Childrearing

Being A Mother Has Made Me More Judgmental

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Parents who honestly think their kid is special and express that sentiment publicly. I mean, I know we all think our kids are the smartest, charmingest and funniest humans to ever walk the earth. I sure as heck do. But I’m smart enough to pretend that I think they’re just good kids when I’m around other parents. These types of parents who act like their children are superhuman used to annoy me before I had kids. Now that I have kids, and realize that the sentiment is universal, I’m only more annoyed. Have some perspective, people! Your child might be the center of your universe, but they’re almost certainly not the center of mine (unless, you know, they’re one of my nieces, nephews or godchildren — then fire away).

Parents who lose their identity in their children. OK, I get it. Being a parent is awesome. I certainly think it is. And I love and adore my children. But before I had kids, I used to get weirded out by those people who couldn’t talk about anything other than having children. As fascinating as I find constant conversations about diapering systems, educational choices, breastfeeding, vaccination, shuttling children to their soccer/ballet/tennis/piano practices, etc. (ugh, shoot me now), is it too much to ask for a simple conversation about a recent book you read or a story that was in the newspaper today? Or anything at all other than your child or how you feel about them?

Overprotective parents. I used to make fun of parents who put helmets on their kids before they got on tricycles, slathered hand sanitizer and sunblock everywhere and wouldn’t let their children climb the jungle gym. I still do. Sorry. It’s a tricycle, not a Formula One race car.

People who flip out when other people correct their children’s behavior. I used to think this was something that a few parents did when non-parents intervened. Now I realize that some parents just don’t want anyone to ever suggest to their children that their behavior needs improving. I mean, I’m not a big fan of other people telling my children to watch their behavior, but if it’s called for, I back them up. I was once spoken to at church for admonishing some children to not destroy the curtains they were mutilating. It takes a village, people (it also takes the Village People, I’ve found). If we can all look out for our neighbors’ children a bit, the world is a better place.

Not reading to your children. I used to judge parents who didn’t read to their children. I thought that they were selfishly harming their children by not introducing them to the written word. Now that I have children who love to be read to, I have much less tolerance for parents who don’t read a book or two to their children each day. It’s not hard to visit the library or pick up some remainders. And children love the time you spend with them. And they learn to read and learn to love to read.

So while I may not understand every choice parents make — such as how some parents dress their children in matching outfits — I am much more tolerant of so many things parents do. “Whatever you need to do to get by,” I mumble under my breath rather constantly. But certain things upset me even more now that I know more. Such as letting your kids wear yoga pants that say “Juicy” across the butt.

So, what’s your favorite thing to be judgmental about? Other than internet rants against other parents?

(Photo: Piotr Marcinski/Shutterstock)

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