Friday, June 22, 2012

You are Not That Amazing

I have learned through careful study (an hour yesterday at Target) that there are two kinds of parents in this world. The first kind are parents of normal, wild kids. Therefore they understand about normal, wild kids. They understand that screaming "Row Row Row Your Boat" as loud as possible in the shampoo aisle is better than crying and therefore acceptable. They smile when they see your child getting a timeout by the Starbucks Kiosk (I need caffeine. Why should we both be punished?) They GET it. They know and remember. Then there are those other moms. The ones with the perfect kids who never raise their voice above a conversational level and never need a public shaming. You know who you are, with the well behaved toddlers who do not act a fool at every turn. You stroll by my kid, flailing in the cart, shoes and goldfish flying hither and yon. And you Shake your head. You look away, horrified. Or you stare. What you are thinking is all over your face. You would never allow your child to act like that. You would not permit such tomfoolery. Well, newsflash. More than likely, your child's ability to sit still, daintily eating a snack while keeping hands inside the cart at all times, probably has nothing to do with your parenting and everything to do with the kid's personality. That's right, I said it. You are not that amazing. You are lucky.
Friend's little dude in timeout in the frozen foods.
I am not alone in this epic struggle


What's that? Your kid straightens up as soon as you speak in a stern voice? You can cut your eyes and the child just knows that it is about to get in trouble? Hmmm. You think the rest of us moms, the ones with the kids that act like Tasmanian devils on meth don't try that? You think we don't spend hours trying to perfect the evil eyes and the perfect threatening grimace? It is not you. It's them. They who came out the womb with the ability to control themselves in public, go to bed without a fuss, and eat everything on their plate. They who play quietly and clean up after themselves, sit on the potty when asked, and never once color their legs or your chair with a marker. They are like that because they were born that way. Stop staring at the rest of us that have the normal kids that pee on the floor at Panera and trash the den in the 60 seconds it takes you to empty the dryer. They are not the way they are because we are bad parents. They too were born that way. It works both ways, see? 


You don't understand us and we don't understand you. What you do need to understand is that we are trying to teach our children how to act like decent folk. We are giving time outs and whispering threats into tiny ears. Our kids just don't care. Because they are not like your kids. They don't start crying when we raise our voice and they don't cower at the very mention of time out. I did not make my girl into a child who pushes back, testing me and questioning me at every turn. That is who she is. So please understand this, parents of agreeable and calm children. You can take credit for the genes, but not the fact that they never pushed another kid down on the playground. So back off those of us who are parenting passionate children. Cut out the judgy looks and the disbelieving head shakes. It is annoying and does not help. Just keep in mind that with a roll of the DNA dice, things could have been very different. I could be the one pushing a smiling toddler looking at a picture book through Target, and you could be pushing the one who just pulled every shirt within reach off its hanger in 12 seconds while screeching "Jingle Bells." That's right. Think about that for a minute. 


Running away from me.
This is how we spend 75% of our time together



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