Before I had a child, I was among the group of annoying people who would say things like…”When I’m a parent, I’m not letting my kid do that!”
Well, guess what people…You can read all of the books, join the Facebook groups, have your 8 hour birthing class where they show outdated videos of sweaty women with perms and full 70s bush squeezing a baby out.
But until you have a child of your own…you should NEVER pass judgement. Ever.
It’s very easy as an outsider (that means a non-parent) to throw opinions around. And I don’t care how many nieces or nephews you have or how much babysitting experience you’ve clocked. Until you have pushed out a baby, had one removed via c-section, or adopted one, you should shut your pie hole.
Let’s play a little game. It’s called – What someone without kids says vs. reality.
The great electronics debate
Non-Parent: I would NEVER let my kid play with an iPad at the restaurant dinner table. It’s rude and socially unacceptable.
Actual Parent: Ok cool, you let me know how you enjoy your dinner when there’s no iPad. Oh wait…you won’t be eating dinner..because your child will be up your ass, going to the bathroom 10 times just to get up from the table for a change of scenery, whining, crying, not wanting to sit in a restaurant. You’ll be lucky if you get a sip of wine. Bet that iPad is sounding really good right about now, huh? Does that mean your child should be attached to the iPad at every meal? Of course not. But I’m a proponent of doing what works for you as needed.
The clash over clothing
Non-Parent: I will never let my child dictate what they wear. I’m in charge.
Actual Parent: Ya ok. Let me know how that works out for you. This is the age-old “pick and choose your battles” thing. I thought I would care if everything didn’t match, including the bow in her hair. But when you are slumped over, in your foyer, sweating, feeling like you need a 7am Xanax-spiked double shot iced coffee, having a tug o’war over socks because the seam on the toes is annoying her, with full-fledged crying (both of us), I promise you, you will barely care if your child has effing shoes on at all. And thank god for school uniforms, because that’s 5 days I don’t even have to fight about what she’s wearing.
The f$%king food groups – all of them
Non-Parent: My child is only going to eat organic and have fruits and vegetables at every sitting. No “junk”.
Actual Parent: There are nights where my child has had rice krispies and a marshmallow for dinner because I just can’t negotiate any more. I’ve tried bribery, food-specific OT, begging, pleading, casually sneaking stuff on to her plate, scare tactics about not growing, the reward system, hiding stuff and anything else you can imagine. If your kid eats brussel sprouts and foie gras, I am genuinely happy for you, I really am. But do me a favor and don’t get all preachy. Worry about yourself and your perfect eater.
The sharing is caring bullshit
Non-Parent: My child is ALWAYS going to share. I will not allow it any other way.
Actual Parent: Ok, so when your kid is on the swing at the playground for 5 mins and there’s a woman standing behind you with her kid, tapping her foot to annoy you, waiting for your kid to get off, go ahead and tell your kid they have to get off and give it to someone else. Here’s the thing, a child should be taught to share – it’s a no brainer. However, I am a firm believer that your child should not have to get off a swing, give up a toy, give up their snack, every damn time! Sometimes, it’s ok to not share. Sometimes, it’s ok to take 10 mins on the swing, to not have to give up your goldfish, and to not have to turn over your doll you are attached to and sleep with every night just to be “polite”. It’s a balance people. How about we teach our kids to share but also to stand firm sometimes (not in a mean way) so they can enjoy themselves and not bend over for every person that wants something they have at any given moment?
Parenting is not easy. It’s amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but it’s a tough gig that requires patience, time management, negotiation, love, wine and about a million other things that all have to be balanced at once. So tread carefully, non-parents. You may be experts in many things in YOUR life, but if you don’t have a child don’t be doling out what YOU would do. Your time will come and all the things you THOUGHT you would do go out the window because they are based on theory.
And when you are trying to get out the door with a whining child close behind you carrying her shoes and socks because she refused to put them on…you’ll remember this little chat.