We got out of the van after school and I noticed that my soon-to-be 10-year-old's shoes were untied. The strings were just waving and bouncing all over the place, just begging to be stepped on so they could trip their wearer. He started walking towards the building and I said, "Wait! Your shoes are untied." He said, "Yeah, I know. They've been like this all day." It was one of those moments when I stood there trying to get my "mom brain" to decode what my child was saying. He stared at me waiting for a response. Finally, I asked, "Well, why didn't you tie them?" He rolled his eyes and said, "I don't know how." I'll admit, I laughed. I said, "You DO know how to tie your shoes." He sighed and said, "Yeah, but it's hard." WHAT? (In his defense, it IS hard, but . . . and I mean this with all the love in my heart . . . SO WHAT!) I said, "Oh, it's hard. Okay. So, you're just not going to do it because it isn't easy for you? When did you start this?" He shrugged his shoulders, turned away from me and started walking toward the building again.
As a parent, do you ever have days when you realize that you're sighing . . . A LOT?
As we walked my 3-year-old tried to strip. Lifting her dress and revealing her Ariel pull-ups. A woman with a perfectly dressed little boy gave me a look of disgust as I walked with my daughter who was practicing her stripping routine and my son who refused to tie his shoes. She nodded towards Kaitlyn and said, "How old is she?" I said, "She just turned 3." The woman said, "Really? And she's still in pull-ups." I stopped, forcing Kaitlyn to stop and causing Logan to bump into me. I looked this mom right in the eyes and said, "Yes, she turned 3 on Friday and sadly turning 3 didn't miraculously make her potty trained." The woman glared at me.
Why do we, as parents, put so much of our energy into caring about what other parents are doing wrong (or what we think they are doing wrong). Some days it seems as if we WANT other parents to fail. It's as if we wait for it and then, at their lowest, most overwhelming and exhausted point we jump out, point a finger, and shout, "Ah-ha!" Some parents actually LOOK for fault in other parents. Why? If you have children you KNOW it isn't easy. Not every family situation is the same and we are all just trying to keep our kids alive and ensure that they make it to adulthood. So often, instead of encouragement, frazzled and exhausted parents are met with judgement and criticism.
As we walked away her son, who had to have been 5 or 6, pulled a pacifier out of his pocket and plopped it into his mouth. In a flustered voice she snapped, "Put that away until we get home!" I smiled a Grinch-y smile because, well, it just proved that no matter how great of a parent you think you are, none of us are perfect . . . and our kids aren't perfect either. We should be encouraging each other, helping each other, and giving each other support. Let's remember to laugh when our child laughs so hard that he shoots soda out of his nose and then falls to the floor screaming, "It burns! It burns!" in the middle of a crowded restaurant. We are all doing the best we can and YOU are doing a great job! Let's spend more time encouraging each other as parents and less time judging and criticizing. Our kids are doing okay . . . and we are doing more than okay! We should remind each other of that from time to time!