The Babe and I went to the park near our house today. She was a trooper running errands with me most of the morning, so I wanted to give her the chance to run around and soak in the gorgeous day.
As we approached the playground, I saw a group of mom’s hanging out on a picnic blanket with their kids. One mom was standing by the swing set and talking on the phone. The only time she broke from conversation was to shout something at one of her kids.
The self-righteous indignation kicked in and I started to make up stories about what kind of parent this woman was.
Until I realized that this woman was ME.
Or, at the very least, could be on any given day. I also began to wonder if I was meant to see what my own behavior behind closed doors looked like. Just because I didn’t behave that way in public didn’t mean that I was free from such hideous character flaws.
Turns out she was a fiery, outgoing, self-deprecating, and fiercely loving mother of three kids. She made a point to say hello and chat while our children were playing near each other. And by playing, I totally mean The Babe was trying to run away while telling the little boy (who simply wanted to give her a hug and a kiss) to WALK AWAY, because that’s how she rolls.
As we were leaving, my own child began to throw a tantrum because she didn’t want to leave. What did I do? I raised my voice and shouted for her to come back here right now. And then I bribed her with a video to get into the car.
The irony is not lost on me.
Reflecting on our time at the park today, I’ve realized a few things about myself. First, that my knee jerk reaction when it comes to other moms and dads, is one of judgment and criticism.
I can’t believe they let their kid do THAT.
Can you believe how she’s talking to her kids?!
Does she really think the yelling is doing anything? No one is even listening to her. Probably because they are so used to the yelling that they’re tuning her out.
Armchair parenting at it’s finest…
God. They’re not even paying attention to their kid. They’re too busy on their phone.
I am also hypercritical of the behaviors that I find the most difficult to control within myself. Everything I thought above I TOTALLY DO MYSELF. The yelling, the looking at my phone while The Babe is off playing, the armchair parenting.
Perhaps that’s why I have a hard time witnessing it others; because it’s something I need to work on within myself.
Now, to figure out how not to be THAT mom. You know, the judgmental, self-righteous, rude mom that reared her ugly head this afternoon. Because SHE was a total downer and a miserable companion. And I so don’t want to be her … anymore.