January at a park:
Ok, we are here. I should run a little bit, too. Hell, I put on my sports bra. Nah. I don’t really feel like it. I’m gonna play with Liv at the park while her dad runs, but not TOO much because she should play with the other kids. I remember that one blog about helicopter moms. HA, not me. Can’t stand those moms. What was that article called? Oh, something about ‘I don’t go to the park to play with my kids.’ Wait, that’s a little harsh. I mean, sometimes I play with her, too! I’m not a helicopter mom, but I’m definitely not the mom who’s absent and on my phone the whole time. Well, I mean, I check it sometimes, but I’m not that bad.
Liv: “MOMMY! LOOK! It’s a telescope!”
Me: “Yes! That’s so cool! You’re looking through it!”
Awww, these kids want to come over and pet the dogs. They are super cute dogs. That mom clearly doesn’t trust them, though, and probably won’t let her kid come pet them. I guess I get it. She may not be a dog person.
Mom #2: “That’s close enough”
I knew it. HA. Oh, well. Where’s my daughter? CRAP. I’m being that mom who doesn’t pay any attention to her kid at the park. I can’t see her! OMG, she probably got kidnapped and it’s because I was not paying attention. Maybe those helicopter moms are right. There she is! I knew she was fine. Oh, sweet. That mom is breastfeeding in the middle of the playground. Go you!
Me: “Hey, Olivia!”
Liv: “Mommy! Come see this.”
Me: “OK. Coming!”
I hope she isn’t going to show me that telescope again.
Me: “Oh, yeah! Binoculars.”
She’s totally gonna make me lift her up to look through those.
Liv: “Can you pick me up to…”
Me: “Of course! On my way up.”
Mom #3 (to her daughter): “Those are for climbing UP, not DOWN! Why are you climbing down those?”
What the hell is she talking about? It’s a ladder. And your kid is, like, 4. Whatever. I let Olivia go up and down those. I even let her go up the slide! Parks are for climbing. Well, I mean, not if someone else is coming down it. I let her be adventurous and explore but not at someone else’s inconvenience. I’m considerate.
Liv: “Mom, come play with me!”
Me: “Honey, there are lots of kids today. We don’t always have lots of friends to play with. Look! That girl is your age. Go introduce yourself!”
And I’m not looking at my phone. I sincerely just want her to have fun with peers.
Liv: “Hi! Want to play with m…”
That little brat! She just turned her head and walked away! So her mom teaches her stupid, made-up ladder rules but not how to engage with others? Poor Liv. Wait. Maybe she is socially behind. Or maybe she has autism or something. Dang, I’m so inconsiderate.
*later talking pretty well to sibling*
Nope. She is just not nice.
Poor Liv. Am I too pushy? Am I just a helicopter that is hovering in the distance but still directing her to make friends and talk to mean girls? Did I just set her up for failure? Maybe she sensed herself that the little girl wouldn’t be kind. Maybe Olivia demands authenticity like I do and only plays with other kids she wants to.
What is that little boy doing? Hmm. He is super close to her face. Awww, is he talking to her? WAIT. Did he just hit her?! OMG, STOP HITTING HER. Why is she not saying anything? Ok, he walked away. What is she going to do? She looks so sad! She isn’t crying, though.
Me: “Did that two-year-old hit you?” *she nods* “I am SO proud that you didn’t hit him back.” *she smiles* “But you can ALWAYS use your words to tell someone, ‘NO! Stop that.'”
Liv: “Okay, Mommy.”
Mom #3 (to same little boy, who now hit her daughter): “NO! PLEASE DON’T HIT! Ok. We are leaving. Time to go.”
Well. I guess he is a serial hitter. HA. Ok, that isn’t funny. I feel bad. But why was that mom telling him to stop? She should give her daughter the words to say. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime, right?
Or am I wrong? Should I have run in and rescued Olivia, too? SHIT. I am a bad mom. I totally let her take that beating from the little kid. No, he was two. She was fine. She would have cried or moved or called for me. Right? Yeah. She is just fine.
Dad: “Ok, we got to go home now”
She is not going to come. She wants to watch that party blow up the bounce house.
Dad: “Olivia, NOW. Let’s go!”
Me: “Please come now. Show me good listening.”
Liv (with attitude):”I’m watching this!”
Oh, HELL no. Please don’t do this. I’m SO not in the mood for being tantrum mom.
We all judge. We judge the safety of our environments. We judge the outcome of planned events. We judge each other. We judge ourselves. Though with judgement can come change and resolution. If we did not constantly judge the parenting decisions we (and others) were making, we would continue to do everything randomly and without good and needed change. We would not grow.
So instead of saying we will “try to be less judgmental,” we should make a resolution to not judge unproductively. We should make sure that we only assess the things we don’t like about others’ (and our own) parenting so we can vow not to do it ourselves (NOT insisting that my way is the best; just better for me).
Similarly, we can also judge how we see parents doing something we DO like and adopt it ourselves. We can admit to being a little judgy, and we should … as long as we are kind and self-aware. Being self-aware means knowing your shortcomings and adopting new strategies to improve them. We should always be working towards a goal of becoming a better version of ourselves than we were yesterday.
So my New Year’s Resolution is to continue being better that I was yesterday. What about yours? I won’t judge. Ok, I probably will 😉
Liv & Leen