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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Awkward Parent Crap is a Total Party!

I have mentioned in the past that mother's are really hard on other mothers and that judging other parents seems to be a reflex among my peers. I am vvveerrryyy touchy about this. In fact, if I had a "hot button," I would say that is it. I try really hard not to participate in the catiness and also, have been a target of some judging myself. Probably more than I'll ever know. Anyway, it sucks. It's draining. It is probably my biggest pet peeve.
There is this whole "other side" of parenting a toddler that I like to call, "The parent's crap." I want to write a book about it..if I had money, time and a publishing deal handed to me that I didn't have to work for. Here's what happens: Your kid turns start having play dates and play groups and various classes of sorts. You get to know these other mothers (sort of) and you hang out a lot with your kids. Well, two year olds aren't real good at the whole playing together thing. By nature, they are into the whole "me! me! me!" and "Mine! Mine! Mine!" and "No!" thing. This is their developmental M.O. They are learning how to play together, how to share, that there are others in the room with feelings, what is nice and not nice, etc. THIS IS THE LIFE OF A NORMAL 2 YEAR OLD!
Since this is the case, what develops are awkward moments among the parents. Parents will all different patience levels, parenting styles, etc. Pair that with new friends (other moms) you don't know like your high school or college lifelong friends and it is tough. No one feels comfortable saying, "Oh hi Sheila..we just met, but Joey just bopped Leo on the head...could you get him to stop?" or "Hey Darlene..I see you are sitting there glazed over, watching our two kids struggle over a toy while I nurse my newborn..could you get off your butt and maybe work that one out?" I am just isn't happening. Soooo...awkwardness ensues. Catty chatter after amongst parents...blah blah blah...I hate it. It is so lame.
I am not even writing this because this is happening to ME right now. I kind of went through this over the summer when Lucy was going through a hitting phase with a couple of kids. I felt terrible. I felt like some were watching how I handled it, and I felt like people didn't understand it and it SUCKED. Nothing feels worse to me, really. I just had to keep telling myself that it was all normal and a phase and worked on instituting a committed "Time Out" technique that seemed to work. I would get mad, however, because I felt like people would forget that kids are 2 and crap is going to happen like this and it's going to all work itself out over time! See what I mean...awkward and annoying crap.
Now, I see it happening with my friends, etc. and it is just painful. And no one talks about how hard it is to muddle through this phase from the parents point of view. There are the "terrible two's"...but then is the "parents crap" phase.
The good news is I am learning a lot about myself and others during this phase. Both good and bad. I think after year 2, they should give out badges of honor to parents who have survived. As I write this, I am thinking of my friends with 3 year olds who are nodding and chuckling and in their minds thinking, "Ahh..if she only knew what the 3's are all about." Ignorance is bliss, I say!!


At 9:17 AM, Blogger AZ said...

I have so much to say about this issue that I should just write a post. I'm so not looking forward to that stage... I thought it was bad enough the parenting crap I was getting already. For instance, I was at a playgroup and mentioned my physical/mental state following JZ's birth and was totally belittled and spoken to in such a condescending way for having any sort of pain. I felt like saying, "ok, so maybe I'm not as cavernous as you are, but delivering a child was quite painful for me." Anyway, I digress, I just don't understand why parents, esp. women can't be a little less judgemental and a little more supportive. I hate the cattiness. Sooo much. Sorry for the novel.

At 1:13 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

Sorry that happened to you too..yeah it is super annoying. I have about 25 stories to share but don't want to be too negative here. :) Anyways, all you can do is your best, trust that you are a good parent and try to ignore the rest!

At 2:22 PM, Blogger Texas Poppet said...

Parenting is very much a hands-on learning experience. Since every child is different, even experienced moms are learning the ropes with each new child. It is only natural that as each mom finds her way, she makes judgements about the other parenting styles she encounters. It is part of the learning process. Please be patient with critical moms. They are just coping with insecurities by trying to make favourable comparisons to other moms.

At 3:57 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

I know it all stems from's just the whole verbalizing your own opinions on others (when not asked) and openly telling parents they are doing it "wrong" - that is just too much for me.

At 12:13 AM, Blogger loveball said...

hahaha...Sheila and Darlene! I'm so sure!

yes, I read your blog daily so it feels like we've hung out. I miss you!

At 9:53 AM, Blogger Meema said...

Well...over my {{MANY -I'm old!!}} years of living and learning - it seems to me that, as time goes by and all those little children grow into their teenage years, it is more often than not the children of those most verbally judgemental parents who end up struggling the hardest with self esteem and other related issues. Maybe the parents' need to belittle others does grow out of their own insecurities - but it takes a toll. It's sad for everyone but it seems to happen a lot. Sorry - long entry!!


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I'm a 39 year old stay-at-home mom. I have a 9 year old daughter and a 7 year old son. I have lived in the big city and in the mountains, but am happy to be back in the Midwest, raising the fam. I enjoy laughing, wine, bad karaoke, US Weekly, running, cemetaries, cheese sticks and short hair-dos. In my previous life, I was class-clown and a wanna-be comedian. In my professional life, I'm a journalism major with 10 years of marketing and PR experience. I dream of being a cast member on Saturday Night Live and working at Disney World as Snow White.

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