Back before I had kids. I knew how my kids would behave because I would teach them to behave that way because really, how hard could it be? I wasn't a parent, but I knew how to parent because I took some classes in college and I got my teaching degree and I watched the people who were parents and I certainly wouldn't do it the way they were doing it. But that was before I had kids. Thank goodness I'm not like that anymore.I used to be so judgy.
Back when I was a new parent. My first child was exclusively breastfed and those formula moms were horrible, selfish women, I was sure of it. They just didn't try hard enough or care enough to give their child the absolute best. And those moms with three or four kids who were carting the baby around like some kind of accessory... how horrible. Didn't they know the importance of routine and schedules in a child's life? But that was when I was a new mom. Thank goodness I'm not like that anymore.I used to be so judgy.
Back when I had my second baby. If the way I did something worked, then it was the way obviously, and all those other moms not doing it the way were doing it the wrong way. She let her child keep her pacifier until she was almost three? Ugh. I took it away cold turkey at 10 months. No way my toddler was going to walk around with that thing in his mouth. She didn't have the will power to let her kid cry it out? Well, she certainly couldn't come sulking to me about how tired she was. Clearly it was her own fault. But that was when I had two kids. Thank goodness I'm not like that anymore.The secret of parenting
Now I have three kids and I've discovered the secret of parenting. The secret that there is no secret. That none of us know what the heck we're doing and we're all just trying the best we can. That there are lots of ways to do this parenting thing and most of them will produce halfway decent kids. But sadly, guess what else I've discovered? Despite the fact that I know we're all just doing the best we can...I am still so judgy.
All those people who think they do know better, all those people I used to be, well now I find myself judging them. Judging them for their condescension, whether real or imagined. Judging them for not knowing the secret. Forgetting that they are learning. Forgetting that:I'm still learning too.
So here's what I'm going to do the next time they look at me with their pre-kid eyes oozing judgement. I will smile at them as I hand my nap-deprived two year old her pacifier. I will push away my "You just wait" thoughts. I will remind myself that we're all on a journey and none of us, not them or me, have arrived. And I will raise my hand as if to toast them as I proclaim, "May your journey be judgement-free!"Happy travels!
More from parenting