A little while ago someone sent me this link and it made me think about me before I was a mum, the judgements I made and how differently I feel about parenting and children now. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I don’t judge others on their parenting – it’s all so different for everyone, we all try to do what works best for us and our family and some days it’s just so hard to feel like we are getting it right! But I wasn’t always so wise. When I began my family I was the first of my group of friends to do it, so contact with children was fairly minimal. So here are my apologies…
I’m sorry to all the parents I judged when your toddlers were kicking off. I have now been there, done that and just about lived to tell the tale. Now I smile an understanding smile to mums who are trying to deal with a tantrum with as little fuss as possible because no parent wants their child to have a meltdown – we don’t want to look like we can’t handle our child, we don’t want to look like we discipline too harshly or that we give in too easily and are raising a spoilt brat. It’s all very complicated and a tad stressful!
I am so very sorry to breastfeeding mothers because, before I went on to breastfeed my daughters to one and then two years old, I’ m afraid I judged women who breastfed their babies beyond the newborn stage – they were hippy, needy people and what was wrong with a bottle? Of course I was young and completely uneducated about breastfeeding and my views changed when I had my own babies.
I am sorry to the parents who, I thought, just stuck a dummy in their baby’s mouth to shut them up. Well the last laugh was on me because, when my baby’s were small , I was jealous of every single one of you when mine refused to take one and, after so many attempts with my first, it felt like it was something else I had failed at.
I also judged the parents who allowed their children to sit in front of the TV – by three months old my first baby used to chill out with The Tweenies, how else was I going to sit on my back side with a hot cup of tea?!
Before kids I didn’t get the all consuming exhaustion and the ‘really-couldn’t-care-less-about-my-appearance’ attitude. But I have now experienced being so tired that I could have gone out in my pj’s and, when I went back to work when my first baby was 6 months old, I considered it an achievement to make it to work in clothes, it didn’t matter if they had baby puke and snot on them and I mastered the art of wearing my hair in a bun because I was too tired to wash it let alone brush it!
And, finally, apologies to work colleagues who didn’t get my full understanding when family came first. When I cast a look to a designer because he was on the phone to his wife who needed support because she was on her own at home with a week old baby, when I complained about colleagues arriving late and leaving early when they needed to and when I didn’t truly engage in conversations about their baby’s development, lack of sleep and poo! After ten years of being a parent I have, of course, been there – I have been criticized by work colleagues, I have been on the phone to the nursery to check on my baby daughter and I have bored everyone with the day to day details of my children’s routines and my lack of sleep. It’s what parents do and it’s now my job to listen and I love it!
Being a parent has taught me an awful a lot about tolerance and patience and individuality and about being non-judgemental. So I truly do apologise for being a judgemental grump but I’m all better now and I don’t wear my hair in a bun anymore!