Don't we just love to judge other parents...?
"If that was my kid, I’d never let him throw food like that." "I would make her say please." "Why are parents so terrified of their own spawn?"
Oh yes, I have said and thought all of these things and more… and then my kid turned two…
And what I learned was that fear has nothing to do with it…. I am not afraid of my kid, in fact I am completely immune to screaming. What does drive me, as a sleep-deprived mum of two little ones, is conservation of energy... my energy.
Because there are only twenty four hours in a day and it is exhausting imparting a moral code and social skills to an easily distracted, psychotic midget who doesn't care why they can't have ice-cream for dinner.
Sometimes I look the other way when my two year old puts her feet on the dining table, because it hurts to interrupt my pleasant conversation with another adult in order to explain, not once, but fifty times, that feet do not belong where we eat.
Sometimes I let her slam the kitchen cabinet doors for ten whole minutes, because telling her to stop means having to come up with an alternate activity, which I can't always manage, since she generally chooses to slam things when my hands and attention are otherwise engaged!
I admit, I have become a person who will do anything to avoid having to say something twice (or ten times), and if that means letting her remove all her clothes and run around the garden in the raw, then so be it (it hasn't made her sick yet).
Don't think I haven't tried it the hard way. I have spent forty five minutes walking her the length of two blocks, explaining over and over why we don't pick half-chewed, semi-digested Cheerios off the sidewalk, and then stood there as she had a full on screaming fit complete with collapsing to the ground.
But then, one day I let her eat that dog-pee covered Cheerio, and the screaming stopped and we were home in five minutes (and she never got sick either).
No matter how much we tell ourselves otherwise, sometimes (often!) ignoring is better than confrontation, bribery is better than extortion, and I have sheepishly joined the ranks of parents who use M&Ms to potty train their kids.
Of course I do have limits, I did take the bread knife away from her the other day and redirect her to the coloring books, though that’s only because I happened to not be feeding the baby, cleaning the dishes or doing my taxes, at that exact moment!
Because with only 24 hours in a day, if I really wanted to interrupt every single unreasonable, annoying and sociopathic behavior, we’d never make it beyond breakfast.
So to mothers everywhere, take deep breaths, pick your battles and don’t worry, your babies won't grow into social outcasts just because you send them to bed without making them put away their toys. It is okay to let your kids be brats sometimes, they won't be brats forever...
And to the childless out there, stop judging us. I mean seriously, didn’t your parents teach you that it’s rude to judge…