You there with the screaming two-year-old in the grocery store, this is for you. And you too, the one with the sullen teen at the restaurant table with his face in his phone and his eyes on auto-roll, you’re in this as well. And, oh yes, you over there with the six-year-old who CLEARLY dressed herself before leaving the house and you let her run with it - you’re part of the club.
What club? The club made up of all of us who’ve ever known the blessing of being a parent – including the trials, tribulations, missteps, worry and doubt that goes with the package. And as card-carrying members of that club we need to STICK TOGETHER. We need to leave the judgment to an authority much higher than any of us. Because the truth is, just like the old saying, “There but for the grace of God, go I.” Right?
I’ll be the first to say I’ve had less than stellar moments as a mom. (Like the time I ripped up my son’s 4th grade homework in a “parenting tantrum” and had to explain to his teacher why his worksheet was in shreds.) I’ve zigged when I should have zagged. I’ve yelled until I’ve cried. I’ve fallen short and I’ve said I’m sorry. Haven’t we all? Isn’t that all part of the learning and loving?
Unfortunately, in our new world where all-too-perfect families (right down to their expertly applied photo-filters) are portrayed every day in social media, it’s easy to feel like we’re not living up to the standards others are offering up. We scratch our heads and sip our coffee and think, “I’ll bet she never leaves the house with snot on her sleeve!” It’s also easy to find comfort in the missteps of others. Let’s all STOP. Stop judging ourselves and stop judging others.
There should be solidarity in the club for every parent who is trying to do the right thing and operating from a place of love, shouldn’t there?
Instead of thinking, “My child would never do that!” Why not lend a smile to the mortified mom of the toddler who’s suddenly the source of the “clean up on aisle five”? Offer a hand, or at least a show of support that we’ve all been through something similar.
Because the real world of parenting doesn’t come with a special app that makes everything sunshiny and beautiful. There are sleepless nights. There are questionable decisions. There are mistakes big and small. There are lessons to learn. But there’s also love. Lots of it. And little hands to hold. And boo-boos to kiss. And games to play. And teens to teach to drive and usher into adulthood. And memories to make.
So for all of you who’ve ever wondered if you were getting it right, but who are committed to giving this parenting gig all you’ve got every day, you’re in the club. You’re good. High fives all around for doing your best. For making mistakes, but learning from them. For reaching out for answers when you’re not quite sure what to do. For loving your kids with your whole heart. Welcome to the no judgment zone. You’re safe with us.
Amy McCready's new book is "The 'Me, Me, Me' Epidemic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World." Learn more at AmyMcCready.com.