy ever known to man.

I haven’t ever felt like I needed to keep up with the latest and greatest so this feeling of impending jealousy and covetousness was quite depressing. I rode home relatively silent and when I got home instead of starting the changes I was dreaming of I laid on the couch and fell asleep to Netflix. Seriously. Mom of the year. I was so overwhelmed and sad but mostly I was feeling guilty.

I didn’t have built-in shelves.

I didn’t have perfectly organized book shelves.

I didn’t have a gorgeous play room.

I didn’t have strategically placed coloring books and crayons.

I didn’t have posters of the alphabet and shapes up on the walls.

I didn’t have children that sat quietly waiting for dinner.

I didn’t have a clean and spotless house.

I just didn’t.

I felt like I was lacking because of all of these things; that my mommy status had officially been lowered because of color coordinated bins. I was thinking of all that I didn’t have and every area that I had officially become a failure in.

Not patient enough.

Not nice enough.

Not quiet enough.

Not firm enough.

Not healthy enough.

Not pretty enough.

Just not.

My revelation came as I was driving my babies home from our playtime at the park. I had the radio on and ‘Bad Blood’ by Taylor Swift came on the radio. I turned that crap up, sang and danced like a 16-year-old girl. I laughed at myself and how absolutely ridiculous I was being. My mommy status had nothing to do with bins, shelves and posters. My mommy status had nothing to do with McDonald’s, prettiness or how often I raise my voice. I am a mama and a darn good one, might I add. I love my babies with a fierceness that is hard to find these days. This guilt that consumes is unnecessary and definitely unwanted! Ain’t nobody got time for mommy guilt. Especially this mama…

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I found this meme this week and I must share it because after realizing how completely ridiculous I was being this made me laugh hysterically. Mommy Guilt Bingo. How many of us can relate?! A few of my favorites…

Yelled

Used TV as a babysitter

Incomplete baby book

Didn’t read to them today

Hiding in the bathroom

Keep the guilt at bay, mamas. Love those babies. And hide in the bathroom when necessary.

Nicki