Saturday, January 15, 2011

The joys of parenting

One of the hardest jobs in the world is...parenting.  I'm sure any parent right now reading this is nodding their head right with me.  Parenting is only easy when you don't have children.  It's so easy to say "I will NOT do that with my child.  My child will always do what I say, will not be mean, hit other children, run away from me when I tell them to stop.   They will not throw fits, have tantrums or escape from timeouts.  I WON'T EVER raise my voice, or take things away, threaten them or tell them to get out of my face right now."  But reality is they WILL do those things and so will you. 

Whoever said the twos are terrible must have not gotten to the threes yet.  Twos were a walk in the park compared to the threes.  All of a sudden his toys are his, not to be shared with ANYONE.  His hands are to be used for slapping, punching and grabbing at his other siblings, for pulling unwanted items from his diaper and for breaking into drawers or cupboards and emptying bottles of vitamins or squeezing the tubes of toothpaste into the sink.  His mouth is used for not calling you "mom" and "dad", by your first name, you tell him to go sit in timeout and he says, "No, you go to timeout."  Or now starts telling his toys that they're stupid. 

You know as a parent they're trying to figure out the boundaries.  You know they're trying to figure out who's in charge.  You know these things, but that doesn't make them any easier. 

Want to know the second hardest job in the world?................. parenting in public!  What do you do when you take your child to a bookstore to play with the Thomas the train set and they push every child that comes over to play too?  Or steals all the trains and won't give them back?  Ah... those moments of "my child will NOT do this."  You grab your child, pull them to the side and lay down the warning- if you cannot play nicely and share we will pack up and go home.  Keep in mind, that all the other parents are now watching you and your child because they've labeled your child the "bully" after their 30 second meeting.  You release your child from the grip, they turn around, walk right up to the table and steal the trains again.  At this point the other parents are now very much tuned in to what your next move is and are ready to jump to their own child's aid.  So you begin to pack up while your child has discovered that you really were serious about packing up and going home if they couldn't play nicely and so starts to cry, while loudly saying "No go home!" 

You are now trying to make no eye contact at all with the other parents for fear you will see the look in their eyes telling you that you are a bad parent.  At the same time you are wanting to jump to your defense and say "I really am a good parent.  He really is a good kid.  We both are trying our hardest here to do the right thing." But you know there's no point in explaining.  That would just keep you in the store longer and allowing more time for your child's tantrums to be heard by the person in the very back corner who would then be thinking that that child needs some discipline.

You have now succeeded in getting your child packed, if you can call any of this success, when one of the parents says to you "It's hard to understand all this when you're little AND those are adorable hats."  At this point you smile, say thank you and realize that maybe all along the other parents did actually understand and have really been in your shoes.  That as parents we are all in this together and should be helping each other by saying something encouraging so that when we reach the car we don't bust out into tears for fear of being bad parents.          


Kara Scharrer said...

Sarah, I totally agree with everything you said! Parenting, especially in public, is SO HARD!!! Right now, we are going through the terrible 3's, the terrible 2's, and a 6 month old who has decided that sleeping through the night is over rated! Ahhhh! I like your idea of saying something encouraging to other moms. From now on, I'm going to make sure that I take the time to do that.

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