It was very good timing that the morning before the Fire Station field trip, I read this article.
The article talks about the realities of parenting and how, pre-children, we may find ourselves judging other parents (and may still do this even after we have our own children). She sites examples of the friend whose toddler is watching "too much tv" or the parent that is giving their child junk food. We often think that will not be us. Then, reality hits, and everyday is not the perfect day, and we may find ourselves, as a parent, doing something we thought we would NEVER do.
Well, during the Fire Station field trip it wasn't so much that I was finding myself doing something that I would never do, but that I was feeling very self-conscious (and slightly embarrassed) around the other parents as my kid was the kid being "that kid." I used to think my kid would NEVER be "that kid." Then it happened. My toddler, who is usually a good kid (naps when I ask him to, goes right to bed, listens well) was whining, fussing and impatient to get to the fire truck. He was not being the good listener. I felt mortified -- thinking, "I hope everyone in the mom's group does not think he is always like this." Of course, those feelings made it harder for me to redirect my child and to be as patient as I needed to be. Another 2 year-old was behaving much better. I didn't want everyone else to think I was a "bad mom."Then, I thought back to the article and had to remind myself that in addition to not judging other parents, we also cannot judge ourselves too harshly. One experience is just that -- one experience. We work on listening skills at home. We teach proper behavior. We have appropriate consequences to help him learn. We still had a bad outing.
I hope I am able to think back to this experience the next time I am tempted to judge another parent who is out with a cranky child. It happens to all of us. We can't let those moments define us as parents. They can help us improve our parenting, but are also unavoidable, so we shouldn't judge ourselves (or others) harshly when a "bad day" happens.
Will I even remember the fussiness later when I look back at the pictures?