It Takes a Village to Raise a Child. A Kind Village.

Once upon a time I was the mother of one (and only one) adorable, well behaved little boy. I was visiting with a friend, who had 3 adorable yet busy, little boys. She was telling me how her first child NEVER ate leftover, forgotten food that had fallen to the floor, she was appalled when her second child occasionally found the food that fallen to the floor, but it seemed that it was her third child's regular snack.
I. was. Appalled.
Seriously? Your child eats food off the floor???!!! How could a parent do that?

I would see parents in the store with a misbehaving child and think, "Why are they handling it that way? If only they would do X or Y, they would be much better parents"

And then, I had my second child. Who was a dream baby. One day I was in the store with my two children and my oldest started this great temper tantrum because I wouldn't buy him a new .97 matchbox car and suddenly I was the one being judged. Not that it affected me much even then; I just told the judgmental lady off and went on my way. It's not like it happened all the time, I had two very well behaved little boys.

Then, I had my third child and my life of well behaved children was a memory of the past. My 3rd child was my first child who: didn't sleep well, cried all the time, wanted to he held all the time, screamed bloody murder when riding in the car, was stubborn, cranky and obstinate. I called Poison Control numerous times and shopping with him was an absolute nightmare. Add to that, that he was so rambunctious that he had stitches by 17 months and he had to get glasses, which were another battle, at 19 months. He alone, exhausted me. He threw temper tantrums all the time, refused to eat healthy foods and got into everything. And I suddenly found myself, the mother who was being judged, all the time. The older mothers in the store looked at me with sympathy and the younger mothers looked at me like I was doing something wrong. I became the mother I once judged.

Why? Why do we do this? As a parent, don't we just want what is best for our children? I looked really hard for the rule book on how to raise the perfect child, but it’s just not out there. We are all just trying our best, and sometimes it simply comes down to trial and error. So, next time you retrieve my runaway child in the grocery store (which is bonus point #1 for you- 2 year olds usually don't shop alone, so yes, that is a runaway child), I would appreciate it if when you brought him back and I say "thanks", you'd simply smile and say "you're welcome" (that will earn you bonus point #2). And when I see your child kicking and screaming on the floor, I will most certainly give you my best look saying, "Hang in there Mom, you're doing an awesome job". Even if I don't agree with how you are handling it. Because the simple fact that you are trying, means you are doing an awesome job.

Whaddya think?

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