In my experience as a mother, I’ve found myself resenting the hell out of people, questions, attitudes, and total idiots, much more than I ever did in my pre-baby life and I know I’m not the only one. I don’t think resenting your children should go hand-in-hand with parenting. But I do think that childrearing opens the floodgates for judgment and criticism and it is not always easy to shrug off or avoid altogether. If we aren’t armed in the thickest of skins, we can find ourselves feeling like we’re fighting an uphill battle just to live how we see fit.
Pre-baby, we did it freely, marched to our own tune without missing a beat and no one seemed to care. It may be partially because there are few things in life that beg to be judged more than our parenting choices, but also because once you start making them, you become a billboard for everything you believe — it’s written all over the hippie school you choose and your toddler’s Tom’s (yes, I’m speaking personally here). You can’t hide your values or religion or lack thereof unless you try really, really hard. Once you have a kid, everything is on the table, and everything becomes fair game, at least in a lot of people’s minds.
I hate to say it like this, but when it comes to how kids should be brought up, opinions are definitely like ass holes (everyone’s got one). Forceful and invasive criticisms are something any pregnant woman or new mom knows a lot about. We’ve all experienced it at some point. Ex: the lady who walks up to your table while you’re eating to ask your daughter’s name and then promptly tells you she will hate it when she’s older and that “Piper” is in fact, a boy’s name. (Damn, I wish someone had mentioned that sooner!). Blatant and unprecedented opinions practically from the exact moment of conception are about as common as prenatal gas — just another side-effect of baby-making that’s not anticipated if it’s your first rodeo.
Childless people love to tell us what they will do when they have kids. And it’s normal to have a vision of what your perfect family will look like, to think that will never be your kid laying on the floor of Target, red-faced and terrifying everyone in the store. The reality that you are not immune to the ugliest of public tantrums is something we have to believe; otherwise the population of our planet would be pretty much doomed. But those estimations, flawed as they may be, are rampant. As parents, we must learn quickly learn to smile and nod, or at least to pick our battles.