When I see a less-than-ideal interaction between a parent and child, I can see the parent’s perspective, and I know that the parent deserves compassion.
Kids are trying sometimes. Navigating our isolationist, kid-hating, parent-hating culture with kids can be extraordinarily difficult. Enduring the watchful public with a screaming baby or toddler is misery. Trying to coax socially approved behavior from a tween with an audience is a complex feat.
Navigating our isolationist, kid-hating, parent-hating culture with kids can be extraordinarily difficult. (Click to tweet)
Add to all of that the reality that parents have the same moods and trials other people do on top of the parenting that never stops. So maybe you have the screaming baby AND you’re sick as a dog. You have a defiant eye-roller in the middle of the grocery store when you ALREADY dealt with a bitchy boss for 8 hours today. You’re cold. You’re tired. You’re hungry. You’re frantically busy. You’re anxious. You’re depressed.
And then it’s not like this parenting thing makes a lot of sense all the time. Expert advice swings wildly between extremes. You and your partner and your doctors and your relatives all disagree on the right things to do. You know it’s somehow all your fault if your kids don’t turn out perfect, and goddamn that’s a lot of pressure.
And on top of everything, all the time, is that unrelenting NEED that kids have. They need so much time, so much energy, so much attention, so much touch, so so much need, and so much of it is really just a need for YOU. They need and want and demand and pull, pull, pull from you and sometimes you just want to break from the all-encompassing need.
So good grief, it’s really completely understandable that you got a little snippy in the grocery store or didn’t touch your child with perfect gentleness or lost your shit over the spilled drink or told your kid to just fucking shut up already the 87th the kid asked, “Why?”
I understand. I get it. I know what it’s like to feel judged in public, too, so I know how much it sucks to know that whatever you’re doing, someone thinks you’re doing it wrong.
This parenting thing, especially parenting in public, is hard.